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AARP Reveals America’s Top-Scoring Livable Cities, Counties, and Towns in 2023: Bozeman Makes the “Top Ten” for Mid-Size Communities

USA, Montana, Bozeman, Business area
Bozeman, Montana makes the top ten list of most livable communities in America

New AARP Livability Index™ Top 100 finds that every community requires improvement to meet the needs of an aging population 

Helena, Mont., Nov. 3, 2023 — AARP’s Public Policy Institute announced the 100 top-scoring livable communities across the U.S., as part of the AARP Livability Index™ Top 100. However, the data shows that most of the highest scoring communities lack affordable housing and accessibility options, underscoring the need for local leaders to implement policies that address rising housing costs, insufficient supply of housing options, and growing income inequality. 

The AARP Livability IndexTM platform is the most comprehensive, web-based tool of its kind that scores every neighborhood and community in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most as they age. For the first time, the Index features 100 locations, including towns, villages, and counties, to be more inclusive of communities outside of cities where people live across the nation. 

The 10 top-scoring communities by population size, in ranking order, include: 

  • Very large communities (population 500,000+): San Francisco, CA, Ramsey County, MN, Dane County, WI, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Hennepin County, MN, Boston, MA, Multnomah County, OR, Salt Lake County, UT, Montgomery County, MD
  • Large communities (population 100,000-499,999): Madison, WI, Cambridge, MA, St. Paul, MN, Salt Lake City, UT, Arlington County, VA, Rochester, MN, Minneapolis, MN, Chittenden County, VT, Olmstead County, MN, Berkeley, CA
  • Mid-size communities (population 25,000-99,999): Portland, ME, Burlington, VT, South Portland, ME, La Crosse, WI, Belmont, MA, Somerville, MA, St. Louis Park, MN, Millcreek, UT, Roseville, MN, Bozeman, MT
  • Small towns (population 5,000 to 24,999): Aspen, CO, Great Neck Plaza, NY, Orange City, IA, La Crescent, MN, Salida, CO, Pierre, SD, Pitkin County, CO, Falls Church, VA, Jackson, WY, Falcon Heights, MN

“Older adults overwhelmingly want to stay in their own homes and communities as they age, but many communities just aren’t prepared to address the needs of a rapidly aging population,” said Tim Summers, AARP Montana State Director. “The AARP Livability Index shows that all communities have room to improve to ensure that residents of all ages are active, engaged, and supported, particularly when it comes to affordable housing options. Everyone has a role to play – from residents to researchers, to local advocates and policymakers – to help fill the gaps between what people want and need and what their communities provide, so more older adults can live independently.” 

Launched in 2015, the AARP Livability Index platform scores livability by using more than 50 national data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau American Communities Survey, across seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. The tool measures every city, county, and town against 61 indicators of livability, ranging from monthly housing costs to environmental pollution, opportunities for social connections to the presence of age-friendly community plans. It aims to inform and encourage residents, local advocates, researchers, and policymakers to take action to make their communities great places to live for people of all ages. 

One way AARP Montana is helping great communities across Montana become even better places for people of all ages to live and thrive is through its Community Challenge Grant program. Since 2017, AARP Montana has awarded 41 Community Challenge grants to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state totaling $435,995. All projects have been detailed in the latest edition of Investing in Montana Communities, from AARP Montana. “Over the past six years we have worked with Montana organizations on a wide range of ideas from creating safer streets, improving public transportation, trails and parks to creating community gardens,” said Summers. See the Montana report at: states.aarp.org/montana/mtcommunities. 

Users can search the Livability Index website by address, ZIP code, or community to find an overall or category score, identify challenges in their community and compare their neighborhood to others across performance benchmarks. New search tools include the “Community Finder Quiz” and the “Explore All Communities” feature, which match users to communities according to their preferred location characteristics that meet their unique needs. The updated Index also includes climate data for every community, so users can pinpoint desired locations based on their weather preferences. 

The AARP Livability Index is a trusted resource among organizations to promote livability and support location decision making in communities nationwide. Through a collaboration with AARP, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is helping homebuyers make informed housing decisions that best support their needs by integrating the AARP Livability Index data with NAR’s data platform, the Realtors Property Resource®. 

To view the AARP Livability Index or see your community’s score, visit www.aarp.org/livabilityindex

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About AARP
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/about-aarp/, www.aarp.org/español or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media. 

About AARP Montana
For over 50 years, AARP has been working right here in big sky country to improve the lives of Montanans 50 plus. As one of Montanan’s largest non-profit membership organizations, with more than 134,000 members, we advocate for what matters most to families: personal fulfillment, health security and financial stability including fraud prevention. 

We’re committed to helping already great communities across Montana become even better places for people of all ages by granting funds through our Community Challenge Grant Program. We fund small dollar, big impact projects for public parks & trails, transportation, safe streets, housing and more. We also connect Montanans with information and resources as well as help people connect with others who share their interests and passions – like music! As a main sponsor of the Helena Symphony’s Masterworks Series, we’re proud to help bring quality concerts to the community. 

By fighting on issues that matter most to Montana families and providing trusted information, we’re helping to empower Montanans to choose how they live as they age. As a nonpartisan organization, AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to candidates, campaigns, or political action committees. Visit us at aarp.org/MT or follow @AARPMontana on social media. 

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About AARP Montana
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.