New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town, says the song. And it’s captured the dubious distinction of being named the worst city to retire in by Bankrate.com’s inaugural ranking of American cities.
However, Connecticut had the sad dishonor of landing not one, but two metro areas in the bottom 10—and that state had the largest presence on this list. In fact, the whole Northeast took 6 out of 10 spots on this bottom 10 list. Notice, too, that there are no Florida cities on this list at all.
In deciding which cities drew top honors and which drew catcalls, Bankrate considered everything from the quality of health care to the weather, financial factors including tax rates and cost of living, and whether people could walk to get where they needed to go. In addition, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index contributed yet another metric: a specialized wellness score for seniors.
Of course Bankrate didn’t look at every single city in the U.S., although its initial list numbered in the thousands. But when those cities lacking data on the critical factors named above were eliminated, that left 196. Then neighboring municipalities that shared almost identical characteristics were combined with their neighbors, so the final list numbered 172. Fittingly, New York starts off the list, the worst at 172 out of 172.
Now, here for your delectation, are the 10 worst places to retire in the U.S.
You might be able to walk anywhere in New York, what with its “great” walkability and low crime rate, but that’s a mixed blessing—since the cost of living is so very high you probably couldn’t ride there anyway, and if you got mugged the mugger probably wouldn’t get much. Taxes are rated very high, too, although for all that money health care is rated below average. So is the weather, but of course cost has nothing to do with that—unless you’re trying to keep warm or stay cool. The city’s well-being index is below average, too, which is a shame considering all the things to do in New York. Oh, wait. They cost money.
9. Little Rock (including North Little Rock and Conway), Arkansas (171/172)
Oh, Little Rock. What can we say? An average cost of living is not so bad, but from there it’s all downhill. Below-average walkability, below-average weather, very high crime rate, a poor well-being index, high taxes, and below-average health care just don’t make a very pretty picture, despite the gorgeous scenery outside town.
7. Buffalo (including Rochester, Niagara Falls, and Cheektowaga), New York (169/172)
These metropolises have great walkability, but considering the below-average weather it’s not a great selling point. Not to mention that a high crime rate might make one reluctant to venture out into that snowstorm to get to the mall. Below-average health care isn’t a selling point, either, nor are the very high taxes. Oddly enough, an average cost of living might not be so bad—but overall, this area ranks below average in well-being.
5. Albany (including Troy and Schenectady), New York (167/172)
High crimes and—oh, wait, wrong story. Anyway, high crime rate, high cost of living, and very high taxes, not to mention snow, await the brave soul venturing to these municipalities in upstate New York. While the walkability of these various cities is good, health care is below average—as is the weather (snow, lots of it) and the well-being score.
3. Oakland, California (165/172)
One might wonder what Oakland is doing on this list, since it has great walkability, a good well-being score, and good weather. But, alas, it also has a very high cost of living, very high taxes, a very high crime rate, and below-average health care. Sad but true. So if you retire here, you’ll have to mix the margaritas at home.
1. Cleveland, Ohio (163/172)
An average cost of living and average taxes in this city makes Cleveland more affordable than many others on this list. Its health care is average, too, but its well-being index is below average. It has good walkability, but a very high crime rate, so they kind of cancel one another out. And then there’s the weather, which is below average and not conducive to sipping piña coladas under the stars.