These Are The 10 Best Cities In America To Retire To

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 2 years ago
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If you’re reading this, perhaps taking a break from work, or maybe you’ve just gotten home, you’re probably ready for a break. You’ve been spinning your wheels, feeding the machine, making that cheddar, bringing home the bacon–whatever machine or food related metaphor you’d like. Point is, you’ve worked hard. You’re working hard.

And wouldn’t it be nice just to… take a break for a while?

We think so. That’s why today we’re focusing our attention on the 10 best places in America to head for retirement. Whether you’re 22 or 72–it’s never too early, or too late, to start planning. Or packing your bags.

  1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  3. Sterling Heights, Michigan
  4. Warren, Michigan
  5. Aurora, Illinois
  6. Carrollton, Texas
  7. Miramar, Florida
  8. Pembroke Pines, Florida
  9. Miami Gardens, Florida
  10. Norwalk, California

Sure, we’re fans of working less and playing more at Zippia, but that doesn’t mean we cut any corners in making sure that this list was as accurate as mathematically possible. Keep reading to find out how we did it.

How We Determined the Best Cities to Retire to in America

To create our list of the best places in America to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the US with a population of at least 100,000 that aren’t CDPs and had data for all of our criteria.

This left us with 256 places from across the states.

For these 256 cities, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criterion from one to 256, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The city with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best in terms of retirement. We’re lookin’ at you, Pittsburgh.

Keep reading to see just why each place ranked so well–or save yourself some work (we know you’ve had enough), and skip to the bottom for a look at how more places ranked.

1. Pittsburgh

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

We know, Pittsburgh doesn’t exactly have that same retirement ring to it as, say, anywhere in Florida, but hear us out. It’s one of the most densely-populated cities we looked at, which for those looking to walk around is perfect, plus, the cost of living is one of the best.

And if you get tired of staying stateside in Pittsburgh, you’re just a stone’s throw from an international airport.

2. Philadelphia

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

You know how we said Pittsburgh was a walkable city, you know, like literally one minute ago? Well, Pittsburgh ain’t got nothin’ on Philly’s walkability. This is the 10th most densely-populated city in the country, and with soooo many things to do here, why wouldn’t you want to walk around?

If you do ever get tired of city life, don’t worry–you’re just 10-15 minutes from the nearest international flight to someplace a little slower. Hola, Playa del Carmen.

3. Sterling Heights

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

This city has a whole lot going on–and by that we mean a whole lot of amenities for retirees. (There’s not a whole lot, in fact, going on here. So if you’re looking to party, mosey on.)

Sterling Heights is one of the safest places we looked at, ranking No. 17 in this category (out of over 200, mind!) Plus, at just 17 miles from the airport, dream travelling is at your doorstep.

4. Warren, Michigan

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

Another city just a stone’s throw from the Oakland Co. International Airport is Warren. Now, sure, it may be cold (okay, freezing) in Michigan for much of the year. Which for retirees is… not exactly ideal. But seriously–20 minutes from the airport?

And with a crime rate and cost of living lower than almost anywhere else in the nation, we’d say, a little frostbite is totally worth it.*

*Seriously though–buy a coat if you’re heading to Warren.

5. Aurora, Illinois

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

Twenty-four minutes from Chicago O’Hare, moderately priced homes and living expenses, plus, a rank of No. 17 out of 256 in terms of safety? Aurora is looking pretty good for retirees.

Plus, if you’re easily burnt out in the suburbs, Chicago is your next door neighbor.

6. Carrollton, Texas

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

Okay, now we’re starting to get into the warmer cities on our list–you know, the more “typical” retirement communities. (Why is that, by the way? Have we just worked too many years in A.C. blasting offices, and by the time we hit 65, it’s like, okay! Warm weather! NOW!?)

Carrollton is pretty much an extension of the DFW Airport (it’s only 10 minutes away), which puts you in prime position to move about the world. It’s also super safe compared to most places in the country.

7. Miramar, Florida

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

Yes, yes, our list wouldn’t complete without at least one (in this case three) retirement cities in Florida. The first on our list, Miramar, is just a 12-minute drive from the Miami International Airport. It’s warm here (okay, hot), it’s beautiful, it’s tropical, it’s slow-paced, and it’s super safe. What more could you ask for?

8. Pembroke Pines, Florida

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

This Florida city is also just a stone’s throw from an international airport–the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport. It’s a bit more densely-populated than Miramar, and in fact, than most places in our analysis. So if getting from place to place, be it by plane or by foot, is important in your golden years, you might want to look into Pembroke Pines.

9. Miami Gardens, Florida

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

Okay, so Miami Gardens is not exactly the safest place on our list (it ranked No. 166 here), but what’s a few property crimes here and there when the airport is just a 10-minute drive from your house and you can walk pretty much anywhere else you need to go?

It’s also pretty affordable compared to most places in the country!

10. Norwalk, California

Best Cities To Retire To In America

Source: Wikipedia

Last but certainly not least on our list is Norwalk. This SoCal city has all the benefits of being near L.A. without the drawbacks (like, you know, being in L.A.)

Residents here enjoy some of the most walkable streets around, with a tightly packed population. It’s safe–so no worries on your evening stroll; and, it’s even pretty close to LAX, one of the most international of international airports in the country.

And as far as weather goes, well, it doesn’t get much better than SoCal. (Hence the high price tag…)

Our Work Here is Done

Ah, well, that was exhausting. All that research, reading, and you know–math. I’m about ready to retire myself. And when I really do retire, retire, I know where I’ll be looking first. See you in about 30 years, Pittsburgh.