Best Urban Places to Retire

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Retirement

One of the biggest decisions in life is choosing where to retire. Many Americans making this decision will consider several factors, such as finding a place with other retirees nearby that’s affordable and has good weather, too.

NerdWallet analyzed the following variables in the 75 largest U.S. cities to find the best urban places to retire:

1.    Presence of fellow retirees: We included the percentage of the population over age 65 in each city to assess if there is a peer group.

2.    Affordability: We included the cost of living index (the average cost of living index is 100 across all U.S. cities) to measure the level of affordability in each city. We also included the average cost of a visit to the doctor’s office and annual cost of in-home services to assess health care and assisted living costs. In-home, or homemaker services, include basic household assistance such as shopping, laundry, personal hygiene and meal preparation that allow older individuals to live in their homes as they age.

3.    Weather: Many seniors prefer to enjoy their retirement in warmer climates, so we incorporated average annual temperatures into our rankings  — the warmer a city, the better.

4.    Walkability: Retirees in urban locations like to have easy access to local sites and services, so we assessed how easy it is to live without a car by looking at the Walk Score of each city.


1.    Miami, Florida

With nearly 16% of its population over age 65, sunny Miami is our top place for retirees. Seniors can take advantage of the city’s walkable layout and many beaches while enjoying relatively low average doctor and homemaker costs. The Miami area offers several community services for the elderly, such as care planning, home care and a retired and senior volunteer program.

2.    New Orleans, Louisiana

For those who like hot and humid summers, milder winters and a low cost of living, the Big Easy is a good place to consider. Retirees in New Orleans enjoy a rich culture, festivals and great food. The New Orleans Council on Aging provides several resources and amenities for the elderly, such as homemaker services, community service programs and events for seniors.

3.    El Paso, Texas

Compared to other major cities, El Paso boasts a very low cost of living, especially for seniors. The annual cost of in-home homemaker services is lower here than in any other place on our list. Bienvivir Senior Health Services is a community-based program that has helped the elderly live in their own homes for nearly 30 years.

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4.    Mesa, Arizona

Mesa is a popular location for retirees — almost 16% of the city’s residents are over 65. With its warm weather, many golf courses and a relatively low cost of living, this Phoenix suburb boasts many characteristics to attract older residents. The City of Mesa and East Valley Adult Resources offer various resources and services to aid local seniors.

5.    Corpus Christi, Texas

Retirees in Corpus Christi enjoy a very affordable lifestyle with the city’s cost of living index at 92.07, which is among the lowest on our list, and the annual cost of homemaker services at a low $33,176. Active seniors can take advantage of local outdoor opportunities such as golfing, boating and fishing.

6.    Tampa, Florida

Florida is a popular state for seniors, and Tampa is among its best cities for retirees thanks to its moderate weather and a low cost of living. The city also boasts museums, performing arts venues, parks and golf courses. Retirees will find a great resource in Seniors in Service, an organization that engages people, especially those 55 and over, in volunteer activities in the community.

7.    Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore offers retirees an urban and highly walkable city, along with the lowest average cost of a doctor’s visit of the top 10 cities on our list. With more than 4,900 acres of parkland, performing arts draws such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and various historical sites, the city provides its residents with many attractions. The Maryland Department of Aging, which is located in Baltimore, protects the rights and quality of life of the elderly throughout the state.

8.    Honolulu, Hawaii

This tourist destination is also a favorite place for retirees — nearly 18% of Honolulu’s population is over 65, the largest percentage of any major city in the country. Although the cost of living is high, the tropical weather, beaches and many attractions help retirees enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. The Aging and Disability Resource Center in Honolulu offers services and assistance to improve quality of life for seniors.

9.    Henderson, Nevada

Henderson has become a home for many retirees as its population of older residents has grown to just under 17%, the second-highest percentage of all 75 cities. The city, about 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas, boasts dozens of hiking trails and is surrounded by mountains. Henderson also has a 6,000-square-foot downtown senior center that features a variety of programs.

10. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is an attractive place for retirees due to its high affordability: it boasts a cost-of-living index of just 84.91, the lowest of any major city in the U.S. The city also has a rich history in culture, music and the arts. The Memphis Park Services’ Senior Centers offer services and activities such as field trips and classes to provide leisure, wellness and educational opportunities for residents 55 and older.

Top 20 Urban Places to Retire

Rank City Percent of population 65+ Cost of living index Cost of a doctor’s visit Annual cost of in-home homemaker services Average annual temperature Walk Score Overall score
1 Miami, FL 15.6% 110.55 $101.25 $36,608 77.2 75.6 81.41
2 New Orleans, LA 11.4% 95.12 $81.90 $32,032 69.7 56.3 73.67
3 El Paso, TX 11.7% 92.29 $83.33 $32,009 64.5 38.7 69.39
4 Mesa, AZ 15.8% 95.50 $112.43 $44,616 75.0 34.4 68.17
5 Corpus Christi, TX 12.4% 92.07 $109.67 $33,176 72.1 35.7 67.63
6 Tampa, FL 10.9% 92.85 $85.00 $40,040 73.4 46.3 66.59
7 Baltimore, MD 11.9% 107.88 $75.60 $43,472 55.0 66.2 64.80
8 Honolulu, HI 17.7% 175.12 $111.67 $52,052 77.7 62.6 64.71
9 Henderson, NV 16.7% 104.65 $120.00 $45,760 68.3 27.6 63.72
10 Memphis, TN 10.6% 84.91 $82.31 $36,608 63.0 33.0 63.60
11 Jacksonville, FL 11.7% 98.31 $69.40 $43,472 68.5 25.5 62.65
12 Louisville, KY 13.0% 91.69 $87.70 $42,625 57.2 31.2 61.53
13 Washington, DC 11.4% 139.62 $85.80 $43,472 58.1 74.1 60.56
14 Fort Wayne, IN 13.3% 89.24 $86.33 $42,053 50.4 28.3 60.42
15 Oklahoma City, OK 11.2% 88.94 $85.56 $41,184 61.4 31.6 60.38
16 Houston, TX 9.6% 98.24 $83.75 $42,238 69.5 44.2 60.24
17 Detroit, MI 12.2% 94.95 $93.20 $42,900 50.2 52.2 60.22
18 San Antonio, TX 11.2% 92.53 $95.00 $43,372 69.8 33.7 60.02
19 St. Louis, MO 11.2% 93.37 $93.33 $45,760 57.0 59.8 59.98
20 Wichita, KS 12.3% 89.73 $94.50 $41,184 56.5 31.9 59.83

Methodology

The overall score for each metro was calculated from the following measures:

  1. Percentage of population 65 and older from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (25% of overall score)
  2. Cost of living index from the ACCRA 2014 Q1 Cost of Living Index (16.7% of overall score)
  3. Average cost of a doctor’s visit from the ACCRA 2014 Q1 Cost of Living Index (16.7% of overall score)
  4. Annual cost of in-home homemaker services from the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey (16.7% of overall score)
  5. Average annual temperature from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)(12.5% of overall score)
  6. Walk Score from WalkScore.com (12.5% of overall score)

The study analyzed the 75 largest U.S. cities.

 

Retirement image from Shutterstock