The worst places to retire in the United States

Forget moving to Hawaii

Florida may be the unofficial "retiree" state, but South Dakota may be a smarter pick when choosing a place to spend one's twilight years, Laura Joszt writes for Physician’s Money Digest.

Joszt drew on Bankrate's annual retirement report, which includes data on states' quality of health care from the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research; cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research; weather statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; tax rates from the Tax Foundation; crime rates from the FBI; and well-being scores from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

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According to the report, the ten best states for retirees are:

    1. South Dakota
    2. Colorado
    3. Utah
    4. North Dakota
    5. Wyoming
    6. Nebraska
    7. Montana
    8. Idaho
    9. Iowa
    10. Virginia

The three states that scored best for health care quality—Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine—were not included in the top ten.

Meanwhile, Bankrate’s ten worst states for retirees are:

    41. Kentucky
    42. Maryland
    43. Oklahoma
    44. Louisiana
    45. Alabama
    46. Hawaii
    47. Arkansas
    48. Alaska
    49. West Virginia
    50. New York

New York was deemed unaffordable for retirees with nearly half of the state residents living in Manhattan—a city with high taxes and the fourth-highest cost of living in the nation. Moreover, the state's health care quality and wellness scores rank low because residents deal with both frigid weather and the potential for hurricanes, according to Bankrate.

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While Hawaii boasts better weather, the state has the highest cost of living in the United States. For example, a loaf of bread in Honolulu costs $1.30 higher than the national average, Bankrate researchers say. 

"While the states that ranked highly may not be thought of as typical retiree havens, seniors should consider more than sunshine when choosing a place for their golden years," says Chris Kahn, a Bankrate researcher. "The Dakotas both ranked in our top 10 for the second year in a row due to their low cost of living, low crime rates, good health care quality, low taxes, and excellent satisfaction scores from residents" (Joszt, Physician's Money Digest, 5/7).


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