Think Tank Ranks Top Cities for Aging in Place

With many people in the aging population focused on the best way to age in place, think tank Miliken Institute released in July a list of the top-10 best cities for this to happen, for both 65-plus and 80-plus populations. While in the past, older people flocked to warmer climates such as Florida and Arizona, Miliken’s list doesn’t include them. Instead, the focus is on cities that rank high based on 78 different criteria from housing to transportation. 

This includes cities like Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y., and Des Moines, Iowa, which appear on both lists for 65-plus and 80-plus aging, with Provo, Utah topping the list of best cities for people 65 and older. 

“America is growing older. The implications and costs of this extraordinary demographic shift are now upon us,” says Milken Institute. “Despite the strain on health-care and social-safety nets, many communities are well-positioned to help mature Americans age in place.” 


Roughly 90% of Americans want to age in place, according to an AARP study. Milken’s data-driven index measures and ranks the performance of 359 U.S. metropolitan areas based on how well-prepared they are to serve their aging populations. 

The report analyzed 78 different factors deemed to most affect seniors’ quality of life, including housing costs, the job market, weather, and opportunities for social engagement; for the 80+ list, medical care received extra weight. Affordability, well-being and healthcare, financial security, suitable living arrangements, convenient transportation systems, and community involvement were all included in Milken Institute’s definition of what successful aging in America should look like. 

“I think it will surprise people that the best places for aging are not just Florida and Arizona,” said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of AARP, which advised Milken on the study and provided financial support. “There’s this ­notion that you reach a certain age and there is this immutable force that moves you to the South.”


10 Best Cities for Successful Aging

  1. Provo-Orem, Utah
  2. Madison, Wisc.
  3. Omaha, Neb.
  4. Boston, Mass.
  5. New York, N.Y. 
  6. Des Moines, Iowa
  7. Salt Lake City, Utah
  8. Toledo, Ohio
  9. Washington, D.C. 
  10. Pittsburgh, Pa. 

10 Best Cities for 80+ Aging

  1. Boston, Mass.
  2. New York, N.Y. 
  3. Omaha, Neb.
  4. Madison, Wisc. 
  5. San Francisco, Calif.
  6. Des Moines, Iowa
  7. Provo-Orem, Utah
  8. Toledo, Ohio
  9. Jackson, Miss.
  10. New Orleans, La. 

“With 80 million boomers on their way to senior status, entrepreneurs and business leaders are seeking to capitalize on the emerging opportunities presented by the massive longevity economy. Innovation abounds—from new approaches to wellness and health-care delivery, to senior-friendly housing and transportation systems, to encore education, career, and engagement opportunities, to aging-centered technologies and social networks, to travel, entertainment, and leisure,” says Milken.

View the report

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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