Couple riding bycicles.

The Best and Worst States for Retirement, Ranked From 1 to 50

Whether you’ve sworn never to move again or or considering a move across state lines when you retire, it’s important to know which states offer the best (and worst) benefits for retirees. WalletHub researched and compared the data to determine the most and least suitable states for retirement.

How does the state you live in measure up? Even if you didn’t plan on moving during retirement, you might change your mind after seeing these rankings.

Determining the Rankings

A man studying.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

WalletHub evaluated 47 metrics, ranking and weighing them for each state to determine the best and worst places to retire. They then boiled down the metrics into three easy-to-understand groups:

  • Affordability
  • Quality of life
  • Health care

WalletHub’s results provide an insightful (and brutal, in some cases) look at where retirees-to-be should consider settling down. These are their rankings from the worst to best states for retirement.

1: Kentucky

Field in Kentucky.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Kentuckians, close your eyes. Kentucky is the worst state for retirement. The Bluegrass State is the fifth-worst state in the country for healthcare affordability, making its 33rd ranking for affordability look relatively attractive.

2: New Jersey

Ocean in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

New Jersey ranks as the second-worst affordable state in the U.S. after New York. The Garden State doesn’t look much better in the quality of life department, ranking 34th.

3: Mississippi

Mississippi River in the fall.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

At first glance, Mississippi being the tenth most affordable state in the U.S. doesn’t seem like it should place it so low on the retirement ranking list. However, the Magnolia State ranks worst in the nation for quality of life and third-worst for health care.

4: Oklahoma

Route 66 sign.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Oklahoma’s numbers aren’t much better than Mississippi’s, ranking just a hair better for quality of life and health care. However, the Sooner State ranks at the lower 19th place for affordability during retirement.

5: New York

Waterfall at Letchworth Park.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Ranking in 10th place for quality of life is no match for WalletHub’s retirement assessment, which ranks New York as the least affordable state in the U.S. for retirees. The Empire State ranks as the 16th-best state for health care.

6: Louisiana

State capital Baton Rouge.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Affordability is on Louisiana retirees’ side, as the state ranks in 13th place. However, the Pelican State’s 45th and 47th rankings for quality of life and health care make it the sixth-worst state in America for retirement.

7: Illinois

River in Chicago.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Illinois ranks a low 42nd in the nation for retirement affordability. That makes the Prairie State no match for a better spot on this list despite ranking in the 20s for quality of life and health care.

8: Washington

Snowy mountains in Seattle.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Washingtonian retirees enjoy living in the 13th-best state for quality of life. Unfortunately, the fun stops there; the Evergreen State is the sixth-worst state for affordability.

9: Maryland

View of downtown Annapolis.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Maryland makes the unwanted top ten worst states for retirement, largely due to it being the fifth-worst state for affordability. As a silver lining, it ranks higher than average for quality of life and health care.

10: Arkansas

Mount Magazine, Arkansas.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Arkansas is seemingly sitting pretty for retirees, being the 8th-most affordable state in the U.S. But given the Natural State’s gut-wrenching 44th place for health care and 49th place for quality of life, WalletHub couldn’t rank it out of the top ten worst states for retirement.

11: Rhode Island

Beach on Block Island.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

American retirees might be better off fleeing to other shores, for the Ocean State ranks 39th in the country for both affordability and quality of life. Rhode Island’s only saving grace? Its health care, of which it ranks 14th-best in the nation.

12: Texas

A barn in Texas.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Texas’ retirement stats are grim across the board, according to WalletHub. The Lone Star State’s poorest ranking is quality of life (37th place). Its relatively best category, affordability, doesn’t even make the top half best states (28th place).

13: Oregon

Oregon coast.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Oregon comes in 21st place for both the quality of life and health categories, which seems relatively respectable up to this point. However, it ranks in the top ten states for worst affordability during retirement, in 41st place.

14: West Virginia

A bridge in West Virginia.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

West Virginia is the third-best state for retirement affordability. Unfortunately, its grave rankings for quality of life (43rd place) and health care (49th place) place it in the bottom half of the worst states for retirement.

15: Kansas

Kansas wheat field.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

The thirties seem to be Kansas’ style. The Sunflower State ranks in 30th, 32nd, and 33rd place for affordability, quality of life, and health care, respectively.

16: Connecticut

Boats in Mystic, Connecticut.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Connecticuter retirees have lots to celebrate in the health care department, for WalletHub ranks them 3rd in the nation. However, the Nutmeg State’s 44th place for affordability makes it a challenging state to live in for retirees.

17: Vermont

A view of the Montpelier skyline.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Vermont ranks in the top ten for health care (6th place) and quality of life (7th place). Nevertheless, it’s the third-worst state in the nation for affordability.

18: Tennessee

Mountains in the fall.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Tennessee is the second-most affordable state in the U.S. for retirees. So, why does it rank so low for being among the best states to retire? The Volunteer State offers the sixth-worst health care and third-worst quality of life in the nation.

19: Nevada

Road through mountains in Nevada.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Nevada is an above-average state for affordability for retirees on a budget (11th place). But its ranking in the low 40s for health care and quality of life means that retirees could face other stressors during their Golden Years.

20: Indiana

Barn in the U.S.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Indiana’s best ranking for retirees is affordability, coming in spot number 23. But the Hoosier State ranks in the cringe-worthy 40th place for health care, with quality of life not much better (31st place).

21: New Mexico

Fajada Butte.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

New Mexico is the fifth-worst state in the U.S. for quality of life. Retirees brave enough to face such a statistic will enjoy slightly above-average affordability, for the Land of Enchantment ranks 21st in the nation.

22: Maine

A lighthouse in Portland, Maine.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Retirees in Maine have quite a bit going for them, ranking in 13th place for health care and an impressive 6th place for quality of life. However, the Pine Tree State’s 43rd spot for affordability means one must be rich to retire comfortably there.

23: Michigan

Detroit skyline.
Photo Credit: Icholakov01 via Depositphotos.

Michigan’s retirement numbers aren’t overly impressive; the Wolverine State ranks in 36th place for health care, 29th for affordability, and 18th for quality of life.

24: Georgia

Capitol building in Atlanta.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Georgian retirees can celebrate that they live in the seventh-most affordable state. However, the Peach State struggles in the quality of life and health care categories, ranking 40th and 42nd, respectively.

25: Iowa

Farm at sunset in Iowa.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Iowa is a middle-of-the-road state for retirement, according to WalletHub’s findings. The Hawkeye State ranks in respectable 12th place for quality of life, but 24th and 35th places for health care and affordability, respectively.

26: Nebraska

Chimney Rock in Nebraska.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Retirees wanting a decent quality of life (16th place) and health care (15th place) may find it in Nebraska. However, they’ll need to have saved well for retirement because the Cornhusker State is the 37th least affordable state in the U.S.

27: Hawaii

Green sea turtles swimming in Hawaii.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Hawaii ranks fourth in the nation for great healthcare for retirees. Unfortunately, its quality of life is mediocre, coming in 29th place. It also ranks as the 38th least affordable state for retirees.

28: Ohio

Cincinnati skyline.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Ohio offers an above-average quality of life, in 8th place. But the Buckeye State ranks in middle-of-the-road 27th place for affordability and a low 37th place for health care.

29: Alabama

Beach with seagrass.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Do you want to move to the most affordable state for retirees? If so, make it Alabama. The downside? The Cotton State ranks in 44th place for quality of life and last place for health care.

30: Wisconsin

Three cows looking at the camera.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Wisconsinite retirees get to take advantage of a decent quality of life (14th place) and health care (17th place). The Badger State is far from cheap, though, ranking in 34th place for retirement affordability.

31: Arizona

Grand Canyon Arizona.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Arizona is the first state to break through the top 20 best states for retirement. The Grand Canyon State’s biggest strength is affordability (18th place). Health care (25th place) and quality of life (35th place) are lacking, though.

32: Alaska

Bears fishing in a river.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Alaskans get to take advantage of the eight-best health care for retirees in the nation. The state also ranks in 18th place for affordability during retirement, but residents will need to be willing to put up with a low 36th ranking for quality of life.

33: California

Los Angeles at sunset.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

California ranks number 10 for health care and in 19th place for quality of life. Unsurprisingly to many, the Golden State ranks in the low 32nd place for affordability.

34: Massachusetts

Massachusetts lighthouse.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Massachusetts ranks 17th in the nation for the best states to retire. If it weren’t for its 47th ranking for affordability, though, the Bay State might have ranked at the top of this list; it ranks number one for quality of life and number two in the nation for health care.

35: South Carolina

Oak trees over a dirt road.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

South Carolina is a great state to consider for retirees who don’t have much money for retirement, as it ranks 4th in the U.S. for affordability. Unfortunately, you can expect lower-than-average quality of life (38th place) and health care (39th place).

36: Montana

Saint Mary Lake at Glacier National Park.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Montana’s retirement feasibility statistics are rather middle-of-the-road. Its best ranking is quality of life (15th place), and it ranks in the mid to upper 20s for affordability and health care.

37: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania farm in the fall.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Despite snowy winters, Pennsylvania offers retirees the third-best state in America for quality of life. Its health care is also decent, ranking in 12th place. Unfortunately for Pennsylvanian retirees, the Keystone State’s affordability sits at a low 36th place.

38: Missouri

Kansas City skyline with horse statue.
Photo Credit: F11photo via Depositphotos.

Missouri’s best ranking for retirement is in the affordability category, where it takes 17th place. But the Show Me State’s quality of life (28th place) and health care (32nd place) aren’t enough to rank in the top ten best states for retirement.

39: North Carolina

Blue Ridge Mountains.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

North Carolina offers retirees a somewhat comfortable retirement finance-wise, coming in 12th place for affordability. It’s not doing as great in the quality of life and health care categories, though, where it ranks in 23rd and 35th places, respectively.

40: Utah

Arches National Park.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Utah missed being one of the top ten best states for retirement by one place. The Beehive State ranked in the low to mid-twenties for all three categories that WalletHub assessed.

41: North Dakota

North Dakota sheep.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

North Dakota takes the first coveted spot in the top ten best states for retirement. As with Utah, the Flickertail State ranked in the low to mid-twenties for all categories, sneaking in a few better marks to rank it above the Beehive State.

42: Idaho

Waterfall in Idaho.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Idaho’s low 31st place for health care doesn’t outshine the fact that the Gem State ranks well for quality of life (17th place) and affordability (15th place).

43: Minnesota

Canoe on a lake.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Look away, Minnesotans, for your state’s retirement statistics are tough to swallow. The North Star State ranks in first place for health care and second place for quality of life. However, it didn’t rise above its overall eighth-place ranking in the best states to retire because of its 40th spot for affordability.

44: South Dakota

Old wooden house in a field.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

South Dakota’s retirement feasibility numbers are a trick of the mind; The Mount Rushmore State ranks 9th in the nation for health care during retirement but only 25th and 30th for affordability and quality of life, respectively.

45: New Hampshire

Fall in Franconia.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

New Hampshire claims two single-digit retirement rankings: quality of life (5th place) and health care (7th place). However, the Granite State is hardly affordable for retirees, ranking in 31st place.

46: Delaware

Bethany Beach at sunrise.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Delaware claims the spot as the fifth-best state for retirement. The First State offers excellent affordability for the northeast (6th place) and decent enough health care (18th place). However, it has a low quality of life, ranking 33rd in the country.

47: Wyoming

Farm in Wyoming.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Wyoming offers above-average affordability (5th place) and quality of life (9th place) for retirees in the U.S. But with a health care ranking of 38th place, the Equality State had no chance of landing a better spot on WalletHub’s list.

48: Colorado

Skiers on Vail Mountain, Colorado.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Colorado offers retirees excellent healthcare, coming in at 5th in the nation. It’s also relatively affordable (14th place). But the Centennial State’s 27th ranking for quality of life means that retirees may want to consider moving to one of the top two best retirement states.

49: Florida

Manatee swimming.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

It’s no wonder retiree snowbirds flock to Florida; the Sunshine State offers residents the fourth-best quality of life and ninth-most affordability in the nation. However, health care ranks in mediocre 28th place.

50: Virginia

Water mill in Virginia.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

WalletHub has named Virginia the best state for retirement. Interestingly, The Old Dominion didn’t rank in the single digits for any category. However, Virginia maintained above-average numbers for health care (11th place), quality of life (11th place), and affordability (16th) place, helping it land the cream of the crop spot.

This and That

Sunset in Alabama.
Photo Credit: ktahaziz via

WalletHub calculated that when accounting for the adjusted cost of living, Alabama, the cheapest state for retirement, is two times more economical than Hawaii, the most expensive state.

Staying Home

Photo Credit: Fotoluminate LLC via

Should you need medical care during retirement, do you prefer it in your house? If so, you’ll pay twice as much in Minnesota for in-home services compared to West Virginia, which offers the lowest annual in-home care costs.

The Finish Line

Older woman studying.
Photo Credit: insta_photos via

Statistically, women earn 21% less during their careers than men. Nevertheless, women manage to retire about two years earlier than men. Regardless, the data here shows that, regardless of gender, the quality of retirement one has may vary according to the state they live in.

50 Best Cities for Retirement

An older happy couple.
Photo Credit: Lumos sp via

Are you looking for a new city to move to during retirement? These are the top cities to retire in America, according to U.S. News.

50 Best American Cities for Retirement

12 Reasons Why Older Generations Aren’t Retiring

Sad man.
Photo Credit: InsideCreativeHouse via

Baby boomers are no strangers to criticisms from younger generations, and some youngins are stuck wondering why they won’t retire. But when broken down, it makes sense why boomers are forgoing retirement during their golden years.

12 Reasons Why Older Generations Aren’t Retiring

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *