Best and Worst Cities to Retire

For Americans looking for the perfect place to retire, a number of considerations factor into what makes a city retirement-friendly. From affordability and health care options, to quality of life and activity levels, these metrics all help determine which are the best—and worst—cities to retire in the United States. As most Americans want to age in place in their own home, choosing the right location can make a big difference.

In 2016, some of the best cities to retire are in the southern states, including Florida, according to WalletHub’s latest rankings. WalletHub looked at the 150 most populated cities to determine where the hurdles to retiring are low and the quality of life is high.

Best places to retire:


1. Orlando, Florida

2. Tampa, Florida

3. Scottsdale, Arizona


4. Miami, Florida

5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

6. Las Vegas, Nevada

7. Cape Coral, Florida

8. Atlanta, Georgia

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

10. Los Angeles, California

This year, three of the top 10 retirement-friendly cities were in Florida. Scottsdale has the highest population of people aged 65 and older, according to the study, while Los Angeles has the most recreation and senior centers per capita. However, none of the cities with the lowest cost of in-home care services made the top 10 “best cities” list.

The cities were scored on 31 metrics that ranked their retirement friendliness, with cost of living being a top factor, as most retirees rely on a lower fixed income. Accessibility to health care also weighs heavily in where seniors should choose to retire.

“…[Consider] whether you plan to work in retirement (either part time or full time)—and whether the cities you are looking at offer the kinds of employment you might be qualified for or would enjoy,” said Gary Mottola, research director of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation. “Obviously, the more you have saved and the better health you are enjoying, the more options you have in considering where to retire.”

Detroit, which made the “worst cities” list, has some of the lowest percentage of employed people aged 65 and older.

Worst cities to retire:

141. Fontana, California

142. Rancho Cucamonga, California

143. Bakersfield, California

144. Wichita, Kansas

145. Detroit, Michigan

146. Aurora, Illinois

147. Chula Vista, California

148. Newark, New Jersey

149. Worcester, Massachusetts

150. Providence, Rhode Island

“It is important to consider how walkable the area is (driving gets hard with age and walking encourages exercise) the quality of health care in the area, the availability of people to socialize with (either family or friends), the availability of services nearby should they become needed in old-old age (quality/quantity of nursing home beds, availability of home health care), and the quality of the housing stock for aging (houses with single stories and other aging friendly amenities),” said Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, research economist in the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Written by Amy Baxter

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