Best big and small cities for successful aging

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Best big and small cities for successful aging
Best big and small cities for successful aging

Provo/Orem, UT, is the best large city for successful aging, and Iowa City, IA, is the best smallest city, according to the third edition of the Milken Institute's “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report and index, released Tuesday.

The report evaluates 381 U.S. metropolitan areas — 100 large ones and 281 small ones — to determine how well they serve the needs of the nation's growing population of older adults, enabling them to age productively, securely and in optimal health.

Provo/Orem, UT, and Iowa City, IA, were judged to be the tops for both those aged 65 to 79 and those aged more than 80 years.

“Cities are on the front lines of the largest demographic shift in history,” Paul Irving, chairman of the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank's Center for the Future of Aging, said in a statement. “Lifespans are extending into eight, nine and 10 decades, and older adults increasingly are seeking lifelong engagement and purpose. They expect their cities and communities to support their changing needs.”

To evaluate the cities, the Milken Institute used public data — specifically, 83 indicators across nine categories, including general livability, healthcare, wellness, financial security, living arrangements, employment, education, transportation and convenience, and community engagement.

Overall, of the top 10 large metropolitan areas ranked, Provo/Orem, UT, also was ranked No. 1 for general livability and wellness; Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, was ranked tops for healthcare and education; Des Moines/West Des Moines, IA, was ranked No. 1 for community engagement.

Of the top 10 small cities ranked, Iowa City, IA, topped the list for healthcare; Ames, IA, was No. 1 for education; Sioux Falls, SD, was tops for financial security; Ithaca, NY, was the leader for transportation and convenience; and Fairbanks, AL, was No. 1 for employment and community engagement.

In addition to the rankings, the institute's website features an interactive map of the findings as well as a list of mayors across the country who have pledged to make their cities better for older adults.

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