Arlington, Virginia Named Best Place to Retire: Study

Arlington Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River between the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and Arli
Arlington Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River between the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.Carol M. Highsmith / Buyenlarge - Getty Images

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By Martha C. White

Maybe the state could rewrite its slogan as “Virginia is for retirees.”

According to a new study, Arlington, Virginia is the best place to retire, and nearby Alexandria comes in second.

The capital region makes a strong showing in a new analysis by of the best cities to retire, with the Washington, D.C. bedroom communities of Silver Spring and Rockville, Maryland also in the top 10. Although all four have higher costs of living than average, they have low crime and robust cultural opportunities.

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To compile its rankings, Bankrate looked at the following criteria in 196 cities: cost of living, rates of violent and property crimes, walkability, health care quality, state and local tax rates, weather, local culture and well-being for senior citizens.

“We found that smaller cities and suburbs fared the best,” analyst Jill Cornfield said in a statement. “Most seniors prefer to live in these types of communities.”

Thanks to its very low taxes and decent weather, Tennessee has three cities on Bankrate’s top 10 list: Franklin, Nashville and Murfreesboro. The biggest drawback of all three are a lack of walkability, which could be a concern for retirees who want to settle in a place where it isn’t necessary to drive everywhere.

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On the other end of the spectrum, the Empire State doesn’t fare too well, especially its Rust Belt western sector. Niagara Falls, New York comes in dead last of Bankrate’s list of 196 cities. The 10 cities deemed the worst for retirees also include Buffalo and nearby Cheektowaga, Troy and the Big Apple itself.