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August 8, 2012

If you have the money, northern New Jersey is a good place to live as you grow old, according to a study that ranked the region fifth nationally as a desirable place to age. Greater New York earned the nation’s highest marks for transportation and scored well for big-city amenities like museums, arts and entertainment.

But it’s a pricey place to be, according to the study titled “Best Cities for Successful Aging.” The poverty rate is high among those older than 65 and cost of living and tax burden considerable. And despite all that public transit, fares are high and commute times are significant.

“If you can afford to live there, the area has all the big-city amenities -- and all the negatives, too,” the study says, The report from the Milken Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, analyzed 78 factors deemed to most affect seniors’ quality of life, including housing costs, crime rates, the job market, opportunities for social engagement, and the weather.

South Jersey, included in Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, ranked 16th, brought down by costly assisted living and relatively high tax burden. It scored high for medical services and research facilities, historic landmarks, and cultural venues.

With 90 percent of Americans saying they do not plan to move as they grow old, the report is the first to examine how well cities are prepared to meet the needs of fast-growing aging populations. Places in Florida and Arizona, surprisingly, did not make the top 20 list. The top spots went to Provo, Utah, and Madison, Wis.

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