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10 best states for retirement

Retirement » 10 Best States For Retirement

No. 1: South Dakota
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South Dakota © Geoffrey Kuchera/Shutterstock.com

No. 1: South Dakota

That's right. South Dakota. The home of Mount Rushmore tops our list as the best state in the nation for retirees.

Yes, of course, it can get frigid in South Dakota. But the state also received excellent scores for all of our other criteria. It had one of the stronger health care quality rankings in the country and was second only to North Dakota in its wellness score.

Gallup's Dan Witters says states that scored well on the Well-Being Index tend to be places where residents feel safe and cared for. They're places with "stuff to do that makes it interesting to live and grow."

If anyone cares to look past South Dakota's chilly temperatures, "people would find there's a lot there" in the state to like, he says.

Also, the state is easy on the wallet, with a relatively low cost of living. It has the sixth-lowest crime rate and the third-lowest tax burden in the country.

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Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Healthways; the Council for Community and Economic Research; the FBI; the Tax Foundation; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Source methodology: Bankrate collected the latest available statistics on cost of living, violent and property crime, health care quality, state and local taxes, wellness and weather (humidity, percent available sunshine and temperature). States were then given standardized scores, with more points going to a lower cost of living, lower crime rate, lower tax burden, stronger health care, better wellness grades and better weather. The scores were combined to create a composite score.

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