Jan 22, 2020

Mayors' strategies for graying cities

Rapidly aging populations are set to challenge U.S. cities, five mayors told a roundtable Tuesday.

The big picture: The median U.S. age jumped from 28 to 38 between 1970 and 2016, per CityLab. As cities get older, their mayors are tasked with creating policies and building infrastructure to adapt.

Details: The mayors, who are in D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering this week, spoke with reporters before an event organized by The Hill. They identified affordable housing and access to transportation as two urgent issues affecting seniors.

  • Rochester Hills, Michigan is holding information sessions on autonomous vehicles for its seniors. Some older people might think "this is 'Jetsons'-type stuff that won't affect me," said Mayor Bryan Barnett. But when he tells seniors they're likely to live 10 years beyond driving age, and that AVs could improve quality of life, "they start to pay attention," he said.
  • Kansas City, Missouri offers some public bus rides for free, and the bulk of riders are older adults, Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
  • Fort Worth, Texas is infusing its city infrastructure with tech (such as cashless parking meters). To ease the transition for older residents who might be unfamiliar with the changes, the city organizes lessons at local libraries, said Mayor Betsy Price.

What to watch: Some cities are aging faster than others, CityLab reports. Communities in the Midwest and Appalachia are getting increasingly older as younger people move to the coasts, and managing aging populations will be an even more acute issue there.

Go deeper ... Read Axios' special report: The aging, childless future

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Mayors: Water tops city infrastructure needs

Reproduced from Menino Survey of Mayors, 2019; Chart: Axios Visuals

Water-related projects topped the list of infrastructure priorities for mayors, according to the 2019 Menino Survey of Mayors released this month.

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020

America's homelessness crisis isn't going away

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the opioid epidemic was the top issue plaguing American cities in the last five years, the most urgent problem of the next five is homelessness, a group of American mayors told reporters in D.C. this week.

Why it matters: Homelessness in the U.S. was on the decline after 2010, but it started to increase again in 2016 — and without moves to address the affordable housing crisis driving the issue, we can expect it to keep getting worse, experts say.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020

The aging future of work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The tightening labor market is opening up new opportunities for an overlooked cohort of American workers: those over age 50.

Why it matters: Ageism has long persisted within American companies, and studies have shown that workers over 50 often get turned away from jobs even if they've got the right qualifications. But the tide may be turning.