Special Report

30 Best Cities for Older Americans

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

15. Lima, OH
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 17.4%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 61
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 423
> Avg. retirement income: $22,006

There are nearly twice as many nursing care facilities per capita for elderly residents in Lima, Ohio, as there are nationwide. These facilities provide a specialized and advanced level of care that some seniors require.

As people age and retire they must rely on their savings as well as public assistance and social security in some cases. Nationwide, 48.6% of seniors have retirement income. But Lima seniors are in a better financial situation, as more than 56% of them have some type of retirement income. Lima seniors who get public assistance income get an average of nearly $4,300 per year, while the average American senior’s public assistance income is less than $3,000.

Source: Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

14. St. Cloud, MN
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 14.4%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 88 (top 25%)
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 172 (bottom 10%)
> Avg. retirement income: $21,917

St. Cloud is one of America’s most accommodating cities for seniors and those with disabilities. There are over 123 services for the elderly and disabled per every 100,000 people 65 and over — one of the highest concentrations in the country and well ahead of the national average of 87 per 100,000.

These include special transportation services so seniors can get around town and continue to be active and engaged in their community. There are more than 14 social associations per 10,000 St. Cloud residents, one of the highest concentrations of any major metro area in the country.

Source: pabradyphoto / Getty Images

13. Springfield, IL
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 17.2%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 81 (top 25%)
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 295
> Avg. retirement income: $34,648 (top 10%)

Illinois’ capital city of Springfield ranks as one of the best cities for older Americans largely due to the fact that seniors in that area have some of the highest retirement incomes in the nation. The average American senior’s retirement income is $26,258 a year, but in Springfield, the average annual retirement income is $34,648. Similarly, nearly 63% of Springfield seniors have some retirement income, as compared to less than 49% of American seniors overall.

Springfield seniors also have access to a relatively high number of physicians and places of social interactions. There are over 290 physicians per 100,000 senior residents in the area and more than 19 social associations per 10,000 residents — both of which rank among the highest rates in the country.

Source: davidwilson1949 / Flickr

12. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 16.8%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 70
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 288 (bottom 25%)
> Avg. retirement income: $19,323 (bottom 10%)

Seniors in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area of Iowa tend to feel better than the seniors in almost any other part of the country. Just 12% report being in either fair or poor health, as compared to 16% of American seniors.

The area also has one of the lowest rates of seniors who report having a disability. Nationwide, 35.5% of people 65 and over have a disability. In Waterloo, less than 30% do. Among seniors, Waterloo has one of the older populations in the country. The median age of people 65 and older in the area is 74.2 years — a full year beyond the national median.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

11. Madison, WI
> Share of pop. 65 and older: 14.2%
> Fitness centers per 100,000 residents 65+: 135 (top 10%)
> Physicians per 100,000 residents 65+: 160 (bottom 10%)
> Avg. retirement income: $29,785 (top 25%)

Madison, Wisconsin, is a college town, and the town’s senior college degree attainment rate is well above the national rate. Some 35.3% of seniors in Madison hold at least a bachelor’s degree — nearly 10 percentage points above the national average. A college education is positively correlated with many desirable financial and health outcomes.

Madison has one of the highest shares of primary care doctors per capita, at 114 per 100,000, one of the highest rates in the country. These medical professionals can often diagnose and treat minor issues and ailments before they become more serious.

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