The Worst States For Baby Boomers

by Kathy Morris
Study - 10 months ago

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Ok boomer is trending, but a lot of baby boomers aren’t doing okay at all.

We hear a lot about how millennials are struggling, but baby boomers don’t exactly have it on easy street. In fact, a lot of baby boomers might feel like they are walking uphill both ways in the snow. Sure, they spend less on avocado toast, but they are getting old and aging can be pricey. Many baby boomers are reaching or are now passed retirement age.

Yet, a large percentage of those 55-75, have a precarious financial standing. However, the struggling for baby boomers is not evenly spread, where you live matters. We analyzed all 50 states to uncover where it is hardest to be a baby boomer.

Below we detail the criteria we used to rank the states and have the full ranked list. But first, let’s see the 10 states where baby boomers have it the absolute roughest.

Here are the 10 worst states to be a baby boomer

  1. Nevada
  2. Rhode Island
  3. New York
  4. Illinois
  5. Louisiana
  6. Tennessee
  7. Alabama
  8. California
  9. Mississippi
  10. West Virginia

Baby boomers looking to retire may be tempted to relocate south for cheap costs of living and favorable weather, but should carefully consider what relocation looks like. 5 of the worst states to be a baby boomer are in the south. High cost of living contributes to several states on the top 10. However, others suffer from a general lack of wellness.

Keep reading to see why these states have the least to offer baby boomers and to see the full list.

How We Determined The Worst States For Baby Boomers

Each state was ranked 1 to 50 in five categories:

  • Average Retirement Savings
  • State Well-Being
  • Baby Boomer Unemployment Rate
  • Percent Of Baby Boomers With Mortgage
  • Percent Of Baby Boomers Living In Poverty

All five categories were then averaged together, each weighted equally. The higher score in each category, the lower the rank. For example, Rhode Island baby boomers have a 4.3% unemployment rate, the second highest of any state, earning them a #2 rank for unemployment.

We used the most recent American Community Survey 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau to get unemployment rate by state for those 55-64. The ACS data also provided the poverty rate by state for the 60-74 age demographic. To analyze baby boomer mortgages, we once again used the ACS data to find the percentage of mortgages among those 55-74.

At all points, our goal was to include as many baby boomers as possible, while excluding brackets that would include a majority of non baby boomers.

To gather wellness by state, we used the most recent Gallup Health And Well-Being Report. This comprehensive survey examines essential career, social, financial, community, and physical components of well-being. As baby boomers age, these metrics will only be more important.

Finally, we used data from Personal Capital on average retirement savings.

If your state isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see where it lands on the full list. Otherwise, learn more about why these states are the absolute worst place to be a baby boomer.

1. Nevada

nevada
Unemployment: 4.2%
Mortgages: 60%
Poverty Rate: 10%
Retirement Savings: $183,946
State Well-Being: 19

Nevada is the worst place to be a baby boomer. Many baby boomers might not want to work and instead be eager for retirement. But in Nevada those who lose their job will having a harder time finding work than almost anywhere else in the country. In addition to lousy retirement savings and a high poverty rate, most Nevadan baby boomers are still saddled with a mortgage.

2. Rhode Island

rhode-island
Unemployment: 4.3%
Mortgages: 63%
Poverty Rate: 9%
Retirement Savings: $202,862
State Well-Being: 25

It isn’t so great being a Rhode Island baby boomer. Nearly 1-in-10 Rhode Island baby boomers live in poverty. That might make it a little tricky for the 1-in-2 Rhode Islanders with a mortgage to swing retirement.

3. New York

new-york
Unemployment: 3.6%
Mortgages: 52%
Poverty Rate: 11%
Retirement Savings: $207,889
State Well-Being: 37

New York, New York, what a wonderful place! …unless you’re a baby boomer. New York’s place on the list was secured by it’s lousy well-being rate. New Yorkers are less satisfied with their careers and surroundings than almost any other state.

4. Illinois

illinois
Unemployment: 4.1%
Mortgages: 54%
Poverty Rate: 9%
Retirement Savings: $223,238
State Well-Being: 42

Illinois baby boomers might have more padded retirement accounts than New Yorkers and a slightly decreased chance of being in poverty, but it is still a pretty bad location for baby boomers.

5. Louisiana

louisiana
Unemployment: 3.5%
Mortgages: 41%
Poverty Rate: 13%
Retirement Savings: $198,337
State Well-Being: 43

The bayou state is the fifth worst place to be a baby boomer. Louisianians may have drive-thru daiquiris but they have a significantly higher poverty rate for baby boomers than most other states. Maybe that poverty rate contributes to the state’s less than stellar well-being.

6.Tennessee

tennessee
Unemployment: 3.0
Mortgages: 48%
Poverty Rate: 10%
Retirement Savings: $188,818
State Well-Being: 46

The only Ten-I-see-here is 10% poverty rate. That’s right- 1-in-10 Tennessee baby boomers live in poverty. Judging from the low state well being rate, the other 90% aren’t doing so hot either.

7. Alabama

alabama
Unemployment: 2.8
Mortgages: 48%
Poverty Rate: 12%
Retirement Savings: $191,599
State Well-Being: 44

Alabama is the third southern state to make the list. Comparatively low mortgage rates and unemployment, couldn’t make up for high poverty and a general lack of well being among Alabamians.

8. California

california
Unemployment: 3.9
Mortgages: 66%
Poverty Rate: 10%
Retirement Savings: $227,290
State Well-Being: 14

While Californians are generally pretty happy to be in California, some glaring data points earned California its spot as the 8th worst state for baby boomers. Most Californian baby boomers are still paying a monthly mortgage, which considering the location could be a pretty steep portion of their monthly income.

9. Mississippi

mississippi
Unemployment: 2.9
Mortgages: 39%
Poverty Rate: 14%
Retirement Savings: $201,989
State Well-Being: 47

At #9, we have Alabama’s neighbor Mississippi. Mississippi has a pretty similar story- low mortgage rates and unemployment, just couldn’t make up for high poverty and floundering well-being.

10. West Virginia

west-virginia
Unemployment: 3.2
Mortgages: 38%
Poverty Rate: 12%
Retirement Savings: $211,086
State Well-Being: 50

At 10, we have West Virginia. While West Virginians baby boomers fare better than residents of the previous 9, it is still far from easy street. We have a similar story to the other southern states on the list, high poverty rate and a general lack of well being.

Summary On The Worst States To Be A Baby Boomer

There you have it, the 10 states where baby boomers are struggling. Southern states made up a majority of the list, with high poverty rate and low well-being sealing their fate. Other pricey states (California, New York) were too steep for baby boomers. Interestingly, while there are some differences, there was quite a bit of overlap between this list and the worst states to be a millennial. Maybe baby boomers and millennials have more in common than they thought.

Check out the list below to find your state and see the best states to be a baby boomer.

See Where Your State Fell On The List:

State Well-Being (1=Best) Poverty Rate % With Mortgage Unemployment Rate Retirement Savings
Nevada 19 10% 60% 4 $183,946
Rhode Island 25 9% 63% 4 $202,862
New York 37 11% 52% 3 $207,889
Illinois 42 9% 54% 4 $223,238
Louisiana 43 13% 41% 3 $198,337
Tennessee 46 10% 48% 3 $188,818
Alabama 44 12% 48% 2 $191,599
California 14 10% 66% 3 $227,290
Mississippi 47 14% 39% 2 $201,989
West Virginia 50 12% 38% 3 $211,086
New Mexico 30 15% 47% 4 $226,143
Ohio 38 9% 55% 3 $222,700
Kentucky 48 12% 48% 2 $217,860
Oklahoma 45 10% 44% 2 $158,139
Arkansas 49 12% 44% 2 $206,539
South Carolina 39 11% 51% 3 $229,192
Florida 20 11% 51% 3 $217,839
Arizona 15 9% 57% 3 $226,584
Georgia 23 11% 57% 2 $223,713
Indiana 41 8% 57% 2 $212,908
Oregon 28 9% 58% 3 $237,771
Texas 29 11% 45% 3 $220,480
Missouri 40 9% 52% 2 $213,408
Michigan 33 10% 52% 3 $241,395
North Carolina 36 9% 55% 2 $241,808
Massachusetts 17 8% 61% 3 $241,143
Connecticut 16 8% 61% 4 $279,367
New Jersey 31 7% 61% 3 $272,919
Maryland 32 7% 67% 3 $244,690
Kansas 35 8% 49% 2 $202,358
Pennsylvania 34 8% 51% 3 $237,754
Washington 13 7% 60% 2 $209,783
Virginia 27 8% 61% 2 $240,199
Idaho 22 8% 54% 2 $199,877
Colorado 6 8% 61% 2 $213,406
Delaware 8 9% 56% 3 $286,277
Hawaii 1 7% 62% 2 $180,361
Montana 4 9% 47% 2 $168,755
Vermont 7 9% 54% 2 $233,448
Utah 5 6% 56% 2 $183,925
Maine 21 9% 52% 2 $228,713
Alaska 3 8% 50% 4 $271,197
Minnesota 12 8% 54% 2 $234,106
Wisconsin 24 7% 53% 2 $227,382
Wyoming 2 8% 47% 2 $153,182
South Dakota 9 7% 41% 1 $183,225
North Dakota 10 7% 37% 2 $178,005
New Hampshire 11 6% 55% 2 $264,624
Nebraska 18 7% 47% 2 $233,910
Iowa 26 7% 48% 1 $245,071

Want the latest research and most engaging stories first? Email Kathy Morris at kmorris@zippia.com to be added to our weekly newsletter.

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