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Worst States To Retire

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Discerning the Least Ideal Retirement Havens

When picturing retirement, many envision a peaceful life, plentiful experiences, and thriving in a location that elevates their quality of life. However, not every state in the U.S. is tailor-made for this vision. The retirement landscape is sharply contrasted across the country with thriving retirement paradises at one end and states posing continual challenges to retirees at the other. To navigate this landscape, it is essential to consider factors such as a state's cost of living, crime rate, weather conditions, quality of healthcare, and taxation status on social security benefits.

The 'Retirement Index Score' offers a structured way to evaluate states for retirement, with lower scores indicative of less favorable conditions for retirees.

In examining the dataset, several key findings surface:

  • With a retirement index score of 38.80, Kentucky ranks as the least desirable state for retirement. New Jersey, and Mississippi follow closely with scores of 40.23 and 40.80 respectively, painting a somber outlook for retirees.
  • On the other extreme, Virginia, Florida, and Colorado, with scores above 57, are relatively more favorable for retirees, showcasing the stark regional differences in retirement conditions.
  • A closer look at the data indicates that no state achieves a 'Retirement Index Score' above 60, signaling that even the best-ranked states aren't the perfect retiree havens however are still better placed compared to others.
  • Comparing the scores, the difference between Kentucky (#1 least ideal) and Virginia (the best of the worst) is about 19 points - a substantial gap that underscores the significant regional discrepancies in retiree livability.

Worst 10 States to Retire In

The state ranked as the worst for retirement according to our Retirement Index Score is Kentucky, with a disheartening score of only 38.80. A combination of high costs of living, lower quality healthcare options, and harmful taxation on social security benefits likely contribute to this ranking.

Next on the list is New Jersey, with a retirement score of 40.23. Despite its proximity to major metropolitan areas such as New York City and Philadelphia, high living expenses and taxes likely deter many retirees. Similarly, Mississippi, with a score of 40.80, is unfavorable for retirement due to a variety of factors, potentially including a higher crime rate and lack of premium healthcare facilities.

Oklahoma and New York follow with retirement index scores of 43.61 and 43.69, respectively, suggesting that they also present significant challenges to retirees. Louisiana is not far off with a score of 43.90, while Illinois fares marginally better with a score of 44.30. The states of Washington, Maryland, and Arkansas round off our list, with retirement index scores of 44.46, 44.55, and 44.73, respectively. 

Worst 10 States to Retire In (According to the Retirement Index Score):

  1. Kentucky - 38.80
  2. New Jersey - 40.23
  3. Mississippi - 40.80
  4. Oklahoma - 43.61
  5. New York - 43.69
  6. Louisiana - 43.90
  7. Illinois - 44.30
  8. Washington - 44.46
  9. Maryland - 44.55
  10. Arkansas - 44.73

By State

Full Data Set

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