The AARP, through its Public Policy Institute, issued an online tool called the Livability Index. Plug in the name of your community, or one you are considering moving to, and you’ll see a numerical score and a showing of where the community ranks on the AARP scale. You also can see the different categories used to determine the score and drill down to see how the community rates on each category and the subcategories. Plus, median nationwide scores of many categories are included. Unlike other rankings of this sort, you can drill down to many subdivisions or other communities. The index can be found here.
I’m always wary of these types of rankings. What’s important to you might not match what’s important to those compiling the ranking. Also, your interpretation might be the same. In this case, it looks like the rankings are heavily influenced by AARP’s political positions and its view of how things ought to be. But it is a good place to start and get an overall view of at least one perspective on a community.
The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.