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Best Cities for Successful Aging | Iowa City, IA
#1
OVERALL RANKING
Mayors Pledge

Iowa City, IA


SCORE: 80.44

#1
FOR AGES 65-79
SCORE: 79.47
 
#1
FOR AGES 80+
SCORE: 82.40
 
Percent of Population 65+:  10.44%
Population 65+:  16,529
Total Population:  158,370

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent
+/-
General Livability 27 88.00 81.58 7.87 %
Health Care 1 100.00 50.15 99.40 %
Wellness 51 73.49 68.45 7.36 %
Financial 113 82.79 81.09 2.10 %
EducationEducation 10 81.74 71.18 37.98 %
Living ArrangementsArrange-
ments
120 73.42 71.18 3.15 %
Employment 42 60.84 51.56 18.00 %
Transportation/
Convenience
Transport-
ation
14 77.40 57.14 35.46 %
Community EngagementEngage-
ment
42 58.57 51.89 12.87 %
(Three-tier color code: 1-25 Green, 26-75 Black, 76+ Red)
Find out about the methodology used for these indicators

Nailed It


Working and learning

- Unemployment rate among the lowest for small cities; many older adults employed
- Small is strong: good small-business growth
- High rates of college enrollment

Top-notch health care

- Lots of primary-care physicians
- Strong specialty care: many orthopedic surgeons, geriatric facilities, hospices, and Alzheimer’s units
- Hospital care that won’t break the bank
- High-quality nursing homes

Convenient neighborhoods

- Strong public transportation ridership
- Many pedestrian commuters; short commutes overall
- Ample funding to help older adults live independently

Needs Work


Financial picture

- Wide income inequality
- Expensive housing and many reverse mortgages
- Not enough banks for convenience

Gaps in support

- Few adults aging at home
- Too little transit funding geared to older residents
- Few diagnostic centers

Takeaway


Iowa City’s literary leadership, fostered by the University of Iowa and its pioneering Writers’ Workshop, is among the qualities that anchor this Corn Belt stalwart at the top of the “Best Cities” list. Iowa City’s numerous boasts include UNESCO designation as a City of Literature and an impressive number of public library patrons, which equals the city’s population. More broadly, older adults enjoy high rates of employment and education. Its business-friendly economic environment, accessible transit, and No. 1 standing in health care among all of our small cities help make Iowa City a consistently great locale for older residents.

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General Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Cost of Living 174 45.38 49.09
Crime Rate 40 57.75 42.85
Employment Growth (2007-2012) 63 83.14 80.67
Unemployment Rate 5 89.69 46.80
Income Distribution 277 73.08 84.25
Weather 236 51.33 62.27
Fatal Car Crashes 46 40.88 29.38

Health-Care Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Number of Doctors 1 100.00 33.5
Number of hospital beds 6 74.50 29.37
% of Hospitals with JCAHO Accreditation 221 60.00 79.11
Number of Long-Term Hospitals 8 54.61 6.57
Number of Hospitals with Geriatric Services 5 77.00 21.44
% of Hospitals with Rehabilitation Services 21 51.33 25.8
Number of Hospitals with Alzheimer's units 8 51.33 4.68
Number of Hospitals with Hospice Services 8 65.37 15.09
% of Hospitals with Medical School Affiliation 73 40.00 26.60
% of Magnet Hospitals 34 20.00 6.27
Number of Orthopedic Surgeons 3 56.84 13.35
Number of nurses 7 68.96 24.78
Number of Physical Therapists 23 3.44 2.35
ER Wait Times 63 31.82 24.64
 

Wellness Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Obesity rate 24 55.76 46.33
Smoking rate 34 19.30 13.69
Diabetes rate 7 69.44 41.83
Binge drinking 251 11.81 20.32
Alzheimer's cases 269 43.46 74.78
Caregivers 32 53.90 39.11
Life expectancy at 65 26 84.09 76.89
Depression 117 49.65 49.3
Physical activity 35 48.97 39.05
Fitness and recreational sports centers 37 57.09 42.27
Fast-food outlets 152 33.59 35.09
Golf courses, ski resorts 120 15.94 17.69
Air quality 170 56.22 61.2

Financial Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Banks and financial institutions 191 47.95 53.83
Total bank deposits 42 1.26 1.37
Tax burden 164 67.92 70.55
Dependency ratio 15 80.26 61.29
Small business growth 23 87.12 81.17
Older adults below poverty line 96 31.22 29.07
Capital gains 215 22.39 31.31
Income growth 39 64.03 60.52
Reverse mortgages 141 25.30 27.26
 

Living Arrangements Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Median house price 214 35.88 46.02
Median rental price 227 60.48 70.18
Households with older adults 271 26.33 39.04
Nursing beds 56 69.06 49.76
Cost of semiprivate nursing room 42 80.00 70.35
Home health-care service providers 191 8.52 14.31
Continuing-care facilities 72 18.68 14.8
Cost of assisted living 116 72.14 71.61
Nursing-home rating 10 57.14 22.29
Older adults in family homes 270 75.88 82.84
Cost of adult day services 57 58.33 55.7

Employment/Education Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent of 65+ employed 4 94.00 56.23
65+ unemployment Rate 185 18.55 31.34
Employment growth 226 41.50 44.29
Output of service sector/manufacturing 147 5.37 9.94
 

Transportation/Convenience Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Average commute time to work 51 80.53 71.39
Number of Passenger Trips 5 34.02 11.53
Investment in Public/Senior Transportation 212 30.87 64.25
% of commuters who walk to work 6 52.08 17.90
Number of Grocery, etc. 82 50.72 55.19
% of Seniors near grocery 84.52
Walk score 58 53.09 xx.52

Community Engagement Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent of population 65+ 261 20.85 39.94
Number of arts, entertainment, and recreation facilities 153 14.90 18.61
Senior volunteer rates 32 71.87 63.01
Number of public libraries 54 32.34 25.07
Number of civic and religious organizations 85 71.10 12.40
Funding for older adults 18 32.45 25.37
 

Education Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Educational attainment 14 95.85 85.93
College enrollment 13 64.28 26.46