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February 19, 2014

New Jersey Future has just released a report on how aging-friendly New Jersey towns are. The findings? Not so great. At least 300,000 New Jerseyans aged 55 or older live in towns that have little in the way of downtowns, no access to public transportation, little mixed-use housing in whatever downtown is available, and poorly connected local streets. The report rates every municipality on those four measures.

According to the report, older people need towns that have these features because “the ability to get out of the house, accomplish daily errands, and interact with others is a major determinant of quality of life. These four development characteristics contribute to making trips shorter and reducing reliance on the automobile for those who may be facing constraints on their ability to drive.”

The problem, according to the report, will simply get more acute as the baby boom ages. Currently, 26.6 percent of the state’s population is 55 or older. There are 200,000 New Jerseyans aged 85 or older.

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