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Columbia, Silver Spring Among AARP’s “Best Places to Live”

November 7, 2018

Originally posted on AARP Maryland.

Silver Spring and Columbia, Maryland are among the nation’s best places to live and age, according to the newly released 2018 “AARP Livability Index.” Developed by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the index assists community leaders, local policy makers and residents with identifying areas of priority for community development.

Centennial Lake, at Centennial Park in Columbia, Maryland.

Long exposure of Centennial Lake, at Centennial Park in Columbia, Maryland.

Columbia is new this year to the Livable Communities list “Top 10 Cities with Populations of 100,000 to 500,000.” 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.”

Silver Spring was designated as one of the “Top 10 Cities with Populations of 25,000 to 100,000.” Researchers noted:

“Silver Spring is a suburb just outside of Washington, DC. With access to natural parks and trails along with other facilities, residents can live healthy lifestyles. Because it’s so close to DC, people will be engaged as a community in all types of events; cultural and political. With bus and metro options, getting around the city is easy and convenient and the county is committed to improvements citywide.”

Downtown Silver Spring

Silver Spring: Downtown area of city in Maryland with shopping mall, restaurants and shops

“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,” said AARP State Director Hank Greenberg. “Our goal is to see livability policies embraced statewide, so that Marylanders of all ages can live their best lives.”

The index uses more than 50 national data sources to score every neighborhood and community in the U.S. based on seven categories of livability, which includes areas such as affordable housing, public transportation, social engagement and more. New features include updated data with the ability to see change over time among the different categories of livability.

To find out your community’s score or for a full list of the top ten large, mid-size and small cities in America, visit

Which Maryland towns do you think should be on the list? Which aspects of livability matter to you?