The 50 States: Ranked From Worst To Best Place To Retire

Everyone wants to retire eventually. You get too old to work, or you simply just feel as though you’ve paid your dues. Regardless, when you’re done working, you may want to move somewhere else in the United States to live the easy life. But Don’t just move anywhere! Some states are certainly worse to retire in than others. And here’s a list of all 50 states in the USA, ranked from worst to best in terms of where to retire to. To determine their rankings, each state’s cost of living, health care quality, and general quality of life were taken into account, as well as a few other general factors.

50. Kentucky


Affordability: 32
Quality of Life: 46
Health Care: 45

There’s really not much to say about the Bluegrass State. Kentucky has some of the worst rankings as far as quality of life and health care go. Its affordability’s also in the middle of the road.

49. New Mexico


Affordability: 37
Quality of Life: 45
Health Care: 38

New Mexico’s a beautiful state to visit, but unfortunately, not the best to retire to. It’s ranked 48th in the country for states with senior citizens in the workforce. It also has the highest property crime rates in the U.S. Not to mention, its overall quality of life is rather poor, with its affordability and health care being more in the middle of the road.

48. Rhode Island


Affordability: 47
Quality of Life: 38
Health Care: 25

Rhode Island has a lot of interesting traits to it, like the oldest operating restaurant in the US and high quality seafood. Unfortunately, it’s not the best place to retire to. While the Ocean State’s quality of life is a little on the low side and its smack dab in the middle as far as health care goes, the primary issue comes in its high affordability ranking.

47. New Jersey


Affordability: 48
Quality of Life: 31
Health Care: 23

To begin with, and this may be surprising, New Jersey is actually ranked number five when it comes to lowest property crimes rates. However, its average health care and quality of life definitely don’t offset how expensive the state is to live in.

46. West Virginia


Affordability: 19
Quality of Life: 40
Health Care: 50

West Virginia is a pretty affordable state to live in and its filled with a great amount of rustic charm. However, there isn’t a lot of culture, given its low amount of theaters and museums. West Virginia is actually ranked number 49 and 47 in terms of number of theaters and museums per capita, respectively. There’s also its low quality of life ranking and the fact that it’s at the very bottom of the rankings for health care.

45. Tennessee


Affordability: 14
Quality of Life: 48
Health Care: 46

Tennessee’s another good state for tourist attractions, but certainly not one you’d want to hang up your coat in. It’s got an adequate level of affordability, bit its health care ranking and quality of life it right near the bottom.

44. Arkansas


Affordability: 9
Quality of Life: 50
Health Care: 45

Home to the Ozark Mountains and hot springs, Arkansas is another lovely state for visitors. However, when it comes to living there, it’s not a suggested retirement location. The affordability ranking is pretty good, but its health care rank is terrible. Not to mention, its quality of life is right at the bottom.

43. Mississippi


Affordability: 5
Quality of Life: 49
Health Care: 47

You may be noticing a slight trend with the really affordable states having abysmal quality of life and health care. Well, Mississippi doesn’t exactly break that mould. The Magnolia State also has the lowest life expectancy amongst the 50 states. Then there’s the fact that it often ranks near the top of “Least Fun States” lists.

42. New York


Affordability: 37
Quality of Life: 45
Health Care: 38

New York! It can’t be beaten when it comes to cuisine, culture, and the arts. Unfortunately, that makes the state more of a tourist attraction as opposed to a retirement destination. Its affordability and health care rankings are between okay and bad, and its quality of life ranking cracks the bottom five for US states.

41. Louisiana


Affordability: 10
Quality of Life: 44
Health Care: 43

Back to the trend of affordable states that are bad at everything else, there’s Louisiana. It just cracks the top ten for US states in terms of affordability, but its health care quality and quality of life are both in the bottom ten. Not to mention it ranks number 48 in property crime rate and 47 for life expectancy.

40. Maryland


Affordability: 43
Quality of Life: 29
Health Care: 20

There’s always something to do in Maryland. And its quality of life and health care aren’t too bad. Unfortunately, Maryland just so happens to be an incredibly expensive state to live in. That’s why its affordability rank in the US is 43.

39. Alabama


Affordability: 1
Quality of Life: 47
Health Care: 49

If you remember the trend of more affordable states having lower quality of life and health care, what does that say about Alabama? Alabama is the cheapest state to leave in, but its quality of life is 47 and its health care quality is 49. Also, its life expectancy is in the bottom three of the 50 states.

38. Oregon


Affordability: 41
Quality of Life: 24
Health Care: 21

Oregon has adequate quality of life and health care. Not anything to write home about. However, its affordability is 41 out of 50. Oregon also doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, but it does tax other retirement benefits.

37. Oklahoma


Affordability: 6
Quality of Life: 43
Health Care: 44

It seems as though, for residents, the only particularly good thing about Oklahoma is its affordability. It has bottom ten quality of life, health care quality, and even life expectancy. The life expectancy rank is 46 by the way.

36. Vermont


Affordability: 49
Quality of Life: 6
Health Care: 9

Vermont is basically the opposite of Oklahoma. Its quality of life and health care quality are in the top ten. Then there’s also its eighth place rank for senior citizen health. It’s also the third best when it comes to property crime rates. There’s only one reason why Vermont isn’t the best place to retire to… and that would be how expensive it is to live there.

35. Nevada


Affordability: 8
Quality of Life: 42
Health Care: 42

You might not think to often about Nevada outside of vacation, but it’s actually a rather cheap state to live in. It actually ranked fifth for the US states for tax climate. However, it got in the 30s and 40s for every other category. Although, it’s a little interesting that its quality of life and health care quality have the same rank.

34. Indiana


Affordability: 23
Quality of Life: 33
Health Care: 41

Indiana’s a state that, in terms of residence quality, is in the middle of the road. It doesn’t do anything particularly poorly (except health care), but it’s not particularly good at anything either.

33. Connecticut


Affordability: 44
Quality of Life: 23
Health Care: 5

Connecticut might be the inverse of Indiana (having mostly average rankings and one bad one), if its health care quality wasn’t excellent. Unfortunately, it is an incredibly expensive state to live in, which seems common among the New England states.

32. California


Affordability: 38
Quality of Life: 25
Health Care: 19

It’s actually a bit surprising that California isn’t at the very bottom as far as affordability goes. Instead, that ranking ranges from moderate to poor. It’s right at the middle of the road for quality of life, and is above average as far as health care quality goes. However, despite its shortcomings, California is the number one state for theaters per capita, and number 2 for life expectancy.

31. Alaska


Affordability: 36
Quality of Life: 34
Health Care: 11

For a state that reimburses its citizens, it is surprisingly expensive to live in Alaska. Of course, it also has a high degree of in-home maintenance. Alaska does treat its seniors well, having the fifth lowest poverty rate for people over 65 in the state, but the state also has a very low population of seniors to begin with.

30. Georgia


Affordability: 12
Quality of Life: 41
Health Care: 40

Georgia’s got a pretty good level of affordability, and its health care quality is a little bit higher than the average southern state. Although, it’s still not great. Georgia also has a pretty below average life expectancy for seniors as far as US states go.

29. Hawaii


Affordability: 45
Quality of Life: 32
Health Care: 2

A massive tourist destination like Hawaii understandably has a high cost of living. The quality of life is surprisingly average though. Fortunately, the health care quality in Hawaii is second in the country, so if you decide to retire there you’ll at least be taken care of.

28. Maine


Affordability: 42
Quality of Life: 10
Health Care: 15

Maine’s got pretty good health care quality, and an even better quality of life ranking. It also has the highest state percent of population over 65 years old in the country. Unfortunately, like many states like that (especially in the Northeast), Maine is an incredibly expensive state to live in.

27. Washington


Affordability: 34
Quality of Life: 14
Health Care: 32

Washington’s another middle of the road state in terms of overall quality. Its quality of life is pretty good, but its affordability and health care are below average. It can get a even more expensive when you take in-home services into account.

26. North Carolina


Affordability: 21
Quality of Life: 30
Health Care: 39

North Carolina’s certainly a lovely state in autumn, but it’s generally average, at least statistically speaking. It’s affordability isn’t too bad, but that’s somewhat offset by it’s below average health care.

25. Nebraska


Affordability: 39
Quality of Life: 20
Health Care: 10

And now we’re at the direct middle of the pack. Nebraska has incredibly good health care quality and an above average quality of life. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty expensive state to live in.

24. Kansas


Affordability: 25
Quality of Life: 26
Health Care: 35

Kansas has pretty average rankings overall, with its health care quality being the main stat that’s a bit below average. However, it also has the second highest number of museums per capita and doesn’t impose an inheritance tax. It’s a bit of a midwestern hidden gem.

23. Illinois


Affordability: 35
Quality of Life: 21
Health Care: 16

Illinois’ quality of life and health care are above average, health care more so. However, its affordability is pretty below average. It doesn’t help that it has an absolutely abysmal taxpayer ranking.

22. Arizona


Affordability: 30
Quality of Life: 26
Health Care: 12

If you’re a fan of warm weather, but hate humidity, Arizona sounds like a nice place to live on paper. It’s actually got pretty good health care quality, even if the quality of life’s just in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, the affordability rating’s a little bit on the low side.

21. Michigan


Affordability: 28
Quality of Life: 16
Health Care: 31

In Michigan, there’s no shortage of waterfront property. Although, other than that, the state doesn’t have much else going for it. It’s not that this is a particularly bad state to retire in, its general stats are just more average than other states on this list.

20. Missouri


Affordability: 22
Quality of Life: 28
Health Care: 29

Missouri has bigger cities, smaller towns, and just plenty to see. It’s still another one of those middle-of-the-pack states, but no one would bat an eye if you decided to retire there.

19. North Dakota


Affordability: 33
Quality of Life: 22
Health Care: 8

North Dakota can be a little expensive to live in, but it’s a surprisingly good place to retire to. The health care quality is in the top ten in the US and the quality of life is above average. There aren’t a lot of theaters in the state, but if you’re more of an outdoors-type, then you’ll never be bored.

18. South Carolina


Affordability: 37
Quality of Life: 45
Health Care: 38

Alright, so a lot of South Carolina’s base stats are below average. It’s quality of life is actually pretty close to the bottom. So, what makes this state more worthy of being in the top half of potential states for retirees? Well, that would be the lack of a social security tax. Tax breaks of any kind really help to cut down on the cost of living.

17. Texas


Affordability: 3
Quality of Life: 37
Health Care: 37

The reason why Texas has the second largest population of any state in the US (other than its size) is probably its affordability. It’s the third least expensive state to live in, which at least somewhat offsets it below average quality of life and healthcare quality.

16. Minnesota


Affordability: 16
Quality of Life: 1
Health Care: 1

Minnesota has the beast quality of life and health care quality out of all 50 states. One probably wouldn’t expect it to be Minnesota of all places. It’s affordability’s still above average, but the high cost of in-home services make things a bit more expensive.

15. Ohio


Affordability: 16
Quality of Life: 17
Health Care: 34

There’s not a lot to say about Ohio, but that’s never really a bad thing. Plenty of people look to live the rest of their lives in peace and quiet after they retire. The health care quality in Ohio is a bit below average, but it’s overall affordability and quality of life is still pretty good.

14. Massachusetts


Affordability: 40
Quality of Life: 2
Health Care: 3

Massachusetts has insanely good health care quality and quality of life in comparison to the other US states. It’s a great place to live, the only downside is how expensive it is to live there, just like all those other northeastern states.

13. Pennsylvania


Affordability: 29
Quality of Life: 3
Health Care: 27

The quality of life in Pennsylvania is third in the US states. It has slightly below average health care and overall affordability though. That only makes sense considering the amount of taxes you have to pay in the state. Although, it does rank number five as the state with most theaters per capita and the museums per capita.

12. Montana


Affordability: 20
Quality of Life: 15
Health Care: 28

Montana is an absolutely beautiful state. It’s the home of Glacier National Park after all. It’s pretty middle of the road in terms of affordability and health care quality, but it’s quality of life is at least a little bit above average.

11. South Dakota


Affordability: 26
Quality of Life: 27
Health Care: 7

Despite the two states being linked together, South Dakota is a few notches above North Dakota on this list. That probably has something to do with its incredible health care quality. It’s overall affordability and quality of life are more middling, but they’re not that far below the average.

10. Iowa


Affordability: 31
Quality of Life: 7
Health Care: 13

Now we’re in the top ten. This more rural state an incredible quality of life. And it’s health care quality isn’t half bad either. Although, its general affordability rank is pretty low. Other than this, it doesn’t rank highly on other lists ranking the US states, but it doesn’t rank poorly either.

9. Idaho


Affordability: 13
Quality of Life: 19
Health Care: 30

Idaho’s a great state for a slow-paced life. It’s rather affordable to live there and the quality of life isn’t that bad either. The only problem is health care quality, which is ranked 30th in the US.

8. Wisconsin


Affordability: 24
Quality of Life: 8
Health Care: 22

Wisconsin’s affordability and health care rankings are more middling, just barely above average. But its quality of life is spectacular. It can get cold in Wisconsin, but if you’re willing to put up with that, or just enjoy cold weather, maybe you wouldn’t mind becoming a cheesehead in retirement.

7. Virginia


Affordability: 18
Quality of Life: 13
Health Care: 24

Virginia ranks pretty well in all the major facets for retirement. It’s rather affordable, has a good quality of life, and the health care quality isn’t half bad either. You can either stay up in the NoVA area to get a larger city feel, or move further out for small-town living and simply being in nature.

6. Delaware


Affordability: 7
Quality of Life: 35
Health Care: 18

Delaware’s ranked number two on the best taxpayer rankings as far as the US states go. That probably explains why it’s such an affordable place to live in. It’s number 48 on the theaters per capita list, but it more than makes up for that with its nice mixture of cities, small-towns, and beaches.

5. Wyoming


Affordability: 11
Quality of Life: 12
Health Care: 33

Wyoming is truly beautiful, with great affordability and quality of life, there’s more reasons to stay than there are to leave. At-home costs can get a little expensive, but that’s balanced by the lower amount of taxes you’ll need to pay as a resident.

4. Utah


Affordability: 15
Quality of Life: 18
Health Care: 17

While Utah isn’t the best at a lot, it certainly manages to keep a balance between affordability, quality of life, and health care quality that most other states simply do not have. Most people don’t think of it when considering retirement, but it’s a hidden gem that deserves your consideration.

3. New Hampshire


Affordability: 27
Quality of Life: 4
Health Care: 6

If New Hampshire was just a little bit more affordable, it’d probably be even higher than third. But with great health care and a generally easy life, you might be more willing to pay a little extra in your retirement. Not to mention, none of your retirement will be taxed. There’s no tax on social security income, withdrawals from retirement accounts, or even your sales tax for after you buy your new house.

2. Colorado


Affordability: 17
Quality of Life: 11
Health Care: 4

Beautiful Colorado, with amazing scores across the board. It’s affordable, great to live in, and has great health care. The only issue is that you might get lonely in retirement. Colorado has one of the lowest rankings for sates with a percentage of the population being over 65.

1. Florida


Affordability: 2
Quality of Life: 5
Health Care: 26

It’s likely that everyone expected Florida to be at the top of this list. After all, it ranks number 2 on the list for states with a percentage of the population being over 65. It’s affordable, sunny and warm year-round, not to mention the lack of a states tax. The only issue is that the health care quality is slightly below average. However, you’ll probably be too busy relaxing in the sun to ever have to worry about injuring yourself.