New data will help N.H. towns and cities become great places to grow up and grow old

April 2019|Press releases

New Hampshire Healthy Aging Data Report features detailed profiles of 244 communities

CONCORD, NH – The first-ever New Hampshire Healthy Aging Data Report was released this morning at a legislative breakfast at the State House. This comprehensive examination of the health of older people in the Granite State offers detailed profiles of 244 cities, towns and neighborhoods—plus maps and other tools to understand healthy aging trends and disparities throughout the state.

“Towns and cities can use the resources in the report to inform decisions about economic development, public health, housing and transportation,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “The data will help make their communities work for older people, and when that’s true, the communities will work for younger people, too.”

The New Hampshire Healthy Aging Data Report includes Community Profiles for cities and towns across the state, including neighborhoods in Manchester and Nashua. More than 164 statewide health indicator maps show the distribution of disease, health behaviors and the extent to which health varies by zip code across the state. Prepared by a research team at the Gerontology Institute at the John W. McCormack Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the work was funded by Tufts Health Plan Foundation.

“How we age is influenced by where we live, how we work, the health care we receive, and our experiences of daily living,” said Jennifer Rabalais from the New Hampshire Alliance for Healthy Aging (AHA). “Strong communities are the backbone of healthy aging. While New Hampshire is ranked among the healthiest states for older people, disparities remain. AHA will share the data in this report with community leaders and policymakers to identify opportunities to address these disparities and to build on existing community strengths.”

It’s estimated that by 2030, 1 of every 5 people in the United States will be over 65. This demographic change already is apparent in New Hampshire where 20% of residents—about 301,000 people—are over the age of 60.

“We are all aging,” said Principal Investigator Elizabeth Dugan, PhD, an associate professor at the Gerontology Institute at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “Identifying and understanding the gaps in healthy aging will allow communities to continue to adapt, improving quality of life for all New Hampshire residents.”

New Hampshire is one of only three states to have access to such comprehensive data on healthy aging. Already, 14 communities have joined the national network of Age-Friendly Communities. The resources in the New Hampshire Healthy Aging Data Report will help more cities and towns learn what they can do to become great places to grow up and grow older.

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