No. 1: New York
Weaknesses: Taxes, cost of living, personal well-being
The Empire State has it all. When the weather is good, retirees can spend their days exploring the Adirondack Mountains or the beaches of Fire Island. On rainy days, they can soak in plenty of culture, theater and museums in Manhattan, which has Broadway and hundreds of cultural institutions and historic sites.
The trouble with New York is that everything costs more. Way more. Manhattan, for example, has the highest cost of living than any other U.S. city, and neighboring Brooklyn has the 4th highest. The average apartment in Manhattan costs $3,984 -- 4 times the national average. Even in Brooklyn, it's two-and-a-half times above average. A round of bowling in the city costs $12.55 (nearly 3 times the national average), and even a standard haircut ($22.08) is twice as expensive.
Adding to retirees' financial burden are high tax rates. New York has the highest state and local tax burden of any in the nation, at 12.7%, far higher than the national average of 9.5%.
New York also had some of the lowest well-being scores in the nation, especially on feeling a sense of satisfaction with their lives and where they live, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed.
Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Gallup-Healthways; the Council for Community and Economic Research; the FBI; the Tax Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.