On AgeFriendly.org, we collect and publish reviews ratings for Communities in the ‘Living’ section and Employers in the ‘Jobs’ section. Below is a methodology statement for Community reviews ratings. These are based upon work originated by the World Health Organization in 2007. Employer reviews ratings are based on our widely-recognized Certified Age Friendly Employers program, which we originated in 2006. Please click here for a methodology statement for Employer reviews ratings.
How are AgeFriendly.org’s community ratings calculated?
AgeFriendly.org community ratings are calculated using a blend of (i) reviews from people like you who live in, or have recent first-hand knowledge of, a given community, and (ii) statistics our research team collects from third party data sources. Star ratings are calculated by averaging a community’s percentile score for each individual category.
The data collection and reporting methodology is modeled closely upon work originated by the World Health Organization. Under the WHO’s construct, there are eight age friendly environment features: (i) Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, (ii) Transportation, (iii) Housing, (iv) Social Participation, (v) Respect and Social Inclusion, (vi) Civic Participation and Employment, (vii) Communication and Information, and (viii) Community and Health Services.
The AgeFriendly.org ratings incorporate data contributed by the Milken Institute. The Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, over multiple years, has produced a “Best Cities for Successful Aging”™ report and index. This index evaluates U.S. metropolitan areas on how well they serve the needs and meet the expectations of the nation’s largest-ever population of mature adults, enabling them to age productively, securely, and in optimal health.
For certain communities that do not have specific data reported the ratings are populated via estimates of neighboring communities to best reflect the scores of the region they belong to. Communities will receive varying scores on each of the criteria they are rated on: Community Engagement, Transportation, Education, Working, Care, General Livability. Therefore, it is possible for a community to rank higher in one category and lower in another. Community ratings are updated daily as new reviews are submitted.
Individual Category Ratings
General Livability: The general livability ratings include factors that impact the aging community, including housing availability, costs of living, taxes specific to aging population and the community environment. Housing scores include availability of age friendly housing and the affordability for the aging population as strong drivers in the livability of a community. Cost-of-living scores include the cost of everyday items, taxes on common goods purchased and accessibility to those items. A community score may be influenced by taxes that are specific to the aging community including retiree benefits, estate and inheritance, and those applicable to all such as property tax. Community environment scores consider weather and environmental factors that impact day to day livability.
Care: Care ratings are calculated based on the availability and accessibility of services to the aging community. They include overall Medicare enrollment, number of doctors and nurses available within the community, ability to find caregiving professionals both in home and caregiving communities, hospital availability and the services offered, as well as overall healthcare quality of the community. Ability to live a healthy life and have access to care services when needed is an important part of any Age Friendly community score.
Working: Opportunities for working and volunteering can be both a necessity for living and a way for the aging community to stay involved and active within their community. Availability of jobs in terms of community employment statistics as well as positions offered by age friendly employers are key components to a community ranking. Whether a community is in growth or decline can also impact its working score significantly. The availability of volunteer opportunities to give back to the community is an important way for the aging community to stay involved and make a positive impact on where they live.
Education: Continuing education and ability to attain further training and knowledge is a benefit to all members of the community and access to institutions that provide these services is a great way for the aging population to continue to grow and be involved in their community. The number of institutions a community has, the enrollment, and accessibility increases the educational opportunities available to the aging community and all contribute to the overall education score that community has.
Transportation: Convenient public transportation services, and ability to walk to employment and other surrounding services are crucial factors communities consider in enabling aging populations to have mobility and accessibility to all of the services it has to offer. Affordability of these services is a key consideration for community members living on a fixed income. Being able to easily get to and from institutions such as grocery stores and others providing essentials for living is also weighed into each community score.
Community Engagement: Cultural opportunities provided and encouraged by communities enhance the overall Age Friendly engagement provided to the aging population. Availability of arts, entertainment and recreational facilities contribute to a fulfilling and enjoyable living environment. Access to public services such as libraries and civic and religious organizations are a great way for to stay engaged with the community as a whole. The funding each community provides to seniors to partake in these activities is also considered when calculating the overall score.