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Worcester Ranked #62 Best City in US for Seniors

Thursday, August 02, 2012

 

How good is the good life for Worcester's seniors? A new analysis from the Milken Institute takes a close look. Photo: Mood Board Photography.

Worcester has been named the #62 city in the US for seniors, according to the latest Best Cities for Successful Aging Index from the Milken Institute. The index assesses 78 indicators in 8 subcategories to derive its rankings, which were released this week.

"There have been aging rankings before, often based on opinion and speculation, or focused on a limited aspect of aging," according to the Institute's introduction to its rankings. "But the Milken Institute's data-driven approach represents a deeper level of analysis."

What makes a city good for seniors?

The Best Cities for Successful Aging methodology derived from the following outcomes for senior citizens:

  • We want to live in places that are safe, affordable, and comfortable.
  • We want to be healthy and happy.
  • We want to be financially secure and part of an economy that enables opportunity and entrepreneurship.
  • We want living arrangements that suit our needs.
  • We want mobility and access to convenient transportation systems that get us where we want and need to go.
  • We want to be respected for our wisdom and experience; to be physically, intellectually, and culturally enriched; and to be connected to our families, friends, and communities.


An overview of Worcester's performance on the Index's 8 sub-categories. Image: Milken Institute.

Under each of these subcategories (general indicators, health care, wellness, living arrangements, transportation/ convenience, financial well-being, employment/education, and community engagement), researchers collected and analyzed data from 78 indicators that included cost of living, employment growth, healthcare and wellness indicators, taxes, housing costs, commuting times, volunteerism… even the number of grocery stores.

After all the number crunching, Worcester emerged with an index score of 89.72, placing it at #62 among the 100 large metropolitan areas ranked. Among older seniors (age 80+), the city did better: ranking #53 with a score of 91.50. Among younger seniors (ages 65-79), Worcester dropped to an overall ranking of #77, with a score of 86.75. Metro Worcester has more than 102,000 seniors, comprising 12.77% of the population.

Where Worcester did best

Among the 8 subcategories, Worcester posted its best performance by far in Health Care, ranking #22 overall, with a score of 75.23, eight points about the national average for large metros. The city's Health Care ranking was driven by high scores in number of hospitals with medical school affiliation (#1), percentage of hospitals with Alzheimer's units (#5), numbers of mental health professionals (#10), and physical therapists (#12). In a related subcategory, Worcester also ranked #39 for Wellness indicators, with a score of 81.6 that was just above the national average. Worcester ranked #9 in the Wellness Indicators for numbers of fitness centers.

Low scores

Worcester did poorest relative to other large metropolitan areas on the Index's Financial indicators, ranking #96 with a score of 68.54, which was nearly 8 points below the national group's average. The city showed poorly on index growth of small businesses from 2004-2009 (#98), tax burden (#90), and number of banks and financial institutions (#88).

National leaders

The best large metro in the country was Provo-Orem, UT, followed by Madison, WI (#2), Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE/-IA (#3), Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (#4), and New York metro area at #5. Outpacing Worcester in New England after Boston were all Connecticut metro areas: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area ranked #17, Hartford placed #29, and New Haven #56.

For all of Worcester's rankings, go here.

 

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