Explore the Top Scoring Communities in the AARP Livability Index

The top scoring communities by population size

Large Cities, population: 500,000+

Although there is some reordering of the top large communities, most of 2018's top scoring large cities returned in 2022. San Jose, CA, made it to the top 10 for the first time; San Francisco, CA, held on to its first-place position.

Strong performances in the Transportation, Neighborhood and Health categories placed San Francisco, New York City, Boston and Seattle at the top of the list. DC, Portland and Denver also show strong scores in Transportation, Health and Engagement.

Philadelphia was the only large city in the top 10 list to score high in Housing, and San Jose was the only city to score high in Opportunity.

Top 10 Large Cities
  1. San Francisco, CA : 65
  2. New York, NY : 63
  3. Washington, DC : 63
  4. Boston, MA : 62
  5. Portland, OR : 62
  6. Philadelphia, PA : 61
  7. Denver, CO : 61
  8. Seattle, WA : 60
  9. San Jose, CA (new) : 58
  10. Milwalkee, WI : 58

Mid-Sized Cities, population: 100,000 to 499,999

Like the top scoring large cities, many of the top mid-sized communities returned to the list this year. Elizabeth, NJ, Rochester, MN, and Sioux Falls, SD, joined the list for the first time.

Neighborhood, Health, Transportation and Engagement contribute to strong overall livability scores for many of the top mid-sized communities.

Top 10 Medium cities
  1. Alexandria, VA : 67
  2. Cambridge, MA : 67
  3. Arlington, VA : 67
  4. St. Paul, MN : 66
  5. Minneapolis, MN : 66
  6. Madison, WI : 64
  7. Elizabeth, NJ (new) : 64
  8. Rochester, MN (new) : 63
  9. Sioux Falls, SD (new) : 63
  10. Berkeley, CA : 63

Small Cities, population: 25,000 to 99,999

Unlike their larger and mid-sized top scoring counterparts, nine out of the 10 top performing small cities appear in the list for the first time. Only Silver Spring, MD, was a top scoring community in 2018.

Higher Neighborhood, Health, Transportation and Engagement scores contributed to strong overall livability scores for many of the top small cities.

Top 10 Small Cities
  1. St. Louis Park, MN (new) : 66
  2. Watertown, MA (new) : 66
  3. Belmont, MA (new) : 65
  4. Arlington, MA (new) : 65
  5. Somerville, MA (new) : 65
  6. Bergenfield, NJ (new) : 65
  7. Richfield, MN (new) : 65
  8. Roseville, MN (new) : 65
  9. North Bethesda, MD (new) : 65
  10. Silver Spring, MD : 64

Small Towns, population: 5,000 to 24,999

This year, AARP created a new top 10 list to recognize the country’s small towns. High-scoring small towns perform well on measures that high-scoring large cities perform poorly on. For instance, all but one (Great Neck Plaza, NY) of the top-performing small towns score high on Opportunity.

Falls Church, VA, has 100, a perfect score on Engagement due to above average performance on broadband cost and speed, opportunity for civic involvement, voting rates and social involvement. This small Virginia city also benefits from a state law that allows early, no-excuse absentee voting and mail-in voting.

The top performing small town communities also earn higher overall livability scores than the top performing large, mid-size and small communities.

Top 10 Small Towns
  1. Aspen, CO (new) : 72
  2. Los Alamos, NM (new) : 71
  3. Great Neck Plaza, NY (new) : 71
  4. Orange City, IA (new) : 70
  5. Falls Church, VA (new) : 69
  6. La Crescent, MN (new) : 69
  7. St. Anthony, MN (new) : 69
  8. White Rock, NM (new) : 68
  9. Salida, CO (new) : 68
  10. ManorHaven, NY (new) : 68

AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities

Several of the top scoring communities in the AARP Livability Index have made a commitment to becoming more livable over time and joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities (NAFSC). The program encourages states, cities, towns and rural areas to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults.

Learn more about joining the network!