Florida May Not be the Number One Retirement Destination After All, According to a Recent Study

L. Cane

Florida has long been a popular retirement destination for those who wish to relocate or have a second winter home after retiring. The weather is nice. There is no state income tax, and, until recently, the cost of living in Florida was considered reasonable.

Still, even with rising home prices and higher costs of living, people are still moving to Florida in high numbers. In fact, data from the Census Bureau indicates that Florida is the fastest-growing state in the United States. And Florida is the state with the second-highest population of senior citizens. Only Maine has more.

But a recent study by the financial website WalletHub suggests that Florida isn't the best destination for seniors looking to retire after all.

What were WalletHub's Criteria?: The site looked at three different categories for each state: affordability; quality of life, and health care. Specifically, it looked at things such as the cost of living, cost of home services, the percentage of the workforce that is 65 or older, the crime rate, the weather, and life expectancy, as just a few examples.

How Did Florida Fare?: Florida came in second place, which is certainly a good showing. That said, Florida has come in first place for similar surveys in the past. (WalletHub itself ranked it first in 2022.) Florida scored highest in the "quality of life" category, but lower in the health care category, which likely lowered its net score.

Which States Scored Well?: Which Scored the Worst?: Virginia was named the best state for retirees, while Kentucky was named the worst.

Here are the states that made the top 10 and the lowest 10, according to WalletHub:

The Top 10:

1 Virginia

2 Florida

3 Colorado

4 Wyoming

5 Delaware

6 New Hampshire

7 South Dakota

8 Minnesota

9 Idaho

10 North Dakota

The Bottom 10:

41 Arkansas

42 Maryland

43 Washington

44 Illinois

45 Louisiana

46 New York

47 Oklahoma

48 Mississippi

49 New Jersey

50 Kentucky

Additional Data: WalletHub is one study, but for objectivity and the seeking of consensus, we can look at additional data.

The financial website Bankrate also looked at the best and worst states for retirement. It considered affordability, wellness, culture, weather, and crime in its analysis. It ranked Florida as the best place to retire in 2022 followed by Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. North Dakota, South Carolina, and New Jersey were ranked the worst.

The Motley Fool also looked at which states had the best attributes for retirees. It considered quality of life, housing, healthcare, and public health. In this survey, Florida ranked 27th out of 50th. Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire ranked highest, while Washington, Nevada, and California ranked the lowest.

The travel website Travel + Leisure looked at data from similar studies to determine its own picks for the best retirement locations. It chose Florida as number one - followed by West Virginia and Kentucky.

So it would seem that not every site who writes on the best places to retire chooses Florida as number one, although some do. Ultimately, the "best" place for someone to retire might come down to what is the best choice for their unique situation.

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