Dave Letterman offers only a “Top 10” list, but Bankers Life and Casualty has just published its Top 50 “Best US Cities For Seniors 2011” and the list contains a few surprises – though, admittedly, not so many laughs.
The list was drawn up with an effort to establish some stable criteria that were, in turn, weighted to reflect the importance of each issue with older Americans. For example, healthcare opportunities are weighted to 10 at the top of the scale, whereas housing was weighted at 5, because many kinds of housing arrangements can be made for many kinds of seniors, whereas healthcare is a priority for all older people.
The good side about a weighted standard is that readers can judge for themselves if a certain concern outweighs other issues. For example, the city noted as having the lowest crime and the safest urban environment for seniors is Nassau-Suffolk County, New York (Long Island), yet the area did not quite crack the top 10. But if security/low crime is most important for you, you now know where to retire.
The overall winner? Minneapolis-St.Paul MN (No wonder Garison Keillor moved back there after a long stint in New York City!):
It’s no surprise that the Twin Cities, with 22 lakes in the metropolitan area, scored close to the top for environment. In fact, according to the Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association, the area boasts more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
Seniors gravitate to Minneapolis-St. Paul for Minnesota’s progressive medical insurance program and for proximity to the Rochester, MN-based Mayo Clinic—factors that contribute to the region’s high scores for life expectancy and healthcare.
Well, I confess some surprise, given the 44″ snow base the community expects every year. But the surprise of the list overall is how many of the cities comfortably made it into the top 50 who do not have reputations for being particularly hospitable in our popular culture. Detroit in at #48? Newark in the Top 10?!
The entire report can be downloaded. Did your city make the Top 10? Top 50? Spoiler alert for the locals: Baltimore came in a respectable 15th with a (surprisingly?) average score of 77 on healthcare, but a whopping 98 on social/recreational opportunities.