Americans approaching retirement may begin thinking about the new decisions and opportunities presented during this exciting stage of life. Factors like location and affordability are two major considerations. Housing, weather, activities and lifestyle, living costs, access to health care, and an environment supportive of aging adults are all important considerations when thinking about relocation later in life.
According to Census data, the U.S. senior population age 65 and over is currently 15.6 percent and is expected to rise to over 21 percent by the year 2050. Amenities sought after by older populations will be in demand in cities all across the nation for decades to come.
As senior populations continue to grow, every part of the country will become more senior-dominated, but some more than others. Our list considers mid-sized cities and we took into consideration a number of factors, including each city’s SeniorScore™ – the first livability index formulated specifically for senior citizens. The SeniorScore™ rates each city in areas such as health and safety, finances, leisure and recreation and general quality of life.
1. Coral Springs FL
Located in the second most populous county in Florida, the city of Coral Springs is centrally situated next to the Everglades National Forest and less than 30 minutes from Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.
Most appealing about Coral Springs is that it is a relatively small town but has access to bigger cities nearby, without all of the traffic and crime. In fact, the city is considered to be one of the safest in Broward County and nationwide.
In 2007, the City of Coral Springs was awarded with the nation’s highest presidential honor for excellent performance – a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The city is committed to continuous improvements, no doubt increasing quality of life for its residents.
Spanning hundreds of acres of open space, there are about 50 city parks, the largest of which is Mullins Park. The large Sandy Ridge Sanctuary and others in the area, make Coral Springs an ideal location for nature loving seniors.
Year-round weather complement the outdoor activities – like a visit to the city’s ionic landmarks such as the steel 40-foot Covered Bridge. The annual Our Town Festival celebrating the city, and unique shopping and dining destinations like popular The Walk, give Coral Springs its unique charm.
Coral Springs is a welcome place for those of different ages and backgrounds. Those aged 65 and older make up 10.5 percent of the population in Coral Springs. The city has expanded in its diversity over the last several decades with nearly 30 percent of residents being foreign born, and nearly 40 percent identifying as non-white.
2. Glendale AZ
One of several suburbs making up the sprawling Phoenix area, the city of Glendale is a modern, growing area with plenty of perks for those who live there. The area has transformed over the last several decades from a resort city into a desert metropolis for city dwellers both old and young.
Having more sunny days per year than that of any other U.S. city, Glendale is a good location for older adults who don’t mind extremely high summer temperatures. The area has lots of golfing, parks and outdoor activities to enjoy under the sun year-round.
Glendale is home to the popular Westgate Entertainment District which is adjacent to the State Farm Stadium which has hosted NFL Super Bowl Games, events and concerts. The city is also home to several annual festivals including the Glendale Folk and Heritage festival.
The population over age 65, makes up 11 percent of residents in Glendale. Maricopa County where the city reflects a senior population of about 15 percent which is disbursed among the other affordable suburban areas within the county such as Tempe, Mesa and Chandler.
A sense of community for the older population in Glendale is apparent. There are six designated senior community centers in Glendale, and dozens of senior centers in the surrounding area with programs and services benefiting the older crowd. In addition, there are over 400 senior living facilities in the greater Glendale-Phoenix area.
3. Eugene OR
With an official city slogan of "A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors", Eugene sits in a valley about an hour from Oregon’s coast. The city offers a variety of recreational activities among the Willamette and McKenzie rivers and surrounding foothills – a good choice for seniors who are active in the outdoors.
With a senior population of 15 percent and growing, the city of Eugene is a welcome place for older residents for a number of reasons. There are a half-dozen senior community centers in the city offering various leisure, art, hobby, social and wellness activities for older generations to participate in. The city has over 50 senior living facilities.
Known as a place where many hippie-types live, Eugene has a relaxed vibe that is appealing to all ages and lifestyles. Touring its many organic farms and Saturday’s Market, one can find an array of local goods. Eugene has performing arts centers, galleries, festivals, museums, cultural attractions and institutes of higher learning which all keep the area thriving.
Oregon is one of the very few states that has zero sales taxes at the state or local level, which is a definite perk for all residents, including seniors. In addition, housing utilities and health care costs are lower in Eugene than the national average.
4. Provo, UT
Located in north central Utah, the city of Provo is home to Brigham Young University and its distinct museums. The lure of Provo is its scenic Buttes beauty, recreational activities, interesting arts and entertainment – all things that seniors have plenty of time to enjoy in their Golden Years.
A sure perk for all area residents – Provo has a low crime rate. While the housing costs in Provo are slightly above the national average, the costs for home utilities, transportation and food are all below average. Speaking of food, Provo has outstanding cuisine ranging from casual eateries to award winning ethnic specialties.
There are over 40 senior living facilities in Provo and growing. Seniors over the age of 65 make up just 6 percent of the population in Provo and that number is fully supported by the senior resources and programs offered in the city. Fitness, dances, wellness, adventure tours, games and hobbies, classes, daily meals and more are offered to older generations at the Provo Recreation Center. A Foster Grandparent program and a Senior Companion Program are both offered through the County.
Whether it is a hike up Y Mountain or Provo Peak for panoramic city views, or the leisurely strolls lakeside in Utah Lake State Park, the mild year-round weather in this Utah Valley city offers a relaxed place for seniors to live and explore for many years.
5. Cedar Rapids IA
Cedar Rapids is nicknamed the “City of Five Seasons,” because its residents need an extra season to enjoy the other four. There is so much to experience in the State of Iowa which is the largest producer of corn in America. But this city offers more than its ears (of corn) – it is an affordable, engaging city to be enjoyed year-round, even in the chilly winter months.
The variety of low housing prices and the lower cost of living in Cedar Rapids is why seniors will find it to be a smart place to retire. There are a lot of resources for seniors in the community. Seniors over the age of 65 and those eligible for Medicare qualify for half-priced fares in the Cedar Rapids city bus system, among other age-related discounts city-wide.
Residents stay healthy by keeping active – the city has over 70 parks, a handful of golf courses, and Cedar River offers outdoor nature for all to enjoy. The city is home to a variety of arts and performances, including the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the National Czech & Slovak Museum, the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, the African-American Historical Museum, and the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance.
Cedar Rapids’ most endearing amenity is its quality of life for everyone, including older generations. Seniors make up over 14 percent of the population in the city, which is just below the national average. There are over 30 senior living facilities in the Cedar Rapids area.
6. Manchester NH
New England’s hidden gem, the city of Manchester is an affordable city with lots to offer. Although the city has just over 110,000 residents it is the largest city in New Hampshire. Over the years, the city has been highly ranked by way of positive economic and financial indicators. New Hampshire is the New England region’s only State without state or local sales tax. This adds to the appeal of living in the city.
Continuously growing, just over 13 percent of the population in Manchester are seniors age 65 or older. Older generations will find a supportive community in Manchester. There are a few senior centers in the Manchester area and there are over 40 senior living facilities. The City of Manchester maintains an activity calendar with a plethora of things of interest to older residents.
With East Coast beaches, neighboring states close by and cities like Boston less than a few hours away, the city of Manchester is a coveted location for seniors who want access to a variety of sights to see, and places to discover. The city also has a growing artist scene due in part to the influx of young students at several public and private universities in the area.
Active seniors enjoy the Merrimack river which runs through the entire city, and there are hundreds of acres of parks. Lake Massabesic is a place for outdoorsy-types who enjoy sailing, fishing, kayaking or just taking a stroll in nature.
7. Boise ID
The “City of Trees” and the capital city of Idaho, Boise is part of a 5-county metropolitan area known as Treasure Valley, and the city truly is a gem. Boise has big city offerings similar to places like Seattle but with a lower cost of living – a draw for those in their retirement years.
Compared to other states in the area, Idaho has lower crime rates and lower property taxes. In fact, the city was recently ranked one of the safest cities in the world. There are nearly 90 senior living facilities in the Boise area and several senior community centers to support the aging population. The area’s Valley Regional Transit has services and discounts to benefit aging residents of Boise.
Boise may get cold in the winters, but the rest of the year has ideal weather for most outdoor activities. The Ridge to Rivers Trail network spans 130 miles in the Boise Foothills at the edge of the city limits. And the Boise River cuts through downtown offering fishing, water floating and lake strolling complete with a 25-mile greenbelt for active residents.
With lots to see and do and a senior population of just over 13 percent, it is an appealing location for aging adults. Treasure Valley has gold for those in their Golden Years.
8. Aurora CO
Colorado’s third largest city, Aurora is located minutes away from Denver and is known as the “Gateway to the Rockies”. Steadily increasing in diversity, Aurora has a growing number of immigrants and those of varied ethnic backgrounds. Seniors, and those of all ages, will find that they fit right into the city with the picturesque Rocky mountain views.
Recently named America’s most active city, Aurora is definitely a place for outdoorsy seniors. The city is home to several lakes for fishing and canoeing, kayaking and miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and biking. Aurora’s cultural amenities and relaxed vibe makes it the perfect casual sidekick to bustling Denver. One can revel in the beauty of the area at one of the several dozen parks, nearly 100 miles of trails, or three gorgeous reservoirs—not to mention thousands of acres of open terrain.
With over 200 senior living options in the Aurora-Denver area, the city’s appeal continues to grow for those in the 65+ age range. Currently, the senior population in Aurora is about 10.5 percent which is lower than the national average.
A plus for residents is the low State sales tax rate that is nearly half the rate of other States. There are a handful of community recreation centers in Aurora and one specifically for the aging population called the Aurora Center for Active Adults which has services, fun social activities and events for those age 50 and older to enjoy and participate in year-round.
9. Norfolk VA
Virginia’s historic port city has an array of activities to please any interest. Home to intriguing historical attractions, museums, unique dining and retail shops, Norfolk is a vibrant place to live. A convenient city because most places are within a short walking distance, car ride or train ride, depending on the neighborhood.
Moderate year-round weather complements the outdoor activities that include water activities like harbor cruises, sailing or kayaking. Just minutes from downtown, residents can enjoy trails for hiking and a round of golf at the many golf courses in the area.
Seniors will find the city is a great place to retire due to the lower cost of living. The city is more affordable for housing, food, utilities and amenities than similar cities in the nation. The population of seniors age 65 and older is just over 10 percent in Norfolk.
There are over 75 senior living facilities in the city and senior living costs are lower than in other cities, including nursing homes, assisted living, adult day care and more. The Norfolk area has just over a handful of community senior centers with activities and resources for the aging population.
10. Akron OH
Less than a mile south of Cleveland and Lake Erie, Akron is one of the most affordable cities on our list. With an average cost of living and housing costs well below the national average, Akron is a smart choice for those looking to cut costs in retirement.
Recently, Akron has made efforts to offer more conveniences and amenities for older generations – “Age-Friendly Akron” is a five-year partnership between the city, AARP, Direction Home Akron Canton, The University of Akron, and the city’s Senior Citizens Commission. Akron is set to become Ohio’s ninth age-friendly community. Akron will be the 350th such community in the country.
Offering hiking trails, camping, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, Cuyahoga National Park near Akron is a hub of activity. It is located along the Cuyahoga River and the serene Brandywine Falls there attract residents and visitors regularly.
A perk for older generations who value lifelong learning: The University of Akron allows students over age 60 to audit classes for free for up to 11 credit hours per semester. Another program benefiting older adults in Akron is Summit Senior Coalition which consists of dozens of nonprofit organizations, individuals and government entities advocating for older adults.
There are over 90 senior living facilities in the Akron area. The senior population age 65 and older is just above 14 percent in Akron.
11. St. Petersburg FL
Part of the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater metropolitan area, St. Petersburg has a large senior population of nearly 18 percent for a reason. The city is steadily rising in its senior population because it is cost-effective, safe, and friendly. As with many Florida cities, the weather is warm and tolerable year-round.
Housing costs in the city are below the national average, with an average cost of living for things like food, health and utilities. There is no income tax in the State of Florida and low-income seniors can qualify for property tax exemptions.
The city offers miles of pristine beaches to relax on and residents in the County age 65 and older get discounts on parking at most beaches in the area. In addition to the area’s green spaces and nature preserves, also notable in St. Petersburg are its unique museums: The Salvador Dali Museum there has the largest amount of Dali’s artwork outside of Europe. The city also has one of the largest Holocaust Museums in the country. Seniors receive discounts at these and other cultural attractions throughout the city.
Florida State offers a mature driver insurance discount and other programs to benefit its aging drivers. There are a large number of senior care, senior living facilities and senior community centers in and around the city of St. Petersburg. The numbers will continue to rise as older generations continue to relocate to the thriving area.
12. Corpus Christi TX
Dubbed the Florida of Texas, the Texas Gulf Coast has over 600 miles of coast line and the city of Corpus Christi is located among it, offering sun, sand and plenty of inland activities for residents to partake in for years to come. Those wishing to spend their Golden Years enjoying the great state of Texas and the resort-feel of beaches will find Corpus Christi embodies this and much more.
The local history is varied, the art scene is growing, and the farmers markets are sprouting up throughout the city. Cultural attractions like the USS Lexington and the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History are good ways to spend a day. Nature escapes such as Padre Island National Seashore and the Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge are great for outdoorsy types. The area is also known for its fresh seafood and abundance of other dining options.
The cost of living in Corpus Christi is below the national average making it an appealing place for those entering retirement. There are about 30 senior living facilities and 8 community senior centers in the Corpus Christi area.
Those aged 65 and older make up just over 13 percent of Corpus Christi, lower than the national average. There are a number of programs and services for seniors in the city including meals on wheels, Senior Corps, and a Senior Companion Program, among other local organizations.
13. Savannah GA
A charming, traditional southern city, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia and makes a great location for older generations to dwell. Referred to as “The Hostess City of the South”, Savannah offers up hospitality at its finest, including many historical sights and excellent dining options throughout the city.
Located near the South Carolina border and just a few minutes from coastal amenities, Savannah is centrally located and surprisingly low cost. Taxes and housing costs in the city are significantly lower than in other cities with similar amenities.
The senior population age 65 and older makes up 12.8 percent of the city’s population. With nearly 30 senior living facilities and a handful of neighborhood senior centers in the city, Savannah recognizes and supports aging adults in the community. The city even has a designated place called The Learning Center for those over the age of 50 to take classes and explore a variety of topics.
Generally the city is not walk-able, but certain neighborhoods are more walk-friendly than others. The city has a large amount of designated historical landmarks, including 22 squares in the city featuring statues, fountains, gazebos, art and more. The Victorian District, including the 30-acre Forsyth Park, was named one of the Great Neighborhoods in America in 2014. The downtown area is known for several blocks of interesting architecture and landmarks.
14. Baton Rouge LA
Louisiana's capital city, Baton Rouge is centrally located between Lafayette and New Orleans and is an affordable place to call home. Siting directly East of the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge is surprisingly low cost. A unique benefit of living in the city is that residents pay no property tax on the first $75,000 of their primary residence. In addition, taxes and housing costs in the city are significantly lower than in other cities with similar amenities.
Seniors will find over 50 senior living facilities and about a dozen senior community centers in the city limits. The centers have many benefits and perks for older adults including daily exercise classes, games and healthy meals. The 13 percent senior population in Baton Rouge is below the national average of 15.6 percent.
The city of Baton Rouge maintains a small-town vibe, but the college town is growing for every demographic, including older generations and new retirees. With a large amount of low-cost or free activities such as the river trail and over 170 parks for lounging or leisure activities, Baton Rouge is great for residents who love the outdoors. The city draws crowds from all over the world at it’s annual Blues Festival, among other distinct festivals held there year-round.
15. Huntington Beach CA
Nestled along the Pacific Coast between laid back Long Beach and the villages of nearby Irvine, the charming city of Huntington Beach has every amenity older generations desire. The city’s weather is a definite perk – it gets about 280 days of sun annually, which makes it one of the sunniest places in California and much higher than the national average.
The city’s excellent healthcare, food, and utilities are affordable and cost less than the national averages. Nearly 17 percent of the population is age 65 and over which is above the average. The city has a large number of senior living facilities in and around the area.
Senior and ethnic populations in the city continue to grow making it a solid bet for those desiring a varied demographic. The city’s Council on Aging has an active Senior Services division with an array of senior services.
A dog-friendly place, the city has Huntington Dog Beach which allows dogs to frolic with their owners on a 1.5-mile stretch of coastline. Other places for seniors to enjoy the outdoors include Huntington Central Park and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands – a nature reserve in the city with several trails to be enjoyed year-round.
Enjoy the fresh ocean air along 9 miles of beaches, or relax in the mild year-round weather and settle into the easy pace of this growing beach town. Once named the "Best City to Live in Orange County" by the Orange County Register readers, Huntington Beach offers job opportunities, a variety of neighborhoods and housing options to please any senior need.
16. Tulsa OK
A unique city and hub joining several U.S. cultural regions including Native American influences, Tulsa is ever evolving and appealing to a medley of residents and industries. The sprawling Tulsa Metropolitan area encompasses several cities and counties along a stretch of the Arkansas River. Year-round festivals, landmarks, art, performances and cultural activities give Tulsa its distinct character.
Tulsa’s senior population is currently 13.4 percent which is below the 15.6 national average. The area’s Agency on Aging has it’s very own dedicated Senior Information Hotline. The local Life Senior Services offers an impressively comprehensive and widely-distributed senior resource – LIFE’s Vintage Guide to Housing & Services. It has over 250 pages, including over 700 categorized community-based senior resources in and around Tulsa.
It is no surprise that Tulsa has earned spots on recent Forbes and U.S. News “Best Places to Retire” lists – the housing costs in the city are much lower than the national average as well as lower property taxes. There are over 80 senior living facilities in Tulsa, and a handful of supportive senior community centers in the city limits with more located in surrounding areas.
Perfect for active older adults – the city has beautiful parks, gardens and grasslands to stroll, not to mention its modern downtown area and interesting art deco district. Encouraging an active lifestyle, the weather is ideal with the exception of some hot summer days and freezing winter temperatures. Active seniors will find Tulsa is an affordable place to enjoy their Golden Years.
17. Madison WI
The capital city of Wisconsin and one of only two U.S. cities on an isthmus, the city of Madison sets the bar for what makes a great Midwestern city. The friendly city with a high-ranked and large Public Ivy University, wins in more ways than Badgers games and research awards.
Madison is known for its beauty, including lakes Mendota and Monona. When the lakes freeze in the winter, locals have frozen picnics or have ice hockey tournaments and make the best of it. The rest of the year more than makes up for the frigid winter weather. The area offers an abundance of trails for walking and biking near the water and throughout open spaces.
Traveling by car just a few hours away, residents will find Lake Michigan, Milwaukee and Chicago with more to explore. Beer, cheese curds, brats and pretzels are Madison staples, but there are a variety of dining options to please any palate. Local farmers showcase their goods on Saturdays during the warmer months at the huge farmer’s market on the city’s square.
Health care, food and transportation costs less in Madison than in other cities in the nation. There are over 100 senior living facilities in Madison and a handful of senior community centers. Currently, those age 65 or older make up 11 percent of the population, and that number is growing. Madison will undoubtedly continue to be an urban lure for aging adults for many years to come.
18. Rockford IL
Located in north-central Illinois, Rockford is a growing city brimming with possibilities. An hour and a half from Chicago, Rockford offers a variety of affordable housing options much lower than national averages. Many seniors will find the amenities in the city complement retired life in more ways than just dollars and cents.
The city’s abundance of elm trees is why it is referred to as “Forest City”, and there are thousands of acres of parks, grasslands and open space for residents to enjoy. Outdoorsy types will enjoy exploring the preserves in the Kishwaukee River valley nearby as well as the Rockford Park District, as well as several golf courses. The serene Anderson Japanese Gardens have been ranked as one of the country’s most beautiful and authentic Japanese gardens.
Compared to similar Midwestern cities, Rockford is rather ethnically diverse with an above average senior population of about 16 percent (age 65 and over). A resilient city in the process of revitalizing itself, Rockford has endured industry hardships and natural disasters over the last few decades.
Older populations in the city are supported by a number of different outlets. There are over 40 senior living facilities in the city. In and around Rockford there are a handful of community centers with programs designed for aging adults. In addition, the Prairie State provides a number of services and resources for seniors including meal programs, transportation, wellness, legal help, companions and more.
19. Wichita KS
When you think of Wichita, airplanes and the Great Plains might come to mind, but the largest city in Kansas has much more to it. Wichita has thrived in the past several decades due to a diversity of industry there and by embracing change and technology. The city still has its surrounding farms and small-town cowboy roots, but it is becoming an increasingly dynamic place to dwell.
Yet another great Midwestern retirement destination, seniors will find that living in Wichita costs a lot less than living in other cities in America. The costs for transportation, groceries, health care and housing are all below national averages.
Considering all of the perks of living in Wichita, it is no wonder the city has recently ended up on the U.S. News and World Report rankings for the “Best Places to Live” and the “Best Places to Retire”. Wichita’s senior population is currently13.1 percent.
Boasting an array of cultural activities, art, performances, landmarks, museums, the city has a population equally as varied. Residents will find a modern and thriving downtown area and a great culinary scene catering to any taste. A visit to the Kansas Aviation Museum will display a rich aviation history, and the Great Plains Nature Center satisfies the nature-lover. There are parks and gardens throughout the city full of natural surroundings for walking or relaxing.
The city has a handful of designated senior centers in the city limits and over 80 senior living facilities. Support for the city’s older adults is apparent by the highly anticipated annual Senior Expo event held each Fall.
20. Sioux Falls SD
South Dakota’s best kept secret is chock full of rural charm and big-city features. A unique mix of urban bustle and a small-town vibe is what makes up the understated personality of Sioux Falls.
Financially, the city scores high with seniors looking to taper expenses as they enter their retirement years. Sioux Falls has a lower cost of living than other cities across the nation, including lower costs of housing, transportation, food and health-related expenses. While the weather in the area is not always warm, the experience of all four seasons brings a variety of nature scenes to appreciate, as well as different things to do all year long.
Among the vibrant art and performance scene in the city, there is a particularly supportive vibe for its older population. With nearly two dozen senior living facilities in Sioux Falls and a few designated senior community centers, the city of Sioux Falls clearly supports seniors. Those age 65 and over make up 12 percent of the population in Sioux Falls, below the national average.
Like many cities on our list, Sioux Falls has games and classes for seniors and an annual regional senior games attracting older adults from nearby communities to compete in friendly athletic training and competitions.
The Siouxland Center for Active Generations offers specific resources and programs benefiting aging adults in the community. In addition, the Advisory Council on Aging in Kansas offers resources for several local transportation services, volunteering, meals and nutrition, adult protection and more. Retirees will find that there is no lack of people to meet, places to go or things to do in Sioux Falls.