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Best Places to Retire? Retirees on the Move!

Nice looking home representing the Best cities and states for retirement

Record home sales have led to homeowners searching Zillow, trying to find the perfect place to move. For some, it’s the weather, or to be closer to family and friends, and for others, the pandemic is re-shaping where they live if their jobs allow them to work from home.

When it comes to moving in retirement, there are so many other considerations: access to quality healthcare, whether to downsize for cash flow needs, taxes, and how to find a retirement community that best fits your lifestyle.

Top Reasons Retirees Relocate

A recent study by a relocation and moving company found that the top reasons for seniors on the move were taxes, weather, and family. Nine states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have no state income tax. Below is the latest top 10 list of where retirees are moving (age 65 and older).

Top 10 States to Retire to:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Texas
  6. Tennessee
  7. Idaho
  8. Oregon
  9. Nevada
  10. Alabama

Top 10 Cities to Retire to:

  1. Mesa, AZ
  2. Scottsdale, AZ
  3. Henderson, NV
  4. Savannah, GA
  5. Paradise, NV
  6. Charlotte, NC
  7. Fort Myers, FL
  8. Cary, NC
  9. Eugene, OR
  10. Tucson, AZ

America’s “Oldest” State

As retirees move, is this causing a shift in the average age per state? The U.S. state with the oldest population has to be Florida, right?  That’s where elderly people from the Northeast go to retire. Actually not.

Surprisingly, when you measure each state (and territory) by the median age of its citizens, you find that Maine is America’s oldest state, with a median age of 45.0 years old.  Puerto Rico is second (43.6), followed by New Hampshire (43.1) and Vermont (43.0).

Florida comes in 6th by this measure, median age of 42.5, just behind number 5 West Virginia (42.9) and ahead of Connecticut and Delaware (both median age 41.1), followed by Pennsylvania (40.8), Rhode Island, and New Jersey (both 40.1)  The northeast, and the east generally, is where to look for older Americans.

America’s “Youngest” State

At the other end of the spectrum, Utah (31.3), the District of Columbia (34.2), Alaska and Texas (both 35.0), and North Dakota (35.3) have the lowest median age across their population.

The overall median age for the entire country is 38.2 years.

State with Highest Percentage of Citizens 65 or Older

But is that the best way to measure which states have an older or younger population? Why not look at the states with the highest percentage of citizens age 65 or older?

Even by that measure, the state of Maine comes in first; 20.6% of its citizens are older than age 65.  By this measure, Florida comes in second (20.5%), followed by West Virginia (19.9%), Vermont (19.4%), Delaware and Montana (both 18.7%), Hawai’i (18.4%), Pennsylvania (18.2%), New Hampshire (18.1%) and South Carolina (17.7%).

Older Americans are least likely to live in Utah (11.1% of the population), Alaska (11.8%), Texas (12.6%), Georgia (13.9%), Colorado (14.2%), and California (14.3%).

The best explanation for the higher concentration of older Americans in the Northeast is that younger adults in those states are moving south and west, where there are greater educational and job opportunities, while their parents are left to age in place.

California and Texas have been especially popular destinations for those younger migrants, which has kept their populations relatively young.

If you’re considering a move, below are links to additional blogs that might pique your interest. Wherever the next chapter in your life takes you, we can help you with your financial plan and review any next steps that lead you to an amazing retirement. Schedule a meeting to speak with an advisor.

  • Retiring on state lines, see this additional blog from February 2020 –

  • CA Proposition 19 and what it means to your move, see this blog from November 2020 –


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