The 10 Worst Places To Retire in America & The 10 Best

The 10 Worst Places To Retire in America & The 10 Best

Retirement in America

When it comes to retirement in America, there are usually three major factors that determine how good or bad a place is for retiring: affordability, healthcare quality and accessibility, and quality of life. While of course preferences will change from person to person, there's a general idea of the pros and cons that come with each and every state. To help you get a better idea of what the 10 worst and the 10 best states to retire in America are, keep reading! Of course, keep in mind that what you value individually might affect your opinion on these states.

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1. New York

It probably isn't coming to you as a surprise that New York is one of the worst states to retire in. Mainly due to its low affordability rank, it's a challenging place for retirees to live because of its exceptionally high cost of living and expensive healthcare. While it offers a rich cultural scene, good healthcare facilities, and a high quality of life, the affordability factor simply outweighs everything else.

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2. Hawaii

Although Hawaii is a paradise many people dream about retiring to, its extremely high cost of living makes it one of the worst places to actually retire in. Its beautiful landscapes and climate are overshadowed by the financial strain it puts on retirees; it'll be hard to stretch out your savings when it costs so much!

Sean-Oulashin-Kmn4Veeepr8-UnsplashPhoto by Sean Oulashin on Unsplash

3. Washington

Despite having no state income tax, don't be fooled because Washington's high cost of living, expensive housing market, and rising healthcare costs make it difficult for retirees to find it peaceful here. Quality of life might be high, but the affordability is a major issue, especially if you're on a fixed income.

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4. Massachusetts

Massachusetts may have some of the best high-quality healthcare in all of America, but unfortunately, it's still one of the worst places to retire in no thanks to its high cost of living and housing. Everything from food to clothing to housing is more expensive here! So despite having excellent access to medical care, its low affordability factor greatly impacted its ranking.

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5. Kentucky

So far in 2024, Kentucky is ranking as the worst place to retire in all of America. Although this state offers a lower cost of living compared to others on this list, due to limited healthcare options, the state's health outcomes are among the poorest. Not to mention the extreme weather conditions the state faces on a yearly basis, all these factors combined can severely impact a retiree's quality of life.

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6. Louisiana

Having one of the lowest costs of living in the United States, you'd expect Louisiana to rank somewhere much higher on the list of most retirable states, but unfortunately, that's not the case. This is offset by poor healthcare quality and low life expectancy. Similar to Kentucky, this state also faces some significant environmental challenges, including hurricane risk, which makes it undesirable for retirees to live here.

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7. Alaska

Alaska certainly offers retirees a bunch of unique challenges which explains why it ranks so lowly. While it has a high cost of living for one, especially in remote areas, it also has limited access to healthcare facilities. We can't leave out the harsher climate and complete isolation from the rest of the U.S., negatively impacting the quality of life here.

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8. New Jersey

High property taxes and a high cost of living make New Jersey a challenging place to retire. While it boasts high-quality healthcare, the financial burden can be significant for those on a fixed income, affecting the overall quality of life for retirees.

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9. California

California's high cost of living, expensive housing market, and high taxes make it a difficult state for retirees. Despite its natural beauty and high-quality healthcare, affordability is a major concern that can't be overlooked. You can't exactly enjoy your retirement if you've got no more money left to spend!

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10. Illinois

Illinois faces challenges with high taxes, including one of the highest property taxes in the nation, which can be extra burdensome for retirees. No one wants to deal with that extra stress when you're retired! It has a decent healthcare system in place, but it's simply overshadowed by its affordability concerns.

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1. Delaware

Delaware stands out as a top retirement destination due to its tax-friendly policies for seniors, including no state sales tax and low property taxes. The cost of living is relatively affordable, and its location is a major plus, offering retirees easy access to major cities along the East Coast, enhancing overall quality of life.

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2. Iowa

Thanks to affordable living costs, pretty good healthcare options, and low crime rates, Iowa is ranked pretty highly in the best places to retire in. The state has a peaceful and community-oriented environment that makes it extra appealing for those looking to retire in a stress-free place. But of course, its great affordability rank is what makes it the most attractive.

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3. West Virginia

West Virginia is known for its low cost of living, low crime rate, and stunning natural scenery. Providing a peaceful setting for new retirees, we can see why this state is appealing to many. Although its healthcare accessibility and quality is more questionable, we can't deny the state's affordability and quality outdoor recreation.

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4. Missouri

Missouri is a popular retirement destination for those looking at affordable living options. The cost of living here is consistently below the national average! Furthermore, if you love and value nature and diverse cultural and recreational opportunities, you'll definitely find that being fulfilled in this state.

Brittney-Butler-Uznod1Xul9A-UnsplashPhoto by Brittney Butler on Unsplash

5. Mississippi

Having a warmer climate, great affordable living costs, and plenty of outdoor activities to do, Mississippi is frequently seen as an appealing place to retire. Although its healthcare quality still needs a lot of work, retirees have complimented the state's retiree-friendly taxes, nice weather, and natural beauty.

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6. Florida

Florida is a popular state to retire thanks to its no state income tax policy, pleasant and warm climate, and numerous retirement communities. There are plenty of leisure and recreational activities to enjoy here, leading to a higher quality of life for retirees. Combined with a decent cost of living, it makes sense why this state has made it on this list.

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7. Colorado

Having a pretty large retirement population, it's no surprise that Colorado attracts retirees with its beautiful natural landscape, outdoor activities, and high-quality healthcare system. The cost of living here is admittedly a bit higher than some other states on this list, but the quality of life makes it a worthy choice that has clearly drawn in plenty of others. 

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8. Idaho

As one of the most affordable places to retire in America, Idaho offers retirees plenty of positives that make it convincing to move here. With decent healthcare, low crime rates, and a strong sense of community, many retirees have commented on their enjoyment retiring to this state.

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9. Minnesota

Recognized for its excellent and accessible healthcare system, Minneosta seems like a no-brainer. Not only does it have a reasonable cost of living, it also has a lower crime rate compared to the rest of America, making it an appealing retirement destination. The only major con that comes to mind is its colder climate leading to some harsh winters, but all the pros combined can outweigh this.

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10. South Dakota

Ranking high in healthcare affordability and accessibility, South Dakota is definitely somewhere you should consider retiring to. It's a state that also boasts a tax-friendly environment for retirees (no state income tax!) and has an affordable cost of living. And thanks to its plethora of outdoor activities and friendly communities, it even offers a high quality of life for retirees planning to move here.

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