Florida and Arizona may be home to some of the country’s most popular retirement spots, but South Dakota is actually the best state for retirees, according to new research from Bankrate.com (NYSE: RATE). Bankrate.com looked at several factors to determine which states offer the best quality of life for seniors. The factors include local weather, cost of living, crime rate, health care quality, tax burden and well-being (a measurement from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index that quantifies how satisfied residents are with their surroundings).
South Dakota came out on top due to its low tax burden, low crime rate and high wellness score. Other states that round out the top five best states to retire are Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming.
“While the states that ranked highly may not be thought of as typical retiree havens, seniors should consider more than sunshine when choosing a place for their golden years,” said Bankrate.com research and statistics analyst Chris Kahn. “The Dakotas both ranked in our top 10 for the second year in a row due to their low cost of living, low crime rates, good health care quality, low taxes and excellent satisfaction scores from residents.”
The five states that ranked the lowest for retirement are New York, West Virginia, Alaska, Arkansas and Hawaii.
“Of course, the best place to retire will differ drastically depending on the individual,” said Kahn. “For some, the best place to retire is simply anywhere there’s year-round warmth and sunshine. For others, it’s where family and friends live. Retirees are best off deciding what factors matter most to them and checking the relevant statistics before making a final decision.”
The full list can be seen in its entirety here:
Bankrate.com gathered statistics and scored states on these major factors: crime rate, weather, health care quality, tax rates, cost of living and well-being. The categories were equally weighted and the scores for each category were standardized before they were combined into a single ranking.
Crime rates came from the FBI
Weather statistics (rates of sunshine, humidity and temperature) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Health care quality statistics came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research
Calculations of state tax rates from the Tax Foundation
Cost of living stats came from the Council for Community and Economic Research
Well-being scores came from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, an extensive year-round survey that helps measure residents’ general happiness with their surroundings. The survey asks a variety of questions such as whether people think their community is “getting better or getting worse,” and “did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”
About Bankrate, Inc.
Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, our flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn, CreditCards.ca, NetQuote.com, and CD.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of nearly 600 local markets in all 50 U.S. states, Bankrate generates over 172,000 distinct rate tables capturing on average over three million pieces of information daily. Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 80 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, AOL, CNBC and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe