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The Best and Worst States to Retire in the US in 2023

The top five will probably surprise you.

American life is greatly uncertain at the moment, but one thing is clear: Most of us need a better retirement strategy. According to a recent Motley Fool, only 30% of Americans say they've saved enough for a comfortable retirement, and 40% say they believe they won't be able to retire at all. What's also clear: Where you live now can help you save for the future, and some states are much better suited for retirees than others. Bankrate recently ranked the best and worst states to retire in, according to five major metrics: Affordability, quality and cost of healthcare, well-being (including factors such as diversity, entertainment options, and number of retirees), weather, and crime rate. Here's how all 50 rated, from worst to best. The top five will probably surprise you (perhaps enough to move and start saving).


Anchorage Alaska skyline in winter at dusk with the Chugach mountains behind.

Overall Rank: 50

Affordability Rank: 43

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 38

Well-being Rank: 27

Weather Rank: 50

Crime Rank: 49

It's safe to say that Alaska has never been a retirement hotspot because of its harsh weather. But the survey found other reasons to name it the worst state for retirement in the US, namely high crime and low affordability. 

New York


Overall Rank: 49

Affordability Rank: 50

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 30

Well-being Rank: 4

Weather Rank: 37

Crime Rank: 15

New York is the fourth-happiest state in the nation. But not everyone can afford it: High prices for housing and services, and relatively high taxes, ranked it dead last for affordability, which was enough to drag the Empire State to the near-bottom of the list for retirees.



Overall Rank: 48

Affordability Rank: 49

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 6

Well-being Rank: 15

Weather Rank: 12

Crime Rank: 38

The Golden State require a lot of gold for a happy retirement: Coming in 49th among American states for affordability—the primary consideration for retirees, many of whom are living on fixed incomes—sealed its fate on this list.



Overall Rank: 47

Affordability Rank: 47

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 2

Well-being Rank: 30

Weather Rank: 34

Crime Rank: 34

Another study in contrasts, Washington is the second-best state in the country for quality and cost of healthcare—a major plus for retirees. But a high cost of living and poor scores for weather and crime dragged down its rank for well-being, and overall.



Overall Rank: 46

Affordability Rank: 48

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 27

Well-being Rank: 11

Weather Rank: 31

Crime Rank: 10

A low crime rate and good scores for well-being couldn't rescue Massachusetts from the bottom of the heap among retirement destinations. The culprit: A high cost of living, including state, local, and property taxes.

North Dakota


Overall Rank: 45

Affordability Rank: 26

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 40

Well-being Rank: 39

Weather Rank: 48

Crime Rank: 18

Although relatively affordable and low in crime, North Dakota's poor-quality healthcare and challenging weather mean there are plenty of better states to spend your retirement: 45 of them, to be precise.



Overall Rank: 44

Affordability Rank: 28

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 36

Well-being Rank: 47

Weather Rank: 6

Crime Rank: 38

Although Texas has seen an influx in new residents moving from other states, retirees might want to think twice. Other recent national surveys have observed that the state's healthcare system and its residents' overall well-being are lacking, and Bankrate's was no exception; it found there are several better options for those seeking warm weather. 



Overall Rank: 43

Affordability Rank: 41

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 1

Well-being Rank: 28

Weather Rank: 43

Crime Rank: 37

Colorado is the nation's best state for quality and affordability of health care, Bankrate found. Unfortunately, the affordability of everything else (plus inhospitable weather and a less-than-ideal crime rate) pulled to the Centennial State to the 10 worst options for retirees.



Overall Rank: 42

Affordability Rank: 46

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 12

Well-being Rank: 20

Weather Rank: 14

Crime Rank: 29

In the survey, decent rankings for healthcare and weather couldn't override Maryland's positions as one of the five least affordable states for those in their post-work years.



Overall Rank: 41

Affordability Rank: 16

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 44

Well-being Rank: 41

Weather Rank: 5

Crime Rank: 48

As with neighboring Texas, Louisiana's good weather—in this case, the fifth-best in the nation—can't compensate for the state's relatively poor health care, well-being, and crime rate.



Overall Rank: 40

Affordability Rank: 7

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 48

Well-being Rank: 50

Weather Rank: 27

Crime Rank: 22

Ranking dead last in resident well-being and third from the bottom in health care, Indiana ranks near the bottom of the back for retirees, despite its relative affordability. 



Overall Rank: 39

Affordability Rank: 20

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 45

Well-being Rank: 35

Weather Rank: 29

Crime Rank: 20

Geographically, Ohio is in the middle of everything. So it was in most metrics of this survey—except for healthcare, where it ranked in the bottom five among American states. For retired people, that makes it a less-than-middling choice.

New Hampshire


Overall Rank: 38

Affordability Rank: 38

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 31

Well-being Rank: 8

Weather Rank: 36

Crime Rank: 1

The lowest crime in the country and a top-10 rank for well-being—what dragged New Hampshire all the way down to #38? That challenge of many Northeastern states: A high cost of living. Retirees can find lower housing costs and taxes elsewhere.

South Dakota


Overall Rank: 37

Affordability Rank: 21

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 43

Well-being Rank: 24

Weather Rank: 41

Crime Rank: 22

The Mount Rushmore State attracted middling rankings in the survey's major metrics, except for the ones where it ranked near the bottom (healthcare and weather), making it a less-than-ideal choice for those seeking a comfortable retirement. 



Overall Rank: 36

Affordability Rank: 15

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 47

Well-being Rank: 49

Weather Rank: 16

Crime Rank: 11

The Bluegrass State boasts pleasant weather, low crime, and relative affordability—and the nation's third-worst healthcare. That's part of why Kentuckians have the country's second-worst overall well-being, according to the survey. 



Overall Rank: 35

Affordability Rank: 31

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 7

Well-being Rank: 25

Weather Rank: 49

Crime Rank: 17

Minnesotans enjoy the country's seventh-best healthcare—and second-worst weather, a particular challenge for retirees.



Overall Rank: 34

Affordability Rank: 36

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 10

Well-being Rank: 18

Weather Rank: 2

Crime Rank: 41

Arizona's residents can enjoy year-round warm weather and accessible healthcare. But a relatively high cost of living and crime rate make it a lower-tier choice for America's elders, according to the Bankrate survey.


a blue "Welcome to Idaho" sign off of a highway at dusk


Overall Rank: 33

Affordability Rank: 32

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 3

Well-being Rank: 45

Weather Rank: 42

Crime Rank: 6

Bucolic Idaho enjoys relatively good healthcare and low crime, but only middling affordability and weather.

New Jersey


Overall Rank: 32

Affordability Rank: 42

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 26

Well-being Rank: 13

Weather Rank: 19

Crime Rank: 3

New Jersey has relatively low crime and a decent ranking for well-being, but struggles with affordability. 

North Carolina


Overall Rank: 31

Affordability Rank: 22

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 29

Well-being Rank: 34

Weather Rank: 17

Crime Rank: 32

North Carolina scored in the middle tier of most major metrics surveyed, making it the 31st-best option for American retirees. 



Overall Rank: 30

Affordability Rank: 27

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 4

Well-being Rank: 43

Weather Rank: 29

Crime Rank: 18

Utah shines for healthcare but occupies the bottom 10 nationwide for overall well-being (which considers diversity, arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments per capita, and adults 65 and older per capita). 



Overall Rank: 29

Affordability Rank: 6

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 42

Well-being Rank: 48

Weather Rank: 15

Crime Rank: 42

A decent cost of living but bottom-10 finishes in healthcare, well-being and crime made Oklahoma a just-OK 29th place for retirement destinations. 


a green "Welcome to Vermont" sign in front of green trees

Overall Rank: 28

Affordability Rank: 39

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 14

Well-being Rank: 7

Weather Rank: 39

Crime Rank: 4

On the plus side, Vermont enjoys low crime and a top-10 rank in overall well-being. But the plight of many Northeastern states—high taxes and housing prices—make it a less-affordable option for retirees. 



Overall Rank: 27

Affordability Rank: 34

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 17

Well-being Rank: 10

Weather Rank: 44

Crime Rank: 2

The nation's second-lowest crime rate and good scores in well-being categories weren't enough to compensate for Pine Tree State's challenging weather and relatively high prices.



Overall Rank: 26

Affordability Rank: 33

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 8

Well-being Rank: 12

Weather Rank: 45

Crime Rank: 29

Montana's weather is no paradise; that's not news. The headline here may be that the state's healthcare is the eighth-best in the nation. But low affordability and mediocre scores on crime make the Treasure State no prize for retirees.



Overall Rank: 25

Affordability Rank: 29

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 23

Well-being Rank: 17

Weather Rank: 26

Crime Rank: 40

A bottom-ten finish in crime and middling scores in every other major category drag Nevada to the exact middle of the pack among American states, making it a gamble for retirees.

Rhode Island


Overall Rank: 24

Affordability Rank: 40

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 20

Well-being Rank: 5

Weather Rank: 23

Crime Rank: 7

According to the survey, Rhode Island residents are happy and safe. They're also handing over a lot of their income to living expenses and taxes. Retired people can make their dollars stretch further in other states.



Overall Rank: 23

Affordability Rank: 10

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 33

Well-being Rank: 44

Weather Rank: 10

Crime Rank: 46

Despite national top-10 finishes for weather and public safety, spending your retirement years in Arkansas will be a tradeoff, Bankrate's survey found: Residents' happiness ranks in the bottom 10 nationwide.

New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Overall Rank: 22

Affordability Rank: 24

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 19

Well-being Rank: 21

Weather Rank: 21

Crime Rank: 50

New Mexico has the nation's worst crime rate, the survey found, but decent scores elsewhere pull it to the middle of the pack. 



Overall Rank: 21

Affordability Rank: 44

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 9

Well-being Rank: 5

Weather Rank: 25

Crime Rank: 4

Retirees enjoy life in the Constitution State—the state finishes in the top in healthcare, wellbeing, and public safety—but a relatively high cost of living means they pay for the privilege.



Overall Rank: 20

Affordability Rank: 14

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 41

Well-being Rank: 36

Weather Rank: 13

Crime Rank: 45

Coming in 20th place overall, Tennessee's healthcare system and crime rate were found to be lacking, but retirees prioritizing a low cost of living may find the tradeoff worth it. 

South Carolina


Overall Rank: 19

Affordability Rank: 23

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 32

Well-being Rank: 19

Weather Rank: 10

Crime Rank: 46

This summer, CNBC named South Carolina one of the 10 worst states to live and work in. As in that survey, Bankrate raised a red flag on the state's crime rate and healthcare quality, but found that the state's weather and affordability boosted it into the top 20 choices for retirees.



Overall Rank: 18

Affordability Rank: 37

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 5

Well-being Rank: 9

Weather Rank: 32

Crime Rank: 28

Despite the Pacific Northwest's often-gloomy weather, Oregonians are among the country's happiest, with access to the fifth-best healthcare in the country. 



Overall Rank: 17

Affordability Rank: 17

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 34

Well-being Rank: 21

Weather Rank: 28

Crime Rank: 25

The analysis found that Illinois ranked in the second third of American states in all major metrics, scoring best for affordability and worst for quality and cost of healthcare. 



Overall Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 30

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 15

Well-being Rank: 32

Weather Rank: 18

Crime Rank: 9

Decent scores in most major metrics—led by a low crime rate and healthcare quality and access in the upper quartile nationwide—placed Virginia at 16th overall for retirees.



Overall Rank: 15

Affordability Rank: 12

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 35

Well-being Rank: 42

Weather Rank: 4

Crime Rank: 29

The Peach State has beautiful weather and a relatively low cost of living. But residents' overall-well being is lacking, partly because Georgia's healthcare ranks in the bottom 16 nationwide. But retirement-specific factors still make it a better choice than 35 American states, Bankrate found.



Overall Rank: 14

Affordability Rank: 4

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 46

Well-being Rank: 40

Weather Rank: 9

Crime Rank: 44

Georgia's neighbor offers a similar profile, with a worse crime rate. But a significantly lower cost of living may make it an attractive option for retirees.



Overall Rank: 13

Affordability Rank: 11

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 24

Well-being Rank: 29

Weather Rank: 40

Crime Rank: 26

Retirees can do better, and they can do worse, than choosing Michigan, according to most major metrics in the Bankrate survey. But the state boasts the nation's 11th-most-affordable cost of living, making it a relative bargain for snowbirds who'd prefer to settle down in the North. 



Overall Rank: 12

Affordability Rank: 19

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 16

Well-being Rank: 21

Weather Rank: 46

Crime Rank: 12

Lousy weather can't drag down Wisconsin's very pleasant scores in all of Bankrate's major metrics, making it a Big 12 option for the post-work years. 




Overall Rank: 11

Affordability Rank: 8

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 25

Well-being Rank: 38

Weather Rank: 24

Crime Rank: 35

What Kansas may lack in attractions and altitude, it makes up for with a very reasonable cost of living, ranked among the nation's 10 best.



Overall Rank: 10

Affordability Rank: 13

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 18

Well-being Rank: 37

Weather Rank: 35

Crime Rank: 21

The Cornhusker State kicks off the nation's 10 best options for retirees, with relatively low taxes and housing costs, upper-quartile healthcare, and a low crime rate.


Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii

Overall Rank: 9

Affordability Rank: 45

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 12

Well-being Rank: 1

Weather Rank: 1

Crime Rank: 32

The nation's best weather, the happiest residents, and the 12th best and affordable healthcare bring Hawaii in at #9 overall for retirement destinations. The only potential cloud on the horizon: A relatively high cost of living for all age groups, a factor echoed by other recent surveys.



Overall Rank: 8

Affordability Rank: 35

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 21

Well-being Rank: 3

Weather Rank: 3

Crime Rank: 27

Although the Sunshine State has been a top retirement destination for generations—and Americans of all age groups are pouring into the state for its low taxes and sunny weather—Florida only placed eighth nationwide for retirees. Why? The state's cost of living is actually comparatively high, and its crime rate is worse than New York's. 



Overall Rank: 7

Affordability Rank: 25

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 22

Well-being Rank: 14

Weather Rank: 33

Crime Rank: 12

Retirees looking for an affordable cost of living would do better in Pennsylvania than in Florida, the analysis found. Taxes and living expenses are lower in the Keystone State than they are in much, if not all, of the Northeast. (Read on to find out which upper state ranks better.)



Overall Rank: 6

Affordability Rank: 9

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 38

Well-being Rank: 16

Weather Rank: 47

Crime Rank: 7

Retirees hooked on Yellowstone might be looking to Wyoming with stars in their eyes, and with the state's low cost of living and high public safety, they'd find much to enjoy in their post-work years (except the weather). 



Overall Rank: 5

Affordability Rank: 2

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 49

Well-being Rank: 46

Weather Rank: 7

Crime Rank: 22

With the nation's second-cheapest cost of living, Mississippi makes the top five for retirees. One potentially major caveat: Bankrate found the Magnolia State has the country's second-worst healthcare, by quality and cost.



Overall Rank: 4

Affordability Rank: 5

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 28

Well-being Rank: 32

Weather Rank: 22

Crime Rank: 42

The Show-Me State's high affordability—low taxes, low housing prices and living expenses—make it the fourth-best choice for retirees this year. 

West Virginia


Overall Rank: 3

Affordability Rank: 1

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 50

Well-being Rank: 26

Weather Rank: 20

Crime Rank: 16

West Virginia is a state of extremes—it's the least expensive state for retirees in 2023, according to Bankrate's survey, with low taxes and a large stock of affordable housing. The tradeoff: It ranks dead last in quality and cost of healthcare. 


Delaware Seashore State Park/Instagram

Overall Rank: 2

Affordability Rank: 18

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 37

Well-being Rank: 2

Weather Rank: 8

Crime Rank: 36

With the nation's second-happiest residents, mild weather, and a decent cost of living, Delaware is the second-best choice for retirees this year, Bankrate found. 

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Overall Rank: 1

Affordability Rank: 3

Quality/Cost of Healthcare Rank: 11

Well-being Rank: 31

Weather Rank: 38

Crime Rank: 12

The nation's happiest medium—although resident well-being only ranked 31st in the U.S.—Iowa's low cost of living, moderate crime rate, and upper-tier healthcare make the Hawkeye State the best retirement destination in the U.S. in 2023, according to the survey.  

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