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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

Go deeper

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

"Vaccine tourism" stretches states' supplies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans who are highly motivated to get vaccinated are traveling across state lines after hearing about larger vaccine supplies or loopholes in sign-up systems.

Why it matters: "Vaccine tourism" raises ethical and legal questions, and could worsen the racial socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the pandemic.