Community and Regional Planning Program


First Advisor

Yunwoo Nam

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor: Yunwoo Nam. Lincoln, Nebraska: April 2018

Copyright (c) 2017 Sang Ho Lee


This study aims to identify the geographic locations of “naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs)” and whether there were spatiotemporal patterns of naturally occurring retirement communities in Nebraska for the time periods of 2000 to 2010, and to 2015. As the American population continues to age, older people generally prefer to live in their own homes for later years of life, instead of moving into assisted living. These demands have resulted in the increase of elderly populations who are “aging in place”. Nevertheless, there have been few spatiotemporal analyses about the distribution patterns of elderly households in terms of NORCs for the state of Nebraska. In this study, the entire area within the state’s boundaries was subdivided into block groups and the spatial statistics of demographic patterns were analyzed over time.

For this study, U.S. Census data from 2000, 2010, and 2015 were aggregated by block groups which include the total number of households and proportion of households (owners/renters) in Nebraska. Three analyses were conducted on the data. First, the geovisualization method with ArcGIS 10.4 was used to visually investigate the distribution and changes of NORCs from 2000 to 2010, and to 2015. Second, Global Moran’s I was used to quantify the spatial relationship of NORCs in Nebraska. Third, various methods of spatial statistics were used to identify clusters between NORCs and other block groups: Local Moran’s and G-statistics. Over the past 15 years, the proportion of elderly households in Nebraska has steadily increased, and the rate of increase has risen sharply over the recent five years, as of 2015. As a result, the number of NORCs has also increased, and 47 of the total NORCs (57.3%) were classified as the aging in place type of NORCs. In addition, block groups with similar proportion of households have clustered spatially together or formed hot-spots.

This study contributes to understanding the concept of NORCs relative to the residents “aging in place” and policy makers. Local government should take appropriate steps to prepare for the super aging society by rearranging and integrating given resources as much as possible. By taking full advantage of results of this study, the government should develop community-based policies to support the older residents aging in place. Because of the population density and proximity of older residents in NORCs, economies of scale are able to rethink how to organize and deliver services, giving the opportunity to make our communities better for those retired seniors.

Advisor: Yunwoo Nam