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Chicago Hardly a Retirement Haven

By Paul Tooher

Chicago may be a wonderful place to live but it may not be the best place to retire.

That’s according to a report on the Best Places for Successful Aging issued by the Milken Institute.

To create its rankings, the institute looked as numerous factors of the 100 largest metro areas in the country, ranging from the cost of living and the crime rate to the percentage of the population over 65 and the number of supermarkets that are easily accessible.

It also looked at the number of hospital beds available in an area and the smoking and obesity rates in a community.

According to the report, the Windy City ranked 64th for those between the ages of 65 and 79 and 71st for those 80 and above.

Chicago rated poorly in such areas as income distribution, weather, the cost of living and the level of binge drinking. It also ranked near the bottom in the number of continuing care facilities.

According to the institute, Provo, Utah, rated as the top metro area for those over 65 while ranking seventh among those 80 and over.

The report noted that smoking and binge drinking rates are low while the metro area’s diabetes rate is the fourth lowest among the 100 largest cities. Combined with low obesity, this suggests that residents suffer fewer chronic diseases.

In addition, the metro area has the fewest number of fast-food outlets per capita, so unhealthy choices are less available.

Other metro areas ranked among the top 10 for those 65 and older include Madison, Wis., Omaha, Neb., Boston, New York City, Des Moines, Iowa, Salt Lake City, Toledo, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.

Bakersfield, Calif., ranked as the worst cities for retirees, behind Stockton, Calif., Riverside, Calif., Lakeland, Fla., Fresno and Modesto, both in California, Detroit and Grand Rapids, both in Michigan, Tulsa, Okla., and El Paso, Texas.


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