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Finding the best city for retirement requires research and thoroughly weighing your personal and financial priorities. We explored all cities with a population greater than 80,000 residents to find the 10 best cities to retire in in 2022. Each city offers a blend of safety, activities, attractions and affordability for those on a fixed income.
The research we completed to analyze our 2022 best cities for retirement includes:
- Local housing and assisted living costs and population over age 65
- Population growth, which typically indicates a robust local economy
- Annual FBI crime statistics for each city, based on a percentage of all criminal activity in the total population
Many of our best retirement cities for 2022 are located in Florida, a popular retirement location for decades. The weather is ideal for year-round activities and often for physical health. If you decide to work while retired in Florida, you won’t pay state income tax.
1. Palm Coast, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida, population growth is riding on the back of a very healthy local economy. Retail properties range from budget-friendly to upscale stores. Upward trends in residential and commercial properties serve a population with 28% over the age of 65. Aside from shopping and great restaurants, Palm Coast offers golf resorts, fishing, formal garden tours and more.
The median mortgage cost in Palm Coast is just under $1,300, with rental homes in the same ballpark. The average monthly price for an assisted living facility is relatively high, at $4,500. In Palm Coast crime is down by an impressive 47% since 2016, averaging under 2%.
Population growth (2019-2020) 19% Population over 65 28% Crime Per Capita 1.7% Cost of assisted living $4,500 Median mortgage payment $1,289 Sales tax rate 7% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
2. St. George, UT
Utah’s population growth is the highest in the nation. Much of this growth is attributed to a housing explosion for younger people, but 28% of St. George residents are of retirement age. The city is a safe place to live with a low crime rate.
Retire in St. George, and you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty of the Mojave Desert Pine Valley Mountains. Retirees enjoy hot summers and mild winters, making for great weather for golfing, hiking and visiting Zion National Park. The median mortgage is just over $1,500. Monthly assisted living costs are a reasonable $3,400 per month, and rentals are around $1,000.
Population growth (2019-2020) 31% Population over 65 23% Crime Per Capita 3.5% Cost of assisted living $3,350 Median mortgage payment $1,517 Sales tax rate 6.75% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 9.8
3. Largo, FL
Largo’s population growth is low, but retirees can easily find peers, with 26% of residents over age 65. Median home prices are up but in line with the average increase across the country. Monthly assisted living facility costs are around $3,200 per month.
Retirement in Largo offers nearly 500 acres of parks, a community center, two recreation centers, an aquatics center and dozens of community events throughout the year. Out of 145 Florida cities, Largo ranks in the top third for low crime rates, according to recent FBI data.
Population growth (2019-2020) 6% Population over 65 26% Crime Per Capita 6.3% Cost of assisted living $3,225 Median mortgage payment $1,302 Sales tax rate 7% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
4. Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral’s population has been growing at a steady 7% annually over the past decade. This growth brought many developers to the city, so housing is available. The median mortgage is $1,458, and you should be able to rent a golf condo near the coast for under $2,000.
Cape Coral’s assisted living facilities are expensive but located in one of the safest cities in Florida, with a 2.5% crime rate. Cape Coral’s 400 miles of navigable waterways make the city an ideal home for retirees who love boating, fishing, water sports and spending time at the beach.
Population growth (2019-2020) 26% Population over 65 23% Crime Per Capita 2.5% Cost of assisted living $4,500 Median mortgage payment $1,458 Sales tax rate 6.50% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
5. Meridian, ID
Meridian is among the 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S., and the overall Idaho population is booming. People retire to Idaho for safety, family values, friendly communities and miles of protected lands filled with natural beauty. Many California companies have relocated to Idaho, strengthening the economy.
Idaho’s sales tax is the highest among our top 10 cities for retirement, and the population over age 65 is low. However, Meridian offers affordable homes and assisted living apartments and a low crime rate that’s hard to beat.
Population growth (2019-2020) 57% Population over 65 13% Crime Per Capita 2.5% Cost of assisted living $3,375 Median mortgage payment $1,527 Sales tax rate 6% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 13.0
6. Lakeland, FL
Lakeland is an affordable historic community located in central Florida. The city has seven historic districts, 1,600 historic buildings and 13 registered landmarks. Trees and bricks line the streets in the city, built around 38 lakes.
The crime rate in Lakeland is higher compared with most of the other cities on our list. However, crime is on a downward trend across Polk County. Housing is affordable, with a median mortgage of just over $1,200; monthly rentals cost around $1,000. Assisted living communities are priced under $4,000 per month.
Population growth (2019-2020) 16% Population over 65 22% Crime Per Capita 6.4% Cost of assisted living $3,945 Median mortgage payment $1,239 Sales tax rate 7% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
7. Boca Raton, FL
Individuals over age 65 make up 27% of Boca Raton residents. The cost of housing is higher in this upscale area, but assisted living communities are generally affordable. The walkable downtown and commercial areas are safe.
Boca Raton is home to several upscale boutiques and specialty shops as well as national department stores. Restaurants serve international fare and American meals in casual to formal settings. Several museums, a conservatory, a cultural arts center, a ballet company and other venues provide something to do or see every day.
Population growth (2019-2020) 15% Population over 65 27% Crime Per Capita 4.7% Cost of assisted living $3,500 Median mortgage payment $2,469 Sales tax rate 7% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
8. Fort Myers, FL
Located in southwest Florida, the Fort Myers population is booming. The city has an inviting policy of creating equitable economic opportunities, with stability for businesses and residential neighborhoods. Fort Myers is a clean city boasting widely available high-speed internet, excellent utility services and reasonably priced housing.
Nearly a quarter of people living in Fort Myers are over age 65. The city features cultural events, beautiful gardens, rich history at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates and free guided walks through many parks. Assisted living facilities are relatively expensive, but the crime rate is low, and many retirees love the warm climate.
Population growth (2019-2020) 39% Population over 65 22% Crime Per Capita 5.73% Cost of assisted living $4,500 Median mortgage payment $1,667 Sales tax rate 6.50% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
9. Port St. Lucie, FL
Port St. Lucie is a Florida metropolitan area attractive to retirees seeking city living in a warm climate. Boaters can choose from several boat ramps around the city. If you don’t own a boat, you can enjoy a paddleboard rental. Festivals take place throughout the year, and daily activities include a variety of golf courses, hiking trails and jazz music at night.
While Port St. Lucie housing is affordable for most people, assisted living communities are priced relatively high. A low crime rate, on-demand public transportation and an excellent bus line make Port St. Lucie a safe city for seniors.
Population growth (2019-2020) 24% Population over 65 21% Crime Per Capita 2.0% Cost of assisted living $4,399 Median mortgage payment $1,432 Sales tax rate 7% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 12.8
10. Asheville, NC
Asheville, North Carolina and Palm Coast, Florida are tied for the highest over-65 population on our list of the best cities for retirement. Asheville residents enjoy four distinct seasons, with average high temperatures in the 80s and lows in the 30s. You’ll find a thriving artist and artisan community, museums, galleries, performing arts, and outdoor activities and sports readily available.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville offers an affordable cost of living and the lowest assisted living cost on our list. Unfortunately, Asheville has the highest crime rate as well. However, criminal activity is concentrated along the city limits.
Population growth (2019-2020) 13% Population over 65 28% Crime Per Capita 14.2% Cost of assisted living $2,750 Median mortgage payment $1,457 Sales tax rate 6.9% Homelessness Rate (Per 10k) 8.8
Many retirees move to another city to fulfill their dreams of living in a different climate or having greater access to natural beauty, activities or beaches. Children often move to another city or state, and seniors prefer retiring near family instead of aging in place.
Finding the best city to retire in takes a lot of research, but we’ve narrowed your options, based on the data, to assist in your search. See a financial advisor if housing costs in your preferred retirement location seem out of line with your retirement income.
The Top 50 Cities for Retirement
City Score 1 Palm Coast, FL 0.582 2 St. George, UT 0.580 3 Largo, FL 0.570 4 Cape Coral, FL 0.560 5 Meridian, Idaho 0.552 6 Lakeland, Florida 0.551 7 Boca Raton, FL 0.551 8 Fort Myers, FL 0.549 9 Port St. Lucie, FL 0.547 10 Asheville, NC 0.545 11 Melbourne, FL 0.544 12 Clearwater, FL 0.544 13 Palm Bay, FL 0.540 14 Cedar Rapids, IA 0.540 15 Sandy, UT 0.536 16 Cary, NC 0.536 17 Boise, ID 0.534 18 Hoover, AL 0.534 19 Boynton Beach, FL 0.532 20 Deerfield Beach, FL 0.531 21 St. Petersburg, FL 0.531 22 Lee’s Summit, MO 0.530 23 Huntsville, AL 0.528 24 Broken Arrow, OK 0.527 25 Parma, OH 0.526 26 Fargo, ND 0.525 27 Bloomington, MN 0.525 28 Livonia, MI 0.524 29 Edmond, OK 0.520 30 Independence, MO 0.520 31 Farmington Hills, MI 0.517 32 West Palm Beach, FL 0.516 33 O’Fallon, MO 0.514 34 Pembroke Pines, FL 0.513 35 Rochester, MN 0.512 36 Troy, MI 0.509 37 Sandy Springs, GA 0.509 38 New Braunfels, TX 0.507 39 Roswell, GA 0.507 40 Plantation, FL 0.504 41 Carmel, IN 0.503 42 Springfield, IL 0.503 43 Mount Pleasant, SC 0.502 44 Sterling Heights, MI 0.500 45 Johns Creek, GA 0.498 46 Virginia Beach, VA 0.496 47 Lincoln, NE 0.495 48 Duluth, MN 0.494 49 Billings, MT 0.494 50 Henderson, MT 0.492
To help readers find the best cities for retirement, we evaluated all cities in the United States of America with populations greater than 80,000 residents. We evaluated 12 data sources and standardized and weighted the data to rank each city based on the metrics.
- Population Growth (2019-2020)
- Persons 65 and Older
- Median Monthly Mortgage Payment
- Median Monthly Rent Payment
- Percent with Bachelor’s Degree
- Median Household Income
- Persons in Poverty
- Population Per Square Mile
- Homelessness Per 10,000 Residents
- Sales Tax Rate
- Cost of Assisted Living
- FBI Crime Statistics
All data sources were available at the city level, except for the homelessness rate, which was collected at the state level.