The No. 1 best state to retire in the U.S.—it’s not Florida

The best state to retire in 2023 isn’t Florida. In fact, it isn’t even in the Southeast.

Iowa ranks as this year’s No. 1 state to retire, according to a recent Bankrate study.

To determine which states are the best for retirees, Bankrate used data from a number of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tax Foundation and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. It then ranked all 50 states across five weighted categories:

  1. Affordability (40%)
  2. Well-being (25%)
  3. Health-care quality and cost (20%)
  4. Weather (10%)
  5. Crime (5%)

Iowa’s biggest draw for retirees is its affordability. Since most retirees live on a fixed income, lower housing costs can help them stretch their dollars further than other states, Bankrate reports.

As of July 2023, the national median home price is $422,137. But Iowa’s median home price comes in much lower at $232,200, per Redfin’s data.

Here are the best and worst states to retire in 2023, according to Bankrate.

Best and worst states for retirement in 2023

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Delaware ranked No. 2 on the list, thanks to its high quality health care and light tax burden. Delaware residents enjoy some of the lowest property taxes in the country and the state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits.

However, in contrast to Iowa, Delaware ranked 31st in Bankrate’s affordability category.

While Florida ranked as 2022′s top state to retire, it fell to 8th place this year. Although the Sunshine State’s warm weather can make it an attractive option for retirees, housing tends to be expensive. In June 2023, the median sale price for a Florida home was $409,100, according to Redfin.

Ultimately, where you choose to retire will depend on what’s most important to you. While the affordability of a potential retirement destination may rank highly on your list of priorities, you may also want to consider other factors, such as what activities you’ll have access to and whether you want to be close to family.

And remember to consider how a place may change over time.

“You have to make a decision not only about the way things look today, but whether a place is going to be sustainable and less expensive over the long term,” Larry Sprung, a financial advisor and founder of Mitlin Financial, told Bankrate. “You have to look at the full picture.”

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