These are the best and worst cities to retire in 2017


One of the biggest life decisions people of a certain age can make is how they want to spend their retirement years.

So many factors converge to form the answer—the activities you prioritize, the people you want to spend time with—but perhaps the most important is where you live. Your physical location affects nearly every other aspect of your life, from the weather you experience every day to the community support and health care you receive.

Luckily, WalletHub just conducted a study of the 150 most populated U.S. cities to determine the best (and worst!) places retirees can hang their hats in 2017. Here are the four dimensions the researchers used to rank the cities:

1. Affordability

Cities were given a score out of 25 possible points based on affordability factors including cost of living, taxes, annual costs of in-home services, and healthcare costs.

2. Activities

Another potential 25 points were doled out for a city’s activity offerings, based on the number of recreation and senior centers per capita, as well as golf courses, museums, art galleries, theaters, and adult volunteer opportunities.

3. Quality Of Life

The potential 25 points in the “quality of life” category was determined by variables including each city’s population of older residents, walk scores, violent crime rates, and quality of air and water.

4. Healthcare

Last but not least, cities could rack up a possible 25 points in the healthcare category, based on total number of geriatric hospitals, number of nurses, dentists, and doctors, and average resident life expectancy.

After gathering and weighing the data, the team at WalletHub ranked all 150 cities in order. Without further ado, let’s delve into which cities were at the top of the list for retirees, and which ones seniors might want to avoid.

The ten best cities for retirees in 2017:

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

You might not think of Sin City as an oasis for retirees, but the city ranks extremely high in activities (in addition to casinos, Las Vegas has many opportunities for art, entertainment, and outdoor recreation), as well as affordability. Just be careful with all the money you save by living there, and stay away from the slot machines!

las vegas photo

9. Austin, Texas

Like Las Vegas, Austin can thank its plentiful activities for its high ranking. Getting out on the town in this southern city is easy and fun, with endless options for food, music, and enjoying the outdoors. Austin also ranked relatively high in the healthcare category.

austin photo

8. Denver, Colorado

The Mile High city also ranks high on the list of best places to retire. Why? A combination of a strong healthcare system, plenty of cultural and outdoor activities, and fresh, clean air and water. Sounds pretty dreamy, doesn’t it?

denver photo

7. Honolulu, Hawaii

Who doesn’t want to retire in Hawaii, right? Well, turns out there are reasons besides the sunshine and gorgeous beaches to consider an island relocation.  While Honolulu is notoriously expensive, it is ranked 9th in the country for healthcare, 12th for activities, and—drum roll please—No. 1 for quality of life. If you can afford it, it’s worth it.

honolulu photo

6. Salt Lake City, Utah

Looking for somewhere more affordable than Honolulu and don’t mind the cold winters? Consider Salt Lake City. A high healthcare ranking boosted this Utah gem toward the top of the list, combined with strong community support and a wide array of activities and ways to get involved.

salt lake city photo

5. Atlanta, Georgia

This lively, historic city in the South offers residents so many things to do it ranked 8th out of all cities in the activities category. Combined with great healthcare and general affordability, Atlanta is many retirees’ dreams come true.

atlanta photo

4. Scottsdale, Arizona

Retirees who love the heat have been flocking to Scottsdale for years, and for good reason: the city ranks extremely high in healthcare (No. 10) and quality of life (No. 5!). Plus, with beautiful weather, golf courses galore, and a beautiful desert landscape to explore, you won’t run out of things to do.

scottsdale photo

3. Miami, Florida

Florida has long had a reputation as a haven for retirees, so is it any surprise that cities in the Sunshine State claimed the top 3 spots on the list? Coming in at No. 3 is Miami, a city with amazing weather, ample activities (beach, culture, food, art—what more could you want?) and great healthcare.

miami photo

2. Tampa, Florida

Taking the No. 2 spot is Tampa, the 7th most affordable city on the list, which means you’ll have money left over to enjoy all the activities this Gulf Coast city has to offer. From boating to fishing to exploring the city’s many parks, zoos, and aquariums, you’ll be sure to keep busy.

tampa photo

1. Orlando, Florida

Aaaaaaand the No. 1 city for retirees in 2017 is … Orlando! This central Florida hot-spot ranked in the top 15 for healthcare, activities and affordability, clinching top honors. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to retire in the same city as Disney World? Season passes, anyone?

orlando photo

So there you have it: the top ten best places to retire in 2017. Now, let’s take a look at the ten worst, shall we?

10. Rancho Cucamonga, California

This city, located 37 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, was dragged down by a low affordability score (Southern California is notoriously expensive), but it also received surprisingly low ratings in health care and senior-friendly activities.

Flickr | kla4067

9. Fontana, California

While Florida cities dominated the top of the list, California cities snagged half of the spots on the “10 worst cities” list. Coming in just behind Rancho Cucamonga is Fontana, California, which came in dead last in the activities ranking, and ranked almost as low on health care. Seniors might want to steer clear.

Flickr | Slipshod Photog

8. Modesto, California

Modesto was dragged down by low rankings across the board, coming in 144th out of 150 cities for healthcare, and 140th for activities.

Getty Images | Jason Kirk

7. Stockton, California

Modesto’s neighbor, Stockton, fared even worse, receiving extremely low scores across the board. The city has faced extreme financial hardship (including filing for bankruptcy in 2012) and an ongoing problem with violent crime that has earned it a spot on another list: the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

6. Fresno, California

Just south of Stockton and Modesto is the No. 6 worst city for retirees: Fresno. The city in the San Joaquin Valley received dismal ratings in healthcare, activity, and quality of life.

Flickr | Strangevisitor

5. Detroit, Michigan

While Detroit has recently become known as “America’s Comeback City” due to its evolving and growing economy, its high rates of unemployment and low quality of living score kept it confined to the bottom of this list.

Flickr | Digital_Third_Eye

4. Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester is the second biggest city in New England, but it still doesn’t offer the activities and quality of life retirees are looking for. Low rating in healthcare clinched its ranking as one of the worst options for seniors.

Flickr | Destination Worcester

3. San Bernardino, California

Located east of Los Angeles, San Bernardino lags in the senior-friendly activities department, and ranks extremely low in healthcare availability and quality of life as well.

Flickr | inkknife_2000 (8 million views +)

2. Providence, Rhode Island

Ranked 143rd out of 150 cities for healthcare and 146th for quality of life earned Providence the No. 2 spot on the list of worst cities for seniors.

Flickr | rik-shaw (reflect first)

1. Newark, New Jersey

And finally, the worst city in the United States for retirees is Newark. Ranked dead last for quality of life (ouch!), and 145th for healthcare mean if you’re looking to retire, you might want look elsewhere.

Flickr | wbaiv


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Winona Dimeo-Ediger

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