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Census estimates highlight progress

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Has the midstate recovered from the Great Recession?

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau provided some insights with the release of the 2010-12 American Community Survey 3-year Estimates.

The data — an aggregate of sample responses from households collected from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2012, to represent the average estimate of a population or housing characteristic — is the first non-overlapping ACS for areas with populations of 20,000 or more.

The Business Journal broke down some of that data to show county-level changes in the midstate since the 2007-09 ACS. That includes a look at homeownership rates and home values, housing and rental costs and changes in median household and per capita income.

What we found: Central Pennsylvania households made less in recent years, while largely spending more of their monthly income on housing costs. Meanwhile, median property values dipped in some areas or went up slightly, while gross rents and expenses steadily increased.

Oh, and we're getting older. The median age is on the rise, with growth in the 65-plus demographic.

York County Community Foundation launches initiative on aging

The York County Community Foundation recently released a report and is hiring a managing director to help make York County the best possible place to grow older through its Embracing Aging Initiative.

As of 2010, the percentage of the county’s population that was 50 to 64 years old was more than 20 percent and the share of people 65 or older was about 14 percent, the organization said.

The foundation’s Embracing Aging study cites a Milken Institute report ranking the York-Hanover area 201 out of 259 small metro areas for its performance in promoting and enabling aging successfully.

While the community ranked well in terms of life expectancy, crime rates and income distribution, it scored lower for transportation options and quality living arrangements.

The initiative seeks to increase transportation options, whether they are public or private, as well as help to improve walkability and development planning and design in York County, said Jane Conover, the foundation’s vice president of community investment.

The focus also will be on increasing the affordability and quality of appropriate housing options for older adults, she said.

One example could be to work with governments to help change zoning or other policies if necessary to increase the kinds of housing development that can occur, such as if a person wants to add another dwelling to a single-family property so an older adult can live next to family, Conover said.

Combating stereotypes about older adults and keeping them engaged in the community also is a priority, she said.

The foundation also has discovered that bank branches are already helping older adults with their money, and one idea going forward is to further work with those institutions to prevent scam artists from taking advantage of older adults, among other potential problems, she said.

The Embracing Aging committee consists of about 25 people and will shape the official action agenda and set annual goals, Conover said.

Just before the study’s release, The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging said it chose York County among several other communities nationwide for a collaboration on livable communities.

—Brent Burkey

Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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