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Cities with the Oldest Populations

Kimberley Fowler
By Kimberley FowlerAugust 19, 2016
Cities with the Oldest Populations

According to the World Atlas, by 2060 there will be 98 million elderly people in the United States. As the number of seniors (people aged 65 or older) across the United States continues to grow, communities with large senior populations are making accommodations to ensure that they are able to support senior health, safety and social involvement.

Learn more about the cities with the oldest populations.

Top 10 Cities with the Oldest Populations in the U.S.

Accommodations for senior populations come in many different forms, but include initiatives like:

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  • Encouraging seniors to take part in community activities (including sports like golf, visiting museums and libraries, taking courses, volunteering for charities or performing civic duties)
  • Ensuring sidewalks are well lit and kept in good shape
  • Having infrastructure in place to support senior needs including retirement communities, hospitals, and doctors who specialize in geriatric medicine
  • Legislating by-laws to ensure buildings have automatic door openers, elevators, stair railings and ramps
  • Providing public transportation that is easily accessible and affordable for seniors

For seniors who are considering relocating, finding a city that is age-friendly is an important consideration.

Based on data collected by A Place for Mom (which originated from the American Community Survey 2014 Five-year Estimates), the following cities have the largest proportion of seniors (people above the age of 64):

It’s interesting to note that many of the cities on this list are in Florida.

Most metro areas in the state have a senior population of 20% or more (in Punta Gorda, Florida, 36% of the population are seniors).

For years, Florida has been a hot spot for seniors because of the favorable weather and large senior communities, so it’s not surprising to see so many of the state’s cities in this top 10 list.

Top 10 Cities with the Fastest Growing Senior Populations in the U.S.

Although Florida continues to reign supreme as a popular senior living destination, cities in the state make the list of the fastest growing senior communities in the United States:

CityTotal PopulationPercentage of SeniorsFour-Year Change in Percentage of SeniorsSanta Fe, NM Metro Area14636117%18%Fairbanks, AK Metro Area993197%16%Gainesville, GA Metro Area18531812%14%Bowling Green, KY Metro Area16232213%13%Flagstaff, AZ Metro Area13581710%13%Boulder, CO Metro Area30516611%13%Lafayette, LA Metro Area47545712%13%Bremerton-Silverdale, WA Metro Area25361415%12%Anchorage, AK Metro Area3920218%12%Ann Arbor, MI Metro Area35145411%12%

How Are Cities Keeping Pace with Growing Senior Needs?

On average, the population of seniors in most cities in the U.S. grew by 7% between 2011-2014. However, as we can see above, Santa Fe, New Mexico, saw its population of seniors increase by 18%, well above the average growth experienced by most American cities. How can cities like Santa Fe keep up with the needs of their growing senior population?

The World Health Organization has developed a Global Database of Age-Friendly Practices which provides information about initiatives that are underway to help make communities age-friendly. Searchable by country, city size and initiative type, the database provides information about a number of American cities that are putting seniors first in policy and practice. Senior-focused initiatives are happening in:

West Chester, Pennsylvania

West Chester has created an intergenerational learning and mentoring program that “brings together West Chester University undergraduate students, senior students, and older community residents from diverse backgrounds in a mutual learning and mentoring relationship.” The goal of this program is to develop respect and social inclusion for seniors in the West Chester community.

Sarasota County, Florida

“Age Friendly Sarasota” is an organization within Sarasota County dedicated to providing seniors with accessible housing solutions so that they can age-in-place. In 2015, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners adopted a Universal Design and Visitability program for residential housing units. “The resolution encourages providers and builders of housing in the County to construct housing and communities which are safe and enable residents to move around easily in their communities and to age in place.”

Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Care Calls program “uses an automated phone call system to provide both a daily phone call to socially isolated older adults in the City of Cleveland and emergency alerts to a wider group of older adults in the city.” The program’s goal is to provide socially isolated older adults with a daily wellness check and access to emergency services as needed.

Is your city on this list of cities with the oldest populations? We’d love to hear about the senior-friendly initiatives taking place in your community. Share them with us in the comments below.

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Kimberley Fowler
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Kimberley Fowler

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