The Worst and Best U.S. Cities for Retirement

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The Worst and Best U.S. Cities for Retirement
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Choosing a place to retire to can be a challenge. Of course you want the option of being able to get those tennis matches and golf games going daily, but you also crave the convenience of living in a bustling locale with restaurants, shops, and tons of cultural events at your doorstop. The good news is, you don’t have to choose. There are tons of cities that can give you everything a recent retiree could dream of—and some that you should steer clear of, too.

To that end, Best Life’s editors crunched the numbers on the country’s 250 most populous cities to figure out the best and worst places for retirement in America. Using wide-ranging data—including figures sourced from the U.S. Census, the technology firm Niche, the tax compliance experts at Avalara, and official U.S. climate data—we pinpointed the following factors to determine the final list:

  • The percentage of the population ages 65 and older
  • Costs for those earning $50,000-$75,000 that goes to housing
  • The number of cultural institutions per 100,000 people in the city
  • The city’s violent crime rate
  • The local tax rate
  • Average annual precipitation

From there, we weighed the numbers to come up with a Retirement Index for each city. (Some factors, like the percentage of the population of retirement age, had added weight.)

Read on for the best and worst U.S. cities for retirement. Sure, there are plenty of Floridian towns in there, but other results will surprise you (including one West Coast city with a zero-percent tax rate)!

The Worst U.S. Cities for Retirement

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Per our number-crunching, the worst U.S. cities for retirement tend to have sky-high taxes and housing costs, and very few folks over the age of 65. As far as attractions go, some of these zip codes tend to be close in proximity to an airport (or three). But, other than that, you won’t find much else.

25
Newark, New Jersey

Newark, drunkest cities, longest commutes, best sports fans Shutterstock

Newark is really best for one thing: flying into (or out of). If you want Hudson River proximity at non-Manhattan prices, consider Hoboken or Jersey City instead.

Population: 281,764
Ages Over 65: 9.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 10
Housing Costs: 15.20%
Tax Rate: 6.63%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 451.2
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.01
Retirement Index: 19.05

24
Laredo, Texas

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Laredo isn’t home to many people of retirement age. Throw in high taxes and steep housing costs, and… Well, let’s just say there are better places to settle in your golden years.

Population: 257,156
Ages Over 65: 8.80%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 14
Housing Costs: 15.50%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 215.2
Average Annual Precipitation: 20.15
Retirement Index: 18.63

23
Stockton, California

Stockton, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, best job opportunities

A bit east of the Bay Area, you’ll find Stockton, a modest city with rich culture, stunning waterfront, high taxes, and even higher housing costs.

Population: 307,072
Ages Over 65: 11.80%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 15
Housing Costs: 17.90%
Tax Rate: 9.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 956.8
Average Annual Precipitation: 17.85
Retirement Index: 18.33

22
Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, flip a house, longest commutes, commute, rent, property, best job opportunities, worst drinking water Shutterstock

Pro: the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is here. Cons: a high crime rate, high housing costs, and very few cultural institutions for entertainment.

Population: 854,113
Ages Over 65: 9.30%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 21
Housing Costs: 18.80%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 339.7
Average Annual Precipitation: 37
Retirement Index: 18.23

21
Pasadena, Texas

Pasadena, TX, worst singles scenes, kayak, worst drinking water Shutterstock

Pasadena, California, is home to striking architecture, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Norton Simon Museum, world-class theaters (including the Boston Court Performing Arts Center and the Carrie Hamilton Theater), and (for sports fans) the Rose Bowl. Pasadena, Texas, is not.

Population: 153,351
Ages Over 65: 9.50%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 8
Housing Costs: 19.60%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 271.4
Average Annual Precipitation: 53
Retirement Index: 17.35

20
Aurora, Illinois

Aurora, happiest cities, healthiest cities, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute Shutterstock

If you’re thinking about resettling in any of the nearly two dozen Chicago-area suburbs, you could probably do better than Aurora. Not only does it have very few people of retirement age, it also has a relatively high crime rate and housing expenses. (Our suggestion? Check out Naperville. There, you’ll find a suburbanized version of the Windy City’s iconic riverwalk.)

Population: 201,110
Ages Over 65: 8.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 21
Housing Costs: 19.10%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 173.6
Average Annual Precipitation: 37.67
Retirement Index: 17.12

19
Pomona, California

Pomona, CA, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute, worst drinking water Shutterstock

Every year, from late-August to mid-September, the Los Angeles County Fair takes place in Pomona. If you like fairs, great! If not, well, there’s not a whole lot else to do in this town.

Population: 152,494
Ages Over 65: 9.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 10
Housing Costs: 18.40%
Tax Rate: 10.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 263.3
Average Annual Precipitation: 16.99
Retirement Index: 17.03

18
Thornton, Colorado

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For retirees considering a move to Thornton, we just have one question: How do you feel about shoveling?

Population: 136,703
Ages Over 65: 8.60%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 18
Housing Costs: 20.40%
Tax Rate: 8.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 188.1
Average Annual Precipitation: 46
Retirement Index: 16.22

17
Lancaster, California

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There are nearly 90 cities in Los Angeles county. Lancaster has one of the highest violent crime rates in the area…and is comparably ranked in steep housing costs. Oh, and geographically, it’s the furthest regional zip code from the beach. In short: You could do better.

Population: 160,106
Ages Over 65: 9.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 9
Housing Costs: 18.30%
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 489.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 7.36
Retirement Index: 15.38

16
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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With a staggering crime rate and a low concentration of retirees, Milwaukee is not the exactly the best place to kick back and relax.

Population: 595,047
Ages Over 65: 10.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 25
Housing Costs: 17.20%
Tax Rate: 5.60%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 1,014.20
Average Annual Precipitation: 34.49
Retirement Index: 15.15

15
Ontario, California

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Ontario calls itself the “next urban center in Southern California.” But, currently, of all the cities in San Bernardino County, Ontario ranks fourth in terms of population.

Population: 173,212
Ages Over 65: 8.60%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 12
Housing Costs: 21.70%
Tax Rate: 7.75%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 182.6
Average Annual Precipitation: 15.04
Retirement Index: 15.11

14
Memphis, Tennessee

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Yes, in Memphis, the music scene rules, and the BBQ is worth traveling for. But it’s expensive, it frequently rains, and it’s practically besotted with crime.

Population: 652,717
Ages Over 65: 11.80%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 21
Housing Costs: 16.20%
Tax Rate: 9.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 1,355.60
Average Annual Precipitation: 53.67
Retirement Index: 15.05

13
Grand Prairie, Texas

Grand Prairie, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, best job opportunities, worst drinking water Shutterstock

Spending a full fifth of your income on housing costs—which is the case for residents of Prairie—is hardly an appealing prospect. And that’s when you have an income stream! For retirees, such steep prices hurt even more.

Population: 190,682
Ages Over 65: 8.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 12
Housing Costs: 21.40%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 135.1
Average Annual Precipitation: 37.36
Retirement Index: 14.90

12
Kansas City, Kansas

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Kansas City (in Kansas, not Missouri) has some frightening numbers: high crime, few cultural institutions, and an average precipitation so high you’ll need to dedicate a whole closet to raincoats.

Population: 151,709
Ages Over 65: 11.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 18
Housing Costs: 17.60%
Tax Rate: 9.13%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 1,218.50
Average Annual Precipitation: 34.14
Retirement Index: 14.27

11
Palmdale, California

Palmdale, CA, desert, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute Shutterstock

Sure, it’s nice and sunny all the time in Palmdale. But retirees might find themselves bored to tears in no time: There are almost no cultural institutions in this California town.

Population: 157,356
Ages Over 65: 8.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 8
Housing Costs: 17.80%
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 266.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 7.4
Retirement Index: 13.79

10
Irving, Texas

Irving, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, worst drinking water Shutterstock

In Irving, the percentage of retired folks hovers in the single digits. Plus, there’s not a whole lot to do on the entertainment front. If the area speaks to you, consider instead nearby Grapevine, which borders the breathtaking 180,000-acre Grapevine Lake.

Population: 238,289
Ages Over 65: 7.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 21
Housing Costs: 20.70%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 107
Average Annual Precipitation: 36.19
Retirement Index: 13.58

9
Moreno Valley, California

Moreno Valley, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute Shutterstock

Moreno Valley, a suburb of nearby Riverside, has far less to offer retirees than its bustling neighbor. There are fewer folks over 65, fewer things to do in town, and far steeper housing costs.

Population: 205,499
Ages Over 65: 8.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 6
Housing Costs: 20.70%
Tax Rate: 7.75%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 198.2
Average Annual Precipitation: 12
Retirement Index: 12.27

8
Santa Ana, California

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Santa Ana is sunny and warm, but it’s mostly a young person’s town: less than 10 percent of the population is over 65.

Population: 334,217
Ages Over 65: 8.10%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 11
Housing Costs: 20.40%
Tax Rate: 9.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 246.1
Average Annual Precipitation: 13.6
Retirement Index: 12.24

7
Salinas, California

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You might recognize Salinas as the setting for many literary works by John Steinbeck. These days, a century removed, it’s better known as a place with a high tax rate and even higher housing costs.

Population: 157,218
Ages Over 65: 8.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 10
Housing Costs: 19.90%
Tax Rate: 9.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 356.3
Average Annual Precipitation: 15.47
Retirement Index: 11.96

6
North Las Vegas, Nevada

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Hey, what happens here, stays here…but that doesn’t mean you should!

Population: 238,702
Ages Over 65: 9.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 12
Housing Costs: 22.40%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 724.8
Average Annual Precipitation: 4.76
Retirement Index: 11.52

5
West Valley City, Utah

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A suburb of Salt Lake City, West Valley City has high housing costs and a whole lot of annual precipitation. It’s also geographically in the opposite direction of the region’s famous ski resorts: Alta Ski Area, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Brighton Resort.

Population: 136,574
Ages Over 65: 7.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 15
Housing Costs: 23.40%
Tax Rate: 7.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 348.4
Average Annual Precipitation: 42
Retirement Index: 10.41

4
Fontana, California

Fontana, happiest cities, worst singles scenes, longest commutes, commute Shutterstock

In Fontana, housing is expensive, there are few people over 65, there’s not a whole lot to do, and the crime rate isn’t anything to ignore. Sure, there’s a NASCAR speedway, but California has better retirement communities.

Population: 209,665
Ages Over 65: 7.20%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 9
Housing Costs: 20.20%
Tax Rate: 7.75%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 206.3
Average Annual Precipitation: 14
Retirement Index: 10.16

3
San Bernardino, California

san bernadino california Shutterstock

According to our in-house number crunching, San Bernardino is just one of three cities (out of the most populous 250) with a Retirement Index in the single digits.

Population: 216,239
Ages Over 65: 8.60%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 13
Housing Costs: 17.60%
Tax Rate: 8.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 799
Average Annual Precipitation: 16.37
Retirement Index: 9.55

2
Clarksville, Tennessee

Clarksville, drunkest cities, longest-living cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion, best job opportunities Shutterstock

With more than four feet of annual average rainfall, good luck going long without getting soaked in Clarksville. Doesn’t retirement on the beach sound so, so much better?

Population: 150,287
Ages Over 65: 8.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 12
Housing Costs: 23.00%
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 479.5
Average Annual Precipitation: 50.98
Retirement Index: 7.75

1
Killeen, Texas

Killeen, drunkest cities, worst singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion Shutterstock

With a Retirement Index rating hovering near zero, Killeen—a small city on the drive from Austin and Dallas—is clearly not the place you should resettle.

Population: 143,400
Ages Over 65: 5.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 16
Housing Costs: 23.10%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 435.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 32.83
Retirement Index: 2.20

The Best U.S. Cities for Retirement

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Our formula confirmed what everyone knows already: that Florida is the place to go in retirement. But, more than just mere numbers, the cities we found were best for retirement—which, yes, extend beyond The Sunshine State—tend to have a whole lot of waterfront access and public green space. Oh, and the weather is fantastic across the board. After all, what better way to spend your golden years than showered in golden rays?

25
Peoria, Arizona

peoria arizona daytime residences Shutterstock

It’s dry, it’s sunny, it’s warm, and there’s a sizable population of retirement age. What’s not to like about Peoria?

Population: 164,173
Ages Over 65: 16.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 21
Housing Costs: 17.70%
Tax Rate: 8.10%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 160.3
Average Annual Precipitation: 9.03
Retirement Index: 44.65

24
Charleston, South Carolina

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A southern oasis teeming with restaurants, boutiques, and a whole lot of history, Charleston also has a respectably sizable population of retirees. If you’re looking to retire in an urban environment, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better zip code.

Population: 134,385
Ages Over 65: 13.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 70
Housing Costs: 16.30%
Tax Rate: 9.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 169.5
Average Annual Precipitation: 51.06
Retirement Index: 45.54

23
Yonkers, New York

yonkers new york waterfront Shutterstock

Just north of New York City but way, way more affordable (on all fronts, from housing costs to simple cost-of-living expenses), Yonkers also offers picturesque views of the Hudson River. Bonus: You’re just a 30-minute train ride from midtown Manhattan!

Population: 200,807
Ages Over 65: 16.40%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 26
Housing Costs: 15.50%
Tax Rate: 8.88%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 245.6
Average Annual Precipitation: 50
Retirement Index: 46.54

22
Bellevue, Washington

bellevue washington Shutterstock

Just across Lake Washington from Seattle is Bellevue, a small tech-hub city with low housing costs, low rates of violent crime, and a high saturation of cultural institutions.

Population: 141,400
Ages Over 65: 14.10%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 62
Housing Costs: 12.40%
Tax Rate: 10.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 45.2
Average Annual Precipitation: 42
Retirement Index: 47.96

21
Eugene, Oregon

a bike path along the willamette river in eugene oregon Shutterstock

When most people think of Oregon, they think of hip, bustling, cutting-edge Portland. But that hipster enclave isn’t exactly great for retirees. Instead, those in their golden years should set their sights two hours south, on Eugene, where—get this—there’s a zero percent tax rate!

Population: 166,575
Ages Over 65: 14.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 45
Housing Costs: 17.40%
Tax Rate: 0.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people):219.8
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.15
Retirement Index: 48.21

20
San Francisco, California

san francisco Alamy

As any resident of San Francisco will tell you, the weather system in this city is nothing short of magical: Sure, it rains sometimes, but temperatures seem to always be in that 65º to 75º sweet spot… 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Plus, between the SFMOMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the International Art Museum of America, the Asian Art Museum, and the Museum of Ice Cream (all of which are just a sampling), there are enough cultural draws to entertain any retiree for eons.

Population: 870,887
Ages Over 65: 14.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 59
Housing Costs: 10.90%
Tax Rate: 8.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people):301.6
Average Annual Precipitation: 23.64
Retirement Index: 48.44

19
Macon, Georgia

macon georgia Shutterstock

About an hour’s drive southeast of Atlanta, Macon is home to more than 300,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees. As a result, every spring, the city plays home to the International Cherry Blossom Festival. Also, a sixth of the population is of retirement age.

Population: 152,555
Ages Over 65: 15.30%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 14
Housing Costs: 15.1%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 315.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 45.72
Retirement Index: 48.50

18
Pembroke Pines, Florida

pembroke pines florida Shutterstock

Yes, it’s kind of a trope that, once you turn 65, you hightail it to Florida. But it’s a trope for good reason! The cities and towns down here have great weather, low taxes, little crime, and plenty of similarly-aged individuals. Exhibit A: Pembroke Pines.

Population: 168,587
Ages Over 65: 16.50%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 36
Housing Costs: 18.30%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 121.7
Average Annual Precipitation: 65
Retirement Index: 49.51

17
St. Petersburg, Florida

st petersburg florida Shutterstock

Exhibit B: St. Petersburg.

Population: 260,999
Ages Over 65: 17.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 36
Housing Costs: 17.80%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 450.1
Average Annual Precipitation: 51
Retirement Index: 49.99

16
Miami, Florida

miami fittest cities, flip a house, longest commutes, rent, property, best job opportunities, sleepless cities, best drinking water, best sports fans Shutterstock

Exhibit C: Miami. (A bonus, for jet-setting retirees: This Floridian city also has the honor of being the “cruise capital of the world,” serving more passenger cruises than anywhere else on the planet.)

Population: 453,579
Ages Over 65: 16.60%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 52
Housing Costs: 13.30%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 475.8
Average Annual Precipitation: 61.93
Retirement Index: 50.67

15
San Jose, California

san jose california Shutterstock

Given its proximity to Silicon Valley (and all the tech-whiz hubbub there), it’s natural to think of San Jose as a young person’s town. Still, a fair number of folks over 65 have made their home here. Plus, as far as large American cities go, San Jose has an astonishingly harmonious relationship with nature: According to the Trust for Public Land, nearly 15 percent of San Jose public space is used for parks, and about 80 percent of residents are no more than a 10-minute walk away from one. Happy trails!

Population: 1,025,350
Ages Over 65: 11.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 134
Housing Costs: 11.40%
Tax Rate: 9.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 212.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 15.09
Retirement Index: 51.00

14
Torrance, California

torrance california Shutterstock

Thanks to a mile-and-a-half of unmitigated beachfront, Torrence, California, is the place to settle if you want sea breezes on the daily.

Population: 147,195
Ages Over 65: 16.50%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 41
Housing Costs: 14.20%
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 78
Average Annual Precipitation: 14.46
Retirement Index: 51.72

13
Huntington Beach, California

huntington beach caifornia Shutterstock

According to The Weather Channel, the average low in Huntington Beach in January (the coldest month) is 50º. The average high in August (the hottest) is 72º. What more do we need to say?

Population: 200,652
Ages Over 65: 16.80%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 38
Housing Costs: 14.40%
Tax Rate: 7.75%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 142.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 12
Retirement Index: 52.33

12
Hollywood, Florida

hollywood florida Shutterstock

Hollywood (the Florida one), a medium-sized city just north of Miami and just south of Fort Lauderdale, is basically retiree heaven. Not only is it home to a two-and-a-half mile beachfront boardwalk, but you’ll also find a whopping seven PGA-approved golf courses in town. Fore!

Population: 151,998
Ages Over 65: 16.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 64
Housing Costs: 18.90%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 152.1
Average Annual Precipitation: 64.37
Retirement Index: 54.23

11
New York, New York

The New York Skyline with the Chrysler Building Privately Owned Landmarks Shutterstock

By some reports, New York City is home to more than 25,000 bars and restaurants. There are nearly 2,000 parks. Oh, and don’t even get us started on all the theaters, museums, and music halls. If there’s one thing to say about the City That Never Sleeps, it’s that you’ll never crave things to do here in your golden years.

Population: 8,537,673
Ages Over 65: 16.80%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 67
Housing Costs: 14.70%
Tax Rate: 8.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 345.5
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.23
Retirement Index: 54.25

10
Port St. Lucie, Florida

sunset at jensen beach in port st lucie florida Shutterstock

Port St. Lucie has stunning white sand beaches and a robust retirement community. In fact, every other month, the town hosts the Golden Years Senior Dance, which is exactly what it sounds like. Oh, and did we mention the sunsets? (Direct your eyes up.)

Population: 185,132
Ages Over 65: 19.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 22
Housing Costs: 22.00%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 74.2
Average Annual Precipitation: 58
Retirement Index: 54.67

9
Los Angeles, California

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We could rattle off fun facts about Los Angeles from now ’til sundown—like how there are reportedly more museums per capita than anywhere else in the world. We could call attention to the fact that L.A. is the epicenter of one of the globe’s largest metropolitan regions, and residents are never more than a quick drive away from dozens of SoCal cities (some of which you’ll find on this list). We could point out that Hollywood is the unofficial capital of the entertainment industry. But the only thing you really need to know about L.A. is that there’s simply so much going on, the likelihood of boredom is zero percent.

Population: 3,976,322
Ages Over 65: 11.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 198
Housing Costs: 15.60%
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 423.2
Average Annual Precipitation: 18.67
Retirement Index: 56.07

8
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

fort lauderdale florida Shutterstock

Venice, California, might frequently draw comparisons to its Italian namesake, but Fort Lauderdale is the real Venice of America. With more than 150 miles of canals, residents are never more than a stone’s throw from waterfront access.

Population: 178,752
Ages Over 65: 16.70%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 90
Housing Costs: 15.90%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 302.3
Average Annual Precipitation: 66.49
Retirement Index: 58.23

7
Glendale, California

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Sure, the tax rate in Glendale is a bit high, but relatively low housing costs offset that. Throw in some year-round sun and close proximity to downtown L.A. (just 10 miles), and you’ve got yourself a great place to resettle.

Population: 200,831
Ages Over 65: 16.50%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 83
Housing Costs: 15.00%
Tax Rate: 10.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 55.3
Average Annual Precipitation: 19
Retirement Index: 58.29

6
Henderson, Nevada

henderson nevada Shutterstock

Yes, Las Vegas may be one of the worst places to retire, but nearby Henderson (it’s 15 miles south of the City of Sin) is one of the best. Not only will you find a low crime rate and little rain (yes, it is the desert after all), you’ll also find the rapidly developing Lake Las Vegas, a massive suburban luxury living complex that offers residents “resort-style living.”

Population: 292,969
Ages Over 65: 18.60%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 48
Housing Costs: 19.00%
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 72.8
Average Annual Precipitation: 6.92
Retirement Index: 58.59

5
Pasadena, California

downtown pasadena california Shutterstock

Remember all those bona fides we rattled off about Pasadena, California? Well, we forgot one: It’s home to the quaintest downtown in southern California. (See above.)

Population: 142,059
Ages Over 65: 15.50%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 124
Housing Costs: 15.50%
Tax Rate: 10.25%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 219
Average Annual Precipitation: 21.27
Retirement Index: 59.29

4
Hialeah, Florida

palm trees at sunset Shutterstock

Palm trees, low taxes, great sunsets, and a sizable portion of the population of retirement age… What’s not to love?

Population: 236,387
Ages Over 65: 20.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 147
Housing Costs: 15.50%
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 117.5
Average Annual Precipitation: 70.44
Retirement Index: 60.31

3
Cape Coral, Florida

a boat on the water in cape coral florida Shutterstock

Florida may be the best state to retire in, on the whole, but Cape Coral—which is the eighth Florida city on the best-of list—is far and away the top Floridian city to settle down in. That’s all thanks to its yacht basin, golf clubs, and acres and acres of green space.

Population: 179,804
Ages Over 65: 21.90%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 21
Housing Costs: 22.40%
Tax Rate: 6.50%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 94.9
Average Annual Precipitation: 53
Retirement Index: 64.44

2
Warren, Michigan

warren michigan Shutterstock

Low taxes and easy beach access make Warren a choice place to settle during your golden years. Small wonder that nearly an entire quarter of the population is of retirement age.

Population: 135,125
Ages Over 65: 23.20%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 18
Housing Costs: 19.40%
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 334.1
Average Annual Precipitation: 34
Retirement Index: 67.28

1
Scottsdale, Arizona

scottsdale arizona Shutterstock

Low taxes, low housing costs, a low crime rate, and minimal annual rainfall make Scottsdale a key spot for retirees.

But the main draw goes far beyond our formula: According to stats collected by the city, nearly 9 million people visit Scottsdale a year—probably to kick back at the literal hundreds of spas in town. In other words, live in Scottsdale, and you won’t have to visit the family; they’ll want to visit you.

Population: 246,645
Ages Over 65: 23.00%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 69
Housing Costs: 15.10%
Tax Rate: 8.05%
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 74.7
Average Annual Precipitation: 10.32
Retirement Index: 79.41

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