The daily grind in New York City is hard enough for a youthful New Yorker, but how's it for the city's aging population? The AARP, an advocacy organization whose purview extends to the 50+ crowd, has attempted to answer this question with its "livability" index, a tool that determines how habitable different areas may be for the country's elders by weighing a set of categories against different cities or zip codes. Consider the index a more well-rounded Walk Score that, despite being targeted at the AARP generation, can also be meaningful for a younger crowd. First reported by City Lab and followed up by Curbed LA, AARP's "livability" index ranks New York City a shocking 62. To put that into context, Los Angeles scored a meager 47, and sunny Austin, merely 56.
The criteria that AARP weighs to determine an area's general livability breaks down into seven categories like housing, and its affordability and access; neighborhood, and proximity to things like grocery stores and jobs; health, and the area's proliferation of care providers; and even broader categories like opportunity, which encompasses age diversity and high school graduation rate. The index allows users to scale back categories that are not as pressing to them: if less concerned with an area's voter turn out and more concerned with, say, air quality, the index can be adjusted to reflect that.
So how do different New York City neighborhoods stack up against each other on the pre-adjusted AARP livability index? Stapleton in Staten Island comes in at 52, where 100 percent of residents have access to high-speed internet but only 43.1 percent of residents votes. Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn comes in at 62, where there are .6 cultural institutions per 10,000 people. Sunnyside in Queens drags slightly behind with a 61, where median housing costs $1,088 per month and only 2.7 percent of apartments are easily navigable by those who are restricted in their movement. Grand Concourse in the Bronx scores a 58, where slightly over half of buildings are multi family and the access to healthcare scores a six on a scale of 25.
· Livability Index [AARP]
· How Livable Will Your Neighborhood be As You Age? [City Lab]
· Getting Old in Los Angeles Is Going to Be Rough [Curbed]