Best counties for retirees in America
There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States. So choosing the “perfect” one for retirement can be both exciting and stressful. The average American retires at age 62, but they’ve likely been exploring retirement options long before then.
Anyone planning retirement may decide that they want to live in the place they vacation every year, or that little town they found during their last cruise. They may choose to live where their grandchildren are, or where they can enjoy the activities they couldn’t when they were working. But maybe they have no idea where they want to go. Maybe they have a list of 10 potential candidates, and can’t decide. They’ve come to the right place.
Stacker took some of the legwork out of the research. It compiled a list of the best places to live using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including weather, entertainment, and cost of living. Read more on their methodology here. A maximum of 10 counties from each state were included, so there’s a good mix from around the country.
So, whether a retiree is most interested in maximum sunshine, coastal splendor, championship golf, or endless shopping, this list will have options for every taste—and budget. How about a coastal home at the top of Michigan, with quick access to world-famous fudge? Or maybe something on the west coast of Florida, with loads of restaurants, and a nearby cruise port? Not feeling those? There’s a place in Tennessee, with a replica of the Eiffel Tower, and plenty of wine and charming shops to go along with it.
However big or small the activity needs or budget, retirees will find the perfect county to retire to in this list—or at least pick out a new vacation destination.
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#100. Curry County, Oregon
- Population: 22,507
- Median home value: $251,500 (70% own)
- Median rent: $870 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $46,396
Located on the West Coast, and bordering California, Curry County, Oregon, residents live and breathe the ocean and rivers. Take up salmon fishing, try your hand at windsurfing, or hop on a jet boat tour. Jump in, the weather’s fine.
#99. Washington County, Tennessee
- Population: 127,055
- Median home value: $159,400 (65% own)
- Median rent: $743 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $46,752
Tennessee’s oldest county offers affordable living, cultural heritage, natural beauty, and low taxes. An added bonus is the proximity to Jonesborough, Tennessee, with its outdoor recreation options and vibrant arts scene.
#98. Patrick County, Virginia
- Population: 17,859
- Median home value: $116,400 (76% own)
- Median rent: $549 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $40,486
Partake in a historic walking tour, search for legendary “fairy stones,” or fish on Philpott Lake. There’s always something new and interesting to explore in Patrick County, Virginia.
#97. Caldwell Parish, Louisiana
- Population: 9,996
- Median home value: $74,100 (74% own)
- Median rent: $590 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $32,174
Situated in Louisiana’s cotton country, along the Ouachita River, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, offers great opportunities for hunting wild game. Looking to relax? Take a river walk, visit a wildlife area, or enjoy some authentic Cajun cuisine.
#96. Choctaw County, Alabama
- Population: 13,075
- Median home value: $75,200 (80% own)
- Median rent: $533 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $34,884
Historic sites, scenic river walks, amazing fried catfish, and affordable real estate is all available in Choctaw County, Alabama. The small-town attitude and friendliness pulls visitors in, and sways them to stay.
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#95. Covington County, Alabama
- Population: 37,351
- Median home value: $95,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $608 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $40,601
Steeped in history, Covington County, Alabama, is the birthplace of musician Hank Williams. Residents enjoy a low cost of living, historic downtowns, pretty green spaces, and down-home Southern cooking.
#94. Morgan County, Missouri
- Population: 20,137
- Median home value: $122,300 (78% own)
- Median rent: $581 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $37,727
Discover more than 100 shops in Mennonite Country, see the world’s largest geode at Jacob’s Cave, or drive 15 minutes to Lake of the Ozarks. There’s always something to explore and enjoy in and around Morgan County, Missouri.
#93. Lincoln County, New Mexico
- Population: 19,482
- Median home value: $206,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $691 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $42,267
Be enchanted by the mountain region first settled by the Mescalero Apache. Lincoln County, New Mexico, offers skiing, gaming, a race track, one of the longest zip lines in the world, and authentic New Mexican cuisine.
#92. Lincoln County, Maine
- Population: 34,067
- Median home value: $213,300 (78% own)
- Median rent: $779 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $55,180
A boater’s paradise, explore Lincoln County, Maine, and enjoy whale watching, lighthouses, and leaf peeping. Grab a lobster roll or a steamy cup of clam chowder before heading out on each new exploration.
#91. Dawson County, Georgia
- Population: 23,861
- Median home value: $215,500 (82% own)
- Median rent: $857 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $65,805
Racing, art, golf, shopping, boundless nature—it’s all available in Dawson County, Georgia. Head out on the Appalachian Trail, visit the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, or pick produce at a local farm. Go where the day takes you.
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