10 Cities Retirees Are Packing Their Bags and Moving To

Climate, affordability and services are just some of the most important aspects to consider when choosing where to spend your retirement years. Financial technology company SmartAsset uncovered the cities retirees are moving to that are relatively easier on the wallet while offering an excellent quality of life. 

Decisions Decisions 

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SmartAsset examined migration data from the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau to uncover where retirees are relocating. They say community, taxes, recreation, climate, and more can all play a part in what makes each city attractive. 

1: Mesa, AZ

Mesa, Arizona.
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Retirees are flocking to Mesa, Arizona, which welcomed nearly 5,000 new senior residents from other states. With a warm, low-humidity climate, many seniors comfortably enjoy the weather. Plus, the city charges a slightly lower sales tax rate than Phoenix. 24.33% of the Mesa population are 60 years and older. 

2: Henderson, NV

View of Henderson, Nevada.
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Nevada landed two cities in the top ten, the first being Henderson. With a net migration of 1,602 seniors, retirees clearly love to soak in the sunshine there. Nevada’s lack of state income tax draws in folks looking to see a few extra bucks on their pay stubs. A little over 25% of Henderson’s population are seniors, and the city is home to multiple thriving 55+ communities. 

3: San Antonio, TX

Bridge in San Antonio.
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Bursting with culture and abundant ways to spend your free time, San Antonio is the largest U.S. city to make this list of the top ten states people are choosing to retire to. With exciting landmarks like the Alamo and miles of picturesque paved trails along the Riverwalk, it’s no wonder San Antonio had the third-highest net migration of retirees, gaining 1,164 senior residents. 

4: North Las Vegas, NV

North Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Retirees looking to live it up in their golden years are rolling the dice and moving to North Las Vegas. Data shows roughly 2,300 seniors moved to the vibrant city from outside of Nevada. Nestled in the Mojave desert, North Las Vegas stays warm and dry most of the year and is close to one of the world’s most iconic entertainment hubs. 

5: Boise, ID

State capitol in Boise.
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Welcoming 2,089 new senior residents, Boise is one of the most popular cities for retirees to relocate to. The commonly overlooked city in the Northwest offers a low cost of living, lush natural scenery, and a trendy downtown scene. It’s also home to several retirement communities. 

6: Wilmington, NC

Boardwalk in Wilmington.
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If you’re a retiree wanting to settle down in a coastal city, you’ll be in good company in Wilmington; the city has the highest percentage of senior residents in the top ten cities retirees are moving to, with 27% being 60 and older. Not only are retirees moving to Wilmington, with a net migration of 992, but they’re also staying put. Only 453 people aged 60 and older left for another state. 

7: Frisco, TX

Areal view of Frisco, Texas.
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With warm weather and relatively affordable housing, Texas is a paradise for retirees. Frisco is an easy-going city that’s part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and provides enticing tax benefits for retirees. Homeowners can use a special homestead exemption to reduce their property tax liability. More than 1,430 seniors made the move to Frisco from out-of-state. 

8: Miami, FL

Miami Beach.
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Why not make your retirement feel like an endless vacation? Miami’s cost of living is sky-high, but its beaches and entertainment are unlike what you’ll find anywhere else. Consider moving there if you have extra spending room in your retirement budget. Seniors make up nearly a quarter of the total population, and there are a variety of retirement communities to choose from. 

9: Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida.
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Another popular retirement spot from the Sunshine State is Jacksonville. Especially compared to big cities like Miami, it boasts an appealing cost of living and still benefits from no state income tax. Eight hundred forty-three new residents aged 60 or higher relocated to Miami. One of the biggest perks? The beaches and downtown are only a 30-minute drive from each other.

10: Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina.
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Raleigh has become one of the most popular cities in the U.S., with a strong economy, abundant job market, and pleasant climate. Seniors are moving to Raleigh and sticking around, with only 454 people aged 60 and up leaving the state. Its relatively low cost of living (compared to other big cities) makes it especially appealing, along with the grandchildren that reside there with their parents taking advantage of Raleigh’s job market.

Arizona on Top 

Grand Canyon, Arizona.
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Mesa had the nation’s highest net gain of seniors for the third time in a row. Its influx of retirees was more than double that of Henderson, Nevada, the runner-up city retirees are moving to.

Moving On Up 

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Data shows that, by and large, American seniors are ditching their roots in expensive northeastern cities and moving to other parts of the country. SmartAsset said for some, relocating to a cheaper or more tax-friendly state is less of a choice and more of a necessity. 

Soak Up the Sun 

Happy older couple.
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Many seniors are looking to spend their golden years with their toes in the sand. Data showed more than 78,000 senior residents moved to Florida from other U.S. states. Miami, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, and Tampa were retiree favorites. 

The Big Surprise

Corn field with windmills in Iowa.
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According to Bankrate, Iowa is the best state to retire. Affordable healthcare and cost of living, along with a low crime rate, are the factors that ranked Iowa as number one.

Mass Exodus 

Charlotte skyline.
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Something about Charlotte drove seniors away from the previously high-ranking North Carolina retirement city in SmartAsset’s study. It fell 100 spots from the time of the last study, with 3,150 retirees leaving to move to another city. According to the most recent data, only 1,860 moved to Charlotte from other states.

50 Best Cities for Retirement

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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

20 Bucket List Destinations for Retirees

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Do you want to explore the world during retirement? Here are some excellent destinations to add to your bucket list, including options for active and low-impact travel.

20 Bucket List Destinations for Retirees

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