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

Iowa City, IA


SCORE: 100.00

#1
FOR AGES 65-79
SCORE: 100.00
 
#1
FOR AGES 80+
SCORE: 100.00
 
Percent of Population 65+:  10.44%
Population 65+:  16,529
Total Population:  158,370

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent
+/-
General 24 81.79 75.28 8.65 %
Health Care 1 100.00 42.45 135.57 %
Wellness 32 88.36 81.88 7.91 %
Financial 46 82.96 77.72 6.74 %
Living ArrangementsArrange-
ments
106 72.47 69.85 3.75 %
Employment / Education 16 81.09 59.20 36.98 %
Transportation/
Convenience
Transport-
ation
5 87.85 64.90 35.36 %
Community EngagementEngage-
ment
44 62.31 54.20 14.96 %
(Three-tier color code: 1-25 Green, 26-75 Black, 76+ Red)
Find out about the methodology used for these indicators

Nailed It:


Outstanding health system

  • Lots of health-care professionals—doctors, orthopedic surgeons, nurses, and physical therapists.
  • Sufficient availability of specialty-care hospitals to accommodate older adults, including long-term hospitals, geriatric and hospice services, and Alzheimer's units.
  • Easy on the wallet: some of the lowest health-care expenses per inpatient day.

Transportation solutions and solid economy

  • No freeway blues: one of the highest public transportation riderships among 252 small metro areas.
  • Frequent use of alternative transportation and walk-to-work commutes.
  • Intergenerational workforce: high overall job growth and low unemployment, with many working older adults.
  • High availability of learning opportunities and high college enrollment rates.

Emphasis on health and wellness

  • Hold the fries: fewer fast food outlets per capita and low consumption of sugary drinks, possibly a factor in limited prevalence of diabetes.
  • Healthier living: relatively low obesity rates.

Needs Work:


Affordability concerns and difficult living arrangements

  • Save up: high cost of living. Expensive houses and rents.
  • Need for more home health-care service providers and caregivers for older adults.
  • Risk of isolation: few older people living in family households.
  • Low crime rate, but beware the highway: fatal crashes relatively high.

Financial woes

  • Need for more banks and other financial institutions for a growing population.
  • High tax burden, low capital gains receipts.

Take Away:


With a top-notch health-care system, a strong economy, and low unemployment, Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, is an attractive option for encore careers and those seeking good health services. Chronic disease rates are low with residents making healthy lifestyle choices. A caveat to the upbeat economic picture: The area may be pricing itself beyond the reach of many older people.

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General Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Cost of Living 160 47.92 52.43
Crime Rate 28 67.19 47.77
Employment Growth (2007-2012) 22 85.78 80.02
Unemployment Rate 5 76.45 41.03
Income Distribution 155 84.09 85.72
Weather 205 40.00 49.12
Fatal Car Crashes 144 9.60 11.85

Health-Care Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Number of Doctors 2 86.55 15.54
Number of hospital beds 6 78.43 34.20
% of Hospitals with JCAHO Accreditation 200 60.00 79.23
Expenses per Inpatient Day 13 82.78 60.11
Number of Long-Term Hospitals 11 52.87 9.41
Number of Hospitals with Geriatric Services 7 74.66 25.35
% of Hospitals with Rehabilitation Services 24 61.33 36.38
Number of Hospitals with Alzheimer's units 11 42.56 5.73
Number of Hospitals with Hospice Services 3 81.27 15.76
% of Hospitals with Medical School Affiliation 29 60.00 26.90
% of Magnet Hospitals 35 20.00 6.41
Number of Orthopedic Surgeons 3 59.40 13.47
Number of psychologists 52 29.54 21.04
Number of nurses 4 60.89 24.33
Number of Physical Therapists 6 71.86 35.67
ER Wait Times 132 25.00 27.98
 

Wellness Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Medicare Enrollment 204 87.90 90.82
Obesity rate, population 65+ 32 58.20 50.43
Diabetes Rate 14 65.14 46.23
Alzheimer's Cases 212 73.97 81.94
Number of Caregivers 219 59.85 71.15
Life Expectancy at 65 14 88.74 81.36
Number of Fitness Centers 141 36.16 40.35
Number of fast food outlets 73 68.69 64.16
Sugary drink consumption 36 92.25 74.11
Number of Golf courses, skiing, marinas, bowling 51 32.24 22.34

Financial Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Number of banks and financial institutions 158 51.76 55.90
Total bank deposits 51 1.52 1.72
Tax burden 137 71.73 72.59
Dependency Ratio 11 85.19 63.45
Index Growth of Small Businesses (2006-2011) 42 73.88 71.00
% of 65+ population below poverty 12 64.76 37.11
Capital Gains as % of AGI 162 33.29 43.03
Income Growth (2007-2012) 19 68.00 62.83
Amount of Reverse Mortgages 113 16.82 20.25
 

Living Arrangements Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Median House Price 204 35.45 47.00
Median Rental Price 172 64.81 69.66
% of Houses with 65+ Residents 246 32.77 49.14
Number of Nursing Beds 57 36.15 26.73
Cost of Semi-private nursing room 40 89.24 70.35
Number of home health-care service providers 168 4.74 9.48
Continuing Care Facilities 89 16.14 15.92
Cost of assisted living 31 81.29 70.12
Nursing-home rating 29 54.21 34.13
% of seniors living in family households 223 78.32 84.74
Cost of adult day services 32 75.00 61.47

Employment/Education Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent of 65+ Employed 20 77.67 57.95
65+ Unemployment Rate 45 17.64 12.33
Employment growth in health,education,leisure and hospitality 107 70.18 69.72
Output of service sector/manufacturing 142 5.31 9.69
College Enrollment 15 65.88 29.22
 

Transportation/Convenience Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Average commute time to work 46 79.06 71.39
Number of Passenger Trips 5 70.66 11.53
Investment in Public/Senior Transportation 129 63.04 64.25
% of commuters who walk to work 5 54.87 17.90
Number of Grocery, etc. 200 46.66 55.19
% of Seniors near grocery 51 90.85 84.52

Community Engagement Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
% of population 65+ 233 28.94 39.94
Number of arts, entertainment, and recreation facilities 163 13.14 18.61
Senior Volunteer Rates 16 89.28 63.01
Number of Public Libraries 65 30.96 25.07
Number of YMCAs 18 30.98 12.40
Funding for Seniors 17 25.91 25.37