A new survey conducted for the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center For a Secure RetirementSM reveals Cleveland as the fourth best city in the United States for senior living, just behind Minneapolis, Boston and Pittsburgh.

Criteria in the areas of senior issues and gerontology identified the qualities for optimal senior living. Major categories were: healthcare, economy, health and longevity, social, environment, spiritual life, housing, transportation and crime. Each category was statistically weighted to reflect the needs of the senior population.

Cleveland and the surrounding metropolitan area had very favorable scores for healthcare, housing and economy. In addition, Cleveland garnered top five ratings for number of physicians, hospitals and nursing homes per capita.

“Most surprising is that the survey results contain many cities we don’t often associate with senior living,” said Scott Perry, president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, the national life and health insurer. “We weren’t interested in another study on where to enjoy your retirement, but instead wanted to find cities that did the best job in providing the services and support that seniors need. Cleveland may not come to mind when you think about where to spend your golden years, but they have some of the most inexpensive housing in the nation. The city’s many museums and libraries provide great opportunities for seniors to socialize. And, Cleveland has among the largest senior populations ideal for a rich social network.”

The Categories

Healthcare category includes physicians per capita, gerontologist to senior ratio, hospitals per capita, hospitals with special care, nursing homes per capita, nursing home beds per capita, continuing care retirement communities per capita and average nursing home rating.

Economy includes consumer price index, sales tax rate, the unemployment rate and the stability index.

Health and Longevity includes life expectancy, age 85 expectancy, depression rate, heart mortality and cancer mortality.

Social includes percentage of seniors, social and emotional support, satisfaction with life rating, art and museums, education level, recreation, four-year colleges and libraries.

Environment includes number of sunny days, clean air levels, clean water measurement, natural disaster risk index, ocean coastline miles, river and lake square mileage, and local/state park number and size.

Spiritual Life includes percent of population belonging to organized religions and the number of religious congregations.

Housing includes cost of living index, housing price, property taxes and apartment rentals.

Transportation includes public transportation, special access and mass transit percentage.

Crime includes violent crime rate and property crime rate.

(includes surrounding metropolitan areas*)

1. Minneapolis, MN

2. Boston, MA

3. Pittsburgh, PA

4. Cleveland, OH

5. Denver, CO

6. Milwaukee, WI

7. San Francisco, CA

8. Portland, OR

9. Kansas City, MO

10. Newark, NJ

11. Nassau-Suffolk Cty, NY

12. Philadelphia, PA

13. Edison, NJ

14. St. Louis, MO

15. Baltimore, MD

16. Oklahoma City, OK

17. Salt Lake City, UT

18. Providence, RI

19. Seattle, WA

20. Indianapolis, IN

21. Cincinnati, OH

22. Columbus, OH

23. Washington, DC

24. Austin, TX

25. Chicago, IL

26. New York, NY

27. Oakland, CA

28. Nashville, TN

29. Dallas, TX

30. New Orleans, LA

31. San Jose, CA

32. San Diego, CA

33. Fort Worth, TX

34. San Antonio, TX

35. Miami, FL

36. Raleigh, NC

37. Los Angeles, CA

38. Charlotte, NC

39. Atlanta, GA

40. Phoenix, AZ

41. Virginia Beach, VA

42. Santa Ana, CA

43. Ft. Lauderdale, FL

44. Tampa, FL

45. Houston, TX

46. Orlando, FL

47. Sacramento, CA

48. Detroit, MI

49. Las Vegas, NV

50. Riverside, CA

*Metropolitan areas are defined by the United States Census Bureau, and include a central city and the surrounding county or counties.

Best Cities for Seniors 2011

Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News