As I have noted in a previous post, location is a key factor to consider when planning for retirement. Where do you want to live during your “golden years”? And what characteristics do you want and need in your community as you age?

No matter where you decide to live in retirement—a retirement community or “aging in place” in your home—AARP’s Livability Index can help you make an informed choice. The Index ranks communities on 60 different factors within seven broad categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity.

The AARP Public Policy Institute used Census Bureau data and examined more than 200,000 neighborhoods to compile the Livability Index. Community scores are based on a scale of 0-100. You can search the Index by street address, city, state or zip code, and compare up to three communities side-by-side, to see how they rank. You can also tell the search tool to weigh some factors more heavily than others. For example, if safety is more important to you than access to public transportation, you can customize the search accordingly.

In addition to helping retirees, AARP believes the Livability Index will be useful to people of all ages who want to know how communities rate in various categories. Rodney Harrell, AARP housing expert, hopes the Index rankings will also encourage people to advocate for change that will make their neighborhoods better places to live and thrive.

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