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2016’s Best & Worst Cities to Retire

Travis Bell

With a business degree in Management Information Systems, Travis previously worked as an executive with Accenture, a fortune 500 company...

With a business degree in Management Information Systems, Travis previously worked as an executive with Accenture, a fortune 500 company...

Sep 11 6 minutes read

by Richie Bernardo, WalletHub

After toiling in the workplace for decades, it seems only natural to expect financial security in our golden years. But not everyone can look forward to a cushy retirement. Americans are actually working more years compared with previous generations yet only grow further from financial freedom. In 2015, 21 percent of workers expected to retire at age 65, but only 9 percent actually were able to do so, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s latest Retirement Confidence Survey.

To help you navigate your options, WalletHub’s analysts compared the retirement-friendliness of the 150 largest U.S. cities across 31 key metrics. The data set ranges from the cost of living to the percentage of the elderly population to the availability of recreational activities. You can find the results, additional expert commentary and a detailed methodology below. 



Overall Rank
City
Total Score
‘Affordability’ Rank
‘Activities’ Rank
‘Quality of Life’ Rank
‘Health Care’ Rank
1Orlando, FL61.02767311
2Tampa, FL59.273171872
3Scottsdale, AZ58.985816417
4Miami, FL58.943927121
5Sioux Falls, SD56.251970811
6Las Vegas, NV55.8121133094
7Cape Coral, FL55.4017661024
8Atlanta, GA54.6852312051
9Minneapolis, MN53.991295762
10Los Angeles, CA53.9512512236


Methodology

To help Americans find the best cities to spend their golden years, WalletHub’s analysts compared the retirement-friendliness of the 150 most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Activities, 3) Quality of Life and 4) Health Care.

We evaluated these categories using 31 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions for retirement.

We then calculated overall scores for each city using the weighted average across all metrics, which we then used to construct the final ranking.

With cost being a significant factor in retirement, our analysis assumes retirees will rely on a fixed income. The lower their expenses, the better retirees will fare in a particular city. 

Please note that “city,” with regard to our sample, refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.

Affordability – Total Points: 25

  • Adjusted Cost of Living: Triple Weight (~13.64 Points)
  • WalletHub “Taxpayer” Ranking: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Tax-Friendliness Toward Retirees: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
    Note: This metric refers to taxation on pensions and Social Security income. 
  • Annual Cost of In-Home Services:  Half Weight (~2.27 Points)

Activities – Total Points: 25

  • Number of Recreation & Senior Centers per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Number of Fishing Facilities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Number of Public Golf Courses per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Number of Museums per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Number of Theaters per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Number of Art Galleries per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Number of Music Venues per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was measured by the square root of the population. 
  • Availability of Adult Volunteer Activities: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • WalletHub “Recreation” Ranking: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)

Quality of Life – Total Points: 25

  • Percentage of 65 & Older Population: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Elderly-Friendly Labor Market: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Percentage of Commuters Who Use Public Transit: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was used as a proxy for availability of public transportation. 
  • Walk Score: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • WalletHub “Mild Weather” Ranking: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Violent-Crime Rate: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Property Crime Rate: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Air Quality: Half Weight (~1.39 Points)
  • Water Quality: Half Weight (~1.39 Points)

Health Care – Total Points: 25

  • Number of Family and General Physicians per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Number of Dentists per 10,000 Residents: Half Weight (~1.47 Points)
  • Number of Nurses per 1,000 Residents:  Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Number of Health Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Public-Hospitals Ranking: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Emotional Health: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Number of Home-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Life Expectancy: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Death Rate 65 & Older Population: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)


Sources: Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Council for Community and Economic Research, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Environmental Protection Agency, County Health Rankings, Social Science Research Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Retirement Living Information Center, Trust For Public Land, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Charity Navigator, Healthways, Yelp, Golf.com, Walk Score, Genworth Financial and WalletHub research.

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