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The Best Age Friendly Places To Retire
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The Best Age Friendly Places To Retire

Photo courtesy of Farragutful [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So much of your experience in retirement will revolve around where you live—why not base that decision on first-hand experience, data, and a methodology for highlighting the best spots?

One key part of Age Friendly Advisor's mission is helping you choose where to live in your later years. What makes us different is that we ask you, the "crowd", to weigh in. We ask for residents' opinions of their neighborhood, town or city. Then, we combine these user ratings with numerous additional data sources and publish the results in a freely accessible way. The user ratings' domains are based on the World Health Organizations rubric for what makes a community "age friendly."

The entire process is straightforward, but it's also vital. Why? Because our foundational research shows that 30% of people over age 70 regret where they chose to spend their later years. The information necessary for making sound decisions isn't widely accessible, and we think a key ingredient is real opinions on that city. After all, why should you be able to get a thousand user reviews for how well a toaster works, but be unable to find out if the place you may retire in has a Council On Aging or Area Agency on Aging that has up-to-date programs and resources for you to take advantage of?

We break down our methodology in our About Us section, so head over there for more of the nitty-gritty on what makes up these numbers. We've also previously written a round-up of other "Best Places to Retire" lists, but we're awfully fond of ours, so be sure to check out the full visualizations over on our Tableau page.

Some of the trends we spotted:

  • Working Ratings are the lowest across the board: In fact, only three cities managed to have a ranking above a 4.0 for the Working category. As we've talked about previously, finding paid work is extremely important for older adults, whether for meaning, socialization, or paying the bills. There are many reasons why a city may or may not have opportunities for older workers, but it seems that this is the biggest area of improvement for most places.
  • Almost all of the cities ranked above 4.0 stars for Education: This may seem an odd stat to include with any "Age Friendly" ranking, but Americans with more education tend to live longer. Whether it be meaning in retirement, the brain health benefits of continuous challenges, or the intergenerational links that a classroom can provide, these age friendly cities had scores of opportunities for older residents. For more information on education after retirement, check out this post on the Age Friendly University movement.
  • There's no one-size-fits-all city: Cities and towns of all populations and sizes are represented on the list because they vary in terms of how well they tackle certain challenges: larger cities, for example, may have better public transportation, but they're more expensive to live in. Smaller towns may have good job opportunities, but fewer care facilities or formal organizations that foster community engagement. 

Without further ado, here are the 25 Best Age Friendly Places To Retire in the US:

  1. Silver Spring, MD
  2. Greater Boston, MA**
  3. Greater New York City, NY**
  4. Raleigh, NC
  5. Fort Lauderdale, FL**
  6. Cape Coral, Fl
  7. Pittsburgh, PA ***
  8. Austin, TX ***
  9. New Orleans, LA
  10. Detroit, MI
  11. Columbus, OH**
  12. Killeen, TX
  13. Philadelphia, PA**
  14. Tampa, FL
  15. Washington, DC**
  16. Charlotte, NC
  17. Chicago, IL1
  18. Cleveland, OH**
  19. Klamath Falls, OR
  20. Greater Atlanta, GA ***
  21. Louisville, KY**
  22. Dallas, TX**
  23. Cincinnati, OH**
  24. Indianapolis, IN
  25. Miami, FL**

*Our methodology for this first list was to highlight places that meet a minimum threshold of criteria, most importantly, number of user reviews. Just because your city isn't on the list doesn't mean it's not age friendly!

In fact, if you have strong opinions on your city, search for it, leave a review, and let us know. The more reviews we gather, the more you're helping others while motivating positive change for aging in your community.


**Indicates that the city is a member of the World Health Organization Global Network for Age Friendly Cities and Communities and the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities

1Indicates the city is a member of the World Health Organization Global Network for Age Friendly Cities only

*** Indicates the city is a member of the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities only

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Comments (7)
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You need to include the cost of living....which is most important to retirees...unless they have beaucoup bucks. Silver spring in Maryland is a very expensive place to live due to high MD taxes.

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The best doesn’t always mean the cheapest. There are many retirees that can afford to live in high cost areas. We live in Boston, it is expensive, but you get what you pay for. Contrary to some comments, Boston & New York have relatively low crime rates, that is based on facts not anti urban bias. These cities Have the some of the best health care in the country, you can get around easily without a car, access to very high quality arts. We can walk to just about anything we need, in a safe vibrant neighborhood with access to recreation and educational opportunities. We had considered buying a house in Tucson for the winter months but after a visit realized it wouldn’t meet our needs.

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Are you Kidding me!!!! New York? Boston? Miami? Detroit?? Those are probably the most expensive places in the USA to move to and retire! Most of them are the crime heavens also. Who would want to move there? I have lived in Miami and Detroit is not far from me, CRIME CRIME CRIME

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I did not see any info on best places to retire?

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I have not seen a list like this one before. neat way to look my options and see which cities are actually supporting their older citizens.

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