The Best Places to Retire in 2021-2022

·16 min read

Find your ideal retirement spot.

You might be able to save money and improve your quality of life by relocating to a retirement spot that better suits your interests and budget. A new U.S. News analysis compares the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the country as potential places to retire. The study includes data on housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care, and is weighted based on a U.S. News online survey of people age 45 and older about their retirement preferences. This year's list of the 25 Best Places to Retire is dominated by Florida, largely due to the state's affordable homes, low taxes and high ratings for happiness and desirability. Here's a look at the Best Places to Retire in 2021-2022.

25. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Population: 463,987
Share of population age 60+: 34%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,290
Median monthly rent: $959

Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination. The area's reasonable housing costs could allow retirees to enjoy the vacation lifestyle permanently. You will find plenty of other retirees for company, since over a third of the population is age 60 or older. In this area, there are more than 60 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Myrtle Beach has numerous golf courses designed by top architects, including Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. You can join the tourists at the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel and boardwalk, or find a quiet place to enjoy the fresh local seafood.

24. Manchester, New Hampshire

Population: 413,035
Share of population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,058
Median monthly rent: $1,191

New Hampshire's most populous city provides a high quality of life, including job opportunities and access to health care. New Hampshire doesn't have a state sales tax or an earned income tax, but it does tax dividends and interest, and the property taxes can be high. Manchester's four-season climate produces stunning fall foliage and skiing opportunities in the winter. The city-owned McIntyre Ski Area provides significantly discounted season passes to people age 65 and older. Artists will delight in the Currier Museum of Art and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House.

23. Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 1,871,903
Share of population age 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,462
Median monthly rent: $1,073
Hospital: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

This musical city is best known for its association with country music. Music lovers can attend live performances at the Grand Ole Opry and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Tennessee's state capital city is also a college town that is home to several institutions of higher learning, including Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University. Nashville supports several professional sports teams, including the Titans and Predators. The state of Tennessee doesn't tax earned income but will tax dividends and interest. The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is ranked among the 20 best hospitals in the nation on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll.

22. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Population: 1,959,006
Share of population age 60+: 17%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,570
Median monthly rent: $1,113
Hospital: Duke University Hospital

The Research Triangle is known for its trio of research universities: Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The partnerships between higher education and industry help create a steady stream of desirable jobs. This college town also has benefits for retirees, including top-ranked medical facilities at Duke University Hospital and the University of North Carolina Hospitals. Duke has a continuing care retirement community near campus, and North Carolina residents age 65 or older can audit courses tuition-free at North Carolina State.

21. Scranton, Pennsylvania

Population: 555,642
Share of population age 60+: 27%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,294
Median monthly rent: $789

Scranton's low cost of living can help stretch your retirement income. The median home value for people age 60 and older is just $135,900 in Scranton. Withdrawals from 401(k)s and IRAs taken after age 59 1/2 are generally exempt from state income tax in Pennsylvania. Located just a two-hour drive from New York City, you could make regular visits to the city while enjoying a quieter way of life and a much lower cost of living in Scranton. Formerly a center for iron and coal production, the city is now famous as the location portrayed in the TV show "The Office."

20. Knoxville, Tennessee

Population: 853,337
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,223
Median monthly rent: $833
Hospital: University of Tennessee Medical Center

Knoxville is an ideal place to explore the outdoors. The area has paved greenway and natural trails and also provides convenient access to the Ijams Nature Center and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This college town is home to the University of Tennessee, which has over 30,000 students. Retirees may be able to attend sporting events and campus activities. Knoxville's low cost of housing makes it easy to relocate. The median home value among people age 60 and older is just $170,900. Dividends and interest are the only forms of income that are taxed in Tennessee, and low-income seniors may be exempt.

19. Philadelphia

Population: 6,079,130
Share of population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,893
Median monthly rent: $1,143
Hospital: Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian

Philadelphia played an instrumental role in American history, and retirees can visit or volunteer at the city's many museums and national historic landmarks. You can check out where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence or convened for the Constitutional Convention. The University of Pennsylvania was founded by Benjamin Franklin. But the city has also evolved to include more modern amenities, such as several professional sports teams, art and science museums and top-ranked medical facilities. The Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian are among the 20 best hospitals in the country, according to on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll.

18. Orlando, Florida

Population: 2,508,970
Share of population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,508
Median monthly rent: $1,210
Hospital: AdventHealth Orlando

Orlando's theme parks, convention centers and resorts draw a steady stream of visitors to the area. Retirees often appreciate the pleasant winter weather, entertainment options and low cost of living. The University of Central Florida has more than 68,000 students, but the campus is also welcoming to retirees, and Florida residents age 60 and older can audit classes for free on a space-available basis. But a word of caution: Living near Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida could lead to frequent visits from your grandchildren.

17. York, Pennsylvania

Population: 445,565
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,532
Median monthly rent: $957

York was founded in the 1700s and still has some well-preserved historic architecture from the time period. The city played an instrumental role during the Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress passed the Articles of Confederation in York and the city briefly served as the nation's capital. Located just an hour from Baltimore, this college town is the home of York College of Pennsylvania, which has been welcoming students to York since 1787.

16. Ocala, Florida

Population: 353,526
Share of population age 60+: 35%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,099
Median monthly rent: $896

Ocala is an equestrian town known for producing Kentucky Derby-winning horses. Retirees can enjoy a leisurely horseback ride through nature trails, lively equestrian events and competitions, and the chance to tour local horse farms and meet international champions. This inland Florida city is an ideal place to explore the trees, lakes and springs of Ocala National Forest. Ocala has a reasonable cost of living and low housing costs, which appeal to retirees on a fixed income. The median home price among people age 60 and older is just $146,100.

15. Reading, Pennsylvania

Population: 418,025
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,543
Median monthly rent: $939

Reading is located about halfway between the state capital city of Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's largest city. Reading lent its name to a now-defunct railroad that lives on in the Monopoly board game as Reading Railroad. The city-owned Reading Pagoda atop Mount Penn provides scenic views of the city and surrounding countryside, and the red Japanese-style tower is visible from almost everywhere in town. The city is also known for outlet shopping and numerous pretzel bakeries.

14. Asheville, North Carolina

Population: 454,351
Share of population age 60+: 29%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,316
Median monthly rent: $911

Asheville is the ideal place to launch an outdoor adventure to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests or a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This mountain town scores high marks for affordability and desirability. Residents report liking where they live and having pride in their community, according to Sharecare's Community Well-Being Index. Asheville has long been a haven for artists, writers and musicians, and is increasingly known for its innovative chefs who make artistic creations with locally sourced ingredients and craft-brew enthusiasts who have founded unique breweries.

13. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Population: 571,013
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,464
Median monthly rent: $956
Hospital: Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, UPMC Pinnacle

Pennsylvania's state capital city is located along the Susquehanna River, and runners and bikers can take advantage of Riverfront Park and other nearby hiking trails. Harrisburg's reasonable housing costs make it affordable to relocate to the area, and the median home value is just $180,900. If you fancy regular trips to a big city, several large metro areas are within easy driving distance, including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Your grandchildren might appreciate a day out in nearby Hershey, home of the chocolate-maker, which has amusement parks, entertainment options and plenty of sweet treats.

12. Lakeland, Florida

Population: 686,218
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,251
Median monthly rent: $978

Waterfront property is affordable in this inland Florida area with 38 named lakes. The median home price for people age 60 and older is just $120,900. Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a lower-cost alternative to these larger cities that are both within an hour's drive. Summers can be hot and humid in Lakeland, but winters are typically mild and pleasant. Several local lakes have swans that are descendants of two royal swans donated to the city by Queen Elizabeth.

11. Allentown, Pennsylvania

Population: 837,610
Share of population age 60+: 25%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,688
Median monthly rent: $1,066
Hospital: Lehigh Valley Hospital

Located 90 miles from New York City and 60 miles from Philadelphia, Allentown has lower housing costs than both larger cities. The median home value among people age 60 and older is just $208,500. Pennsylvania's third-largest metro area is located on the Lehigh River and has a large number of historic homes. The largest employer and a major health care provider is the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network. Allentown works best for retirees who enjoy four distinct seasons, including snow in the winter.

10. Pensacola, Florida

Population: 488,246
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,305
Median monthly rent: $1,015

Pensacola is an affordable beach retirement spot for retirees on a budget. Popular beaches include Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. You can look for wildlife including dolphins, sea turtles and rays or explore military forts at the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Pensacola scored high marks for desirability and housing affordability. The city is located in northwestern Florida near the border with Alabama and provides convenient access to the Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

9. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Population: 367,000
Share of population age 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,782
Median monthly rent: $1,114
Hospital: University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine

Ann Arbor's health care and job opportunities help to propel this city into the top 10 places to retire. In this college town, the economy and lifestyle often revolve around the University of Michigan, which provides free tuition for Michigan families with incomes below $65,000 as well as sporting events, musical performances and speakers the entire community can enjoy. The University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine is ranked No. 11 on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. Ann Arbor also scored well on the happiness metric, with residents reporting a manageable economic life and enjoying enough energy to get things done, according to Sharecare's Community Well-Being Index.

8. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Population: 472,012
Share of population age 60+: 33%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,466
Median monthly rent: $1,162

Located on Florida's Atlantic coast, Port St. Lucie combines a reasonable cost of living with high marks for desirability. Port St. Lucie also scored well on the happiness metric, largely due to residents reporting a lack of stress in their economic life, according to Sharecare's Community Well-Being Index. In addition to the ocean beaches, you can explore the freshwater marshes at Savannas Preserve State Park and the boardwalk trails at Hillmoor Lake Park. Sports enthusiasts can check out the New York Mets spring training at Clover Park.

7. Fort Myers, Florida

Population: 737,468
Share of population age 60+: 35%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,461
Median monthly rent: $1,154

Fort Myers is a popular retirement destination, and over a third of the population is age 60 or older. This Gulf Coast city scored well on the desirability and happiness metrics, with residents reporting they have supportive relationships and are able to comfortably manage their economic life, according to surveys by Sharecare and U.S. News. The median home price of $217,100 makes the Fort Myers area an affordable place to spend your retirement years fishing, boating or relaxing at the beach.

6. Tampa, Florida

Population: 3,097,859
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,458
Median monthly rent: $1,115
Hospital: Tampa General Hospital

Tampa allows you to retire near the beach on a budget while still enjoying the amenities of a metro area. There are beaches with powdery sand along the Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico as well as towering skyscrapers and high rises. Tampa has a popular port for cruise ships that makes it easy to explore the Caribbean or Europe while enjoying on-board activities. Other entertainment options in Tampa include theme parks, professional sports teams, a zoo and an aquarium.

5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Population: 540,999
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,540
Median monthly rent: $1,009
Hospital: Lancaster General Hospital

This former capital of Pennsylvania is located between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Lancaster residents told Sharecare that they like where they live and feel safe in their community. The median home price is $196,000 among people age 60 and older. Lancaster is surrounded by Amish farmland, and you'll find plenty of Amish produce, baked goods and craft items at local stores and the bustling Lancaster Central Market. The city has a growing foodie scene with a diverse collection of cuisines, and old warehouses and buildings have been transformed into hip restaurants and bars.

4. Melbourne, Florida

Population: 585,507
Share of population age 60+: 31%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,361
Median monthly rent: $1,068
Hospital: Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center

Melbourne residents use the area code 3-2-1 in reference to the countdown to liftoff. This area of Florida is often called the Space Coast due to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and locals can watch rockets launch into orbit. Melbourne also provides plenty of earthly pleasures, including strolling along Atlantic Ocean beaches or trying to spot dolphins at the Indian River Lagoon. The low housing costs make it easy to relocate to this sunny city with mild winters.

3. Daytona Beach, Florida

Population: 646,288
Share of population age 60+: 33%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,282
Median monthly rent: $1,076
Hospital: AdventHealth Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is not your typical sleepy beach town. This city is most famous for motor sports. NASCAR fans flock to the area for the Daytona 500 and other races at the Daytona International Speedway. Retirees might be enticed to stay by the low housing costs, pleasant winter weather and desirability of retiring along the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the east coast of Florida, the area has 23 miles of sandy beaches, some of which allow you to drive your car onto the hard-packed sand.

2. Naples, Florida

Population: 371,453
Share of population age 60+: 38%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,869
Median monthly rent: $1,317

While Naples is more expensive than many other Florida cities, many retirees appreciate the high quality of life. Residents of Naples report a high sense of well-being, according to the annual Sharecare Community Well-Being Index. People in this south Florida city say they enjoy supportive relationships, like what they do each day and have a secure economic life. Naples also scored highly on the desirability metric, and travelers and retirees are often drawn to the white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, the spacious golf courses and the mild winter weather.

1. Sarasota, Florida

Population: 803,709
Share of population age 60+: 40%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,531
Median monthly rent: $1,209
Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Sarasota's white sand beaches, including Lido Key and Siesta Key, draw many retirees to the area. Sarasota scored well on Sharecare's Community Well-Being Index, with residents saying they have supportive social and community relationships. The moderate housing costs allow retirees on a budget to enjoy a Florida beach retirement. There's no state income tax in Florida, which benefits those who plan to work part time in retirement.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2021-2022:

1. Sarasota, Florida.

2. Naples, Florida.

3. Daytona Beach, Florida.

4. Melbourne, Florida.

5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

6. Tampa, Florida.

7. Fort Myers, Florida.

8. Port St. Lucie, Florida.

9. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

10. Pensacola, Florida.

See the full ranking.

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