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Bismarck, Fargo among Top 10 on AARP Livability Index

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Bismarck and Fargo have both been named a Top 10 city in a new Livability Index developed by AARP. The study identified the most livable places in the country for people 50-plus.

Bismarck has one of the Top 10 neighborhoods in the U.S. and is among the Top 10 small-sized cities overall. Bismarck is also named as one of the best small-sized cities for making new friends.

Fargo is ranked among the Top 10 most livable mid-sized cities. Fargo also ranks No. 2 for best cities for making new friends and No. 7 for best cities for date night.

Go here to read more about Bismarck and Fargo’s rankings.

The AARP Livability Index is a first of its kind resource that allows people to determine how well their communities are meeting their current and future needs. People, policy makers and the private sector can use the Livability Index to measure how their location – down to the neighborhood level – rates across a comprehensive range of metrics that reflect user friendliness, and customize their search based on their own priorities.

In an exclusive feature, the May issue of AARP Bulletin uses the Livability Index to identify the most livable places in the country for people 50-plus.

Most of us want to stay in our homes and communities as we age and the Livability Index is a way to help make that happen. Every community has room for improvement and the Livability Index can identify those areas and guide local policy makers to adapt to make a community livable for people of all ages.

AARP defines a livable community as one that has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options, which together facilitate personal independence and the engagement of residents in civic and social life. It’s a place where people can get to where they want to go, living comfortably and in good health, and being able to remain active and engaged. Importantly, the elements that make a community livable are useful for people of all ages, not just Americans 50-plus.

The AARP Livability Index is designed to provide the best basis for comparing localities across the nation by dozens of experts at the AARP Public Policy Institute and elsewhere. Aided by a national survey of 4,500 Americans 50-plus about the aspects of their communities most important to them, these experts selected 60 factors spread across seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity. For example, the transportation category includes metrics on the frequency of local transit service, traffic congestion and crashes, and household transportation costs.

Users can also incorporate their own preferences by changing the weights of how different components are scored. Taken together, the AARP Livability Index, which uses more than 50 national sources of data, provides the clearest picture yet of how well a community meets the current and future needs of people of all ages.

In addition to the “Most Livable Neighborhoods” list, AARP Bulletin also reports the best cities – of all sizes – that meet a few key priorities of Americans 50-plus. For example, using the Livability Index’s culture, arts and entertainment factors, AARP Bulletin identifies “Best Cities for Date Night,” “Best Cities for Making New Friends,” and “Best Cities for Staying Healthy.”

The arrival of the AARP Livability Index is particularly important to address the changing needs and wants of this country’s aging population. According to AARP research, nearly eight-in-ten Americans 50-plus want to stay in their current homes and communities as they age; U.S. Census figures show that the overwhelming majority of them choose to do so. The AARP Livability Index can be a powerful tool for local officials and others in adapting their cities so that residents of all ages can stay healthy and active.

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