WalletHub Ranks Best and Worst Retirement Cities for 2019

What’s the best place for retirees to live after they hang up their hat? WalletHub has a few ideas. Previously the personal finance site has ranked the top states for retirees but now a new study looks specifically at the best and worst retirement cities.

To determine their rankings, WalletHub considered four main factors for each city: affordability, activities, quality of life, and health care. In terms of affordability, adjusted cost of living, retiree tax-friendliness, and annual cost of in-home services were all considered. As for activites, the study looked at the per capita of museums, golf courses, theatres, bingo halls, etc. Next, for quality of life, factors included the share of the population that was over 65, walk score, mild weather, and more. Finally the health care portion considered the number of family and general physicians, dentists, nurses, and others per 10,000 residents along with the quality of public hospital systems, life expectancy, and more.

With all of those elements considered, WalletHub named Orlando the top city for retirees with a total score of 60.87. Not far behind with a score of 59.06 was nearby Tampa. Of course it makes perfect sense that Floridian cities would place first and second considering that the Sunshine State came out on top in a previous study ranking the best states for retirees. Rounding out the top five were Scottsdale, Arizona (58.35); Charleston, South Carolina (58.30); and Miami, Florida (57.21).

As for cities that retirees should likely avoid, Stockton, California seems to be one. With a score of just 33.73, the city placed last among the 182 WalletHub included. Two other Golden State cities — San Bernadino and Bakersfield — also appeared in the bottom five along with Bridgeport, Connecticut and Warwick, Rhode Island.

Of course, while these cities were found to be the best and worse overall, different retirees may have different priorities for what to look for. On that note, those looking for the lowest adjusted cost of living might consider Laredo, Texas while avoiding places like San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and several cities in Hawaii. However, speaking of Hawaii, Pearl City was the city found to have the highest percentage of the population aged 65 or older while Fontana, California had the lowest. Lastly those in search of mild weather might enjoy Glendale, California while avoiding Juneau, Alaska (of course).

One major note is that studies like this can’t reasonably quantify factors that may be important to individual retirees such as the distance to family or friends. Still those looking for some ideas of where to spend their Golden Years may just find inspiration from these rankings. With that, for more insights on the best and worst cities for retirees, you check out WalletHub’s study here.

This can be a good study but retirees I think would prefer to live close to their family or somewhere the’ve been living most of their lives where they are more familiar with and close to their friends.

Its just good to know how these cities compare in terms of retirement but I guess it won’t be a big factor in choosing your retirement city.

I’d love to retire i Hawaii. Maybe nature and way of life contributes to the most numbers of seniors compared to other cities

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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