retirement

Best places to retire: How your state ranks

Retirement » Best Places To Retire: How Your State Ranks

People have distinct ideas about the best places to retire. For many, it's about proximity to beaches, lakes, golf courses or grandchildren.

Bankrate took a more pragmatic approach to come up with its latest, more robust, list of best and worst states for retirement. We looked at practical considerations concerning health, safety and costs. We gathered state statistics on cost of living, crime rates, tax rates, access to medical care and average annual temperatures. We then ranked the states from best to worst, with the best being those states with a relatively low cost of living, low crime rates, low tax rates, easy access to medical care and higher-than-average year-round temperatures.

Check out how your state ranks for retirement

StateRankOverall
score
Hospital
beds per
1,000
population*
Doctors
per
100,000
population
Crimes
(property
& violent)
per 100,000
population
State and
local tax
burden**
(%)
Average
temperature
(1981-2010)
Cost of living
(rank from
CCER data)
Tennessee1713.30263.554,2047.7057.942
Louisiana2783.40262.664,2447.8066.7418
South Dakota3845.00219.062,0727.6045.5525
Kentucky4863.30232.352,9479.4055.965
Mississippi5924.40177.883,2958.7063.5914
Virginia6962.20274.492,4469.3055.4521
West Virginia7983.90232.122,5909.7052.0413
Alabama8993.20218.174,0268.2063.0611
Nebraska91014.00245.383,0069.7049.157
North Dakota101025.00244.392,1848.9040.9427
Missouri111033.10246.023,7569.0054.8012
Texas121052.40214.233,8817.9065.2110
Kansas131063.50222.553,4349.7054.574
Oklahoma141083.00173.503,8118.7059.801
Ohio151203.00266.743,6629.7051.2116
Montana16
(tie)
1213.70220.572,5878.6043.2231
Pennsylvania16
(tie)
1213.10305.352,57710.2049.1434
Georgia181222.60217.454,0009.0063.6917
Florida191232.80247.864,0379.3070.8830
Illinois201242.60280.153,11810.2052.1723
New Hampshire211252.20274.872,4728.1044.1940
Wyoming22
(tie)
1273.50184.422,4867.8042.4432
Iowa22
(tie)
1273.30189.282,5869.6048.1315
Idaho241282.10168.832,2699.4044.838
South Carolina251292.70229.794,4768.4062.6426
Indiana261302.70216.943,4949.6052.066
Nevada271321.90187.763,1238.2050.3419
Arkansas281343.20203.424,23510.0060.683
District of Columbia291365.70807.155,9989.3058.2049
Utah301381.80208.063,1689.3049.229
North Carolina31
(tie)
1402.40254.243,8779.9059.2924
New Jersey31
(tie)
1402.40316.342,45912.4053.1547
Arizona33
(tie)
1412.10209.673,9608.4061.0733
New York33
(tie)
1413.10395.922,31112.8045.8746
Hawaii351432.30316.983,62510.1076.4051
Michigan36
(tie)
1452.60250.213,0579.8044.9920
Massachusetts36
(tie)
1452.40469.012,68710.4048.2344
New Mexico38
(tie)
1471.90243.594,0998.4053.9522
Colorado38
(tie)
1472.00259.692,9279.1045.8029
Rhode Island401482.40375.552,92410.9050.4845
Connecticut411492.30376.382,44012.3049.4448
Delaware421502.40250.943,9709.2055.7438
Minnesota431542.90293.192,77110.8041.7836
Vermont44
(tie)
1552.10373.742,44410.1043.0841
Maryland44
(tie)
1552.00421.433,35410.2054.6542
Maine461572.70278.392,66910.3041.3539
Wisconsin471612.40259.102,67011.1043.7228
California481621.90268.692,99511.2059.8443
Washington491721.70269.993,8699.3048.6835
Alaska501762.20228.453,2397.0035.9050
Oregon511781.70274.473,36210.0048.7737
         
National average  2.83271.003,253952.75 

*For hospital beds: The Kaiser Family Foundation reports the national average differently, using the median of 2.6 per 1,000 population. **For state and local tax burden: The Tax Foundation reports the national average differently, favoring more populous states to create a weighted average of 9.9 percent.

Here's a brief description of our methodology: For medical statistics we examined the number of hospital beds per 1,000 residents and the number of doctors per 100,000 residents from the Kaiser Family Foundation and U.S. Census, respectively. Statistics of violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 people come from the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report. Tax rates are based on an estimate of the state and local tax burdens, including income, sales, property and other taxes, by the Tax Foundation. Average annual temperatures over 30 years come courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Western Regional Climate Center. Bankrate's analysis of cost-of-living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research, which produces a ranking from lowest cost of living, or most favorable (No. 1) to highest, or least favorable (No. 51). We include the District of Columbia in our ranking. The "overall rank" reflects the composite rank for each state after combining all the factors, with 170 as the worst score and 81 as the best.

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