Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities -- NORCs
-- assessing distribution and characteristics & tools for analysis
As of 2010, 25.8 million U.S. households had a head of household age 65 years or over; 22.1% of total households. 3.1 million households with head of household 65 years or over were located in 10,201 "naturally occurring retirement communities" (NORCs) -- areas where the percent of head of household age 65 or over is 40 percent or more. Will the number of NORCs triple by 2020?
See related updated/extended section on Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities.
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, 2010 (red fill pattern)
Click graphic for larger view labeled with number of NORC households.
A naturally occurring retirement community (NORC) is an area that naturally evolves over time to include a relatively large concentration of households where the householder is 65 years or older. NORCs evolve in or as neighborhoods generally on an unplanned basis. How are the more than 26 million households distributed as NORCs? How are they similar or dissimilar? What special needs do the population of some NORCs have compared to others? How will the evolvement of NORCs affect our society? This section is focused on U.S. national scope analysis of the size, distribution and characteristics of NORCs. Though unplanned, NORCs will continue to evolve as habitats that require decision-making information for planning.
Residents of NORCs may have requirements/needs that differ from other areas. These include transportation, social and education, assistance with household maintenance, healthcare and security. Demographics can help us assess the nature and magnitude of some of these needs and plan for improved solutions.
As of Census 2010, 25,819,836 households had a head of household age 65 years or over; 22.1% of total households. The Census 2010 U.S. size and distribution of households (occupied housing units) by age of head of householder is shown in the Summary File 1 Table 17 Tenure by Age of Householder. Using data from this table, households by tenure and different categories for age of head of household can be used in analyses.
NORCs & Block Group Demographics
Census block groups (BGs) are used to equivalence NORCs. Block groups average 1,500 in population and cover the U.S. wall-to-wall. Using a ProximityOne API, a dataset was developed containing the Census 2010 Table H17 data for each of the approximate 217,000 BGs. Those data were integrated into a national scope block group shapefile for mapping and geospatial analysis.
In 2010, 3.1 million households with head of household 65 years or over were located in 10,201 NORCs/BGs where the percent of head of households age 65 years and over is 40 percent or more. Each NORC/BG averages 307 households in this group.
Households versus Families
A family consists of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit. A household consists of all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship. A household may consist of a person living alone or multiple unrelated individuals or families living together.
NORC Patterns and Visual Analysis
The illustrative views presented in the following scroll section were developed using the CV XE GIS and NORC GIS project. Kansas City area graphic (last in scroll section) shows mini-profile/datatable for a selected NORC/BG. Labels show the number of households in that NORC/BG with head of household age 65 or older as of Census 2010. For larger expanse views, labels may obscure actual NORC/BG area. Zoom-in views are enabled using GIS tools described below which allow you to depict small areas in great detail with streets, etc.
Scroll section ... use scroll bar at right
NORC/BG Richer Demographics
As of 2014, the Census 2010 demographics are the most up-to-date and accurate data available for block groups. The related American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates are available at the block group level and provide "richer demographics" compared with data available through Census 2010. The 2012 ACS 5-year estimates (latest available until December 2014) are centric to mid-2010. The ACS 5-year estimates can provide insights into employment, income, poverty, language spoken, educational attainment, disabilities, among other relevant measures.
Comparative Analysis Block Group Demographic-Economic Profile (scroll section)
Some NORCs are combinations of contiguous BGs. The following scroll section shows Kansas City area BGs 29-095-007300-3, 29-095-007400-2, 29-095-007400-3 and summary for the custom-defined area. The profile is generated with CV XE GIS; available for any combination of block groups nationally.
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