Special Report

30 Best Cities for Older Americans

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

20. Grand Forks, ND-MN
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 14.0%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 56
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 111 (bottom 10%)
> Avg. retirement income: $28,390 (top 25%)

Grand Forks is a relatively small metro area with an even smaller elderly population. Just 14.0% of the metro area’s 102,000 residents are 65 and older. Still, Grand Forks offers a wide range of entertainment options for retirement-age residents. There are more theatres, museums, golf courses, country clubs, and full-service restaurants in the metro area per 100,000 65 and older restaurants than there are nationwide.

Grand Forks’ older population is also more likely to be financially secure. The typical area household with retirement income headed by someone 65 and older reports retirement income of over $28,000 a year, more than in the vast majority of U.S. metro areas.

Source: Andrew Farkas / Wikimedia Commons

19. Casper, WY
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 14.2%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 115 (top 10%)
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 742 (top 10%)
> Avg. retirement income: $21,858

Access to medical care can be of vital importance to older Americans who are at increased risk of certain chronic conditions and physical injury. In Casper, Wyoming, there are 742 physicians per 100,000 65 and older residents, a greater concentration than all but 11 other U.S. metro areas. Older Casper residents also benefit from a greater than average concentration of culture and entertainment venues. There are more theatres, golf clubs, country clubs, fitness centers, recreation centers, and full service restaurants per 100,000 65 and older metro area residents than there are nationwide.

Source: Dr-t / Wikimedia Commons

18. Fond du Lac, WI
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 17.9%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 65
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 223 (bottom 25%)
> Avg. retirement income: $20,192 (bottom 25%)

Wisconsin is home to eight of the best cities for older Americans — more than any other state — and Fond du Lac is one of them. Like other metro areas in the state, Fond du Lac has a low cost of living, which allows retired residents on a fixed income to stretch their budget. Goods and services in the metro area are 12.9% less expensive than they are nationwide on average. Fond du Lac also has a greater than typical concentration of nursing care facilities and assisted living facilities.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

17. Pittsfield, MA
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 22.6% (top 10%)
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 49
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 224 (bottom 25%)
> Avg. retirement income: $26,752

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has many options that cater to seniors, likely because people 65 and older make up an outsized portion of the population. Across the country, 15.6% of the population is 65 and older, but in Pittsfield 65 and older residents comprise a much higher 22.6% of the population.

Residents of Pittsfield enjoy some of the highest concentrations of leisure activity options per capita of any city in the country, including theaters, museums, golf courses, and more. There is a strong correlation between health and education — people with college degrees tend to have better health outcomes than people with less education. Pittsfield’s senior population is one of the best educated in the country, with 34.5% holding at least a bachelor’s degree, as compared to 25.9% of seniors nationwide.

Source: Jakec / Wikimedia Commons

16. Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 19.0% (top 25%)
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 88 (top 25%)
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 532 (top 25%)
> Avg. retirement income: $18,242 (bottom 10%)

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, area seniors have some of the best access to services and facilities to maintain their health. There are more than 532 physicians for every 100,000 people 65 and older in the area, well above the U.S. average of 421 per 100,000. This means older people in the area may be able to see a doctor more quickly.

There is also a relatively high number of fitness centers per capita for seniors. Staying physically active can delay some of the negative health effects of aging. Bloomsburg has one of the oldest senior populations in the country.