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Housing
Affordability and access

They say home is where the heart is—and the same holds true for the Livability Index. Housing is a central component of livability. Deciding where to live influences many of the topics the Index covers. We spend more time in our homes than anywhere else, so housing costs, choices, and accessibility are critical. Great communities provide housing opportunities for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities, allowing everyone to live in a quality neighborhood regardless of their circumstances. 

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Neighborhood
Access to life, work, and play

What makes a neighborhood truly livable? Two important qualities are access and convenience. Compact neighborhoods make it easier for residents to reach the things they need most, from jobs to grocery stores to libraries. Nearby parks and places to buy healthy food help people make smart choices, and diverse, walkable neighborhoods with shops, restaurants, and movie theatres make local life interesting. Additionally, neighborhoods served by good access to more distant destinations via transit or automobile help residents connect to jobs, health care, and services throughout the greater community.

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Transportation
Safe and convenient options

How easily and safely we’re able to get from one place to another has a major effect on our quality of life. Livable communities provide their residents with transportation options that connect people to social activities, economic opportunities, and medical care, and offer convenient, healthy, accessible, and low-cost alternatives to driving. 

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Environment
Clean air and water

Good communities maintain a clean environment for their residents. Great communities enact policies to improve and protect the environment for generations to come. The Livability Index looks at air and water quality. It measures communities’ actions to create resilience plans to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, and it awards points to states that have policies promoting energy efficiency and that protect consumers from having their utilities cut off during extreme weather events.

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Health
Prevention, access and quality

Community conditions influence health behaviors. Healthy communities have comprehensive smoke-free air laws, offer easy access to exercise opportunities, and have high-quality health care available. Because health is so deeply related to quality of life, many other categories of livability in this Index include metrics related to health. For example, access to healthy foods, jobs and education, number of walk trips, lower speed limits, social engagement measures, and air and water pollution are all related to health. Where you live matters.

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Engagement
Civic and social involvement

A livable community fosters interaction among residents. From social engagement to civic action to Internet access, residents’ individual opportunities to connect and feel welcomed help lessen social isolation and strengthen the greater community. The Index explores and examines the different ways in which residents engage with and support their communities, and how they impact livability as a whole.

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Opportunity
Inclusion and possibilities

America was built on opportunity—and our nation’s many thriving communities are no different. The degree to which a community embraces diversity and offers opportunities to residents of all ages and backgrounds is important to overall livability. Backed by a strong regional economy and fiscally healthy local governments, welcoming communities provide residents an equal chance to earn a living wage and improve their well-being, from jobs to education.

Map Layer : Total Index Score

Population Characteristics

Housing

Neighborhood

Transportation

Data Sources

Environment

Health

Engagement

Opportunity

Select from the dropdown list to see additional datapoints on the map. Note that small sample sizes may lead to inaccurate data estimates for some block groups.

*Items noted with an asterisk do not contribute to the score