States with the most seniors

Written by:
September 6, 2020
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States with the most seniors

Just 10 years from now, seniors will comprise more than 20% of U.S. residents, up from 15% in 2020. By 2034,  older adults will outnumber children, according to Census Bureau projections. To learn more about senior populations, Stacker mined data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey estimates and ranked all 50 states and Washington D.C.based on the percentage of their populations is age 65 and older.

Across the U.S., 52 million Americans are 65 years or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and a quarter of them live in just three states: California, Florida, and Texas. By comparison, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and Alaska each have fewer than 150,000 senior residents. The size of a state’s senior population means a lot in terms of demand for resources like health care, affordable housing, assisted living, in-home and nursing care, and support services, and the quality and availability of those resources help determine where seniors migrate.

With baby boomers moving into old age, fewer babies being born, and longer life expectancies, the senior population of America is on a spectacular rise. The lengthening of the U.S. life expectancy has been particularly dramatic, rising to nearly 79 years from 68 years in 1950.

States that lure seniors tend to have beautiful weather low or no taxes, a low cost of living, and access to top-quality medical facilities. It's no surprise then that as a share of the population, the states of Florida and Maine are bursting with seniors: Nearly one in five residents are age 65 or older, followed by West Virginia, Vermont, and Montana. Less welcoming are states that tax retirement income, including Social Security, and have high-priced housing and steep property taxes, not to mention cold winters.

Keep reading to find out which states are home to the most seniors.

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#51. Utah

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 320,269 (10.5% of state population, 31.1% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 46.2% male, 53.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 190,544 (6.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 94,676 (3.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 35,049 (1.2% of state population)

Utah’s population is the youngest in the country, a fact that experts pin to the dominance of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Church members put a high value on having many children and tend to have large families. But the state’s over-65 population is expected to double by 2065 as its booming population ages.

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#50. Alaska

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 78,428 (10.6% of state population, 30.5% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 49.6% male, 50.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 53,366 (7.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 18,815 (2.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 6,247 (0.8% of state population)

Cold weather aside, Alaska is an expensive state for growing old. In 2019 the state ended a $20.8 million senior benefits program that had provided monthly supplementary checks to residents over 65 of low and moderate incomes, and access to affordable health care is less than in many other states. The costs of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are among the highest in the country, and the cost of in-home care puts Alaska among the five most expensive states, with the average cost last year of a home health aide at about $69,000.

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#49. Washington D.C.

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 81,712 (11.9% of state population, 22.0% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 40.8% male, 59.2% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 46,920 (6.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 23,836 (3.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 10,956 (1.6% of state population)

Young people tend to move to the nation’s capital for school and job opportunities, so the city’s population is youthful. According to District government data, its typical senior is a Black woman, age 73, living on a retirement income—usually Social Security or a pension. The average cost of assisted living last year in Washington was more than $9,000 a month, more than twice the national average of $4,000.

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#48. Texas

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 3.3 million (12% of state population, 21.3% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.5% male, 55.5% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 2.0 million (7.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 971,168 (3.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 365,931 (1.3% of state population)

Texas draws significant domestic and international migration, particularly from Latin America, mostly for its oil and gas job market, so its population skews young. The state has qualities that make senior living comfortable, like low taxes, a low cost of living, and mild winters. But home health care is hard to find in parts of the state, and Texas may not seem too welcoming to the elderly. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made headlines with his controversial comments that “lots of grandparents” would be willing to sacrifice their lives to save their economy in the pandemic for younger people.

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#47. Georgia

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.4 million (13.1% of state population, 14.1% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.4% male, 56.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 835,224 (8.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 383,686 (3.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 133,379 (1.3% of state population)

Senior care got a recent boost when the governor signed a new law improving standards, licensing, and certification requirements in assisted living facilities, following a media exposé of neglect and abuse in senior care homes. But one in 10 seniors in Georgia lives in poverty, and the state scores below most others in terms of the quality of long-term care available.

 

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#46. Colorado

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 740,638 (13.4% of state population, 12.1% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 455,831 (8.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 201,744 (3.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 83,063 (1.5% of state population)

Colorado was ranked the healthiest state in the country for seniors, based on factors such as physical activity, chronic conditions, obesity, and preventable hospitalizations. It also gets high scores for its nursing home and Medicare quality, and it ranks among the best states for active senior lifestyles. Agewise, its population reflects a lot of young people moving to the state for jobs, especially in outdoor recreation.

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#45. California

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 5.3 million (13.6% of state population, 10.8% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.4% male, 55.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 3.1 million (7.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 1.6 million (4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 701,570 (1.8% of state population)

The senior population in California is dwarfed by the numbers of young people, particularly Latin American immigrants, who move to the state for jobs. Seniors in California are generally healthier and live longer than they do in other states, and it has plenty of home healthcare workers. But the costs of nursing home care, home nursing and assisted living are among the nation’s highest.

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#44. Louisiana

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 676,707 (14.5% of state population, 4.9% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.7% male, 56.3% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 402,615 (8.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 198,533 (4.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 75,559 (1.6% of state population)

Louisiana is not an easy place to be a senior. It ranks among the worst states in terms of older people suffering food insecurity—lacking access to enough food—and its senior population has high rates of early death, poverty, social isolation, and people who avoid seeking care due to cost. Life expectancy is among the shortest in all the states.

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#43. North Dakota

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 109,910 (14.6% of state population, 4.3% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.4% male, 54.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 58,728 (7.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 33,322 (4.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 17,860 (2.4% of state population)

North Dakota is marked by a lack of geriatricians— doctors who specialize in health care for the elderly. Ten percent of its senior population lives in poverty, and a third of them get food stamps. North Dakota was the only state in which the median age dropped between 2010 and 2019, from 37 to to 35.3 years old. Because much of the state is rural, its seniors tend to live far from health care and senior services.

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#42. Maryland

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 875,337 (14.6% of state population, 4.3% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.2% male, 56.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 513,610 (8.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 253,229 (4.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 108,498 (1.8% of state population)

Maryland’s older population is concentrated in Baltimore County, where an estimated one in four residents is a senior citizen. But the area suffers from a lack of low-cost housing for seniors and transportation for people who do not drive. Last fall, it held its first “No Senior Eats Alone" day to publicize the health risks to the elderly of social isolation.

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#41. Virginia

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.2 million (14.6% of state population, 4.3% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.2% male, 55.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 732,740 (8.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 354,161 (4.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 143,345 (1.7% of state population)

In Virginia, the biggest share of seniors live in rural areas—counties in the Chesapeake Bay region and the mountains along the West Virginia border. The state’s low rate of violent crime is attractive for senior living, but downsides are a prevalence of smokers and a lack of top-quality nursing homes.

 

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#40. Washington

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.1 million (14.7% of state population, 3.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 650,487 (8.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 294,553 (4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 128,459 (1.8% of state population)

Washington state is credited with having top-notch senior long-term care services, both assisted care and in-home help programs. Seniors in the state tend to be active, and relatively few live in poverty. But a nursing home in Kirkland was the site of one of the first deadly outbreaks of coronavirus, and the facility has come under heavy scrutiny criticism for how it handled the crisis.

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#39. Illinois

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.9 million (14.8% of state population, 2.9% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.4% male, 56.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 1.1 million (8.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 561,726 (4.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 253,552 (2% of state population)

Illinois does not fare well when it comes to senior health. It recently ranked second worst for wellness in a Bankrate.com ranking of retirement locations, and 11th worst in terms of affordability for seniors. Its property, income, and sales taxes are all high.

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#38. Idaho

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 253,801 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 47.2% male, 52.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 153,600 (9.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 72,416 (4.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 27,785 (1.6% of state population)

Seniors in rural Idaho often have to travel long distances for access to health care and services. Also, its sales and income taxes are high, the cold winters can be rough, and isolation could be an issue. Idaho has far fewer senior social organizations like sports, religious groups, or clubs than the national average.

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#37. Nebraska

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 286,080 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.6% male, 55.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 159,053 (8.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 85,697 (4.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 41,330 (2.2% of state population)

Nebraska is considered a top place for senior living, with low crime and a low cost of living. The prices of assisted living, nursing home care, and adult day care all are much lower than national averages.

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#36. Nevada

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 438,051 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 47.4% male, 52.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 273,123 (9.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 125,259 (4.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 39,669 (1.4% of state population)

Nevada has warm weather and mild winters that are attractive, but it has significant drawbacks for seniors. The number of seniors who report having trouble affording adequate food is high. Further, more than a third of senior residents do not have a personal doctor or healthcare provider, and seniors in Nevada’s sparsely-populated rural areas have trouble getting services.

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#35. Mississippi

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 449,478 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.3% male, 56.7% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 265,521 (8.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 135,296 (4.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 48,661 (1.6% of state population)

Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy of all the states, and more than one in four of its senior residents does not have a personal doctor or healthcare provider. Also more than 12% of seniors live in poverty, one of the highest rates in the country.

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#34. Oklahoma

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 589,230 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.5% male, 55.5% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 341,463 (8.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 179,516 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 68,251 (1.7% of state population)

While its senior population is below the national average, Oklahoma has advantages for seniors. Its taxes and cost of living are low, and its health care, senior housing, nursing care, and in-home care costs are among the most affordable. But its seniors tend not to be in good health, and the state has the least number of older residents who are considered to be able-bodied.

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#33. Minnesota

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 830,112 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.1% male, 54.9% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 470,691 (8.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 243,085 (4.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 116,336 (2.1% of state population)

Minnesota gets high scores for the amount of senior housing it has available, but the cost of long-term care for seniors is more than twice the average household income. The cost of in-home care is high too, at 110% of the median household income. Older residents tend to be healthy, with a life expectancy almost a year longer than the national average.

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#32. Indiana

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 996,063 (15% of state population, 1.6% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.8% male, 56.2% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 577,695 (8.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 291,994 (4.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 126,374 (1.9% of state population)

Housing costs are low in Indiana, a plus for seniors. College towns like West Lafayette, home to Purdue University, offer amenities for senior living like top quality health care and culture. But more than half of older adults get government food assistance. Among seniors, the obesity rate is high, as is the number of hospitalizations considered preventable, for conditions including uncontrolled diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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#31. Wyoming

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 87,777 (15.1% of state population, 1.0% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 47.5% male, 52.5% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 52,876 (9.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 25,287 (4.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 9,614 (1.7% of state population)

Wyoming offers a low cost of living, no tax on retirement income and no estate tax. But health care costs are among the highest in the country. Nearly a third of Wyoming seniors do not have a personal doctor or health care provider, the highest rate of any state except Alaska.

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#30. Kansas

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 437,777 (15.1% of state population, 1.0% below national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.5% male, 55.5% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 245,020 (8.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 130,787 (4.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 61,970 (2.1% of state population)

For seniors, Kansas has good access to hospitals, and affordable living costs including housing, food and healthcare. Its cost of living is almost 10% lower than the nation’s average. But its state and local sales taxes, property tax, and income taxes are relatively high.

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#29. New Jersey

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.4 million (15.5% of state population, 1.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 42.8% male, 57.2% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 772,545 (8.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 406,646 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 197,672 (2.2% of state population)

New Jersey can be expensive, especially as it has the nation’s highest property taxes and housing costs are high as well. But its senior population tends to live relatively well, with a median annual income of almost $54,000, some $9,000 a year higher than the rest of the country. Relatively few New Jersey seniors live in poverty.

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#28. North Carolina

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.6 million (15.5% of state population, 1.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.6% male, 56.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 941,889 (9.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 458,679 (4.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 170,430 (1.7% of state population)

The Research Triangle region of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill is very popular with retirees, with a strong economy, green space, quality healthcare facilities, and cultural options. But while housing costs are relatively low in North Carolina, healthcare costs can be high.

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#27. Kentucky

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 691,509 (15.6% of state population, 2.3% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44% male, 56% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 411,700 (9.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 202,345 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 77,464 (1.7% of state population)

Kentucky’s seniors tend to have more health issues than those in many other states. Four in 10 have some form of disability, exercise rates among seniors are low, and physical inactivity is high.

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#26. New York

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 3.1 million (15.6% of state population, 2.3% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 42.7% male, 57.3% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 1.7 million (8.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 910,812 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 438,311 (2.2% of state population)

One recent ranking of retirement locations put New York in last place in terms of affordability, and it didn’t score very high for its weather either. New York’s housing is the most expensive in the country, both to buy and to rent. A significant share of New York seniors live below the poverty line. On the upside, New York has one of the most-extensive public transportation systems of any state, which could be beneficial to older people needing to get around without driving.

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#25. Tennessee

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.0 million (15.7% of state population, 3.0% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.1% male, 55.9% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 625,727 (9.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 306,901 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 112,585 (1.7% of state population)

Services for seniors have been under pressure in Tennessee, due to budget issues and an aging population that is growing. Thousands of seniors have been on waiting lists for essential services provided through government programs, such as personal care and meal deliveries, according to the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. The commission has said many seniors are not getting the help they need in terms of transportation, nutrition, healthcare, and housing. A significant number of Tennessee seniors report avoiding getting the care they need due to cost.

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#24. South Dakota

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 136,808 (15.8% of state population, 3.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.8% male, 54.2% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 76,582 (8.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 39,962 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 20,264 (2.3% of state population)

A ranking of good places to retire put South Dakota among the top 15 states in terms of senior wellness. While health-care costs are high, transportation costs are low. There is no state income tax, and housing costs are among the lowest in the country.

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#23. Massachusetts

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.1 million (15.8% of state population, 3.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.1% male, 56.9% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 611,755 (9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 311,380 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 155,089 (2.3% of state population)

Massachusetts is one of the nation’s most expensive states to live in. The average price of a home is almost triple the national average, and yearly spending for groceries and transportation and housing is among the highest in the country. Seniors in Massachusetts are among the most highly educated in the country—some 35% have bachelor degrees.

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#22. Wisconsin

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 924,695 (16% of state population, 4.9% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.2% male, 54.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 527,368 (9.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 271,312 (4.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 126,015 (2.2% of state population)

Costs for seniors in Wisconsin tend to be average or low except health care, which is eighth-highest in the country. Its poverty rate among seniors is low compared with the national average. A high percentage of Wisconsin seniors are considered to be able-bodied, and a relatively high number report getting adequate exercise.

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#21. Alabama

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 783,832 (16.1% of state population, 5.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.4% male, 56.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 463,057 (9.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 237,339 (4.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 83,436 (1.7% of state population)

For senior living, Alabama has beaches, warm weather, and low taxes. But the number of seniors in good health is low compared with other states, and the state has high rates of obesity and people eating poor diets. Violent crime is high, and life expectancy in the state is the nation’s third lowest.

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#20. Missouri

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 981,692 (16.1% of state population, 5.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.9% male, 56.1% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 561,486 (9.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 295,894 (4.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 124,312 (2% of state population)

Missouri is top in the nation, along with Michigan, for affordability for seniors. But it has a high rate of early death between ages 65 and 74. Senior food habits are poor in terms of eating fruits and vegetables, the senior smoking rate is high, and exercise levels are low.

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#19. New Mexico

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 341,515 (16.3% of state population, 6.9% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 202,928 (9.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 101,037 (4.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 37,550 (1.8% of state population)

Despite its warm desert climate, New Mexico can be hard for seniors. Access to health care is low, crime levels are high, and a low percentage of households have retirement incomes such as 401(k) plans or pension. It has the highest poverty rate among seniors—13.3%—of all the states.

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#18. Arkansas

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 487,536 (16.3% of state population, 6.9% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.4% male, 55.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 284,024 (9.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 147,254 (4.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 56,258 (1.9% of state population)

Arkansas has more seniors than the national average, but it lacks good access to health care and senior services compared with other states, especially for people living away from its cities. The state has extremely limited public transportation. It also grapples with high crime rates, and its income tax rates are relatively high.

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#17. Michigan

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.6 million (16.3% of state population, 6.9% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.4% male, 55.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 943,253 (9.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 471,583 (4.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 206,108 (2.1% of state population)

Michigan ranks as the nation's most affordable state, tied with Missouri, for seniors. It places among the 10 states with the lowest housing and grocery costs, and the poverty rate among seniors is low as well. In a survey late last year, one in five Michigan seniors said they did not have enough social contact, but about seven in 10 described their emotional and mental health as very good or excellent.

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#16. Ohio

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.9 million (16.3% of state population, 6.9% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.6% male, 56.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 1.1 million (9.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 560,148 (4.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 252,072 (2.2% of state population)

Seniors in Ohio are better off financially than the national average, with about 55% of retirees having a pension or 401(k) plan. The state’s health care and transportation costs are higher than the national average, but housing costs are among the lowest. Senior lifestyles tend not to be healthy, with high rates of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.

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#15. Iowa

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 513,312 (16.4% of state population, 7.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.3% male, 55.7% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 279,689 (8.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 156,706 (5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 76,917 (2.5% of state population)

Iowa is welcoming to seniors in terms of affordability, wellness, and crime, compared with other states. One factor making it less attractive to senior living is its weather.

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#14. Connecticut

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 587,580 (16.4% of state population, 7.6% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.2% male, 56.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 327,414 (9.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 170,979 (4.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 89,187 (2.5% of state population)

The costs of housing, utilities, and groceries in Connecticut exceed the national average, and property taxes are high. But its life expectancy is the fifth highest in the country, crime rates are low, and it offers access to New York City and to Boston.

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#13. Rhode Island

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 174,210 (16.5% of state population, 8.2% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 42.8% male, 57.2% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 96,800 (9.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 50,433 (4.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 26,977 (2.6% of state population)

More than 11% of Rhode Island seniors live in poverty, one of the highest rates in the nation. Housing and grocery costs are comparatively high as well.The number of seniors who pay a burdensome portion of their income on rent is significant, and senior homeowners have had to deal with increasing property taxes, according to state figures.

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#12. Oregon

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 682,546 (16.7% of state population, 9.5% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.7% male, 54.3% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 411,976 (10.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 187,308 (4.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 83,262 (2% of state population)

Drawbacks to senior living in Oregon are the high costs of housing, groceries, and transportation. The state’s overall cost of living is nearly a third higher than the national average. Also, the cost of assisted living, long-term care, and in-home help is much higher than in other states. Utility costs, however, are relatively low.

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#11. South Carolina

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 829,083 (16.7% of state population, 9.5% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.4% male, 55.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 510,667 (10.3% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 233,843 (4.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 84,573 (1.7% of state population)

South Carolina is popular with retirees, offering warm weather, beaches, low housing costs, low transportation costs, and low property taxes. But as to the lifestyle, few seniors get adequate exercise, and the obesity rate rose 25% among seniors in the past seven years.

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#10. Arizona

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.2 million (16.7% of state population, 9.5% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 46.1% male, 53.9% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 674,235 (9.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 355,536 (5.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 128,549 (1.9% of state population)

Arizona lures seniors with its golf courses and mild winters. Its assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home health care cost less than the national average. It also has low property and income taxes—and no inheritance or estate tax.

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#9. New Hampshire

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 227,984 (17% of state population, 11.5% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 135,715 (10.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 62,907 (4.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 29,362 (2.2% of state population)

New Hampshire has the smallest share of seniors living in poverty—at 5.5%—than any other state. It does not have a tax on salaries or wages, and there is no state sales tax, but property taxes are high. The costs of living in New Hampshire as a senior are lower than in its neighbors Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

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#8. Hawaii

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 245,955 (17.3% of state population, 13.5% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.2% male, 54.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 139,078 (9.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 68,144 (4.8% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 38,733 (2.7% of state population)

Hawaii has the longest life expectancy of all U.S. states, and its sizable senior population can enjoy its climate and low property and sales taxes. But the island state’s cost of living is the highest in the country.

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#7. Pennsylvania

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 2.2 million (17.4% of state population, 14.1% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 43.4% male, 56.6% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 1.2 million (9.7% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 669,591 (5.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 324,251 (2.5% of state population)

For Pennsylvania seniors, most costs are below national averages except for transportation, and state government spending on seniors is relatively high compared with elsewhere. Healthcare networks have been investing in medical facilities in the state, including three new hospitals in the Pittsburgh area.

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#6. Delaware

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 167,129 (17.6% of state population, 15.4% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 44.5% male, 55.5% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 99,666 (10.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 49,025 (5.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 18,438 (1.9% of state population)

Delaware has comparatively low property and state income taxes and no sales tax. It is centrally located to beaches and urban centers, with access to top quality healthcare facilities. But living costs can be high, especially grocery prices, and home prices and rents have risen recently by as much as 11% a year.

 

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#5. Montana

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 183,823 (17.6% of state population, 15.4% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 47.8% male, 52.2% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 109,771 (10.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 52,951 (5.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 21,101 (2% of state population)

Montana property taxes are low, and there is no sales tax. But the state taxes most forms of retirement income, including Social Security benefits above a certain income level. For health care, the state has a much-higher number of hospitals per capita than the national average.

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#4. Vermont

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 113,550 (18.2% of state population, 19.4% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.7% male, 54.3% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 68,256 (10.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 31,606 (5.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 13,688 (2.2% of state population)

Vermont is popular for its natural beauty and picturesque small towns. But its cost of living is high, with housing costs more than 44% higher than the national average. Also, the state taxes Social Security income. Vermont residents are relatively healthy, compared with the rest of the county. More than 40% report being in very good or excellent health.

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#3. West Virginia

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 344,719 (18.8% of state population, 23.3% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.2% male, 54.8% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 202,712 (11.1% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 101,860 (5.6% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 40,147 (2.2% of state population)

Young people are leaving West Virginia to find work, making those over age 65 the fastest-growing portion of the state’s population. One projection shows seniors will comprise a quarter of the state’s population a decade from now. For seniors, assisted living and home healthcare costs are low in West Virginia, as are housing prices and the cost of living. But statewide, nearly one in 10 senior residents lives in poverty, and quality housing is lacking, especially for the elderly. West Virginia has the second lowest life expectancy among all the states, with Mississippi the lowest.

 

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#2. Maine

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 259,176 (19.4% of state population, 27.2% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.3% male, 54.7% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 152,428 (11.4% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 73,415 (5.5% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 33,333 (2.5% of state population)

Despite its reputation for harsh winters, Maine has become a noteworthy destination for retirees drawn to its culture, restaurants, and recreation. But seniors living outside its cities have poor access to health care, and the costs of assisted living and nursing homes is high. The cost of groceries is particularly high compared with other states. Many seniors in Maine are not well-off, and the state has a low percentage of older households with pensions or other retirement income.

 

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#1. Florida

- State senior population (age 65 and older): 4.1 million (19.7% of state population, 29.2% above national average)
- Gender demographics: 45.1% male, 54.9% female
- Age demographics:
--- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 2.2 million (10.9% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 1.3 million (6.2% of state population)
--- Seniors aged 85 and older: 535,941 (2.6% of state population)

Although it gets beaten by Hawaii among retirement locations for its overall weather, Florida has been a long-time mecca for seniors. It has sunshine, good access to health care, services for the elderly, and tax breaks designed for older residents. With some 4 million residents over 65 in the state, seniors won’t lack for company.

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