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Adapting Metros for an Aging Population

People are living longer and spending more time in the city, a report by the Milken Institute says. The Institute’s “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report and index is a collaboration between the Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging and its Research Department. The report evaluates 381 U.S. metropolitan areas to determine how well they serve the needs of the nation’s growing population of mature adults.

"Cities are on the front lines of the largest demographic shift in history," said Paul Irving, Chairman of the Center for the Future of Aging. "Lifespans are extending into eight, nine, and ten decades, and older adults increasingly are seeking lifelong engagement and purpose. They expect their cities and communities to support their changing needs."

Over 80 percent of American aged 65-plus live in metropolitan areas, and almost 90 percent want to age in their homes and communities, so the report is not intended to identify where to retire. The goal of the report is to identify the nation’s most livable metropolitan areas by determining which areas enable an optimal quality of life for aging citizens.

The Milken Institute utilizes several categories to determine quality of life, including general livability, health care, wellness, financial security, living arrangements, employment, education, transportation, and community engagement.

Coming in a number one on the Institute’s ranking of best large metros for successful aging is Provo-Orem, Utah. The ranking of small metros is topped by Iowa City. The Milken Institute’s Mayor’s Pledge encourages mayors and other public officials to support a healthy environment for aging residents, and nearly 200 mayors have signed the pledge.

"The policies, programs, and features that we highlight in 'Best Cities for Successful Aging' are not just important for older adults," said Irving. "Throughout our lives, we seek meaning and purpose. A vibrant economy, efficient transportation, effective health services, learning opportunities, and accessible housing enable all individuals and communities to prosper."


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