Retirees can usually be found on sunny beaches or near Sun Belt metros that have warmer climates year-round, but a new study from StorageCafe reveals that states outside the Sunshine State are becoming increasingly popular with seniors and retirees.
However, with current seniors’ concerns about healthcare and other expenses, there are other factors to consider when evaluating a location’s potential to offer the best retirement experience.
- Half of the best retirement destinations in the United States are in the Northeast, with New York City in New York and Albany as well as Bridgeport in Connecticut among the highest ranked places.
- Florida has two of the three largest metropolitan areas for retirees - in Cape Coral Fort Myers and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton they have safe environments and a long life expectancy
- Cleveland-Elyria in Ohio is the second great US metro for retirees, offering good value for money and entertainment options
- Wisconsin metros in Milwaukee-Waukesha and Madison have generous savings for healthcare workers for retirees.
With more than 10,000 people turning 65 each day, StorageCafe has found today’s top retirement destinations by looking at a wide variety of factors relevant to the needs of seniors in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. To determine the suitability of any location for a person of retirement age, and their chances of integrating easily into the local community, StorageCafe looked at the percentage of its residents over 65 and the life expectancy there.
Median income was analyzed as well as several health factors and local crime statistics in order to determine safety levels. Since retirees receive a steady income and monthly budgets can make or break the living experience, housing and groceries costs were also factored in as well as the local tax burden. StorageCafe also looked at local recreation options in the form of parks and golf courses. Finally, we analyzed how well metropolitan areas are at providing age-restricted accommodations in more than 50 community units—an indicator of a city’s readiness for seniors—and also self-storage, which can greatly help with moving into a new home and keeping it crowded. - Free of mostly seniors downsizing for retirement.
While it’s no surprise that Florida’s beach hotspots are enjoyed by seniors, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers medallion and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, places to the north and east fill most of the top 20: New York-centered metros, Albany, offer all From Bridgeport and Providence — not to mention many in Ohio and Wisconsin — retirees have a wealth of benefits. The west of the country is represented by Oxnard in California and the metropolitan area most suitable for retirees in Texas is El Paso.
Florida retirees enjoy low taxes and great conditions - Cape Coral and Sarasota top the list
Every list of places for retirees should include The Sunshine State. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan areas, both toward South Florida on the Gulf Coast, proved particularly attractive for them, scoring first and third in the rankings. Obviously, both are nicely set up for older residents, as they make up more residents there than in any other large metro area — 53.0% and 62.7%, respectively, than younger adult numbers — and have a high median income. Plus $35,000.
Additionally, Cape Coral-Fort Myers has the best safety score out of the 100 metros in our ranking, and residents have a very high life expectancy at 82.4 years—the number in metro Sarasota isn’t far behind at 81.4. Florida seniors also benefit from a pleasant tax climate, as their incomes, benefits, and inheritances are not taxed, although there is a sales tax and property tax.
Tampa St. Petersburg-Clearwater 8 scoresy A place with a lower cost of living than the higher ranked locations on the coast. Of course, there are plenty of beaches, golf clubs, and some of the best weather in this part of the nation. Not to be outdone, Florida’s Atlantic Coast brings Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach to the party, on the 17th.y and 18y positions and a similar set of virtues for pensioners.
Ohio offers health care and cost-effective housing with Cleveland leading
The Buckeye State often scores well on the calculations of value for money, and seniors certainly don’t skimp here as two metropolitan areas in Ohio make the top five for seniors. The nation’s second metro for retirees is Cleveland-ElyriaWhich enjoy good levels of safety, cost of living, and provision of health care and social assistance workers. No wonder the ratio of people over 65 to other adults is over 30% here.
Finished in fifth place overall, Dayton-Kettering has a lot of what Cleveland has to offer, but it has better costs of living. Home prices here approach $192,000, while in Cleveland it’s $220,000, and median rent is just under $861—numbers that make this birthplace of aviation one of the best-value destinations for retirees in the country.
Both Ohio subways have an above-average provision of age-restricted accommodations, but Akron, at 27y The location in general, just south of Cleveland and its recreational opportunities on Lake Erie, provides proportionately more. On the state’s eastern frontier in Penn State, Harrisburg-Carlisle won 16y A place, it also has more age-restricted accommodations than most metros as well as a good security score.
New York State has great all-round deals for seniors - try Albany, Rochester, or even New York City itself
New York City took fourth place in the rankings for retirees, with a large number of healthcare workers, a large number of parks and golf courses, as well as an average income of more than $32,000. The Big Apple may not be famous for stretching your dollar, but the most affordable places in the New York City metro area keep housing costs there in check, and no state tax is levied on Social Security income.
Moving up to the top of the state, Albany-Schenectady-Troy earned the sixth-best U.S. metro for retirees, scoring well for safety. And while retirement income is about the same high as it is in the New York City metro, home prices are about half the amount, median home value is about $280,000, and median monthly rents are less than $1,100.
Further toward Lake Ontario, Rochester and Syracuse, score 14y and 19y places in the order, respectively. They score well in terms of safety and housing costs tend to be reasonable. In addition to the great boating and fishing options, other recreational options in Upstate New York include the popular early fall experience when the leaves change color in the woods.
Wisconsin offers good cost of living and healthcare in Milwaukee and Madison
Some midwestern retirees will want to stay there, and others may be drawn to the American heartland by its quieter, friendlier lifestyle. Milwaukee-Waukesha, Wisconsin, is ranked 7th overall for its high availability of health care and social assistance workers as well as affordable housing and cost of living.
The metropolitan area centered on Wisconsin’s capital, Madison, isn’t far behind, with a 12th-place ranking for senior-friendly metros. Retirees here have a median income of over $31,000, which is about $4,000 more than in greater Milwaukee, and life expectancy is about 80 years, though the costs are slightly higher.
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan areas exemplify Wisconsin, offering big-city entertainment options, although living costs tend to be higher. Meanwhile, retired outdoor enthusiasts may want to know that the Badger State still retains its great fishing traditions, at Lake Michigan and more than 5,000 other lakes.
Connecticut retirees enjoy safe communities and quality health care in Bridgeport and Hartford
The coastal Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area in Connecticut scored 10y A place in the list of great places for retirees. They have a long life expectancy of 82.1 years and appreciate the high level of safety in metros. In addition, they receive a generous median income of over $36K, which offsets the somewhat higher than average cost of living here.
In central Connecticut, Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown has the 20th best metropolitan area for retirees. It offers higher savings than Bridgeport Health Care and Social Assistance Workers. Life expectancy is also high here at 80.5 years, and there is a generous provision for age-restricted housing.
Retirees might also want to look at New Haven - Milford - “Connecticut’s Cultural Capital” - which scored 24y Overall place with similar advantages to other Constitution State Metro. In neighboring Rhode Island, the Providence-Warwick metro lands at 13th besty place, with higher savings of both age-restricted accommodations and golf courses per square mile than any other large U.S. metro.
California and Texan retirees enjoy a long life - Oxnard and El Paso are ahead
The Golden State has always attracted seniors with great beaches, great weather, as well as a highly developed attitude towards health care. The Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metropolitan area — on the coast just 60 miles west of Los Angeles — earned the ninth spot on the list. Retirees here earn a high median annual income of more than $35,000—which, alternatively, equals metro housing costs—and can look forward to a life expectancy of at least 82.3 years.
Texas is another warm place to settle down after retirement, and the top metro for seniors is El Paso. They’ll also enjoy a life expectancy here of more than 80 years, but the costs are on the lighter end of the spectrum. In addition, there are also significantly higher benefits for health care and social assistance workers than in metro California.
To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.