Retirement Cities in the US

Which cities offer the best quality of life for seniors and retirees? U.S. News did an analysis of the 25 best cities for retirement living based on the amenities that seniors desire at reasonable costs in metropolitan areas across the United States. Of the 25 deemed best metropolitan cities, Florida, Texas, and Michigan hold rank as having some of the top cities. The analysis was derived from an online survey including individuals ages 45 and above on their retirement preferences, including data on “housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care.” Here is how these cities offer their desirability to the retirement community.

Sitting at 25 on the U.S News analysis is Pensacola, Florida.  This beach retirement spot comes highly recommended as being “affordable for retirees on a budget.” It is worthy to note that Florida has no state income tax, so retirees will see a little more of their income if they are supplementing their retirement income with part-time work or side hustles.

At 24, San Antonio, “…it is the ideal place to combine a scenic Texas Hill Country retirement with the amenities of a large city” (U.S. News). Like Florida, Texas also does not have any state income tax, helping keep those earnings in the pocket of the retiree. With far lower housing costs and an increasingly growing population, San Antonio gives you that country aesthetic with large city extravagances.

Coming in at 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina, also one of the most populous cities in North Carolina. Receiving high marks for desirability and affordability, The U.S. News analysis asserts, “{m}any people relocate to Charlotte in search of job opportunities or a lower cost of living. The area is a center for the banking industry and motorsports and has a variety of museums and performing arts venues for retirees interested in entertainment options or volunteer work.”

Houston, Texas occupies 22 on the list of 25 best cities for retirement. Houston is the fourth-largest city in the U.S., for its size it is recognized as having “unusually affordable housing.” U.S. News boasts, “{Houston} continues to attract new residents. The area is a center for the oil and natural gas industries . . . {and} seniors age 65 and older can audit courses for free at the University of Houston,” making Houston ranking high marks for desirability.

Coming in at 21, Grand Rapids Michigan offers affordable cost of living with a thriving arts district. The art community offers affordable membership into the art district which attracts artists from all over. More notably, Grand Rapids offers affordable housing to seniors, U.S. News reports, “the median home price among people age 60 and older is just $162,300.”

Number 20 goes to Tampa, Florida where 26% of the population is in the 60+ age group (U.S. News). Tampa offers beach communities, accessibility to cruise ports to further exploration into the Caribbean and Europe. U.S. News asserts, “Tampa allows you to retire near the beach on a budget while still enjoying the amenities of a metro area. There are beaches with powdery sand along the Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico as well as towering skyscrapers and high rises.”

Chattanooga, Tennessee is in the 19th spot offering internet and tech opportunities. Chattanooga “also presents opportunities for retirees who want to work part-time online or launch an internet business in a city that doesn’t cost a fortune, while also enjoying the nearby mountains and Tennessee River” (U.S. News).

At 18, Lakeland, Florida offers inland affordable waterfront living with over 30 local lakes offering fishing, bird watching, hiking, kayaking for those outdoorsy retirees. With a median home price of $120,900, and located between Tampa and Orlando, “Lakeland is a lower-cost alternative to these larger cities that are both within an hour’s drive”. (U.S. News).

Dallas-Fort Worth occupies the 17th spot because of its affordable housing. It is asserted that the affordable housing makes it easier and more affordable to relocate.  U.S. News cautions to factor in property taxes when purchasing a home.

At 16, Orlando, Florida hits the mark. U.S. News boasts that the influx of visitors and tourism offers plenty of affordable entertainment options for seniors. And centrally located to the University of Central Florida, “the campus is also welcoming to retirees, and Florida residents age 60 and older can audit classes for free on a space-available basis” (U.S. News).

Joining at 15, Daytona Beach offers low-cost Atlantic coastal living and high excitement from motorsports. The analysis asserts, “retirees might be enticed to stay by the low housing costs, pleasant winter weather and desirability of retiring along the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the east coast of Florida, the area has 23 miles of sandy beaches, some of which allow you to drive your car onto the hard-packed sand” (U.S. News).

Seat 14 takes us way north to Manchester, New Hampshire that entices you with your senses and the four seasons. Manchester is the most populous city in New Hampshire offering higher quality of life, job opportunities, and access to health care (U.S. News). New Hampshire does not have state sales tax or earned income tax, but it does have high property tax, and it will tax dividends and interest, warns the analysis.

Jacksonville, Florida ranks at 13 with its mild winters, close proximity to Georgia, and access to highly rated and performing hospitals. The beaches and golf courses are added extra amenities to entice retirees.

At 12, Nashville, Tennessee hits the charts offering music lovers a complete destination of shows, festivals, and concerts. U.S. News notes, “the state of Tennessee doesn’t tax earned income, but will tax dividends and interest.”

At 11, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina occupies the list because of it desirable vacationing, also offering 60 miles of beach and top architect-designed golf courses to invite any retiree to take up residence, including affordable housing costs (U.S. News).

Melbourne, Florida ranks in at slot 10, with individuals ages 60+ making up 31% of the population (U.S. News). Low housing costs make relocating easy and affordable. An attractive area for people seeking mild winters and rocket launching watching from Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral.

Miami, Florida hits the list at 9, not for its affordable cost of living, because it is in fact, much higher than other Floridian cities. It does offer a cultural district in tropical weather, beach retirement with “big city services” (U.S. News). Miami-Dade residents over age 65 are permitted to ride public transit for free. Where the cost of living is higher, public transportation could help lower some costs.

Ranking at 8, Asheville, North Carolina takes its post offering a mountain town with high affordability and desirability. According to the Gallup poll, Asheville is a haven for writers, artists, and musicians that report they like where they live and take pride in their community (U.S. News).

Anne Arbor, Michigan takes the 7 spots, being a community centered around the University of Michigan. Anne Arbors economy and lifestyle revolve around this college town that offers health care and job opportunities. The University of Michigan also provides free tuition to Michigan families earning less than 65k (U.S. News).

Ocala, Florida ranks in at the 6 spots because of the reasonable cost of living and even lower housing costs. 36% of the population lands in the 60+ range. And those individuals have a median house price of $136,100. Ocala is known for its equestrian roots and producing horses for the Kentucky Derby (U.S. News).

Sliding in at 5, Lancaster, Pennsylvania makes the list offering safety. According to a Gallup poll, residents of Lancaster feel safe within their community and enjoy the Amish culture surrounding them. Lancaster is becoming a foodie haven reports the Gallup poll (U.S. News).

Naples, Florida ranks at 4 with 38% of its population consisting of individuals ages 60+. U.S. News boasts, Naples offers the highest quality of living with mild winters, white sandy beaches on the gulf, and lush golf courses to attract their leisure time. “While more expensive than many other Florida cities, many retirees appreciate the high quality of life. Residents of Naples report the highest sense of well-being in the country, according to an annual Gallup survey. People in this south Florida city say they enjoy supportive relationships, like what they do each day and have a secure economic life” (U.S. News).

The 3rd spot is reserved for Port St. Lucie for its affordable cost of living and high marks for desirability. The Gallup poll reveals that residents seem to be less stressed in their economic life-giving this city high happiness marks, reports U.S. News. Age 60+ make up 33% of the population.

Fort Meyers, Florida holds on the second slot providing for over 1/3 of its population belonging to the 60+ age group. This city is affordable but more importantly marks high metrics for desirability, economic stability, and happiness.

And the number one best city to retire to is Sarasota, Florida. Almost 40% of its population is in the 60+ age group. The white sand beaches and moderately priced housing attract retirees desiring beach retirement on a budget. No state income tax benefits the part-time retiree.

Whether you are still planning retirement or you are already enjoying retirement weigh your amenities desired against the budget you have allotted to provide yourself with the best retirement lifestyle.

Related articles