Seattle, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are also at the top of the list.
How Was the Best Cities for Seniors Survey Conducted?
Bankers says the survey, released in 2005, was designed to identify the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. that offer the best overall qualities for senior living.
A panel of experts on gerontology and senior issues was asked to identify the qualities that create optimal senior living, and the survey was conducted by Sperling's Best Places.
What Makes a City Good for Senior Living?
Here are the criteria that the panel chose, statistically weighted toward seniors and their needs:
- Health includes criteria such as physician-to-senior ratio, gerontologist-to-senior ratio, hospitals per capita, and the availability of adult day care, assisted living facilities, continuing care (CCRC) facilities, independent living facilities, nursing homes, and senior meals.
- Disease covers life expectancy, age 85 expectancy, and rates of depression, heart disease, and cancer.
- Economics includes consumer prices, sales taxes, unemployment rate, and recent job growth.
- Social identifies the percentage of seniors in the community, and availability of entertainment opportunities, the arts, museums, education, recreation, colleges, and libraries.
- Environment assesses the number of sunny days, measurements of clean air and clean water, risk of natural disasters, and the presence of ocean coastline, rivers and lakes, and national parks.
- Spiritual looks at the percentage of the population belonging to organized religions, and the number of religious congregations in the community.
- Transportation rates the availability of public transportation and special access transportation, along with commuting times.
- Housing includes cost of living, median home price, property taxes and monthly apartment rent.
- Crime ranks incidents of violent crime and property crime.
Some Surprise Cities Made the List
In a news release about the survey, Bankers' Chief Operating Officer Scott Perry said the senior living survey results included some cities that are not often associated with senior living.
"That's because we weren't looking for the best places to be retired, but the best cities for seniors regardless of whether they are retired, working, active or not, healthy or not,” he said. “It's about more than golf courses and tennis courts.”
For a complete list of Bankers' top 50 cities for seniors, see page two.