Best big cities for retirees in America
Retirees approach their golden years in countless ways—some may prefer a rural and quiet small town, a spot near the water, or a retirement community in a warm place. Others may crave a big city, where there are plenty of exciting activities seniors can take part in whenever their heart desires. Aside from things to do, baby boomers must consider the weather, housing costs, transportation, and health care, all of which greatly affect the aging population.
Stacker looked at data from Niche's “2019 Best Cities to Retire,” which graded each geographic retiree location with an A–D grade. “This grade takes into account key factors, such as weather, crime rates, residents 65 and older, housing costs, and access to amenities such as restaurants, golf courses, exercise facilities, and doctors, in an attempt to measure the appeal of an area for retirement,” reports Niche. Only cities with populations over 250,000 were considered.
Provision Living, owner of senior residential communities, surveyed 200 Americans and reports up to 52% of Americans ponder retirement four or more times weekly and baby boomers' dream age to retire is 64, while millennials' is 56. The survey broke down the ideal retirement day by the hour, finding out it entails seven to eight hours of sleep; one to two hours of watching a streaming service or television; one to two hours of dining out; two to three hours of socializing; three to four hours of leisure; and two to three hours spent doing hobbies.
Nine of the top 10 best big cities to retire to are in warm-weather climates, from the beaches of Florida and California to the dry heat of the Southwest. San Francisco, which claimed the fourth spot on the list, is a great retirement spot if money is not an issue—as average home values approach 1 million dollars. Down the coast, Irvine was the list's safest city for violent crime for the 13th straight year.
Texas led the way with seven of the top 50 cities for retirement, while California and Florida each claim five. Honolulu was the lone city on the list off the mainland.
Read on to find out the best big cities for retirees.
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#50. Cincinnati, Ohio
- Population: 298,957 (12% age 55–64 and 12% age 65+)
- Median household income: $36,429
- Housing: $124,200 median household value and $684 median rent
World-class health care and a low cost of living are just a couple of reasons why the Queen City got an A-. Social Security benefits are fully exempt from state income taxes, stretching dollars even further, and it was rated among the most walkable cities in the U.S. by Walk Score, leaving transportation optional. Entertainment ranges from professional sports teams to the world-renowned Cincinnati Music Hall.
#49. Nashville, Tennessee
- Population: 654,187 (11% age 55–64 and 11% age 65+)
- Median household income: $52,858
- Housing: $191,400 median household value and $970 median rent
The home of country music and some of the best fried chicken in the country boasts plenty for seniors to do in the active city, with Provision Living ranking Nashville 19 out of the 20 best cities to retire in. No state income tax and a reduced tax burden for retirees offsets the slightly above average housing and living costs.
#48. Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Population: 450,000 (12% age 55–64 and 13% age 65+)
- Median household income: $58,158
- Housing: $233,100 median household value and $1,013 median rent
Colorado's second-largest city, with a population of 450,000, has more than 9,000 acres of parkland and over 250 urban and park trail miles, making it a great place for elderly outdoor enthusiasts. The high altitude of 6,000 provides cool summers and blizzardy winters. With the Army's Fort Carson Base in the city, “many military families tend to retire here, due to their familiarity with the area,” reports Topretirements.com.
#47. Arlington, Texas
- Population: 388,225 (11% age 55–64 and 10% age 65+)
- Median household income: $55,562
- Housing: $147,000 median household value and $939 median rent
Affordability and diversity push the nation's 50th-largest city Arlington into the rankings, with a median rent and household value well below the national averages. Additionally, Niche also ranks Arlington 44 out of 228 for best cities to buy a house in America. Boasting a suburban feel, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is just minutes away for city-loving retirees.
#46. Boston, Massachusetts
- Population: 669,158 (10% age 55–64 and 11% age 65+)
- Median household income: $62,021
- Housing: $455,100 median household value and $1,445 median rent
Highs and lows highlight Boston's allure for retirees. While the average home value is well over double the rest of the nation, and the median rent is a cool $500 above the median, the area's vast nightlife and outdoor options make it an attractive spot. Boston is host to some of the world's top hospitals and was ranked third in the nation for walkability by Walk Score, meaning transportation costs can be kept low to offset the cost of living.
#45. Portland, Oregon
- Population: 630,331 (12% age 55–64 and 12% age 65+)
- Median household income: $61,532
- Housing: $352,700 median household value and $1,109 median rent
Outdoor living is the primary draw of the Rose City, named by Niche as one of the top for outdoor activities. Bicycling Magazine rated Portland #5 in the U.S. for the best biking cities in 2018 and Forbes branded it #4 in America's Top 20 Healthiest Cities for fitness fanaticism. Add in that Social Security is tax-exempt and there is no state sales tax, and Portland offers plenty of reasons to settle down for good.
#44. Oakland, California
- Population: 417,442 (12% age 55–64 and 13% age 65+)
- Median household income: $63,251
- Housing: $564,500 median household value and $1,255 median rent
As Niche's two out of 228 most diverse cities in the U.S., with 13% of the population 65 and older, the east side of the San Francisco Bay in Oakland readily welcomes seniors. The aging population can find plenty to do from frequenting Paramount theaters to eating out in Chinatown. The warm-summer Mediterranean climate is comfortable all year round, keeping seniors out of the cold.
#43. Houston, Texas
- Population: 2,267,336 (10% age 55–64 and 10% age 65+)
- Median household income: $49,399
- Housing: $149,000 median household value and $940 median rent
The Space City's affordability makes it an attractive spot for seniors to spend their golden years, with house prices vastly below the national average. The city's Museum District offers something for everyone, with a zoo, aquarium, multiple museums, and plenty of restaurants for entertainment. The crime rate and extremely hot conditions are drawbacks to the area, but health care is among the best in the nation, with four hospitals landing on Becker's Healthcare 2018 ranking of "100 great hospitals in America."
#42. Dallas, Texas
- Population: 1,300,122 (10% age 55–64 and 10% age 65+)
- Median household income: $47,285
- Housing: $154,000 median household value and $937 median rent
U.S. News & World Report rates Dallas nine out of 100 best places to retire, pointing out it offers “both big-city excitement and quiet, suburban living.” Affordability is also an advantage for seniors on a budget, according to Niche, reporting the median home value of $154,000 is $30,000 lower than national average, and the median rent value of $937 is $12 less than the national average.
#41. Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Population: 556,718 (12% age 55–64 and 14% age 65+)
- Median household income: $49,878
- Housing: $188,500 median household value and $833 median rent
Steeped in Native American culture, New Mexico's largest city features an array of museums and hosts the largest hot-air balloon festival in the world. The nearby Sandia Mountains provide hiking and camping year-round, and for seniors who don't want to walk around, Albuquerque offers the country's longest aerial tramway to the Sandia Peak.2018 All rights reserved.