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Best Cities for Successful Aging

Nov 18, 2014

Anusuya Chatterjee and Jaque King
Introduction by Paul Irving

Publisher: Milken Institute

Best Cities for Successful Aging is a first-of-its-kind, data-driven index that measures and ranks the performance of 352 U.S. metropolitan areas in promoting and enabling successful aging.

Unlike many “best places to retire” lists, the Milken Institute starts from the insight that most Americans want to age at home and in place, and not uproot themselves from their communities. In effect, the Best Cities for Successful Aging Index is an x-ray that reveals how well U.S. cities are providing the infrastructure, amenities, and opportunities both to serve and benefit from the country’s fastest-growing age segment.

The Best Cities for Successful Aging index examines 84 separate factors that most affect the quality of life for older adults. These include not only health and wellness, crime rates and weather, but also economic and job conditions, housing, transportation, and social engagement factors that help create safe, affordable and connected communities. The index also recognizes the new economic and social reality that, especially for the 65-79 age group, many need and want to continue paid employment.

The index includes two sets of overall rankings: one for the 100 most populous metropolitan areas and another for the next 252 metros in size. The index also breaks down results for the 65-79 age group and for those 80 and older, recognizing that the needs and aspirations of adults change as they age.

As part of this initiative, the Institute reached out to U.S. mayors to ask them to sign the Best Cities for Successful Aging Mayor’s Pledge. To date, one-hundred thirty-seven mayors from across the political spectrum have committed to make their cities work better for older adults and to enable older adults to strengthen their cities and improve lives for all generations through purposeful work and volunteerism. The mayors and their cities are listed on a site devoted to the Mayor’s Pledge: http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/mayors-pledge/

The Pledge comes from the Institute’s Best Cities for Successful Aging Advisory Committee, an important group of thought leaders and experts who are advising the Institute in its work on healthy, productive and purposeful aging.