In a time when lives are extending into eight, nine, and even 10 decades, yesterday’s notion of idling away our later years is fading. While the health and economic challenges of aging remain significant concerns, an increasing number of today’s older adults are redefining the experience. They are launching companies and nonprofits, climbing mountains, creating apps, and mentoring youth. They increasingly seek lifelong engagement and purpose. They expect their communities to support their changing needs, recognize their abilities, and enable their contributions to the greater good.
With the gift of longevity, new opportunities have emerged for older adults to pursue work and education, social and civic involvement, and rich interaction with younger people—and one another. At the same time, this fast-growing cohort wants better health care and increased financial security. They seek access to amenities that ease the challenges of aging and enhance quality of life for themselves and their loved ones. In our individual and collective efforts to achieve these goals, where we live has never been more important.
Bearing in mind this evolving 21st-century profile of older Americans, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, in collaboration with the Institute’s Research Department, presents the 2017 “Best Cities for Successful Aging”™ report and index. This third edition of our groundbreaking series methodically evaluates U.S. metropolitan areas on how well they serve the needs and meet the expectations of the nation’s largest-ever population of mature adults, enabling them to age productively, securely, and in optimal health.
In the pages that follow, we rank 381 metropolitan areas, using refined methodology and updated data in nine categories. Our aim is to help people fulfill the potential of their later years, a potential that, research tells us, can immensely benefit not just older adults but individuals across the age spectrum and the broader society as well. As we create better cities for older adults, we create communities that are livable for people of all ages.
Why a rankings system? By stirring virtuous competition, we hope to galvanize improvement in the social structures that serve a growing urban population. We want to encourage best practices and innovation along with solutions-focused dialogue among thought leaders, decision-makers, and stakeholders.