How Livable is Lowell?

The livability of any community can be hard to peg, but AARP tries every year with its annual Livability Index. The organization has been calculating livability scores since 2015, but 2022 is the first year they are highlighting top-scoring “small towns” with populations between 5,000 and 24,999.

While the City of Lowell is too small to be considered for the list of top-scoring towns, AARP has rated the community, surrounding townships and the 49331 zip code as a whole. Keep reading to see how the livability scores are calculated and how Lowell stacks up.

AARP Criteria for Livability

AARP scores communities on a 100-point scale based on the following seven broad categories:

  • Housing
  • Neighborhood
  • Transportation
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Engagement
  • Opportunity

Within these categories, AARP looks at 40 metrics and 21 policies that include things such as monthly housing costs, local government creditworthiness and drinking water quality. Data from 50 public and private sources are used in the calculations.

AARP says the average score is 50 with communities scoring higher being more livable and those scoring lower being less livable.

Lowell, Michigan Livability Index Score

According to AARP, the Lowell community offers above-average livability. In addition to scoring the City of Lowell and 49331 zip code, the organization provided individual scores for some surrounding townships. Strangely though, the largest area townships – Lowell Charter and Ada – didn’t receive separate scores.

The livability scores available from AARP include the following:

  • 49331 zip code: 59
  • City of Lowell: 61
  • Vergennes Township: 60
  • Bowne Township: 57
  • Grattan Township: 55
  • Keene Township: 53

The 49331 zip code demographics were listed as follows:

  • Total Population:17,317
  • African American: 1%
  • Asian: 0%
  • Hispanic: 3%
  • White: 96%
  • Age 50+: 36%
  • Age 65+: 14%
  • Households w/Disabilities: 10%
  • Life Expectancy: 80 years old
  • Households Without a Vehicle: 4%
  • Median Income: $80,511
  • Poverty: 7%
  • Upward Mobility: 39

The Lowell community – as defined by the zip code – scored highest in the category of engagement. It earned an 80 out of 100 and was boosted by strong numbers in the areas of voting rates and “opportunity for civic engagement.”

Meanwhile, Lowell’s lowest scoring category was that of transportation where it earned only 40 out of 100 points. AARP notes Lowell has no local transit buses or trains, and the number of walk trips in Lowell is lower than the national median while household transportation costs are higher than the national median.

Overall, the Lowell zip code earned the following scores in each category. Again, these are on a 100-point scale with 50 being the national average:

  • Housing: 49
  • Neighborhood: 42
  • Transportation: 40
  • Environment: 66
  • Health: 56
  • Engagement: 80
  • Opportunity: 78

For comparison, the top small town in the AARP study was Aspen, Colorado which earned a score of 72. Manorhaven, New York rounded out the top ten with a score of 68.

You can read more about the livability index and see additional result details on the AARP website.

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