Figuring out the details of your retirement can be difficult – from making the right choice about medical alert systems to choosing the right city to live in.

The ideal place to retire is usually best for saving money, enjoying the outdoors, and having access to medical care, in case of hearing aids fittings or medical checkups.

We looked at 41 cities across the United States, including some of the best locations for retirees to find the ultimate cities for senior citizens to live in. We ranked each city based on the size of its over 65 population, financial factors, access to healthcare, and nature. We found that the top three best places for senior citizens are around the south of the US, in Texas, Colorado, and North Carolina.

The best US cities for senior citizens
  1. Austin, Texas: Senior Citizen Friendly Score: 7.38/10

Best known for its music scene, artist population, and interesting festivals, Austin is one of the best places in the US for senior citizens. One of the safest cities on our list, Austin has a safety rating of 62.94 out of 100, beating other Texas cities including Houston and San Antonio.

Austin also has a higher median household income than most cities we looked at, at $71,576, and a low cost of living at just $886.75 per month for a single person. Thanks to the low cost of living in Austin, the city benefits from a low poverty rate of 13.2%. 

With a high-quality of nature rating and 88 yoga studios in the area, Austin is the perfect place for seniors to enjoy the outdoors and exercise.

  1. Denver, Colorado: Senior Citizen Friendly Score: 7.19/10

The Mile-High City is one of the United States’ best spots for seniors in terms of nature, health, and financial factors.

Denver has on average 722 patients to each primary care physician in the city, giving the area’s residents increased access to medical healthcare. With 25 hospitals and 149 yoga studios in the area, those living in Denver can take advantage of the opportunities to improve their physical and mental health. The city has a quality of nature rating of 81.53 out of 100, higher than most cities on our list, making it a great location for nature-loving retirees.

  1. Raleigh, North Carolina: Senior Citizen Friendly Score: 6.56/10

The ‘City of Oaks’ is one of the most ideal cities to live in for seniors, with a growing number of retirees choosing to relocate to Raleigh. Around 10.6% of the current Raleigh population is aged 65 and over, and just 12.6% live below the poverty line.

With a median household income of $67,266, Raleigh is one of the wealthiest cities on our list and the estimated cost of living for a single person is lower than in most places we looked at, at around $883.69 a month.

Raleigh has 35 yoga studios and 8 hospitals in the area, and with access to the Blue Ridge Mountains alongside a quality of nature rating of 86.31 out of 100, there is no shortage of opportunities for exploring the outdoors.

The worst US cities for senior citizens
  1. Detroit, Michigan | Senior Citizen Friendly Score: 2.44/10

The city known for its contributions to art, music, and the car industry is one of the worst locations for senior citizens in the US. Detroit has the lowest median household income of all the cities we looked at, at $30,894 alongside the highest poverty rate of the cities on our list, at 35%. The safety rating and quality of nature in Detroit are also the lowest out of all the cities we looked at.

While the low cost of living in the city at around $986 per month for a single person, may attract retirees, the level of access to healthcare in Detroit is lower than most, at 1,381 patients to every primary care physician.

  1. Newark, New Jersey | Senior Citizen Friendly Score: 3/10

The city of Newark is home to a rich and vibrant culture and is known as one of the United States’ cultural hubs. Although there are 31 hospitals within 10 miles of Newark, and 48 yoga studios in the area, Newark has a lower safety rating than most cities on our list, at 28.53 out of 100.

The city’s median household income is $35,199 and the poverty rate is 27.4%, higher than the average of all of the cities we looked at. The cost of living in Newark is $1,016, higher than the $998 average of all the cities on our list.

  1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | Senior Citizen Friendly Score: 3.59/10

Myrtle Beach is the ideal vacation spot for thousands of families and elders from all over the world, however, it is one of the worst locations in the US for senior citizens to live.

Despite its large over 65 population, there are only three hospitals located within 10 miles of the city, and with around 1,695 patients to every primary care physician, the access to healthcare of Myrtle Beach residents is lower than in most cities on our list. Within five miles of the city, there are only ten yoga facilities, limiting the ability of senior citizens to improve their physical and mental wellbeing through movement.

The best and worst US cities for senior citizens
The largest over 65 population

An idyllic coastal destination for many retirees, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is home to blue waters, sandy beaches, and breathtaking sunrises. Receiving thousands of tourists every year, it is no wonder that so many seniors have made this vacation location their home. Around 21.5% of the Myrtle Beach population is aged over 65, a higher percentage than in any other city on our list.

The highest median household income

One of the cultural hubs of the US, San Francisco is known for its art, technology, and wealth. The city has a median household income of $112,449 according to the US Census Bureau, higher than any other city we looked at. San Francisco also has a monthly cost of living of around $1,268, higher than the average of all the cities on our list.

The lowest poverty rate

Better known for its stunning beaches which attract thousands of tourists each year, Virginia Beach is the city on our list with the lowest poverty rate. Just 7.3% of Virginia Beach’s population lives below the poverty line, according to the US Census Bureau.

The safest city

With the highest safety index out of all the cities on our list, Ann Arbor is the safest location for seniors in the US. The violent crime rate in Ann Arbor is lower than the Michigan average, and most consider the city to be one of the best places to live in the state for families and elders.

The most hospitals

New York City has the most hospitals within 10 miles out of all the locations we looked at, with a total of 61 hospital facilities in the area. It is no surprise that NYC Health and Hospitals, which oversees the public hospitals and clinics in New York City, is the largest public health care system in the United States and residents in the area benefit from increased access to hospital facilities.

The best city for yoga

The best cities we looked at for yoga are New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. With 240 yoga studios within five miles of each city, there are endless options for retirees looking to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing, while reducing stress.

The best city for access to healthcare

For seniors looking for the best city for access to healthcare, San Francisco is the ideal destination. The city has on average 629 patients per primary care physician, a better patient to physician ratio than all other cities on our list. Those residing in the area have better access to healthcare than in other cities including Las Vegas, Nevada where there are around 1,757 patients to every primary care physician.

The best city for nature

The best city on our list for nature and parks is Anchorage, Alaska. Characterized by the snowy mountains of Chugach and Flattop, and home to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Anchorage is one of the best US locations for retirees to experience the outdoors.

The lowest cost of living

Out of all the cities we looked at, Savannah, Georgia is the cheapest in terms of cost of living. We found that the estimated monthly expenses for a single person in Savannah equal around $829 per month. Compared to New York, the city on our list with the most expensive cost of living, monthly expenses in Savannah are $555 cheaper.

The lowest state tax burden

The city on our list with the lowest state tax burden is Anchorage, where the state-local effective tax rate in 2019 was 5.8%. Far lower than the national average of 10.3% tax, residents in Alaska are subject to no income or sales tax. The tax burden in Alaska is the lowest out of all 50 states. Despite this, the cost of living in Anchorage is higher than in most cities on our list, at $1,225 per month for a single person’s expenses.

Methodology

We wanted to discover the best cities across the US for senior citizens, therefore we looked at 50 cities for seniors from lists including Money.usnews and Forbes, and ranked them based on the following criteria.

  • The percent of persons 65 years and over for each city was sourced from Census.gov.
  • The median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019 for each city was sourced from Census.gov.
  • The percent of persons in poverty for each city was sourced from Census.gov.
  • The safety index out of 100 for each city was sourced from Numbeo.com on March 11, 2022.
  • The number of hospitals within 10 miles of each city was sourced from USHospitalFinder.com on March 11, 2022.
  • The number of yoga facilities within five miles of each city was sourced from Yelp.com by using the search term ‘yoga’ and filtering studios using the ‘Yoga’ category on April 7, 2022.
  • The patient to primary care physician ratio for each city was sourced from DataUSA.io on March 21, 2022.
  • The quality of green and parks out of 100 for each city was sourced from Numbeo.com on March 21, 2022.
  • The estimated monthly cost of living without rent in USD was sourced from Numbeo.com on March 21, 2022.
  • The tax burden in each state as of 2019 was sourced from TaxFoundation.org.

For each factor, each city was given a relative score out of 10, and by averaging the scores for each factor, a ‘senior citizen-friendly score’ out of 10 was calculated. The final ranking is based on each city’s ‘senior citizen-friendly score’ out of 10.

WRITTEN BY

Corey Whelan is a writer, health care professional, and Brooklyn, New York native. She is a reproductive health advocate who has helped countless patients through the trials and triumphs of infertility and adoption over the past 25 years. Corey's passion is sharing her knowledge of health and wellness through her writing, and no topic is off limits. She's mom to two grown children and two rescue dogs who captured her heart.