America's Most Livable Cities for All Ages

The nation's population continues to age--the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double in the next few decades.

Many people prefer to stay in their homes and communities as they grow older, and city governments are seeking ways to accommodate older adults for the future. According to the latest AARP Livability Index, more communities are enacting policies to improve livability for people of all ages.

A livable community, the report says, is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and offers supportive community features and services. Once in place, those resources enhance personal independence; allow residents to age in place; and foster residents' engagement in the community's civic, economic, and social life.

The Livability Index measures seven factors--housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity and ranks communities across the nation on their livability. AARP identified 30 of the cities that are making the most improvements: 10 large cities with populations over a half million, 10 medium cities of 100,000-500,000, and 10 small cities of less than 100,000 people.

Based on AARP's report, these are the most livable cities in the U.S.

(Photo: cdrin / Shutterstock)

San Francisco
San Francisco

Most Livable Large Cities, (Population of 500,000 or greater)

San Francisco

Livability score: 64/100

According to the report, San Francisco has worked to become a more livable community. The city reports having a 99% ADA-accessible transportation system. However, it is in the top five of most expensive cities in the U.S.

Photo: Shutterstock

Boston
Boston

Boston

Livability score: 63/100

With a total population of 646,000, 25% of the city's residents are age 50 and older and 88,000 were 60 or older. Boston's 60-plus population is expected to grow faster than the population as a whole. The city is assessing the needs of its over-50 residents and creating a plan of action, the report states.

Photo: jiawangkun / Shutterstock

Seattle
Seattle

Seattle

Livability score: 62/100

According to AARP, healthy communities have comprehensive smoke-free air laws, offer easy access to exercise opportunities, and have high-quality health care available. In Seattle, 88% of residents are non-smokers, and 98% have access to exercise opportunities.

Photo: cdrin / Shutterstock

Denver
Denver

Denver

Livability score: 60 /100

  • The city of Denver has taken steps toward livability for older adults, such as parks and recreation activities programs and expanding permanent affordable housing.
  • The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: Shutterstock

Milwaukee
Milwaukee

Milwaukee

Livability score: 58/100

  • According to Livability.com, 12% of the population of Milwaukee is over 62.
  • The median home price is $118,200.
  • The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: Shutterstock

New York City
New York City

New York City

Livability score: 58/100

  • Nearly a million New York City residents are age 65 and older.
  • The city has developed neighborhood-level initiatives called "Aging Improvement Districts" and launched a  website of opportunities for older adults at local colleges and universities.

Photo: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock

Portland, Ore.
Portland, Ore.

Portland, Ore.

Livability score: 58/100

Photo: Bob Pool / Shutterstock

Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Livability score: 57/100

  • According to the AARP report, Austin has worked to lower its preventable hospitalization rate and increase patient satisfaction.
  • The city has established a local human rights commission and a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender antidiscrimination law.

Photo: Philip Arno Photography / Shutterstock

Philadelphia
Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Livability score: 57/100

  • Philadelphians age 65 and older are eligible for a free- and reduced-cost ride program on the city's transportation system.
  • More than 200 miles of bike lanes have been added and the city plans to install more outdoor seating at bus shelters and along streets.
  • Across the city, dozens of senior centers host weekly events, such as book clubs, art classes, and karaoke.

Photo: Fotos593 / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Livability score: 57/100

  • The number of adults over 50 who live alone is higher in D.C. than in any state.
  • The city has established an age-friendly task force with a website for information and updates.

Photo: Shutterstock

Madison, Wis.
Madison, Wis.

Most Livable Mid-Sized Cities (Population of 100,000 to less than 500,000)

Madison, Wis.

Livability score: 57/100

Madison's eclectic Mifflin West neighborhood was ranked as one of the most livable in the nation. It has a blend of housing types within walking distance of parks, shopping, the state Capitol and the University of Wisconsin.

Photo: Shutterstock

Arlington, Va.
Arlington, Va.

Arlington, Va.

Livability score: 65/100

Arlington scored high on health prevention, access and quality.

Photo: Shutterstock

St. Paul, Minn.
St. Paul, Minn.

St. Paul, Minn.

Livability score: NA

The city's slogan is: 'The most livable city in America.' Above, the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul.

Photo: Dan Thornberg / Shutterstock

Boulder, Co.
Boulder, Co.

Boulder, Co.

Livability score: NA

The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible. Above, Boulder's Pearl Street Mall.

Photo: littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

Minneapolis
Minneapolis

Minneapolis

Livability score: 64/100

The city scored high for having safe and convenient transportation options.

Photo: Oksana Tysovska / Shutterstock

Rochester, Minn.
Rochester, Minn.

Rochester, Minn.

Livability score: NA (Scores were not available for many of the smaller cities)

Rochester was the No. 1 city on Livability.com's rankings last year. The city is home to the Mayo Clinic, the world's largest not-for-profit medical center. The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Cambridge, Mass.
Cambridge, Mass.

Cambridge, Mass.

Livability score: NA

The college town has been grappling with housing affordability issues for some time.

Photo: jiawangkun / Shutterstock

Columbia, Md.
Columbia, Md.

Columbia, Md.

Livability score: NA

The city made the list thanks to its strengths in the health and environment categories.

Photo: Jimmy902/Wikipedia

Alexandria, Va.
Alexandria, Va.

Alexandria, Va.

Livability score: 61/100

Pictured is King Street in Alexandria, a walkable mile in Old Town.

Photo: Albert Pego / Shutterstock

Berkeley, Calif.
Berkeley, Calif.

Berkeley, Calif.

Livability score: 61/100

  • Berkeley scored high on healthy behaviors, as well as neighborhood access to life, work and play.
  • The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: cdrin / Shutterstock

Fitchburg, Wis.
Fitchburg, Wis.

Most Livable Small Cities (Population of 25,000 to less than 100,000)

Fitchburg, Wis.

  • The median income in Fitchburg is $61,346 and the median home value is $272,000.
  • About 13% of the population is over 62.

Photo: Corey Coyle/Wikipedia

Sheboygan, Wis.
Sheboygan, Wis.

Sheboygan, Wis.

The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: Miyin2/Wikpedia

La Crosse, Wis.
La Crosse, Wis.

La Crosse, Wis.

About 15% of La Crosse's population is over 62.

Photo: Shutterstock

Lafayette, Co.
Lafayette, Co.

Lafayette, Colo.

The city of about 25,000, located in Boulder County, reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible. Above, Waneka Lake in Lafayette.

Photo: Shutterstock

Silver Spring, Md.
Silver Spring, Md.

Silver Spring, Md.

This suburb of Washington, DC. has natural parks and trails and bus and metro options. Its proximity to the nation's capital allows residents to be engaged in all types of cultural and political events.

Photo: Rob Crandall / Shutterstock

Sun Prairie, Wis.
Sun Prairie, Wis.

Sun Prairie, Wis.

A suburb of Madison, Sun Prairie has a population of just under 30,000.

Photo: Corey Coyle/Wikipedia

Bismarck, N.D.
Bismarck, N.D.

Bismarck, N.D.

Bismarck rated higher than other cities when it comes to opportunity for all ages, including opportunity for work. The North Dakota capital also ranks high in the area of civic engagement and housing affordability. Above, the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum.

Photo: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

Brookline, Mass.
Brookline, Mass.

Brookline, Mass.

Part of Greater Boston, Brookline borders six of Boston's neighborhoods.

Photo: Arnab Majumdar/Wikipedia

Harrisburg, Pa.
Harrisburg, Pa.

Harrisburg, Pa.

The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: Shutterstock

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

The city reported that its transportation system is 100% accessible.

Photo: Shutterstock

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