Choosing the right place to spend your retirement years is no easy task. It’s important to think things through and pick a spot that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Some people might look for senior communities, others might be interested in destinations with quality health care, and others might think weather is an important criterion when looking for a place to spend their golden years. Not to mention taxes!
According to a study comparing the 150 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States, based on the criteria specified by the surveyed population ages 45 and older, here are the best 20 places to retire in 2024.
Trenton, New Jersey
Population share 65+: 15.3%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,363
Average monthly rent: $1,361
New Jersey’s state capital, Trenton, is a good place to spend your golden years, especially if you’re planning to have a side gig and extra income in retirement. It has earned the 8th place in terms of job opportunities for retirees and 2nd place for premium health care access.
Located along the Delaware River, Trenton is a diverse and picturesque city, with many options available for those enjoying outdoor activities such as cycling, jogging, or simply walking to enjoy the scenery.
Population share 65+: 16.8%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $795
Average monthly rent: $809
If you want the small-town charm and the big-city amenities, then Toledo is the place to retire. Toledo is attractive to retirees and not only them due to its low rent and mortgages, affordable prices for homes as well as diverse culture and outdoor options. No wonder it has ranked no. 9 in terms of affordable homes and has snatched top positions in terms of overall happiness and quality of life.
Residents can enjoy visits to an abundance of top museums, such as the Toledo Museum of Art, where more than 30,000 works of art are displayed.
Population share 65+: 32.2%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,050
Average monthly rent: $1,359
Sarasota may not be the cheapest destination when it comes to housing, it is, nevertheless, a popular retirement destination. The reason? It has ranked number 6 in terms of desirability, due to the relaxing atmosphere and lifestyle that the sandy beaches provide, such as Siesta Key Beach. Those who enjoy water sports can have a blast here while fishing or boating.
Due to its warm weather, residents can enjoy outdoor activities throughout the whole year. Sarasota can also delight its residents with exquisite cuisine and a vibrant cultural scene. Did we mention that it ranks number 6 for senior-friendly taxes?
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Population share 65+: 17.3%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $841
Average monthly rent: $834
Winston-Salem is a great place to spend your golden years if you like art, history and cultural events. The city has a college vibe due to the six universities there, among which is Wake Forest University. For live music lovers, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts organizes all sorts of live music performances while museum fans can visit the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art for an incredible time.
Winston has snatched the 8th place in terms of affordability, due to its affordable housing and day-to-day goods and services.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Population share 65+: 16%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $865
Average monthly rent: $851
Green Bay has ranked no. 16 for overall happiness due to its climate, numerous options for outdoor activities, quality of life and low crime rates. Add in the high score for affordability, namely affordable housing costs and prices for good and services, and you’ve got every reason to put Green Bay on your possible retirement destinations list. Not to mention that football afficionados can enjoy the games of the Green Bay Packers.
In terms of outdoor activities, residents can stay active and in shape, by walking, jogging, skiing and snowshoeing.
Manchester, New Hampshire
Population share 65+: 15.8%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,250
Average monthly rent: $1,305
Manchester is located in the vicinity of the Merrimack River, in picturesque New Hampshire. It ranks number one in terms of retirement taxes as it doesn’t have a state sales tax nor an earned income tax.
In terms of mobility, seniors can get around fairly easily by bike and even by foot. If you’re a fan of cycling, the city has a well-organized and developed bike lane system. Manchester is number 11 on the happiness list and number 12 in terms of job opportunities for retirees; so those looking for extra income in retirement have lots of options to choose from.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Population share 65+: 14.8%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $706
Average monthly rent: $839
Retirement most often means a limited budget. This requires a lot of maneuvering and planning to make ends meet. But in Fort Wayne, retirees might find it easier to navigate all the costs and needs in retirement. That’s because Fort Wayne is number 7 in terms of affordability, which includes housing and price parity, as well as day-to-day goods and services.
In addition, the city also boasts fairly available health care services, ranking no. 34 in this respect. Fort Wayne hosts all sorts of cultural and sports events including cycling and baseball games.
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Population share 65+: 16%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,227
Average monthly rent: $1,230
Philadelphia is a mix between modern and historical; After all, the constitution was signed in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and democracy was pretty much born there.
Philadelphia boasts diverse art and culture, top museums as well as outdoor sports events. The most popular teams in Philly are the Eagles, the Phillies, the Flyers and the 76ers which have fans packing stadiums and cheering for them. The City of Brotherly Love is ranked number 3 in terms of health care availability and medical facilities.
Population share 65+: 19.6%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,071
Average monthly rent: $1,230
When it comes to taxes, we can all agree that Florida is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees. This makes Tampa a good place to spend your golden years, ranking number 6 in terms of retiree taxes. Apart from low or lack of taxes, Tampa is also a desired destination due to its beautiful beaches and warm weather almost all year long.
Life in Tampa is a combination of fast and slow, with residents enjoying beach life but also an animated downtown. There are all sorts of cultural and sports events as well as culinary experiences that seniors can enjoy for discounted prices.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Population share 65+: 14.1%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,123
Average monthly rent: $1,218
Ann Arbor is ranked number 17 for availability of health care, with the University of Michigan Health on the list of the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. In terms of happiness, the city has made it onto the 5th position, which means residents are quite happy with life, air quality, well-being or climate in Ann Arbor.
If you’re into culture and history, the University of Michigan has various museums to satisfy your needs. If you’re more of an outdoor person, you will be happy to discover a wide range of activities such as kayaking, ice skating or snowshoeing.
Population share 65+: 20%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $870
Average monthly rent: $892
Pittsburgh is known for its affordable housing costs and high quality of life, making it perfect for everyone, particularly retirees on a tighter budget. It is ranked number 29 for happiness and number 21 for healthcare access.
It hosts various colleges, among which the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, which give the city a college-town vibe. Retirees can join university classes, and go to concerts and other events that they are interested in, as there are plenty to choose from. Sports enthusiasts have the chance to see the Steelers, Penguins and the Pirates in action while outdoor lovers can find an outdoor activity to enjoy in parks such as Frick Park or Schenley Park.
Population share 65+: 21.2%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $653
Average monthly rent: $706
Youngstown is a lively and friendly town located in the vicinity of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. It is number 2 in terms of affordability of housing as well as goods and services, making it a desired destination for retirees.
Youngstown State University has over 12,000 students but seniors can also attend various classes designed specifically for them. When it comes to discounts, retirees can benefit from discounts on golf at Mill Creek MetroParks, an area with over 5,000 acres of bike and hiking trails, golf courses and lakes. For those interested in city life, Youngstown boasts a lively downtown area, full of restaurants and art galleries.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Population share 65+: 25.4%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $886
Average monthly rent: $1,181
Apart from being a popular destination for tourists, young and old, Daytona is ranked number 7 on the desirability index for its sandy beaches, relaxing atmosphere, and favorable weather. Not to mention the relaxed taxes for retirees.
The famous Daytona 500 competition takes place here, at the Daytona International Speedway attracting numerous NASCAR fans but there are also plenty of other things to enjoy such as fishing, golfing, or going to the various museums, theaters, restaurants or antique markets in town.
Population share 65+: 17.5%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $965
Average monthly rent: $1,025
The moment you set foot in downtown York, you are taken on a journey back into the past, as there are elements of American history every step you take. It’s here where the Articles of Confederation were adopted by Congress all the way back in 1778. The city hosts the York College of Pennsylvania, inaugurated in 1787.
Apart from its cultural and historical importance, York has made it on the list of best places to retire in 2024 for winning 5th place in terms of healthcare accessibility.
New York City
Population share 65+: 15.9%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,762
Average monthly rent: $1,574
Life in New York City is anything but boring, what with the multitude of theaters, museums and restaurants. Life might be hectic in the Big Apple, but residents can enjoy all sorts of outdoor events, spend time in the numerous parks, walk their pets, or jog in order to stay active.
From the 14th place the previous year, New York jumped all the way to number 6 in the overall rankings. In terms of health care services, it has reached the 1st position, with three major hospitals: NYU Langone Hospitals, New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell, Mount Sinai Hospital.
There’s no specialist that retirees won’t be able to find in New York City. In addition, retirees who want to maintain an income flow can choose from the numerous jobs available on the job market for seniors. The prices are quite high in New York City, but its residents have, nevertheless, put it in the 6th place in terms of happiness and number 18 for desirability.
Population share 65+: 18%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,038
Average monthly rent: $1,141
90 miles from New York City, lies the city of Allentown. If you’re looking for lower housing prices and quality healthcare services, this is the place to take into consideration. It’s close to both New York City and Philadelphia, and the proximity helped it rank number 4 for health care.
It has a small-town vibes, with tight communities and family-centered events organized at places such as the America On Wheels Museum or Da Vinci Science Center. The weather can be pretty cold in winter, but ski aficionados will find it perfect.
Population share 65+: 19.7%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $783
Average monthly rent: $834
A two-hour drive from New York City or Philadelphia will take you to Scranton. Being close to two major cities is definitely an advantage, especially when the housing market displays much lower prices in Scranton. Residents get to enjoy the big city life but also a cozier, relaxed, small-town lifestyle.
The share of population 65+ is approximately 20 percent, making Scranton a good place to form tight senior communities and enjoy your golden years. It has ranked number 14 in terms of health care accessibility and offers its residents a wide array of activities to do, from strolling on the Lackawanna Heritage Trail, to having a picnic in Sturgis Park or admiring the beauties of nature on the Davis Trail at Nay Aug Park.
Population share 65+: 18%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,000
Average monthly rent: $1,114
Lancaster was the first on the list of best cities for retirement. In 2024, it ranks number 3 due to its healthcare accessibility, senior-friendly taxes and overall happiness. It is located rather close to Philadelphia, at about an hour and a half drive, providing the benefits of living close to a major city but having the relaxed life of a small-town resident.
It is home to picturesque farmlands, beautiful hiking trails and also vibrant art scene. The local cuisine here is exquisite, with many old warehouses and buildings turned into modern and trendy bars and restaurants.
Population share 65+: 17.1%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $972
Average monthly rent: $985
Situated in southeastern Pennsylvania, Reading made it to number 2 for best places to retire, straight from number 10 in the previous year. Its appeal comes from its access to health care, spotting the 6th place on the availability index, but also its proximity to a larger city.
Reading has a charm of its own, with popular spots and landmarks, such as the Reading Pagoda, built in 1908, and plenty of activities to be enjoyed by its residents and visitors, seniors included.
Population share 65+: 17.7%
Average monthly mortgage payment: $945
Average monthly rent: $1,019
Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania and the winner in terms of the best place for retirees to spend their golden years. Last year, Harrisburg was ranked number 2 but in 2024, it snatched the first position due to its access to top healthcare services and overall happiness (ranking number 10 and number 15 respectively).
Retirees can also enjoy the friendly tax environment, with no tax on Social Security benefits, pension distributions or IRA withdrawals and 401(k) distributions. Harrisburg has many places for seniors to run, walk, hike, or camp if they want to stay active and enjoy nature. Plus, if you miss city life, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. can easily be reached by car.