“The happiest, healthiest city in the U.S.” is Naples, where average life expectancy is the highest in the nation: 83.4 years. Naples has a culture of health, including lifelong learning, a high level of affluence, and plenty of natural beauty, from Freedom Park to the manatees that swim in nearby waters.
San Jose, California
For all income levels, San Jose ranks high on places to live for increased longevity—average life expectancy is about 83 years. Unlike other California cities (like Los Angeles), San Jose is walkable, a feature that probably decreases the risk of obesity and heart disease.
Another California hot spot for healthy living is Irvine, ranked Orange County’s #1 best place to live in 2018. The city also receives high marks for its public schools, cultural diversity, and family life. Weekend farmers' markets encourage healthy habits.
Health meets heart in Ames, where in recent years edible landscaping has turned into a community food pantry, made possible by volunteers who harvest crops and feed the hungry. People in Ames live an average of 82 years, fueled by good food, music, sports, and community spirit.
Related: The 20 Friendliest Cities in America
Ranked #1 on Livability’s 2017 Best Places to Live, Rochester is home to the Mayo Clinic and draws professionals, students, and artists from around the world. The diverse population, pristine state parks, and winter sports all play a role in achieving a life expectancy of 82 years.
With easy access to breathtaking nature, a culture of civic engagement, and an exciting intellectual life (thanks to Oregon State University), Corvallis promotes an active lifestyle. If you’re going to live about 82 years, why not make them vibrant?
Related: 11 Crazy Colorful Homes We Love
State College, Pennsylvania
Thanks to Penn State University, this college town is a thriving hub of culture and community. Nature and art feed the soul at places like the Arboretum and the Palmer Museum of Art, where long-lived residents can spend some of their 81.9 years.
People live about 81.8 years in Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city. A former industrial town, Bridgeport is also known as the Park City, with green spaces in every neighborhood and more than its share of beaches and seaside walks.
Plano, where people live almost 82 years on average, makes the grade for quality of life on Livability’s top 100 list. This Texas town is also a thriving corporate hub, with big names like Dr Pepper, Pizza Hut, and J.C. Penney headquartered there.
In McKinney, the average lifespan is almost 82 years, and the city ranks high for factors that increase longevity, including the use of preventive services (34.75 percent) and annual checkups (69.3 percent). Residents and visitors alike take advantage of local attractions like the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Wikimedia Commons via Michael Barera
Texas is a hot spot for long-lifers, some of whom reside in McAllen, where folks live, on average, up to 81 years or more. Community spirit reigns in this border town, and immigrants are welcome, resulting in a booming local economy that's powered by diversity.
Related: 20 Places with (Almost) Zero Crime
Fort Collins, Colorado
A top-100 place to live in the United States, Fort Collins is known as a high-tech industry leader, education provider, and cultural incubator that nurtures local arts and breweries. Residents burn off the extra calories at Fossil Creek Reservoir and other state parks, and thanks to these active habits, they live on average 81.7 years.
Higher education, natural beauty, and a growing foodie scene in Bellingham attract people who want to learn, earn, and have fun. That balance of work and play pay off, with people living an average of 81 years.
Bellevue literally means “beautiful view”—which is not an overstatement. Situated on the shores of Lake Washington, this small city is teeming with things to do, including an annual arts and crafts fair. Lifespan stretches to 81 years, on average.
Overland Park, Kansas
If you’re looking to buy a home and raise a family, check out Overland Park, which ranks in the top 10 cities for home buyers and families, and is overall a great place to live. Take your kids to visit the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, where healthy fun includes hayrides, learning to milk a cow, and feeding farm animals.
Another small city that may help extend your lifespan is Manhattan, Kansas, which is also among the top 10 college towns. In this city near the Flint Hills, average longevity reaches 81 years. The economy is strong, thanks to Kansas State University, and residents enjoy local art, international food, and a homegrown love of baseball.
In Honolulu, climate, natural wonders, and healthy eating are just some of the factors contributing to long life (81 years, on average). Living costs may be high, but unemployment is low, and the casual, friendly island vibe decreases toxic stress.
Live to 80, surrounded by people and work you love, in this prairie town that hosts the flagship institution of the University of Illinois. Tech start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and international artists call Champaign-Urbana home, while world-class hospitals provide cutting-edge care.
Are you a dog lover? Consider relocating to Alexandria, on the banks of the Potomac River, with easy access to Washington, D.C. The city’s Old Town is fun and funky, blending the charm of historic buildings with quirky shops and stellar restaurants.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Known colloquially as “the Triangle,” the Raleigh-Durham area offers a surge of youthful energy, with students and professionals drawn by research, technology, and education jobs. From concerts at the 19,700-seat PNC Arena to heron-sighting at William B. Umstead State Park, there’s plenty to do for all ages and abilities, and with an average lifespan of 80.3 years, plenty of time to do it.
Cary, North Carolina
Thanks to the boom in nearby Raleigh-Durham, Cary, North Carolina, is also on the upswing. Home of pro baseball and soccer teams, and summer residence of the North Carolina Symphony, Cary has a low crime rate and a burgeoning population drawn by high-paying jobs and a good quality of life, including an average life expectancy that stretches beyond 80 years.
flickr.com via James Willamor
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Known for its extensive artists' colony and art markets, Santa Fe is more than just a tourist destination. The city, where average life expectancy is 80.2 years, is a place of deep roots, richly connected to desert landscapes and indigenous, Hispanic, and European-American history, all under beautiful turquoise skies.
Ranked #16 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Live, Madison is a delicious smorgasbord of local food and music. Jobs in technology and health care are expanding, and the University of Wisconsin ensures an endless stream of interesting speakers and creative energy to keep its long-lived residents (an average lifespan of 80.9 years) engaged.
If you want to live more than 80 years (80.9, to be exact!) but don’t enjoy urban surroundings, head to scenic Appleton. Couples and families have access to a range of enriching activities, from Fox Cities Performing Arts Center to the History Museum at the Castle, which houses a collection of Houdini memorabilia.
Related: 18 Small Towns That Changed America
Commons Wikimedia via Shawn Conrad
St. George, Utah
As the nation’s fastest-growing metro area, St. George is attracting flocks of students, young professionals, and retirees who are probably hoping to reach the city's average lifespan of 81.4 years. An active lifestyle, good weather, and nearby attractions that include Zion National Park and the Red Hills Desert Garden are just the icing on an already tasty cake.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Long considered a top-10 destination for retirees, Salt Lake City offers a beautiful and enriching environment, more-affordable housing options, an expanding public transit system, and an average life expectancy that hovers above 80 years. While temperatures can soar and dip, plenty of cultural and sports events keep winter blues at bay.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Are you an entrepreneur? Consider taking your start-up to Ann Arbor, where you’ll find a supportive community of innovators and developers. As well, with an average life expectancy of around 81 years, residents of this Midwest city may have some lessons to teach about healthy habits.
Related: 17 Log Cabins We Love
Ithaca, New York
Yet another college town that makes the grade for long, fruitful living is Ithaca, located near the Finger Lakes and Buttermilk Falls State Park. Increase the likelihood that you’ll live the city's average of 81-plus years by taking advantage of Ithaca’s walking paths and stimulating your brain at lectures and gallery openings.
Good food, natural beauty, and access to university life seem to promote longevity, and Burlington, where folks live an average of 80.9 years, is no exception. That said, a little indulgence never hurt: Burlington is also the home of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Related: The 15 Best Factory Tours in America
Do you want to live to be 80 years old but are worried about extreme cold or heat? Ranked the #1 place to retire in the United States, Scottsdale is famously temperate, so outdoor sports and waterfront walks are options most days of the year. The city also has a reputation for commerce, catalyzed by Scottsdale Airport and Arizona State University.
An all-around A+ city, Gilbert may be lesser known, but it is a hub of health care and community life. Consistently ranked first for families and homeownership, the city offers access to great preventive and medical services that could help you attain the region's average of 80-plus years.
Related: America’s 50 Favorite Streets
One resident calls Chandler “the best place for outgoing introverts.” People respect your space but are friendly, helpful, and inclusive. The city, with an average lifespan of 80-plus years, also upholds Arizona’s reputation for being a longevity hot spot.
As a top-25 best place to live, Boston has a lot to offer, particularly to its long-lived residents, who reach, on average, 80 years. In one of the most historic cities in the United States, you can walk, shop, visit the USS Constitution Museum, and play a game of catch on Boston Common.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Residents of Sioux Falls benefit from the city's investments in arts, health care, and infrastructure. Home values are solid, it ranks #5 in the nation for best and more affordable places to retire, and its residents enjoy an average life expectancy of close to 80 years.
Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newsletter today!