Best Places To Retire In Every State

Planning for retirement should be a lifelong endeavor that begins the moment you start earning enough income to sock some of it away. The earlier you start the better as compound interest and capital gains investments give up more profit when they have a longer time to accrue.

Planning your life after 65 might include a new (and probably last) place to call home — one that offers important amenities like easy access to physical activities and doctors, ideally in a welcoming environment. (Affordability is important too, and Hawaii is the most expensive state to retire in.)

To determine the best places to retire in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index of 11 different measures related to the health and well-being of the 65 years and over population using data from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. The measure included air quality, access to and quality of local health care, population makeup and change, leisure activity options, and more. U.S. county or county equivalents were ranked based on the index, and the best in each state are listed here.

The populations of the best counties to retire in each state range from small rural townships to large urban or suburban areas. Thirteen have populations below 10,000 residents and are widely dispersed. 

There is tiny Jeff Davis County in West Texas, where well over a third of its 2,021 residents are 65 years or older and life expectancy at birth is one of the highest at over 84 years. Another small county is Cook County in the northeastern tip of Minnesota, with a population of 5,574. Retirees there have among the highest concentration of primary care physicians, at 142 per 100,000 people, the same as in New York County (Manhattan), which has a population of 1.7 million.

Three other counties on the list have populations over half a million — Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County, adjacent to Philadelphia; St. Louis County, Missouri; and Morris County, New Jersey. (Find out if any of these are among the counties with the most affordable homes in America.)

If you prefer to be around fellow retirees, more than a third of the population is over the age of 65 in four of the counties listed, led by Sumter County, Florida. With a total population of more than 127,000 people, Sumter is home to The Villages, the country’s largest age-restricted planned community. Nearly six out of 10 people in Sumer County are 65 or over, the nation’s highest ratio by a long shot.

Retirees searching for a place to live out their years might also want to consider life expectancy at birth among these 50 counties.

Five of the counties on the list have average life lower expectancy than the national average of 76.1 years, led by Johnson County, Tennessee, whose retirees also live 1.3 years less than the statewide average of 75.3 years and have access to well under half of the number of primary care physicians than the state’s average of 70 per 100,000 people. However, most of the 50 counties that are best for retirees in their state have average life expectancies of more than 80 years, led by Pitkin County, Colorado, whose county seat is the small and affluent municipality of Aspen.

Here are the best places to retire in every state.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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