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15 Cities That Want to Be Great for Older Adults

The overall U.S. population is becoming much older every year. (By 2030 one in five Americans will be 65-plus.) Smart communities nationwide are getting ready — now

  • Photo credit: Alamy

    Great Places for All Ages

    As part of the Milken Institute's 2014 "Best Cities for Successful Aging Index," the places featured here — all members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities — have pledged to make their cities "work for older adults." 

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  • Centennial Olympic Park: Getty Images

    Atlanta, Georgia

    Members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities are working to become great places for older adults and people of all ages. The Atlanta region ranks 83rd out of 100 on the Milken Institute's 2014 best large cities index.

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  • The National Mall: Kumar Sriskandan/Alamy

    Washington, D.C.

    Mayors who signed the Milken pledge promise to "ensure that the well-being of [the] aging population is addressed throughout their city's government. D.C. ranks 20th out of 100 large cities in the Milken best cities index.

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  • Kentucky Horse Park: Ilene MacDonald/Alamy

    Lexington, Kentucky

    Milken signers pledge to "improve access to transportation and mobility options for older adults." Lexington, a city with both urban and rural areas, ranks 50th among the small cities included in the Milken Institute Index.

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  • Manhattan: Age Fotostock/Alamy

    New York, New York

    Milken pledge signers promise to make their "city safe, affordable and comfortable for ... older residents." The Big Apple's walkability and public transit options helped it place 14th on the Milken Institute list.

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  • Waikiki Beach: Mark A. Johnson/Alamy

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Access to outdoor spaces is among the "8 Domains of Livability" that help make a community age-friendly. Honolulu ranked 12th in the Milken Institute Index of the best large cities for successful aging.

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  • Kenneth Wiedemann/Getty Images

    Portland, Maine

    Both Milken and the AARP network emphasize the importance of hiring older adults as workers and volunteers. Maine has a median population age of 42.8. Portland ranks 135 on the Milken Institute Index.

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  • Pioneer Courthouse Square: Ian Dagnall/Alamy

    Portland, Oregon

    One of the original cities in the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Communities program (which was established in 2006 and of which AARP's program is an affiliate), Portland ranks 34th on Milken's large cities list.

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  • Independence Hall: Alamy

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    The City of Brotherly Love joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities when the program launched in April 2012. The region (which includes parts of Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland) ranks 57th on the Milken Institute's list.

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  • Clinton House Museum: Danita Delimont/Alamy

    Fayetteville, Arkansas

    Housing in age-friendly cities suits the diverse needs and incomes of people of all ages. This college town is 116th on the Milken small cities index. (In 1975, Bill and Hillary Clinton were married in the house at left.)

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  • River Walk: Patrick Byrd/Alamy

    San Antonio, Texas

    "Just as our future is tied to folks who are sitting in a classroom right now, [it] is also tied to ... people who are turning 50, and older, and still have a long life to live and a lot to give," said then-mayor Julian Castro. His city is 54th on the list.

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  • Texas Independence Day Parade: Bob Daemmrich

    Austin, Texas

    The better a community is for older residents, the more appealing it is for people of all ages. (Millenials are drawn to the convenience and community life that walkable, livable cities provide.) This state capital is 9th on the large cities list.

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  • Downtown Houston: iStock

    Houston, Texas

    "As the fourth largest city in the nation, it's important that Houston leads in providing opportunities that successfully accommodate our city's aging population," says Mayor Annise Parker. Houston is 42nd on the Milken Institute list.

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  • Quincy Market: Alamy

    Boston, Massachusetts

    Ranked in fourth place among the Milken Institute's best large cities for successful aging, Boston, is topped by only (#3) Provo-Orem, Utah; (#2) Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nevada — and, in the #1 spot, Madison, Wisconsin.

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  • Cherry Street: Ian Dagnall/Alamy

    Macon, Georgia

    One of the first cities to join the AARP network in April 2012, Macon is working to revitalize its downtown core. The city is 120th on the Milken Institute list of 250 small cities. 

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  • Fenway Park, Boston: Graham Hush/Alamy

    Get in the Game

    Every city can become age-friendlier in some way. Learn more by visiting the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, the 2014 Milken Best Cities for Successful Aging Index and the Milken Mayor's Pledge.

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Published November 2014

Each issue of the award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter contains a mix of inspiring examples, community resources and information about livability efforts from places near and far. Subscribe today!