Southern College Towns Ideal Retirement Location

An analysis of trends and preferences indicates that tens of millions of Baby Boomers should look to Southern college towns for the ideal retirement location.  
Southern college towns provide the best combination of climate, cost of living, healthcare and other priorities, according to a report from The Washington Economics Group (WEG). The report, titled “Best Choice for Retiring Boomers: Head South—An Analysis of Selected U.S. Cities,” builds on the recent survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
The survey also found that in the comparison of 20 prospective ideal Boomer retirement communities, Tallahassee, Florida, ranked first in the country.
The survey found that one-third of Baby Boomers would consider moving to another state to find the desirable conditions they most value. Chief among those are a midsize town with a pleasant, warm climate and a mild hint of winter, a low cost of living and favorable tax rate, and a top-quality health care system, among other key priorities.



According to the survey, the top 20 towns for retirement are:

  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Athens, Georgia
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Oxford, Mississippi
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • New York, New York

The 20 cities evaluated by WEG have an already high number of retirees or are classified as typically popular destinations for retirees; have populations consistent with or close to the size favored in the Mason-Dixon poll; or feature more than one factor favored by those surveyed.

To view the full report, visit