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New analysis ranks the best states for retirement

The research weighed affordability of each state, along with other relevant factors, to determine which states are best for retirees

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The sun sets over the Indian River at the Outdoor Resorts of Melbourne Beach Condo Association in Florida.

The sun sets over the Indian River at the Outdoor Resorts of Melbourne Beach Condo Association in Melbourne Beach, Florida, on Dec. 29, 2019.

Chuck Wing, Deseret News

When it comes to choosing a place for retirement, an array of factors go into choosing a destination, such as cost of living, proximity to family or exciting landmarks. In a new analysis, Bankrate crunched some numbers and weighed some factors to rank the U.S. states from best to worst for retirees.

Methodology: The analysis weighed five main categories when ranking the states: most of the weight rested on affordability, wellness, culture and diversity, weather and crime.

Data was taken from public and private sources that Bankrate deemed relevant to the life of a retiree, such as the Cost of Living Index, community well-being indexes, data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and local crime and weather data.

Details: Bankrate says Florida ranks top for retirees due to its diverse culture and high population of people over the age of 65. The state was ranked as somewhat affordable, though the report states that Florida’s cost of living has been rising over time.

Laura Kovacs, former director of education at the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors in Arizona — and a retiree — told Bankrate that her advice to those looking for a place to retire is to “spend some time in places where you want to live before you commit to moving there. Go to a variety of different places that you seem to be attracted to — places that have a lower cost of living and lower property taxes — and test them out for a while.

“If you’re interested in Florida or Arizona or California, stay there for a while and see if you like the climate at the time of year you’re going to be living there. Make sure it’s really as affordable as you thought. When you’re still working, take some time to go preview different types of communities and different types of lifestyles. And when you’ve retired, maybe try renting for a while before you commit to buying,” Kovacs said.

Ranking: Based on Bankewell’s criteria, here are all 50 U.S. states ranked from best to worst for retirees:

  1. Florida.
  2. Georgia.
  3. Michigan.
  4. Ohio.
  5. Missouri.
  6. Kentucky.
  7. Texas.
  8. Tennessee.
  9. Pennsylvania.
  10. South Dakota.
  11. West Virginia.
  12. Mississippi.
  13. Arizona.
  14. Iowa.
  15. North Carolina.
  16. Illinois.
  17. Wisconsin.
  18. Indiana.
  19. Oklahoma.
  20. New York.
  21. Virginia.
  22. Wyoming.
  23. New Hampshire.
  24. North Dakota.
  25. South Carolina.
  26. New Jersey.
  27. Nevada.
  28. Colorado.
  29. Arkansas.
  30. Nebraska.
  31. Utah.
  32. Massachusetts.
  33. Idaho.
  34. Rhode Island.
  35. Minnesota.
  36. Alabama.
  37. Kansas.
  38. Oregon.
  39. Louisiana.
  40. Delaware.
  41. Washington.
  42. Hawaii.
  43. Connecticut.
  44. Maryland.
  45. Vermont.
  46. Montana.
  47. New Mexico.
  48. California.
  49. Maine.
  50. Alaska.