Affordability, access to key health care of top states, cities for retirees in 2022
Affordability, access to health care and quality of life weighed heavily in two recent reports on the best cities and states to retire in 2022.
Florida once again beat out the rest in Tulsa, OK-based RetirementLiving’s best and worst states for retirement in 2022.
At the city level, Winchester, VA, is ranked as the best US city for seniors to age in place, according to the white paper and guide to senior living from the artificial intelligence technology platform based in Santa Clara, California. .
Using reader feedback, RetirementLiving used housing costs, state taxes, health care availability, and retiree quality of life to rank states.
The report also looked at the percentage of the population of adults over the age of 65, affordability and available parks. Its cost of living measure looks at the cost of home care, state tax rate, affordability score, average house price and median household income.
Florida, with 21% of its population over the age of 65, is full of parks as well as communities and activities for seniors, according to the report. Readers cited low taxes, a favorable political climate and the ability to golf 365 days a year as reasons for retiring to the Sunshine State.
The state has no income tax, but the sales tax rate is slightly high, RetirementLiving noted. Average health care availability. Do you hate crowds? The report recommended avoiding Broward, Orange and Seminole counties.
New Hampshire also ranked among the top states, offering beaches, lakes, mountains, cities, and countryside for active retirees due to the abundance of independent living communities in the state.
Rounding out the top 10 best states is Arizona, with most retirement communities sitting on a golf course; North Carolina, which offers free college tuition to people over 65; Alaska, for those who love the great outdoors; Texas, known for its friendly people, wide open spaces and “exciting” cities; South Dakota, with more healthcare workers per capita than any other state; Washington, offering coastlines, national forests and mountain ranges; Nebraska, with a cost of living 10.5% lower than most other states; and Alabama, which does not tax retirement income.
The worst states
RetirementLiving also ranked the worst states for retirees, citing high taxes and housing costs as the main reasons for landing on the list.
Illinois claimed the top spot for worst states due to its high sales, fuel, and property taxes, making it one of the top 20 most expensive states to live in.
High property taxes — among the highest in the nation — have also knocked New Jersey into the worst states. Although the state does not tax Social Security benefits, it may tax other forms of retirement income.
Other states falling into the top tier of retirement locations were Connecticut, the nation’s fifth-highest-taxing state; California, with its lack of retirees, congested roads and high property taxes; New Mexico, which taxes all retirement income and lacks healthcare workers; Indiana, whose household incomes are among the lowest in the country; Nevada, which lacks hospitals and health personnel; New York, which has high housing costs and taxes; Michigan, with its high taxes; and Colorado, where independent and assisted living community prices are higher than the national average.
Zemplee curated and ranked its list using basic factors including local taxes, property values, quality of health care and size of the senior population. It also included home help per capita and the quality of caregiver support.
Although Winchester, VA ranked first overall, it was second in finance, fourth in health care and seventh in quality of life. The report notes that there aren’t many choices of community-based continuing care providers for retirees, but the city ranks in the top quartile of the nation for home health aides per capita and in the second quartile in national scale for family caregiver support.
Zemplee measured choice of setting and long-term services and supports providers using the LTSS scorecard. Indicators composing the choice of provider framework/score included provision of assisted living, percentage of publicly funded Medicaid and SSLT spending on home and community services, estimated percentage of SSLT users receiving HCBS, self-direction, home help and adult day service offerings and subsidized housing opportunities.
San Antonio, TX, which ranked sixth overall, ranked first in finance, ninth in health care, and sixth in quality of life. Sebastian – Vero Beach, FL, took first place in quality of life, was ranked fifth overall and in finances, and tied for seventh with Sarasota, FL, in health care.
Grand Junction, CO, ranked fourth overall, but came first in health care and seventh in finance, and the city is tied for eighth place with Asheville, North Carolina, in quality of life. The city fell to the second quartile in the nation for access and choice in assisted living communities and retirement homes.
Other cities making the Zempee Top 10 list were Raleigh Hills, OR; Bellingham, WA; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Athens, Georgia.
Raleigh Hills and Bellingham were hailed in the report for being in the highest quartile in the nation for access to and choice of assisted living communities and nursing homes. Athens fell into the third quartile for the choice of assisted living communities and nursing homes.
“When choosing a city to age in place, expense is often at the forefront of retirees’ concerns,” the report says. “However, other factors, such as access to health care, livability and community also impact quality of life.”