Mid-Atlantic “Aging Villages” Subject of AP Article

A recent AP article addresses the fact that about half of the nation’s “aging” villages are concentrated in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and how the Washington area is a hotbed for villages, with five within the District of Columbia and three more in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

The statistics underscore the limitations of the village concept: Most are located in densely populated, relatively affluent urban or suburban communities. Their members are also overwhelmingly white — more than 90 percent, according to a survey last year by the University of California, Berkeley.

Despite their members’ deep pockets, no village has managed to fund itself through membership fees alone. All rely on donations, grants or, in some cases, the willingness of directors to run them for free.

Andrew Scharlach, a Berkeley gerontologist who’s conducted the most extensive academic research on villages, said the village movement remains a boutique phenomenon. But he believes there’s potential for growth, and he doesn’t think memberships — which tend to average between $500 and $700 a year — are cost-prohibitive in most cases.

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