7 Best Places to Successfully Age

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What makes a city perfect for successfully aging? Researchers from the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, set out to find the answer. But they were quick to note the following cities that top its list for successful age have nothing to do with retirement.

Read more: Why Age 61 is Important to Real Estate

Instead, its 2014 survey is based off of more than 84 indicators among eight categories, from financial to health care to community engagement for Americans over the age of 65. The indicators include such items as the average wait time in a hospital emergency room, special needs transportation availability, the number of local movie theaters, and the cost of adult day care.

“The common theme among the winners is: economic strength, an abundance of health care services, an active lifestyle, access to amenities and intellectual stimulation,” says economist Anusuya Chatterjee, who developed the survey’s methodology.

Madison, Wis., topped Milken’s list of best large cities to successful age. Milken says that Madison boasts high employment growth and low poverty rate for older adults; low crime rate; quality health care; low rates of smoking; and an abundance of recreational and fitness activities.

Here’s the list of the top big cities to successfully age, according to the Milken Institute:

  1. Madison, Wisc.
  2. Omaha, Neb.
  3. Provo, Utah
  4. Boston, Mass.
  5. Salt Lake City, Utah
  6. Jackson, Miss.
  7. Des Moines, Iowa

Here are Milken’s picks for top small cities to successfully age:

  1. Iowa City, Iowa
  2. Sioux Falls, S.D.
  3. Columbia, Mo.
  4. Bismarck, N.D.
  5. Rapid City, S.D.
  6. Ames, Iowa
  7. Rochester, Minn.
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