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The Best City in Every State for Empty Nesters

Your kids are out of the house. Where next?

For any parent, it's bittersweet: Your kids are officially out of the house, leaving you with more rooms than you need and more free time than you've had in years. But it's also an opportunity. After all, you now have the chance to pick up, pack up, and start fresh in a brand-new locale. The only question is: "Where to?"

Well, our editors crunched the numbers to pinpoint the absolute best city in every state for empty nesters. Here are the factors we considered, relying on wide-ranging data sourced from the U.S. Census, the technology firm Niche, the tax compliance experts at Avalara, official U.S. climate data, and even Google Maps:

  • The percentage of the population between the ages of 45 and 64
  • Housing costs for those earning between $50,000 and $75,000
  • The number of cultural institutions per 100,000 people in the city
  • The number of restaurants per 100,000 people
  • The crime rate (those with an asterisk are data for the whole state, as jurisdictional figures don't exist)
  • The local tax rate
  • The distance from the nearest major airport
  • Average annual precipitation

From there, we averaged the figures, weighing some higher than others. (The crime rate and percentage of population in prime empty nester age were more important than the local tax rate, for instance.) With that, we were able to come up with what we call the Empty Nesting Index—and grant one city or town from each state a high score. For the results, scroll on. If you're looking for a new start, these are the places to be.

Alabama: Huntsville

huntsville alabama

A full quarter of the population in Huntsville falls between the ages of 45 and 64—so you'll fit right in. Plus, for fans of space and rockets, there's a major attraction: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Population: 180,105
Ages 45–64: 25.7%
Housing Costs: 15.9%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 46.08
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 292.6
Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people): 34.48
Tax Rate: 9.00%
Distance from Airport: 13.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 54.33 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 55.00

Alaska: Sitka

docked sailboats in sitka alaska harbor

For empty nesters looking to get away from it all without giving up cosmopolitan luxuries, Alaska is the place to go. And there's no more entertaining spot in the state to do so than Sitka. Though small, there's an insanely high number of restaurants and cultural institutions, so you'll have no problem staying entertained.

Population: 8,881
Ages 45–64: 27.9%
Housing Costs: 20.8%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 191.42
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 439.1
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 154.71
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 1.9 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 86.72 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 54.05

Arizona: Scottsdale

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Single parent? Book yourself a ticket to Arizona. Not only does Scottsdale have fair housing costs and a relatively low tax rate, but it also barely rains there.

Population: 217,385
Ages 45–64: 29.6%
Housing Costs: 15.1%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 77.74
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 343.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 3.44
Tax Rate: 8.05%
Distance from Airport: 9.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 10.32 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 62.13

Arkansas: Bentonville

bentonville arkansas

With its charming, brick-lined downtown and low rate of violent crime, the birthplace of Walmart is a postcard-perfect image of an empty nester's paradise.

Population: 35,301
Ages 45–64: 19.8%
Housing Costs: 16.4%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 42.49
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 348.4
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 25.86
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Distance from Airport: 13.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.92 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.17

California: Los Angeles

the sunset strip in hollywood california, the sunset boulevard in los angeles, most common street names

Sure, L.A. is one of America's great bustling metropolises, but that's what makes it so exciting for empty nesters! You'll never be bored. And you're just a short drive away from, oh, 6,718 different beaches.

Population: 3,792,621
Ages 45–64: 24.2%
Housing Costs: 15.6%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 207.32
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 211.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 1.12
Tax Rate: 9.50%
Distance from Airport: 18.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 18.67 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 64.69

Colorado: Denver

Denver, CO

Considering its relative proximity to some of the nation's most venerated, powder-coated ski destinations—it's about an hour drive from downtown to Arapahoe Basin, Keystone Ski Resort, or Loveland—you might find it hard to believe that Denver barely gets any precipitation. But it's true: Denver is one of the sunniest metropolises in the country.

Population: 600,158
Ages 45–64: 21.9%
Housing Costs: 17%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 52.15
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 330.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 6.56
Tax Rate: 8.31%
Distance from Airport: 25.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 14.16 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 60.59

Connecticut: Norwalk

a marina in norwalk connecticut

Danbury, Waterbury, Westport, Fairfield, Milford. Pick a Connecticut town at random, and you're bound to find a great place to resettle. But Norwalk—with its low tax rate, charming downtown, and bustling marina—is a cut above the rest. Bonus: if you're looking for a night in the big city, the Metro North Railroad commuter line will get you to Grand Central, in Manhattan, in 65 minutes flat.

Population: 85,603
Ages 45–64: 28.2%
Housing Costs: 15.1%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 79.44
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 293.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 26.42
Tax Rate: 6.35%
Distance from Airport: 20.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 48.44 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.41

Delaware: Newark

newark delaware race track

Four words: zero percent tax rate.

Population: 31,454
Ages 45–64: 16.1%
Housing Costs: 14%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 50.87
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 422.8
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 47.15
Tax Rate: 0.00%
Distance from Airport: 33.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.17 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 52.52

Florida: Fort Lauderdale

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Can't talk about empty nesting without mentioning Florida! In this case: Fort Lauderdale. Nearly a third of the population here falls between the ages of 45 and 64. But, if you find yourself missing the kids, the airport is just a brief ride away. Plus, they'll be dying to visit the sandy beaches. (Oh, and you, of course.)

Population: 165,521
Ages 45–64: 29.8%
Housing Costs: 15.9%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 97.27
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 428.9
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 18.26
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 5.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 66.49 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.71

Georgia: Roswell

vickery creek in roswell georgia

Roswell, New Mexico, is famous for (allegedly) being the spot of a UFO crash. Roswell, Georgia, on the other hand, isn't famous, exactly—but it is home to a whole lot of low-key natural attractions. Exhibit A: Vickery Creek, which features a serene hiking path and some truly breathtaking waterfalls (natural and manmade).

Population: 88,346
Ages 45–64: 28%
Housing Costs: 15.7%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 69.05
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 268.3
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 6.98
Tax Rate: 7.75%
Distance from Airport: 31.4 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 53.0 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 61.01

Hawaii: Maui

buildings along kapalua beach in maui hawaii

Maui isn't just ideal because of its sunny weather and picturesque beaches. It's also affordable and ripe with things to do. (Plus, we have a feeling convincing your kids to visit Hawaii won't be that tall of an order.)

Population: 154,834
Ages 45–64: 28.3%
Housing Costs: 17.2%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 77.5
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 322.3
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 85.56*
Tax Rate: 4.00%
Distance from Airport: 12.4 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 17.13 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 62.64

Idaho: Boise

boise train depot

Boise is in the middle of it all. Head south, and you'll quickly wind up in the Rockies. Head west, and you'll end up in quirky Portland, Oregon. Head north, and you'll find yourself at Coeur d'Alene, a little-known gem of a vacation spot that also happens to be home to the world's only floating golf green. With the kids off, you'll have all the time in the world to make par.

Population: 205,671
Ages 45–64: 24.7%
Housing Costs: 17.8%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 41.33
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 300
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 9.33
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 4 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 11.66 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.84

Illinois: Naperville

the naperville illinois riverwalk

Of the 23 major suburbs in the Chicago metropolitan area, Naperville is easily the best choice for empty nesters. It's far enough removed from the hustle-and-bustle, but not so far that getting downtown is a hassle. It's a bit more bustling than, say, Evanston or Oak Park, but not nearly as crowded as Aurora. Oh, and it has a charming riverwalk not unlike the famous one you'd see in the Windy City.

Population: 141,853
Ages 45–64: 29.2%
Housing Costs: 11.8%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 55.69
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 254.5
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 3.81
Tax Rate: 7.75%
Distance from Airport: 28.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 39 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 61.56

Indiana: Carmel

monon greenway carmel indiana

Ask Indianapolis locals what the most pleasant walking path in town is, and you'll only hear one answer: the Monon Greenway. A former railroad, now retrofitted into a greenbelt, it winds through the northern part of the city and its suburbs—and straight through the town center of Carmel. Oh, and there are also plenty of dining and shopping options, and a violent crime rate that hovers near zero.

Population: 79,191
Ages 45–64: 28.7%
Housing Costs: 13.5%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 80.82
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 233.6
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 0.68
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 33.8 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 42.22 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 62.56

Iowa: Dubuque

victorian buildings in downtown dubuque iowa

Between Eagle Point Park, the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and the newly revitalized Port of Dubuque, there are more picturesque parks in this Iowa town than you can shake a stick at. And if you happen to live there, that's even more reason your kids will think of Iowa less as a flyover state and more as a fly-to one.

Population: 57,637
Ages 45–64: 25.3%
Housing Costs: 20.7%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 69.4
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 314
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 31.94
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 9.8 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 36.33 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 55.81

Kansas: Overland Park

the museum at prairiefire in overland park kansas

Overland Park, the second-largest city in Kansas, is home to plenty of world-class cultural attractions. Chief among them is the Museum at Prairiefire, a museum of natural history that's teamed up with the museum of natural history (the American Museum of Natural History, in Manhattan) to feature multiple traveling exhibits each year. Plus, it has some sweet art on the exterior. Good luck ever being bored here!

Population: 173,372
Ages 45–64: 26.5%
Housing Costs: 17.5%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 46.72
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 263
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 6.51
Tax Rate: 9.60%
Distance from Airport: 28.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 42 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 60.52

Kentucky: Florence

turway park horse racing in florence kentucky

For the most part, Florence is a laid-back place best suited for kicking back and relaxing now that the kids are off. But if you're looking for a little entertainment, you can't go wrong with Turfway Park (pictured), an old-school horse-racing track that's always a blast. (The low tax rate doesn't hurt, either.)

Population: 29,951
Ages 45–64: 23.6%
Housing Costs: 20.3%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 70.11
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 537.5
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 20.33
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 6.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 43 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.54

Louisiana: New Orleans

Beautiful warm sunset skyline of Detroit, USA from Windsor Ontario, Canada.

Mardi Gras! Cajun food! Bourbon Street! You'd be forgiven for thinking the Big Easy is a young person's town, but the truth is more than a quarter of New Orleans residents are between the ages of 45 and 64. Go forth and reap the rewards of to-die-for jambalaya.

Population: 343,829
Ages 45–64: 25.7%
Housing Costs: 13.5%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 52.64
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 378.1
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 17.69
Tax Rate:  9.45%
Distance from Airport: 15.2 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 62.45 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.76

Maine: Portland

a ferry shuttles passengers in casco bay in portland maine

Residents in Portland joke that living there is like "living in a postcard." (See: the above photo.) In recent years, too, it's become a bona fide foodie destination—and with nearly 500 (!!) restaurants per 100,000 people, many of which are helmed by globally renowned chefs, it's not hard to see why Bon Appétit went so far to declare Portland the Restaurant City of the Year in 2018. If, after raising kids for years, the thought of whipping up even one more home-cooked meal is revolting, head north.

Population: 66,194
Ages 45–64: 25.2%
Housing Costs: 16.6%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 98.2
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 498.5
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 18.25
Tax Rate: 5.50%
Distance from Airport: 4.6 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 47.33 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.66

Maryland: Baltimore

washington monument baltimore

City living has a reputation for running up the bills. But with reasonable housing costs and a low tax rate, Baltimore offers all the luxuries of city life—restaurants, shopping, robust public transit—without the extra cost. If you're aching for urban living after raising kids in the 'burbs, you could certainly do worse.

Population: 620,961
Ages 45–64: 25.1%
Housing Costs: 16.6%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 236.89
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 248.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 15.3
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 11 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 40.72 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 62.51

Massachusetts: Cambridge

mit at cambridge massachusetts

If your kid is one of the 150,000 kids that trek to Boston every September for college, here's a fun and easy way to mortify them: move to Cambridge! Located literally across the Charles River from Boston—they even share a transit network—Cambridge is a bit more tailored for parents than nearby Boston or Allston: nearly a fifth of residents there are between the ages of 45 and 64.

Population: 105,162
Ages 45–64: 16.3%
Housing Costs: 12.1%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 59.91
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 443.1
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 16.43
Tax Rate: 6.25%
Distance from Airport: 6.4 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 48 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.97

Michigan: Ann Arbor

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is known for one thing: sports. Specifically, University of Michigan sports teams that absolutely kill it, season after season after season. Go Blue! (Here's hoping your kids haven't enrolled in a rival school.)

Population: 113,934
Ages 45–64: 17.6%
Housing Costs: 15.3%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 57.05
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 334.4
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 10.73
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 25.8 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 37.55 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.76

Minnesota: Minneapolis

spoonbridge and cherry minneapolis minnesota, iconic state photos

Come for the Mall of America. Stay for the scrupulously manicured parks. Or the robust local theater scene. Or the world-class art museums. (The Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Weisman Art Museum were all designed by "starchitects" and feature revolving portfolios of art from marquee names.) The "Mini-Apple," as residents call it, is so full of culture your kids would be nuts not to visit.

Population: 382,578
Ages 45–64: 21.6%
Housing Costs: 16.1%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 64.82
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 298.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 13.97
Tax Rate: 8.03%
Distance from Airport: 10.9 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 30.4 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.32

Mississippi: Biloxi

biloxi lighthouse in mississippi, iconic state photos

No, you won't suddenly find yourself in a John Grisham novel by moving to Biloxi. Contrary to the world of legal espionage and underbelly corruption that Grisham frequently portrays, Biloxi—at least according to its violent crime rate stats—is a blissfully tame place.

Population: 44,054
Ages 45–64: 24.4%
Housing Costs: 17.5%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 65.83
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 288.3
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 31.39
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 25 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 64.89 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 55.89

Missouri: St. Charles

st charles missouri historic district at night

Right across the river from the St. Louis urban area is St. Charles: a charming small town that's not far at all from a major metropolis (Fun fact, for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans: St. Charles is where Peter Quill/Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, grew up.)

Population: 65,794
Ages 45–64: 25.4%
Housing Costs: 18.7%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 44.08
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 317.7
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 21.34
Tax Rate: 7.95%
Distance from Airport: 8.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.06 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.52

Montana: Bozeman

downtown bozeman montana

On one hand, you get an old-charm, picture-perfect downtown, full of gift shops and mom-and-pops. On the other, you get a launching point to the greatest natural wonders in the nation: At just 93 miles away, Bozeman is the closest major urban area to Yellowstone National Park. Oh, and get a load of that zero percent (!!) tax rate!

Population: 37,280
Ages 45–64:   17.2
Housing Costs: 17.7
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 160.94
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 509.7
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 43.62
Tax Rate: 0.00%
Distance from Airport: 5.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 16.23 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 55.50

Nebraska: Norfolk

ta-ha-zouka park in norfolk nebraska

Norfolk is on the smaller side, but that doesn't mean it's not bursting with activities and things to do! Tons of restaurants and cultural institutions make this a prime spot to resettle.

Population: 24,210
Ages 45–64: 24.2%
Housing Costs: 18.6%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 53.7
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 322.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 20.36
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 4.2 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 27.42 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.87

Nevada: Boulder

hoover dam at night

The golf green per capita rate here must be one of the highest in the nation (at least outside of Florida): Despite having a population smaller than some universities, there are three courses in town. Oh, and it's also home to the Hoover Dam. And it's just 26 miles away from Las Vegas.

Population: 15,023
Ages 45–64: 28.7%
Housing Costs: 19.9$
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 99.85
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 299.5
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 25.29
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Distance from Airport: 22.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 6.39 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.89

New Hampshire: Portsmouth

portsmouth new hampshire

In the summer, it's hoppin'. In the winter, not so much. Yes, if you look up "tourist town" in the dictionary, you'll see a photo of downtown Portsmouth. In other words, it's a place your kids (tourists!) will want to visit. Bonus: there's a zero-percent tax rate.

Population: 20,779
Ages 45–64: 25.7%
Housing Costs: 18.1%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 206.94
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 765.2
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 53.47
Tax Rate: 0.00%
Distance from Airport: 4.1 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 50 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 55.28

New Jersey: Clifton

the tick tock diner in clifton new jersey

Low tax rate, low violent crime rate, low housing costs—what's not to like about Clifton? It's also home to the Tick Tock Diner, a venerated institution that feels like a time capsule to a bygone era. (Bonus: it's open 24/7.)

Population: 84,136
Ages 45–64: 26.5%
Housing Costs: 15.5%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 23.77
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 189
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 14.16
Tax Rate: 6.63% miles
Distance from Airport: 16.2 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 49 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.46

New Mexico: Santa Fe

santa fe new mexico at dusk

Tons of verdure, tons of sunshine, and more al fresco restaurants than a Yelp! staffer could count, when it comes to finding a place to resettle, it's hard to beat Santa Fe. And history buffs are sure to get a kick out of it: Founded in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest state capitol in the country. In fact, some buildings from that era—like the Original Trading Post, which was built in 1603—are still standing today.

Population: 67,947
Ages 45–64: 27.2%
Housing Costs: 19.4%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 130.98
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 513.6
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 33.22
Tax Rate: 8.44%
Distance from Airport: 32.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 14.21 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.32

New York: New Rochelle

new rochelle new york

Whether it's a hamlet on Long Island or a village on the Hudson, there are endless places to resettle in New York. Few beat New Rochelle. Flush against the Long Island Sound, at the very southernmost point of Westchester County (that's the nice one), a full quarter of the population is between the ages of 45 and 64. And if you're ever looking for a night on the town, you're just a 40-minute commuter rail ride away from Manhattan.

Population: 77,062
Ages 45–64: 26.7%
Housing Costs: 14.5%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 50.61
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 269.9
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 16.23
Tax Rate: 8.38%
Distance from Airport: 21.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 44.88 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.79

North Carolina: Cary

cary north carolina best and worst places in the U.S. to be LGBTQ

In terms of resettling, Cary has it all. Housing costs are low, the crime rate is practically nonexistent, and it's just a 15-minute drive from a major urban cultural center (Raleigh). Oh, and if you're a golfer, fore!: Every October, you can catch the SAS Championship, a high-profile tournament on the PGA Tour that attracts some of the best players in the game.

Population: 135,234
Ages 45–64: 28.4%
Housing Costs: 14.3%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 48.06
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 275.1
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 2.79
Tax Rate: 7.25%
Distance from Airport: 8.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 43.29 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 61.52

North Dakota: Minot

A Danish windmill at the Scandinavian Heritage Park, Minot, North Dakota

Year after year, Scandinavian countries rank as the happiest places on earth. (In 2018, it was Finland.) And there are few places in America more steeped in Scandinavian heritage than Minot. Need proof? It's home to the Scandinavian Heritage Park, where, among other things, you'll find a legitimate Swedish Dala Horse and a replicated Norwegian Stave Church. If you're looking to copy the lifestyle of the happiest people on earth—except, y'know, without going through a complicated citizenship process—Minot is your spot.

Population: 40,888
Ages 45–64: 113.6%
Housing Costs: 18.7%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 63.59
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 366.9
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 40.5
Tax Rate: 7.50%
Distance from Airport: 2.1 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 17.2 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.70

Ohio: Cleveland

cleveland ohio skyline at dusk

Between the sports teams, the museums, the revitalized foodie scene, the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, the extensive nature preserves (the Cleveland Metroparks system covers 23,000 acres), the bustling waterfront (ride a jet ski!), and, of course, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you'll never run out of things to do in Cleveland. Low crime rate, too.

Population: 396,815
Ages 45–64: 26.3%
Housing Costs: 13.8%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 26.96
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 247
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 17.64
Tax Rate: 8.00%
Distance from Airport: 12.2 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 39.12 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.00

Oklahoma: Edmond

a sunny day in edmond oklahoma

In 2011, CNBC ranked Edmond in the top spot on its roundup of "perfect suburbs." No two ways about it: this Oklahoma town is the epitome of American idyll.

Population: 81,405
Ages 45–64: 23.7%
Housing Costs: 16.4%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 47.91
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 248.1
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 12.82
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Distance from Airport: 9.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 37 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.18

Oregon: Corvallis

corvallis oregon

With a zero percent tax rate (!) and housing costs in the basement, Corvallis—a small city on the road between Salem and Eugene—is an affordable haven for empty nesters. You're only five miles from the airport, too, so you can make quick weekend getaways or easily pick your kids up when they come to visit.

Population: 54,462
Ages 45–64: 810.9%
Housing Costs: 13.8%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 40.4
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 328.7
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 12.76
Tax Rate: 0.00%
Distance from Airport: 5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 42.76 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 70.80

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh

pittsburgh pennsylvania

In 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014, the Economist's Global Livability Ranking ranked the Steel City in either first or second place. Not a bad place to resettle!

Population: 305,704
Ages 45–64: 21.9%
Housing Costs: 16.3%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 53.32
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 403.7
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 11.34
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 19.4 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 34.8 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.83

Rhode Island: Warwick

warwick harbor lighthouse

A significant chunk of Warwick's population falls between the ages of 45 and 64. Throw in a low crime rate and a whole lot of waterfront access (public and private), and you've got a town practically designed for resettling.

Population: 82,672
Ages 45–64: 30.8%
Housing Costs: 17.3%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 41.13
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 300
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 8.44
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 4 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 48 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 60.27

South Carolina: Mount Pleasant

a marina in mount pleasant south carolina

"Pleasant" is literally in this town's name. What more you do you need to know?

Population: 67,843
Ages 45–64: 27%
Housing Costs: 16.6%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 64.86
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 324.3
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 20.11
Tax Rate: 9.00%
Distance from Airport: 16.9 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 48 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.34

South Dakota: Rapid City

rapid city south dakota at dawn

Small, tranquil, and home to a little monument called Mount Rushmore (heard of it?), Rapid City also happens to be home to a robust restaurant scene—and gets very little annual rainfall. In South Dakota, it's the ideal place to resettle.

Population: 67,956
Ages 45–64: 25.4%
Housing Costs: 18.4%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 114.78
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 363.5
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 59.85
Tax Rate: 6.50%
Distance from Airport: 10.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 18.32 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 51.33

Tennessee: Franklin

franklin tennessee, fastest growing cities

Low housing costs and a high density of (delicious) restaurants make Franklin a great place to resettle. But history buffs should know that it's also a bona fide historical destination—not only is it named after one Benjamin Franklin, it was also a key battleground in the Civil War, and has a whopping five whole districts protected by the National Register of Historic Places.

Population: 62,487
Ages 45–64: 27.5%
Housing Costs: 13.6%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 166.43
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 449.7
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 23.49
Tax Rate: 9.75%
Distance from Airport: 21.5 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 52.84
Empty Nesting Index: 60.09

Texas: Austin

austin texas skyline at dusk

You already know Austin has one of the country's greatest music scenes. You also already know it's a top foodie destination—globally, not just nationally. But did you know it has insanely low levels of violent crime? Or low housing costs (at least by urban standards)? Or that a whole fifth of the population is between the ages of 45 and 64 (so you won't run the risk of feeling out of place in a "too hip" city)?

Population: 790,390
Ages 45–64: 21.6%
Housing Costs: 18.2%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 48.33
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 318.5
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 2.85
Tax Rate: 8.25%
Distance from Airport: 7.1 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 34.25 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 61.17

Utah: Sandy

sandy utah

No, Sandy isn't that sandy. It is snowy, though. Just south of Salt Lake City, Sandy is a stone's throw away from some of the best skiing on the continent—including Alta Ski Area, Brighton Resort, and Solitude Mountain Resort. Throw in a low violent crime rate and housing costs, and you've got yourself a great destination for resettling.

Population: 87,461
Ages 45–64: 25.7%
Housing Costs: 17.7%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 41.16
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 215
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 11.91
Tax Rate: 7.25%
Distance from Airport: 22.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 20 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.19

Vermont: Montpelier

foliage in montpelier vermont

If you're craving a charming small-town feel, Montpelier is the place to be. Plus, look at that foliage!

Population: 7,855
Ages 45–64: 29.1%
Housing Costs: 20.9%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 178.23
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 483.8
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 170.08
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 36.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 37.38 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 50.84

Virginia: Richmond

richmond virginia

Low crime, low taxes, low housing costs, and a surprising amount of verdure, Virginia's capital has it all. It's also steeped in history. (That whole "Give me liberty or give me death" speech from 1775 happened here.)

Population: 204,214
Ages 45–64: 24.2%
Housing Costs: 15.7%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 48.48
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 302.6
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 12.13
Tax Rate: 5.30%
Distance from Airport: 8.7 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 43.32 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 59.49

Washington: Bellevue

bellevue washington

Opposite Seattle on Lake Washington, Bellevue is a haven of arts and culture—and has a low crime rate and housing costs, to boot. It's also a major tech hub, so, if you're the type who frequently runs into computer problems…

Population: 122,363
Ages 45–64: 26.5%
Housing Costs: 12.4%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 71.92
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 353
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 3.69
Tax Rate: 10.00%
Distance from Airport: 17.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 42 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 61.97

West Virginia: Huntington

silos on a farm in huntington west virginia

A low cost of living makes Huntington a prime spot for empty nesters—especially after you realize how far each dollar goes when the kids are no longer around.

Population: 49,138
Ages 45–64: 22.6%
Housing Costs: 13%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 48.84
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 350
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 101.04
Tax Rate: 7.00%
Distance from Airport: 8.9 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 43.11 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 61.85

Wisconsin: Eau Claire

phoenix park in eau claire wisconsin

The very picture of Midwest placidity, Eau Claire—with its winsome downtown and wide swaths of parks and greenery—is a prime place to resettle. (Bonus: low taxes!)

Population: 65,883
Ages 45–64: 20.7%
Housing Costs: 18.9%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 62.23
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 347.6
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 17.02
Tax Rate: 5.50%
Distance from Airport: 22.2 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 31.02 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 58.61

Wyoming: Sheridan

sheridan wyoming

What happens when the Wild West grows up and settles down into just… the West? If you answered "Sheridan, Wyoming," congrats: You win! This small town is the type of quaint, little-trafficked locale that has, and revolves around, a Main Street. And if you're ever aching for a faster pace—or just need to get out of Dodge—the airport is just a short jog away.

Population: 17,444
Ages 45–64: 23.5%
Housing Costs: 22%
Cultural Institutions (per 100,000 people): 74.52
Restaurants (per 100,000 people): 395.6
Violent Crime (per 100,000 people): 25.45
Tax Rate: 6.00%
Distance from Airport: 2.3 miles
Average Annual Precipitation: 13.26 inches
Empty Nesting Index: 57.25

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Alex Daniel
A journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Read more
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