Best Places to Live

2013 Best Places to Retire

To determine our 2013 list of the best places to retire, we looked for cities with excellent and varied cultural and recreational options, vibrant atmospheres, and accessible, quality health care. Considering where to retire? Take a look at our picks.

Photo: Martha Rial

When choosing where to retire, today's older adults consider the best places to retire as communities where they can stay active, healthy, engaged and inspired.

Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964 (and now aged 49 to 67), currently make up the largest part of the U.S. population. So for at least the next decade, Boomers' lifestyle habits will continue to impact communities, particularly as they redefine traditional ideas of what retirement means. These retirees prefer to keep learning and experiencing new things as they age, and tend to seek more diverse climates, demographics and activities. In other words, places offering little more than just sunny days on the golf course and heated games of bingo and bridge have become less appealing.

To better understand what retirees are looking for in a community, we worked with the Martin Prosperity Institute to parse the data in our exclusive livability survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. They helped us measure the relative importance of livability criteria for retirees versus the population as a whole. We found that health care, housing and cost of living were most important to seniors, followed by transportation, parks, crime and cultural amenities. Starting with data used in compiling our Top 100 Best Places to Live index, we focused on those data points that mattered most to people at or near retirement age. Weather wasn't so much a factor. 

Many of our picks have colleges that provide residents with continuing education opportunities, and often free or discounted classes, lectures and workshops for senior citizens. The cities we found all fall into the midsize range with populations between 90,000 and 320,000 residents.

Considering where to retire? Take a look at our picks.

Start the List

Ranking Criteria

Percentage of ages 55 & Up
Healthcare spending
Median home price
Low cost of living
Presence of college
Cultural amenities