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Best and Worst States to Retire

Florida — Best

Florida — Best

Everyone knows that Florida is the spot to retire. It doesn’t matter if you’re a young adult aching for a visit to Orlando, or a middle-aged empty-nester longing for retirement. It’s easy to understand why, too. The weather there can definitely have its ups and downs, but in general, blue skies and white sandy beaches are the dream.

Florida — Best

Florida — Best

Add in the fact that housing there is still recovering from the crash a decade ago, and you have cheap living. By 2030, there are supposed to be six million residents over age 65, meaning the state does an excellent job catering to that demographic. In Florida, you have your own tropical resort at a fraction of the cost. It’s a hard spot to beat.

New York—Worst

New York—Worst

New York may be a great place for a vacation, but you probably want to cross it off your list if you're considering it as a place to retire. In WalletHub's recent study about the best states for retirement, poor New York was near the bottom of the barrel in 48th place. 

New York—Worst

New York—Worst

So what exactly is it that made The Empire State do so poorly in the rankings? The main drawback in the state seems to be problems with the cost of living. In that particular category, New York came in dead last for the entire country. If you've got money to burn, you might be able to make it work, but everyone else should beware! 

Colorado — Best

Colorado — Best

Colorado is the new California. It’s the place to be. Culture is being born underneath some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, pulling in unprecedented amounts of people every year. There’s a seemingly perfect balance of cities and rural areas. Trails and iconic national parks are thrown into the mix with amazing restaurants and top-notch entertainment.

Colorado — Best

Colorado — Best

Not to mention all the fantastic festivals in and outside of Denver. On top of all that, the healthcare in the state is some of the best in the entire country. With all this goodness, we're starting to understand why everyone has decided to flock to Colorado. 

Arkansas — Worst

Arkansas — Worst

Arkansas is in the same boat as other southern states. It’s fairly cheap, but the quality of life and healthcare are ranked low. In fact, Arkansas is ranked 45th in quality of life and 49th in healthcare. Yikes! That isn't to say that there isn't a single place in Arkansas that isn't worth its salt.

Arkansas — Worst

Arkansas — Worst

There are a few areas that seem to be flourishing — like the Fayetteville area. Unfortunately, other areas have a high crime rate, which isn't appealing to most people. One of the few good things about the state is its beauty and the fact it doesn't tax social security income. The downside is that it does tax pensions. 

Delaware—Best

Delaware—Best

Delaware might not be the first place you think of when you're considering spots to retire. However, this tiny New England state may be one of the country's best-kept secrets for retirees! The views in Delaware are unbeatable, but the advantages of living in this state don't just stop there. 

Delaware—Best

Delaware—Best

According to a recent study from WalletHub, Delaware ranked as the fourth best state to retire in for the entire United States. It got such high marks thanks mostly to the incredibly affordable cost of living in the state. However, it's also one of the states with the highest percentage of people over 65, so you're sure to have plenty of company there. 

Louisiana — Worst

Louisiana — Worst

Louisiana has a ton of pull to it. New Orleans is a city unlike any other, and you won’t find many places in the states where the language varies as much as it does in this state. That’s shouldn’t be enough to pull you in, though.

Louisiana — Worst

Louisiana — Worst

Its in-home care is extremely cheap, but the quality is not there. You can see this evidenced by the low life expectancy. U.S. News also ranked Louisiana last in the overall ranking of states, something that's plagued the state for years. It's ranked dead-last in about everything from education to healthcare. Plus, there’s a high rate of property-related crime. Not the place you want to retire. 

Minnesota—Best

Minnesota—Best

Living in the Midwest is great no matter what stage of your career that you're currently in, but it's an especially appealing place for retirees. Expect plenty of that classic Midwest hospitality and kindness if you do decide to move here! Everyone feels like a friend when you're in Minnesota. 

Minnesota—Best

Minnesota—Best

When it comes to retirement, Minnesota recently ranked as number five in the nation for retirees in a WalletHub study. They scored particularly well when it comes to healthcare—Minnesota has one of the longest life expectancies in the country—but they also scored incredibly well for general quality of life as well. 

New Jersey — Worst

New Jersey — Worst

New Jersey seems to be middle of the road on a lot of things — except affordability, which it ranks as the nation’s worst state. Surpassing even places like Hawaii and New York. Homes are not cheap here. According to Zillow, the average home price is $329,00, and that price is only increasing year over year. 

New Jersey — Worst

New Jersey — Worst

On top of that, the cost of living is not very approachable. SmartAsset found grocery prices are some of the highest in the country, and the high taxes will bleed you of anything else you have left. Even their healthcare does not seem to cater too much to the elderly.

North Dakota—Best

North Dakota—Best

It may seem like North Dakota is just sitting up there at the top of the country, minding its own business and doing its own thing, but this state is actually one to watch if you're considering retirement soon! According to a WalletHub study, North Dakota ranked as the 6th best state in the nation to retire in. 

North Dakota—Best

North Dakota—Best

North Dakota became one of the best states to retire in mainly because of the high quality of life and healthcare services available there. According to the study, the state recieved these high rankings thanks to things like an "elder-friendly labor market", good air quality, and a high number of medical professionals per capita. 

Mississippi — Worst

Mississippi — Worst

There’s really not much going on in Mississippi. There are some nice trees and beautiful parks, but that’s about it. Luckily, that’s dropped the overall cost of the state. Cheap things usually aren’t great, though, and that’s evidenced by the third-worst quality of life in the nation.

Mississippi — Worst

Mississippi — Worst

U.S. News ranked Mississippi 48 out of 50, which is better than last year when it was ranked 49. Still, that doesn't say much, especially since healthcare is ranked dead-last. The only reason you should consider retiring to Mississippi is if you have family that you need to be super close to.

Montana—Best

Montana—Best

Montana isn't just a state for ranchers—it's also a great choice if you're looking to retire! The Treasure State is home to some of the most breathtaking, rural views in the country, but it's so much more than that. According to a 2022 WalletHub study, Montana actually came in 7th place for retirees. 

Montana—Best

Montana—Best

And what makes Montana such a perfect place for retirement? Their high ranking is largely thanks to the low cost of living in the state, but they also did well when it comes to the overall quality of life. Healthcare options weren't the best in the country, but they were far from the worst, either. 

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island’s affordability is almost as bad as New Jerseys. WalletHub gave it a 43 out of 50. The taxes here are the worst part about being able to afford anything, but even if money is no object, it gets worse.

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island has some huge cons retirees should take into account. Healthcare is excellent, but it's so expensive that most people can't afford it. On top of that, Rhode Island is ranked last in transportation. It has some of the worst roads in the entire country, which takes a serious toll on vehicles. 

New Hampshire — Best

New Hampshire — Best

The New England area is rich with history, so it’s fitting that at least one state would have garnered a reputation for welcoming retirees. In addition to satisfying the history buffs, and lovers of politics will feel right at home. Still, that isn't all New Hampshire has to offer. 

New Hampshire — Best

New Hampshire — Best

U.S. News ranks New Hampshire as one of the best states in the country, number two to be exact. The natural environment has a lot to do with it, from sprawling parks to stunning wildlife. The state also has a ton of education opportunities, and access to healthcare is unparalleled. 

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia has made the list for worst places to retire every year — surprising considering the fact that there’s a high number of seniors in the state. Their quality of life is not so great, though, and neither is their health. Let's talk about the nitty-gritty facts, shall we?

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia is ranked 47 out of 50 by U.S. News. Why? Well, it's ranked second-to-last in healthcare, meaning people can't access it or afford it, and when they can, it's pretty bad. It's also got a fair amount of crime. Finally, it isn't like other states where the natural environment makes it worth it. West Virginia has a fair amount of pollution, which isn't great for the lungs. 

Virginia — Best

Virginia — Best

Virginia is a super popular state for tourists and people looking to move, but especially for retirees. History buffs won’t run out of sites to see. Lovers of craft drinks will be blown away by the local craft breweries and wineries. Plus, you’ve got towering mountains and beautiful beaches in the same state. How many places can add that to their résumé?

Virginia — Best

Virginia — Best

Virginia is also ranked pretty high in quality of life. U.S. News ranked Virginia pretty high in opportunities, fiscal stabilities, and crime, meaning there's very little crime in the state. Healthcare is ranked at 18, which isn't wonderful, but it's not terrible either. Residents seem satisfied with it, at least. 

Kentucky — Worst

Kentucky — Worst

There’s a whole slew of reasons why you shouldn’t retire in Kentucky, but healthcare is the biggest. They are known to be particularly bad with the care of elderly patients. The average lifespan is one of the worst in the nation. That list goes on, but it just seems to get worse and worse.

Kentucky — Worst

Kentucky — Worst

In addition to its exceptionally poor healthcare, the cost of living is considerably higher than you’d expect in such a rural state. WalletHub places Kentucky at one of the worst places to retire because it's so expensive and the quality of life doesn't match up with what you pay. We're not sure how this happened but just stay away. 

Utah — Best

Utah — Best

Utah is another state that people seem to glance over. It’s fairly affordable, but the state really shines with its healthcare. It has several highly-regarded hospitals, and the general lifespan is longer than most. It’s a safe, low-crime state that has experienced steady economic growth.

Utah — Best

Utah — Best

U.S. News ranked Utah at four out of 50, which is pretty dang good considering it's also extremely affordable. Plus, it manages to draw in some culture-building aspects with things like the Sundance Film Festival, a well-known place for aspiring filmmakers to shine. It’ll definitely give you something to do.

Oklahoma—Worst

Oklahoma—Worst

When people think of Oklahoma the first thing that comes to mind is usually tornadoes. However, it's not the threat of severe weather that made Oklahoma such a bad place to retire—there are plenty of other things to worry about too. According to a recent WalletHub study, Oklahoma is only ranked 46th best for retirement. 

Oklahoma—Worst

Oklahoma—Worst

Oklahoma scored poorly in multiple categories for this study, including healthcare options and overall quality of life. That means things like finding a job, finding friends, or finding a high-quality doctor could be an issue. That being said, Oklahoma did much better in terms of affordability, so finances shouldn't be a big problem. 

Arizona — Best

Arizona — Best

Arizona is generally regarded as one of the best states to retire. It's dry and warm, providing a great place for you to enjoy the weather. Many retirees with breathing issues flock to the state because it's much easier to breathe without a ton of humidity floating around.

Arizona — Best

Arizona — Best

There's also plenty to do in that great weather, like visiting the Grand Canyon to activities like canoeing, golfing, or fishing. Food festivals are common too if you are looking to experiment with your menu. Best of all, there’s no social security, inheritance, gift, or estate taxes. That’s quite the win.

Illinois—Worst

Illinois—Worst

Illinois seems to have it all—with plenty of rural locales and big city sights, what's not to love about living here? Unfortunately, when it comes to retirement, Illinois might not be the place for you. In WalletHub's 2022 study, Illinois came in 45th place for states to retire in. 

Illinois—Worst

Illinois—Worst

So what is it about the state that makes it a difficult place for retirees? The biggest problem for Illinois was its affordability ranking—they came in 47th for that specific category. A lot of that probably has to do with the cost of living in Chicago, but the state's overall quality of life and healthcare scores weren't great, either.