The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Retirement

by Martha C. White /  / Updated 

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In a new ranking of the best places to retire published by Bankrate.com, the top five include three Arizona locations.

The Phoenix metro area, including the municipalities of Mesa and Scottsdale, tops the list. It’s followed by the Arlington-Alexandria area of Virginia, then the Arizona cities of Prescott and Tucson, respectively. Des Moines, Iowa, rounds out the top five.

“Everyone knows about the weather in Arizona. It’s a great place to be in the wintertime,” said Bankrate research and statistics analyst Chris Kahn.

Related: The best and worst cities to retire

There are also other factors that make the state appealing, too. Bankrate evaluated 172 American cities for weather and walkability, cost of living and taxes, local crime rate and quality of health care, and poll data showing how satisfied seniors who currently live there are with the location.

“This well-being score is pretty important,” Kahn said, and these Arizona cities deliver. The state’s income, sales and property taxes are all low, which is key for retirees living on a fixed income.

“You’ve got to be thinking about that cash flow situation,” Kahn said.

The worst city to retire to, according to Bankrate? New York City, primarily because of the high cost of living. Rounding out the worst five are Little Rock, Arkansas, New Haven, Connecticut, Buffalo, New York, and Newark, New Jersey.

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