The Best States for Retirement

In 2017, Bankrate named New Hampshire the best state for retirees. A total of five factors were used in determining the best and worst states for retirees: cost of living, health care quality, crime rate, weather, and taxes. Bankrate compared these retirement metrics across all 50 states. Many southern states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma ranked in the bottom ten worst states to retire in. The states that ranked towards the bottom tended to have high tax rates and even higher crime rates. Maine ranked second, next to Vermont with the lowest crime rate in the country. There seemed to be a positive correlation with a state’s rank and health care quality.

Interestingly, some states that are quite popular for retirees, such as Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, didn’t make the top 10. While Arizona placed a still quite high #12 on the list, Nevada and New Mexico were all the way down at #44 and #47. Alaska claimed last place spot due to its high crime rate, frigid weather, and low senior citizen population, among other factors. Florida, probably the U.S. state best known for its retiree population, ranked #17. See the map of all states and their rank below (green shades indicates a state that is ranked as overall better for retirees, red are those states that are not as good for retirees):

While many southern states ranked toward the bottom of the list overall, they were the places were retirees had the most purchasing power due to a relatively low cost of living. Fox Business determined how long a retiree could live on savings of $1 million. The most inexpensive cities, according to Fox Business are Houston, where $1 million would last 25 years and 11 months; Oklahoma City, 24 years and seven months; Austin, Texas, 24 years and six months; Tulsa, Oklahoma, 24 years and four months; and Memphis, Tennessee, 24 years and three months.

While this list is certainly illuminating, it may not take into account that many retirees weigh some considerations differently than others. For example, for many retirees nice year-round weather is their top concern. Someone from, say, New York, might not want to retire to even-colder New Hampshire. This is the reason why southwestern states (and Florida) are so popular for retirees. The list also looks at the crime rate and cost of living, but does not take into account that these metrics can vary wildly across a state or even across an urban area. Retirees may not want to live in the most densely-populated urban areas where crime and cost of living can be highest. See the complete list of cities by rank below:

RankStateCost of livingWeatherHealth care qualityCrimeTaxCultureSeniorWell-being
1New Hampshire40454376142
2Colorado3320726169463
3Maine3844123519211
4Iowa14369152035910
5Minnesota3047314437344
6Virginia311616523144229
7Massachusetts4529517403249
8South Dakota264018203342015
9Wisconsin24422164629226
10Idaho53120422423719
11Utah16198243020497
12Arizona282263815391212
13Nebraska1228171821313220
14Vermont4349151394422
15Pennsylvania353514123622521
16North Dakota254822111825305
17Florida271830391724116
18Delaware34246403728725
19Rhode Island422610942211117
20North Carolina1911122933402926
21Wyoming15414482234135
22Michigan1843192226361827
23Texas11535345304836
24Kansas814243229413333
25South Carolina29711449451530
26Oregon3922272741121013
27Tennessee6153846482545
28Missouri923234125271941
29Montana324634281226624
30Alabama713254213472144
31Washington3732313624153918
32Connecticut473021749101714
33Ohio1738322332321643
34Illinois2133332147174037
35Georgia138363519374740
36Hawaii5017134338581
37New York463739135012832
38New Jersey412729648182731
39Indiana434373028443539
40Maryland4421283144134323
41Mississippi19492510503642
42California49142334524528
43Oklahoma36433711383148
44Nevada36450478113838
45Kentucky1025411027462649
46Louisiana201240486434446
47New Mexico233475014332334
48Arkansas210454534481347
49West Virginia223948193149350
50Alaska48504649116508

The data can also be found at Bankrate here.

Image Source: Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels, License Summary.

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