Study: Iowa City, Dubuque among nation's best 'successful aging' cities

Des Moines, Council Bluffs also rated highly in Milken report

IOWA CITY — Iowa City is among several Iowa metropolitan areas that fared well in a new index of the best U.S. communities for seniors to live in, based on factors that promote successful and healthy aging.

The Milken Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif., released its “Best Cities for Successful Aging” study on Tuesday. The rankings took into account 78 factors that affect older residents’ quality of life, including health care, crime rates, weather, economic and job conditions, housing, transportation and social engagement factors,

The index assessed 100 large metro areas and 259 small areas. For smaller cities, Iowa City placed second while Ames was No. 11 and Dubuque ranked 14th. Cedar Rapids was in 60th place. Among the larger metro areas, Omaha-Council Bluffs came in at No. 3 and Des Moines tied for sixth place.

According to the report, the top 10 large metropolitan areas in order are Provo, Utah; Madison, Wis.; Omaha, Neb.; Boston; New York; Des Moines (tie); Salt Lake City (tie); Toledo, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Pittsburgh.

The 10 best smaller metropolitan areas are Sioux Falls, S.D.; Iowa City; Bismarck, N.D.; Columbia, Mo.; Rochester, Minn.; Gainesville, Fla.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Missoula, Mont.; Durham, N.C.; and Rapid City, S.D.

The study also split out the best cities for people over the age of 80, when access to health services, public transportation and cost of living become dominant. For that group, Iowa City took first place among smaller cities because of its specialized units for geriatric, hospice and Alzheimer’s services.

Gov. Terry Branstad said the results were “a great showing for the state of Iowa.”

The full index can be found here.

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