COLUMBIA, MD (WJZ) –- What is one of the best communities to grow old in the U.S.?

According to the 2018 AARP Livability Index, Columbia, Maryland makes the top 10.

The index, developed by the AARP Public Policy Institute, sets standards to help evaluate community policies, compare communities and measure livability. The index uses more than 50 national data sources to score every neighborhood and community in the U.S.

The seven categories of livability measured in the index include housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity. The index is published to assist local policy makers and residents with identifying areas of priority for community development.

According to AARP Maryland State Director Hank Greenberg, “The livability index is a valuable tool to help community leaders at all levels of government anticipate and plan for the needs of people of all ages, as the number of older adults in America continues to grow.”

For the first time, Columbia has been added to the Livable Communities list of “Top 10 Cities with Populations of 100,000 to < 500,000.” The index was first launched in 2015, and this year marks the first update to the index since its initial launch.

According to the report, “While Columbia is a small, village-like town it is booming. Located in Howard County, the area has been making big improvements to transit, roadways, and public facilities. With access to abundant cultural activities, there’s always something to do in Columbia and the city is situated 30 miles from Washington, DC.”

Another Maryland city that made the list was Silver Spring, just outside D.C.

For more information regarding the scores, or for a full list of the top ten large, mid-size and small cities in America, visit www.aarp.org/LivabilityIndex.

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This article was authored by Grace Clark (WJZ-TV Intern)

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