Florida Takes Top Spots in Retirement Friendliness

From weather to number of senior centers, WalletHub ranks 150 cities across the country for the best—and worst—places to retire.

No surprise, cities in Arizona and Florida top out among the best for retirement-friendliness. The worst? According to WalletHub’s rankings, it’s New York and New Jersey.

The report compared the retirement-friendliness of the 150 largest U.S. cities across 24 metrics, including cost of living, percentage of the population that’s elderly, access to health care and availability of recreational activities, among others.

Anchorage, Alaska, has the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 who are employed. Other good bets for employment post-retirement age are Washington, D.C., and Lincoln, Nebraska. The lowest percentage is in Brownsville, Texas. But Brownsville gets high ratings for the cheapest in-home care, as do Shreveport, Louisiana; and Montgomery, Alabama. The highest costs for in-home care are found in Seattle; Tacoma, Washington; and San Francisco.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., have the greatest number of recreation and seniors’ centers per capita. New York City, and Toledo and Boise City, both in Idaho, have the fewest recreation and seniors’ centers per capita.

California takes top spots for best mild weather in Glendale, Riverside and Bakersfield. Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, get called out for worst weather, as does Indianapolis.

If percentage of the population age 65 and up is important, consider Scottsdale, Arizona; Hialeah, Florida; and Cape Coral, Florida. The cities with the lowest percentage of population 65 and older are Santa Ana, California; Aurora, Illinois; and Gilbert, Arizona.

For overall rankings in affordability, activities, quality of life and health care, the top 10 cities from first to tenth place are:

  1. Tampa, Florida
  2. Scottsdale, Arizona
  3. Boise, Idaho
  4. Cape Coral, Florida
  5. Orlando, Florida
  6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  8. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  9. Overland Park, Kansas
  10. Peoria, Arizona

The worst cities overall for retirement-friendliness were, beginning with the last-ranked city on the list:

  1. Newark, New Jersey
  2. Jersey City, New Jersey
  3. Providence, Rhode Island
  4. Aurora, Illinois
  5. New York City
  6. Yonkers, New York
  7. Chicago
  8. Boston
  9. Worcester, Massachusetts
  10. Detroit