Best states in the United States for retirement

WalletHub Published Its Annual Ranking, and a Fan Favorite Retained Its Longtime Title at the Top
Planning retirement can be a laborious and daunting task. There’s much to consider and prepare for, especially if you’re thinking of retiring outside the borders of your hometown. Many people cross state and even national lines in pursuit of rewarding golden years. WalletHub is making the job a bit easier by compiling its annual list of the best (and worst) US states to retire in.

The website evaluated states on healthcare, quality of life, and affordability using 46 different metrics. The result of strenuous research showed that, unsurprisingly, Florida maintained its reign as the US’s retirement haven. Succeeding the Sunshine State were Colorado, Virginia, Delaware, Wyoming, Idaho, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Montana, and, in the tenth spot, Pennsylvania. A deeper dive into the best these options can offer is enough to fill an unnerved soon-to-be retiree with exciting anticipation.

retirees at the beach

Explaining the top rankings

Florida was once again hailed as the premier destination for retirees, topping the list due to its advantageous tax policies, including exemptions from estate, inheritance, and income taxes. The state offers high-quality healthcare for its large senior population, which contributes to its appeal and helps place it in the top spot. With an abundance of shoreline and various recreational activities like golf, water sports, and theme parks, Florida provides ample opportunities for leisure and engagement, made even more gratifying by its balmy weather all year round. All these factors undoubtedly contribute to the state’s low mortality rate among elders, which is why, despite a relatively high cost of living, Florida remains such a popular retirement destination.

Colorado follows closely, offering a tax-friendly environment akin to Florida’s and, unlike it, an abundance of snowy slopes for lovers of chillier weather. Additionally, excellent healthcare facilities and a vibrant community life make Colorado a top choice for retirees. Virginia, ranking third, shines in elder protection measures and healthcare provisions, despite being relatively expensive. Delaware secures the fourth spot due to its low tax burden and high senior population, ensuring social connectedness and financial security, not to mention numerous beach resorts. Rounding out the top five, Wyoming stands out for its safety measures, low tax burden, and opportunities for community engagement.

Lowest cost of living

If a low cost of living is your top priority, then look for retirement communities in West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi due to economies centered on low-cost labor such as agriculture, energy production or manufacturing, all of which help keep grocery, transportation, and housing prices relatively low. For a low cost of living, you’ll want to stay away from states such as New York, Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, which took the last five spots in affordability.

Worst states for retirees

WalletHub ranked Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Kentucky as the least favorable states for retirement, all due to their scoring relatively lower across the three categories (healthcare, quality of life, and affordability). Oklahoma and Kentucky have relatively higher tax burdens, including state income taxes, which can eat into retirees’ fixed incomes. Rhode Island and New Jersey also have higher tax rates and overall costs of living, making it challenging for retirees to stretch their savings. Mississippi struggles with healthcare infrastructure and overall well-being indicators, which can impact the quality of life for retirees. Limited access to healthcare facilities and higher rates of poverty further compound the challenges for retirees in some of these states.



According to WalletHub, this ranking shows that people have options upon retirement. While retirement symbolizes the end of a person’s professional life, it can be a new beginning for so many other aspects of it. For retirees embarking on finding their ideal new home across America, it’s important to remember that each state offers a unique blend of advantages and challenges. While some states may boast lower costs of living or favorable tax policies, others shine with vibrant communities, cultural amenities, and natural beauty. Ultimately, the best place to retire is one that aligns with individual preferences, priorities, and lifestyle goals. Whether it’s the sunny shores of Florida, the scenic landscapes of Colorado, or the close-knit communities of Delaware, there’s a perfect destination waiting to welcome retirees with open arms.

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