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Best Places for Seniors to Live, Retire, and Thrive in the U.S.

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America is a land full of diversity, outdoor adventures, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. With so much to offer, choosing a place to live in retirement can be a daunting task. To help make your search easier, we’ve created a list of the best places for seniors to live, retire, and thrive in the United States.

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Because the perfect city for you depends on your unique situation and desires, we’ve separated the cities based on affordability, demographics, range of available activities, and the job market. Continue reading below to find out where your next home might be.  




Best Places for Seniors on a Budget

If you’re looking for a city where your money gets your more, look no further than the five cities below.


Cleveland, Ohio

Not only does Cleveland have median home values of only $67,500, but rent is an affordable average of $660 per month. Whether you plan on buying or renting a home in retirement, doing so in Cleveland won’t break the bank even with the most modest retirement incomes. The overall cost of living is also 15 percent less than the national average. 


Knoxville, Tennessee

Tennessee ranks as one of the most tax-friendly states. There is no broad-based income tax, and while residents do have to pay taxes on stock dividends and interest income from investments, the city is phasing that out in the next two years. Income-qualified seniors 65 and over can also participate in property tax relief programs. 

Knoxville, in particular, makes the list because the cost of living is 18 percent lower than the national average and seven percent lower than the rest of Tennessee. Housing is also 30 percent cheaper than the rest of the country and 10 percent cheaper than other parts of Tennessee. Homes in Knoxville go for an average price of $120,300.




Buffalo, New York

If you’re a New Yorker dreading the thought of leaving your home state for more affordable living in retirement, then know you may be able to have your cake and eat it too. While you won’t find anything cheaper in the boroughs or on Long Island, in Upstate New York cities like Buffalo, the median home value is a much more palatable $72,600. You’ll also pay less for health care, utilities, groceries, and more thanks to the lower cost of living. 


Birmingham, Alabama

If you’re looking to stretch your retirement income dollars further but don’t want to give up the city life to do so, Birmingham, Alabama, may just be the city you’re looking for. It received Area Vibes #1 Big City Cost of Living Livability Award, with areas like housing, health care, groceries, and goods and services priced well below the national average. The average home price is nearly $100,000 less than the average American home, and doctor’s visits tend to run $35 below the national average. 


Fort Myers, Florida

Retirees often flock to Florida for its year-round hot weather and lower cost of living when compared to popular east coast cities like New York. In fact, more retirees move to Florida than to any other state. Fort Myers is a popular destination to settle, given the average home value sits almost $24,000 less than the national average.


golf cart


Best Places for Social Seniors

Sometimes seniors just want to be around other like-minded seniors in retirement. The following five cities have one of the highest percentages of seniors in the United States. Besides being more laid-back towns, you’re sure to find friends to talk and have fun with. 


The Villages, Florida

While places like Boca Raton, Florida get a rap for having a high percentage of seniors, their numbers are only a fraction of The Villages. The city is a self-described “active golf-cart community,” with more than half its 125,165 residents being 65 and older. And according to the most recent Census data, the city is the fastest-growing metro area in the nation.


Punta Gorda City, Florida

Unsurprisingly, there’s another city in Florida with a high percentage of seniors—Punta Gorda. According to U.S. Census data, 56.1 percent of its 20,057 residents are over 65, and they love it there for its high number of retirement communities, waterfront activities, and plethora of shops and restaurants. 


Staunton, Virginia

Almost one in five Staunton residents are seniors aged 65 and older. The overall cost of living in the city is eight percent lower than the U.S. average and 14 percent below that of Virginia’s. Median rent price is only $799, and houses average an affordable $163,000. 




Scottsdale, Arizona

According to the most recent decennial census, 20 percent of people in Scottsdale are age 65 and up. While the city has a higher cost of living than then national average and houses are a median price of $405,500, healthcare expenses are 11 percent lower than the rest of the United States. 


Surprise, Arizona

Surprise has an overall cost of living that’s only two percent higher than the rest of the nation. Houses may be more expensive than the rest of Arizona, but goods and services, groceries, and healthcare are all significantly cheaper. Nineteen percent of its 117,517 residents are 65 or older.




Best Places for Water-Loving Seniors

If the ocean calls to you like the sweet song of a nymph, then these five coastal cities will satisfy your nautical desires. 


Fort Myers Beach, Florida

The white, sandy beach at Fort Myers Beach is known for being safe because its shoreline gently slopes into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the perfect destination for jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, or sailing, or strolling through shady walkways. And with average highs of 74 degrees in January, any time of year is perfect to go for a swim or walk. 


Daytona Beach, Florida. 

If you want to be by the beach but don’t want to pay premium prices for the privilege, Daytona Beach may be your answer, especially if you also love NASCAR. The city has several well-known motorsport events annually, and the median home cost is only $117,200. 


San Diego, California

Seniors with nest eggs big enough to support California’s expensive cost of living will adore San Diego’s year-round warm weather and multitude of ocean activities. Snorkeling and scuba diving along La Jolla Cove or watching breathtaking sunsets at Carlsbad State Beach are popular attractions. If you quickly get bored of going to the same place, there are plenty of other beaches in the area to keep you entertained. 





Charleston, South Carolina

A city known for its southern hospitality and charming historic homes, Charleston is a seaside city with much to offer seniors. There are plenty of opportunities for boating and other water activities and to enjoy the variety of restaurants serving fresh local seafood. Nearby areas like the Isle of Palms are family-friendly and make a great place to take the grandkids for a day of fun. 


Hilo, Hawaii

When talking about beaches and ocean fun in the U.S., we can’t forget to include the only state located in the Pacific Ocean: Hawaii. Like other areas of Hawaii, Hilo is filled with stunning views, excellent beaches, and idyllic weather. It’s more affordable than Honolulu, and nearly one in every five residents are seniors, according to U.S. Census data. 


Best Places for Outdoorsy Seniors

For some, retirement is a time to relax at home and unwind after decades of hard work and busy life. But others see it as an opportunity to take in the great outdoors and explore the world on their schedule. If that describes you, you’ll love the natural beauty these five cities have to offer. 


Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville seems to have it all. There’s the beautiful backdrop of the Great Smokey Mountains and free park entrances, scenic drives along acclaimed routes like the Blue Ridge Parkway, and breathtaking foliage during seasonal transitions to fall. Its natural beauty is only matched by the city’s affordability. The average two-bedroom apartment rental is $1,169, and homes have an average sale price of $333,147. It’s no wonder the city made the list on Livability’s Top 100 Best Places to Live.




Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs is the second-largest city in Colorado and even has an airport. The town has spectacular views and endless opportunities for outdoor explorations. Parks like the Garden of the Gods offer nature trails, unmatched geological formations, and rock climbing. Other activities like taking family-friendly floats through the Arkansas River or whitewater rafting your way down ensure there’s something suitable for everyone’s tastes.  


Wenatchee, Washington

Seniors who don’t mind colder temperatures will love all the things to do in Wenatchee. You’ll find almost any outdoor activity you can think of, from water sports to golfing to skiing to birdwatching. Houses are a median price of $208,200, and apartment rentals are a median of $810 per month.


Bella Vista, Arkansas

If you want lots of options for outdoor activities but don’t want to be in a big city, Bella Vista is a medium-sized town that offers all the amenities of a large city without the hustle and bustle. The town’s population is almost 28,000 and has crime rates that are 75 percent lower than Arkansas and 67 percent lower than the rest of the nation. The city has seven lakes, numerous walking trails, and a variety of forests, as well as golf courses, shooting ranges, and tennis courts. 


Brevard, North Carolina

Brevard is a tiny town with a big number of waterfalls. It’s home to less than 8,000 people but has over 250 waterfalls, giving it a second name of “Land of Waterfalls.” Activities like fishing, biking, and hiking are popular among residents.


Best Places for Working Seniors

If you’re a senior who has always found joy in working and want to open up your golden years with another professional adventure, then the places below are some of the best to start your journey. According to a U.S. Census analysis conducted by Provision Living, the five cities below have the highest number of working seniors.




Plano, Texas

Seniors make up over a quarter of Plano’s workforce and number 34,146 residents. Plano also won Area Vibe’s, “Top 100 Best City USA” Livability award for housing for its affordability, home values, and appreciation rates. Although housing is on the pricier side, with the median home value reaching $248,800 and rent $1,196, the median household income is $85,085. Working seniors may find that purchasing or renting an apartment is still within their budget. 


Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. has nearly 80,000 seniors living in its borders, and seniors make up 24.1 percent of the city’s workforce. Perhaps the large amount of senior government officials that find themselves within D.C. is a contributing factor. Nonetheless, working seniors not involved in politics will discover they are in good company. 


Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska is a popular tourist spot for those 50 and over, but many also live and work in the town. Anchorage has nearly 30,000 seniors as residents, and 24 percent of the city’s workforce are senior citizens. For those interested in earning a little extra income, there’s also plenty of opportunities for summer jobs in Anchorage during peak tourism season. 


Minneapolis, Minnesota

With seniors comprising 23.4 percent of Minneapolis’ workforce and totaling 37,718 residents, adults over 65 and older are sure to find their place within the working class. The job search engine, Indeed, recently ranked the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area as sixth in the nation for the best place for job seekers. 


Garland, Texas

Garland’s cost of living is four percent lower than the U.S. average, and median home values are an affordable $121,400. Median rent prices also clock in below $1,000. For seniors looking to start a new business venture in retirement, Garland’s affordability can make entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Seniors make up 23.1 percent of its workforce, and over 26,000 seniors live within the city. 




How to Find Your Perfect Place to Retire

Choosing a place to retire doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Although there are thousands of cities in the United States, all are unique in their offerings. The best one for you will match your preferences, needs, and budget. Consider what your priorities are, such as affordability, highly-rated healthcare system, or amenities, and rank them in order of importance. From there, websites like Niche.com and Areavibes.com can show you how specific cities compare to the rest of the united states. 

It’s also vital for seniors to consider the number and quality of assisted living facilities in an area, should you or a loved one need their services in the future. Assisted living facilities vary in their offerings, but all help with daily life activities like feeding, walking, and bathing. Use senior care’s assisted living search function to see what assisted living facilities your future city offers. With the right city and home, seniors can make the most of their golden years. 


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