U.S. News & World Report is out with its 2022/2023 list of best places to retire in the United States. This year’s list looked at Americans’ expectations for retirement, such as housing affordability, health care, desirability, and overall happiness. This year, there are four new areas in the top five.
“The drastic shift in the housing market, high inflation and concerns of a pending recession have retirees weighing housing affordability more heavily when considering where to retire,” said Emily Brandon, U.S. News senior editor for retirement. “Additionally, with COVID still a concern and access to good, affordable health care being of importance to retirees, Pennsylvania dominated the Best Places to Retire ranking’s top positions, taking five of the top 10 spots on the list.”
Here are the top 25 best places to retire:
1. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Offering a balance between natural and commercial spaces, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, gives retirees access to farmland, manicured suburbs, and a bustling city. Each of these areas has its own unique group of people: farmers, families, college students, and young professionals. There are close-knit church communities, indie coffee shops, an arts and music “First Friday,” each month, and rolling farmlands. Food, health care, transportation, and other living expenses fall in line with the national average.
2. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
As Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg has great outdoors with trails along the Susquehanna River that typically host the city’s annual festivals and events. Hikers enjoy the Appalachian Trail and camping and biking in nearby state parks and forests. The city is close to Amish country, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Hersheypark. For those who enjoy the city life, there are coffee shops, concerts at local arenas, and galleries and museums. It has an affordable housing market and a lower cost of living than many East Coast cities.
3. Pensacola, Florida
In Pensacola, Florida, there’s a good mix of history and nature. It’s been known as the “City of Five Flags,” for the Spanish, French, British, Confederate, and American governments that have laid claim to the area. There’s even a 10-day fiesta to celebrate its diverse history. There are many public parks, and, of course, beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches, which means countless places for fresh seafood. For those who love a little culture, the local theater hosts Broadway productions, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and more. The cost of living is lower than the American average and there is no state income tax in the state.
4. Tampa, Florida
If you’re looking for a laidback beach lifestyle with the hustle and amenities of a large city, Tampa, Florida, offers the best of both worlds. With three professional sports teams, museums, entertainment, and restaurants, there’s something for everyone. There is rich history in the area and endless water activities. The cost of living is on par with the national average, but the housing market has become increasingly competitive recently. Florida has no state income tax.
5. York, Pennsylvania
For history buffs, York, Pennsylvania, is the place to be. It’s the one-time home of the Continental Congress, the birthplace of the Articles of Confederation, and was even the capital of the U.S. for a short time. Downtown has become trendy with high-end shops, apartments, and an arts community. Just outside the city, there are several county parks and rolling farmlands. The cost of living is lower than the national average and York has lower housing costs.
6. Naples, Florida
With white sand beaches, numerous golf courses, and fine dining and shopping, Naples, Florida, has long been a preferred retirement spot. Many seasonal residents, known as “snowbirds,” enjoy their summer homes here when they escape the winter months up north. While a vacation lifestyle and no state income tax are positives, continued growth and development are resulting in a squeeze on affordable homes.
7. Daytona Beach, Florida
A popular vacation spot is also a good place to live. Fishing is a popular activity in Daytona Beach, Florida, as are golf and beach activities. Home to the Daytona International Speedway, the area welcomes NASCAR fans from around the country. While the city sits on the beach, there are still many metropolitan activities such as museums, theaters, performing arts centers, restaurants, and shopping. It’s also a short drive to other popular beaches along the Atlantic coast. The cost of living is lower than the national average, and there’s no state income tax.
8. Ann Arbor, Michigan
There is a little bit of everything in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The area is rural and urban, a Midwestern town and high society. It’s best known for the University of Michigan; it’s a college town with a charming, historic main street. There are bookstores, gift shops, taverns, and restaurants. There are several options for outdoor activities with rolling hills and the Huron River. With four distinct seasons, there are recreational activities for each. Homeowners pay property taxes and the state collects income tax, but workers don’t pay a city tax. Also of note, Michigan drivers pay among the highest auto insurance rates in the country.
9. Allentown, Pennsylvania
As Pennsylvania’s third-largest metro area, Allentown features business districts and neighborhoods with historic homes and buildings, commercial structures, and century-old industrial buildings. Many closed mills and manufacturing buildings have been converted into apartments and lofts, creating a unique style. Hikers and skiers have access to trails and snow with the Blue Mountain range to the north and South Mountain to the southwest. It’s also a short drive to New York City or Philadelphia. The median home sale price is below other major U.S. cities.
10. Reading, Pennsylvania
Reading, Pennsylvania, is home to the real-life Reading Railroad from the Monopoly game! It’s an area steeped in innovation, so the region’s community is diverse, drawing people to its manufacturing and transportation industries. There are miles of trails, waters for kayaking and canoeing, and several cultural attractions. The cost of living is well below other metro areas with affordable housing costs. The median home sale price is lower than the state average, but real estate prices tend to be higher in some suburban areas.
11. Sarasota, Florida
Once known as a playground for retirees, now Sarasota, Florida, is growing to be more appealing to young professionals. With a vibrant art scene, beach lifestyle, and growing food scene, it’s very different from other Florida coastal cities. Downtown features a renowned opera house, rooftop bars, and fine dining. Beach and water activities are obvious hobbies, but there are plenty of art and cultural activities as well. Average rental prices for an apartment are slightly higher than other close cities, and residents pay local property taxes that go to the county, city, and school districts. There’s no income tax, but property taxes are high.
12. Melbourne, Florida
As one of the Space Coast’s most populated areas, Melbourne, Florida, features a mix of restaurants, bars, shops, museums and galleries, and, of course, everything space! On a clear day, you can see launches from Cape Canaveral. There are also lots of water activities on the 155-mile-long estuary, Indian River Lagoon. Surfing, kayaking, boating, and fishing are regular pastimes. There is no state income tax, and the sales tax is lower than average. The median home sale price is lower than the national median. However, gas and groceries tend to be higher than average.
13. Lakeland, Florida
Named for its 38 lakes, Lakeland, Florida, has plenty of natural beauty as well as a vibrant downtown. Old Florida history is apparent with the Polk Theatre and Munn Park reminding residents of its 19th-century roots. The location is ideal with attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios to the northeast and some of the world’s best beaches to the southwest. The cost of living here is lower than in nearby Orlando or Tampa, but so is the average annual salary.
14. New York City
Known for its fast-paced, around-the-clock lifestyle, “the city that never sleeps” is a destination for opportunity. That’s why, despite the crowds and costs, people continue to move to New York City. With the world’s best theaters, restaurants, museums, parks, and cultural activities, there is always something to see and do. Affordable housing is an ongoing problem here, and housing costs continue to rise.
15. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a community deeply rooted in tradition. With quiet neighborhoods and a midsize metropolitan area, it’s an excellent place to raise a family and have a career. There is a thriving art scene and special quirky events like the BuskerFest and Three Rivers Festival that add to its charm. The area is going through a long-term revitalization with new living options and economic development projects downtown and along the riverfront. The cost of living is much lower than the national average and there are affordable home prices.
16. Ocala, Florida
Known as the Horse Capital of the World, Ocala, Florida, has deep equestrian roots and an evolving diverse metropolitan community. This of course means there are plenty of rolling hills and pastures, but also a vibrant, historic downtown. Victorian-era homes frame the city square with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Fun fact: The top thoroughbreds in North America come here to learn how to become racehorses. The median sales price for a single-family home is below the national average, but home values are on the rise. There is no state income tax, but sales tax and property taxes are around the state average.
17. Scranton, Pennsylvania
With close-knit neighborhoods and a vibrant downtown, Scranton, Pennsylvania, may be the sixth-largest city in the state, but it has small-town appeal. The Lackawanna County Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there are trendy restaurants, art galleries, and shopping, making downtown appealing to everyone from families to young professionals. There are also a number of parks, trails, and historic landmarks throughout the metro area. The cost of living is below the national average and housing costs are noticeably lower than other Northeastern metro areas. Residents also pay less for utilities, transportation, and groceries.
18. Manchester, New Hampshire
Manchester is the largest metropolitan area in New Hampshire with several colleges and universities. It’s surrounded by rolling mountain ranges and forests, making it perfect for those who love winter activities. You probably should, too, as the area gets more than 60 inches of snowfall per year. Summers, though, are equally as fun, with Hampton Beach nearby. And the White Mountain National Forest makes for beautiful scenes of fall foliage. The city prides itself on the diversity and quality of its restaurants as well as plenty of galleries, museums, and family activities. Living expenses are higher than average, and home prices have risen over the last several years. There is no general sales tax, and personal income is not taxed at the state level.
19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Every section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is distinct, with trendy neighborhoods, busy suburban neighborhoods, and dozens of restaurants and bars. Art and history are easily seen throughout downtown with murals and mosaics on the sides of industrial warehouses. Culture is well-established with art galleries, music venues, and theaters. There is plenty of green space with public parks built into the design of the city by William Penn. The cost of living is just slightly higher than the national average.
20. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Emerging from a dying steel industry, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is attracting major corporations. This rise in job opportunities has made the city an attractive place to move to. There are almost 2,000 acres of land in just its city parks and it also offers county parks, state parks, and riverfront parks. This city is known for its sports teams, but there are plenty of cultural festivals and activities as well. There are museums, events, and restaurants to explore. On the South Side, there is usually live music every night. While housing is more affordable than the national average, housing costs are gradually rising.
21. Youngstown, Ohio
This typical Midwest town is seeing a resurgence of business and culture. Youngstown’s once-empty downtown is now full of bars, restaurants, galleries, and local shops. People here are friendly, close-knit, and helping to make the revival happen. The downtown area is surrounded by farmland, and there are plenty of local farms and Amish markets to wander through. The cost of living is lower than most, and home costs, utilities, food, and medical costs are well below the national average.
22. Port St. Lucie, Florida
Set along Florida’s Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie is relaxed, clean, and quiet. There are plenty of waterways and golf courses for those who like to enjoy the outdoors. The St. Lucie River is a valuable resource used by many for boating and fishing. Spring training is popular here as the New York Mets play games here every year. Homes can be affordable to buy or rent, but as the city gets more popular, the cost is rising. Groceries and dining are slightly more expensive as well.
23. Toledo, Ohio
Known as Glass City for its roots in the glass-making industry, Toledo, Ohio, has attractions from museums to sports venues to kid-friendly activities. Downtown is a busy place for business during the week and is full of events on weekends and throughout the year. There are also tons of outdoor activities, including fishing along the Maumee River. The cost of living is relatively low, and even though the average annual salary is lower than the national average, residents can live comfortably.
24. Asheville, North Carolina
This small mountain city has become very big in the food and beer scene. In fact, Asheville, North Carolina, has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. The food scene is fueled by local farmers and producers. The Blue Ridge Mountains create an attractive playground for outdoor adventurers. It’s also home to the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, the site of the largest private home in America, which is a major tourism draw. It’s difficult to get a home in the area. Home prices are high and bidding wars are expected. Day-to-day expenses like food and gas are expensive, too.
25. Eugene, Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, offers the best of both worlds for those who love the ocean and the mountains. Self-described as “A great city for the arts and outdoors,” it has a thriving local arts and culture scene alongside all the outdoor activities you can imagine. Outdoors is a way of life here. Visual art is everywhere you look, from coffee shops and galleries with murals to street art on municipal buildings and in parks and even neighborhoods. Rent cost is around the national average, but buying a home is difficult. Property tax is comparable with much of the country, but high home prices also mean high property taxes.
This year’s list evaluated the country’s 150 most populous metropolitan areas. You can see the entire U.S. News & World Report list here.
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