Best counties to retire to in California

Written by:
January 17, 2022
Kglavin // Wikimedia Commons

Best counties to retire to in California

Buyers and sellers of real estate alike—when asked what are the three most essential considerations about a property—will nearly always reply "location, location, location." While this answer is sometimes tongue-in-cheek, it is often quite accurate, and this reply perhaps applies to retirees more than any other demographic. Settling down after a lifetime of working and perhaps raising a family calls for the perfect location: a spot where you can enjoy life with as few concerns as possible.

When seniors aged 65 years or older decide on where they want to live out their golden years, they consider very specific factors, such as the cost of living, government services, health care facilities, weather and overall climate, crime rate, outdoor recreational activities, eating establishments, cultural and entertainment opportunities, and more.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in California using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, healthcare, recreation and weather.

Location is critical as retirees determine where to spend their senior years enjoying favorite activities; however, it’s a very unique decision based on a multitude of preferences and needs. Whether it be bustling downtowns or access to parks, affordable home prices or cultural amenities like museums, retirees seeking to settle in a permanent spot are sure to find a private paradise in any of these counties recommended by Niche because, in the end, there is no place like home—no matter the location.

Read on to discover the best counties to retire to in California.

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Kenneth Green // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Plumas County

- Population: 18,660
- Median home value: $242,300 (73% own)
- Median rent: $916 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $55,359
- Top places to live: Portola (B-), Quincy (B-), East Quincy (C-)

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Craig Howell // Wikimedia Commons

#9. San Mateo County

- Population: 767,423
- Median home value: $1,089,400 (60% own)
- Median rent: $2,316 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $122,641
- Top places to live: Burlingame (A+), Foster City (A+), San Carlos (A+)

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Doug Olson // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Placer County

- Population: 385,512
- Median home value: $471,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,542 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $89,691
- Top places to live: Olympus Pointe (A), Johnson Ranch (A), Granite Bay (A)

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Tuolumne County

- Population: 54,045
- Median home value: $289,200 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,009 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $60,108
- Top places to live: Sonora (B-), Mono Vista (B-), Twain Harte (B-)

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Doug Kerr // Wikicommons

#6. Shasta County

- Population: 179,212
- Median home value: $252,300 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,039 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $54,667
- Top places to live: Shasta (B-), Redding (B-), Burney (C+)

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Canva

#5. Calaveras County

- Population: 45,514
- Median home value: $319,500 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,339 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $63,158
- Top places to live: Angels (C+), Valley Springs (C-), Rancho Calaveras (D+)

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DimiTalen // Wikimedia Commons

#4. El Dorado County

- Population: 188,563
- Median home value: $460,900 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,260 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $83,377
- Top places to live: El Dorado Hills (A), Camino (B), South Lake Tahoe (B)

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Frank Schulenburg // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Nevada County

- Population: 99,244
- Median home value: $431,000 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,273 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $66,096
- Top places to live: Truckee (A-), Nevada City (B), Lake of the Pines (B-)

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Kglavin // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Marin County

- Population: 259,943
- Median home value: $995,800 (64% own)
- Median rent: $2,069 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $115,246
- Top places to live: San Anselmo (A+), Corte Madera (A+), Larkspur (A+)

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Amador County

- Population: 38,429
- Median home value: $313,700 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,103 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $62,772
- Top places to live: Jackson (B-), Ione (C+), Sutter Creek (C+)

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