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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

  • Milken's Best Livable Communities
    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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  • Downtown Atlanta, Georgia, Fountains, Families, Buildings In Background, City, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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 With The US Capitol Building In Washington, DC, City, Tourists, Autumn, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Horses In A Fenced In Field, Grass, Lexington, Kentucky, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Public Transit Bus Stops And Picks Passengers Up In Downtown New York City, Buildings, Evening, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Honolulu, Hawaii, Island, People Enjoy The Beach, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Scattered Buildings And Homes In Portland, Maine, New England, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Portland, OR.
    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, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Center, People, Tourist Attraction, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Bill And Hillary Clinton's Home In Fayetteville, Arkansas, Residence, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Downtown, Restaurants, People Sit On Boardwalk Enjoy Dinner, San Antonio, Texas, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Elderly People Sit In Lawn Chairs Waiting For Parade, Texas, Austin, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Houston, TX.
    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, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts, People Watch Street Performers, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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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  • Downtown, Street Lined With Parked Cars, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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, Baseball, Fans In Seats Watch A Baseball Game, Boston, Sports, Livable Communities, Great Cities For Older Adults
    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

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