Mayor Bob Walkup, the self-proclaimed “mayor of paradise,” says he wasn’t surprised to hear his city topped the list.
“I believe that Tucson has the highest quality of life of any city in the country,” he says. Tucson’s temperate climate and low crime rate make it an ideal place to live, he says.
“It — no kidding — has an abundance of sunshine year round.”
The U.S. Census Bureau notes that the 541,000 population of Tucson, its city resources, and other factors, make Tucson a live-able place to settle in for a more peaceful and simple life.
The AARP Magazine came up with a 25-numbered list of cities all over the United States and took into consideration that every region is well-represented.
Given the down-shift in the economy run, the editors of the magazine wanted to give readers a choice in selecting the best places to live in considering the value of low-cost living, plus the opportunities of recreation and what it can offer to raise a stable family life.
“We decided we wanted to focus on places you could live simply, says AARP’s manager of magazine editorial projects Gabrielle deGroot Redford.
Redford says demographers and editors looked for places that are affordable and still have relatively low rates of unemployment. She added that factors such as the ability to walk and bike to work and the availability of “outdoor amenities” such as farmers markets and hiking trails also gave cities extra points.
And to make sure life is really simple, the team looked at the stress index of the cities, a measure used by demographers, which combines “rates of suicide and crime and divorce and depression and other factors that play into how stressed people feel living there,” she says.
Another plus: if the city is close to a college or university.
“We looked for places with great education, in particular, colleges because colleges tend to offer classes for adults and a lot of amenities,” such as lectures and sporting events, Redford says.
That Tucson is home to the University of Arizona helped boost it to the top.
“It’s quite an affordable city in part, but it also has a lot going on about it,” she says. “There are a lot of ways to enjoy living there.”
She adds that residents rave about the city’s multicultural feel. “They just feel like it’s one of those great melting pots.”
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