It's no secret that retirees generally don't like the cold, so
it should come as no surprise that there is an abundance of
northern states on this year's list of 10 Worst States to Retire
from MoneyRates.com. However, the weather is far from the only
problem these states have.
If you love one of these states, don't take it personally. This
list only reports what an objective look at retirement-related
factors dictates. Naturally, individual preferences can greatly
affect your choice of retirement destinations. However, as a guide
to some possible
warning signs for retirees
, MoneyRates.com has sought to identify the states that may have
the most significant issues on quantifiable measures.
Key factors for retirement
The following measures formed the basis of this year's
Senior population growth.
Based on census data, some states have just been more attractive
to retirees than others in recent years, so the growth in each
state's senior population factored into these rankings.
Even if you don't intend to work at all in retirement, chances
are you wouldn't find living in an area of high unemployment very
pleasant. Cost of living and property taxes were also taken into
consideration, since these greatly affect seniors.
Seniors can be especially vulnerable to both violent and property
crimes, so both were factored into the list.
Not everyone wants a warm-weather retirement, but seniors tend
not to enjoy extremes, so the climate factor in this list was
based on monthly deviations from a moderate 68 degrees.
Looking at each state's average life expectancy for people at age
65 can provide clues on factors ranging from quality and
availability of health care
to the purity of the environment.
10 worst states for retirement in 2012
When rankings for all these factors were considered, the
following states achieved the 10 lowest scores. Here's the
countdown, beginning with the 10th-worst:
10. Rhode Island
The U.S. population overall is both growing and aging, yet Rhode
Island was the only state to see its senior population shrink
between the 2000 and 2010 census surveys. Having a cost of living
and average property tax that are among the highest in the nation
might be one reason. Seniors have a pretty long life expectancy in
this state, but that's not enough to offset the negative
Like Rhode Island, Maryland suffers from relatively high
property taxes and cost of living. Crime and life expectancy are
also well below par, which are enough to more than cancel out an
One of the harshest climates in the nation, along with a low life
expectancy for seniors, were leading factors in putting Maine on
this list, despite the fact that the state does have a very low
overall crime rate.
6. New York (tie)
Some of the nation's highest property taxes and cost of living
could be the factors keeping many seniors away from New York. As a
result, this state has seen very slow growth in its over-65
population. It should be noted that despite its reputation, New
York does have a lower-than-average overall crime rate.
6. Ohio (tie)
Ohio is another state with sluggish growth in its senior
population, and its unusually low life expectancy at age 65 might
be one reason why. Coupling those factors with mediocre scores in
other areas put Ohio near the back of the pack.
These lists always spur a spirited discussion, but Massachusetts is
yet another state in the bottom 10 that ranks near the bottom in
growth of its senior population, so there must be something to the
relationship between these criteria and attractiveness to retirees.
Like New York, Massachusetts suffers from being one of the more
expensive states in the nation, in terms of both property taxes and
cost of living.
Illinois ranked below-average in every category, with its chief
problems being high property taxes and high unemployment.
2. Alaska (tie)
The harshest climate in the United States and the second-highest
cost of living form a bad combination for retirees. Not
surprisingly then, Alaska has the lowest percentage of people aged
65 and over in the country, though it should be noted that its
senior population has been growing at an impressive rate.
2. Pennsylvania (tie)
After Rhode Island, Pennsylvania has seen the slowest growth rate
of its senior population in the country. Poor scores on life
expectancy and economic factors also dragged the state down, and it
didn't have a stellar performance in any category to offset its
Michigan ranked below average in every category, and particularly
low scores on climate and economic factors hurt the state's
ranking. Michigan was not among the 10 worst states in any single
category, but consistently low scores across the board gave it the
worst overall total.
It should be noted that most states on this list had at least
one redeeming feature among the factors considered, and where that
was the case it was mentioned in the summaries above. Again, while
there are reasons to enjoy life in every part of the country,
before you decide on a state for retirement, it may be wise to
examine that place's potential drawbacks. If you don't, your
retirement may face some consequences.
For more on how the states fared, please see the
10 Best States to Retire
full 50-state rankings