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The 10 Best Urban Places to Retire in America

The top spot is sunny, walkable and has low doctor's costs

By Sreekar Jasthi

(This article previously appeared on

One of the biggest decisions in life is choosing where to retire. Many Americans making this decision will consider several factors, such as finding a place with other retirees nearby that’s affordable and has good weather, too.

NerdWallet analyzed the following variables in the 75 largest U.S. cities to find the best urban places to retire:

Presence of fellow retirees: We included the percentage of the population over age 65 in each city to assess if there is a peer group.

Affordability: We included the cost of living index (the average cost of living index is 100 across all U.S. cities) to measure the level of affordability in each city. We also included the average cost of a visit to the doctor’s office and annual cost of in-home services to assess health care and assisted living costs. In-home, or homemaker services, include basic household assistance such as shopping, laundry, personal hygiene and meal preparation that allow older individuals to live in their homes as they age.

(MORE: The 10 Most Popular Cities for Retirement)

Weather: Many retirees prefer warmer climates, so we incorporated average annual temperatures into our rankings  — the warmer a city, the better.

Walkability: Retirees in urban locations like to have easy access to local sites and services, so we assessed how easy it is to live without a car by looking at the Walk Score of each city.

For more information on affordability in each of these places, check out NerdWallet’s cost of living calculator. For similar studies and more, visit NerdWallet Cities.

(MORE: 10 Cities With the Happiest Workers)

Top 10 Urban Places for Retirees

Based on our methodology, here are the Top 10 urban places for retirees today:

1. Miami, Fla.

With nearly 16 percent of its population over 65, sunny Miami is our top place for retirees. They can take advantage of the city’s walkable layout and many beaches while enjoying relatively low average doctor and homemaker costs. The Miami area offers several community services for the elderly, such as care planning, home care and a retired and senior volunteer program.

2. New Orleans, La.

For those who like hot and humid summers, milder winters and a low cost of living, the Big Easy is a good place to consider. Retirees in New Orleans enjoy a rich culture, festivals and great food. The New Orleans Council on Aging provides several resources and amenities for the elderly, such as homemaker services, community service programs and events for retirees.

(MORE: Future Cities With Walking Paths and Wi-Fi, Please)

3. El Paso, Texas

Compared to other major cities, El Paso boasts a very low cost of living, especially for retirees. The annual cost of in-home homemaker services is lower here than in any other place on our list. Bienvivir Senior Health Services is a community-based program that has helped the elderly live in their own homes for nearly 30 years.

4. Mesa, Ariz.

Mesa is a popular location for retirees — almost 16 percent of the city’s residents are over 65. With its warm weather, many golf courses and a relatively low cost of living, this Phoenix suburb boasts many characteristics to attract older residents. The city of Mesa and East Valley Adult Resources offer various resources and services to aid local seniors.

5. Corpus Christi, Texas

Retirees in Corpus Christi enjoy a very affordable lifestyle with the city’s cost of living index at 92.07, which is among the lowest on our list, and the annual cost of homemaker services at a low $33,176. Active retirees can take advantage of local outdoor opportunities such as golfing, boating and fishing.

6. Tampa, Fla.

Florida is a popular state for retirees, of course, and Tampa is among its best options thanks to its moderate weather and a low cost of living. The city also boasts museums, performing arts venues, parks and golf courses. Retirees will find a great resource in Seniors in Service, an organization that engages people, especially those 55 and over, in volunteer activities in the community.


7. Baltimore, Md.

Baltimore offers retirees an urban and highly walkable city, along with the lowest average cost of a doctor’s visit of the top 10 cities on our list. With more than 4,900 acres of parkland, performing arts draws such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and various historical sites, the city provides its residents with many attractions. The Maryland Department of Aging, located in Baltimore, protects the rights and quality of life of the elderly throughout the state.

8. Honolulu, Hawaii

This tourist destination is also a favorite place for retirees — nearly 18 percent of Honolulu’s population is over 65, the largest percentage of any major city in the country. Although the cost of living is high, the tropical weather, beaches and many attractions help retirees enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. The Aging and Disability Resource Center in Honolulu offers services and assistance to improve quality of life for seniors.

9. Henderson, Nev.

Henderson has become a home for many retirees as its population of older residents has grown to just under 17 percent, the second-highest percentage of all 75 cities. The city, about 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas, boasts dozens of hiking trails and is surrounded by mountains. Henderson also has a 6,000-square-foot downtown senior center that features a variety of programs.

10. Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis is an attractive place for retirees due to its affordability: it boasts a cost-of-living index of just 84.91, the lowest of any major city in the U.S. The city also has a rich history in culture, music and the arts. The Memphis Park Services’ Senior Centers offer services and activities such as field trips and classes to provide leisure, wellness and educational opportunities for residents 55 and older.


The overall score for each metro was calculated from the following measures for America’s 75 largest cities:

Percentage of population 65 and older from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (25 percent of overall score)

Cost of living index from the ACCRA 2014 Q1 Cost of Living Index (16.7 percent of overall score)

Average cost of a doctor’s visit from the ACCRA 2014 Q1 Cost of Living Index (16.7 percent of overall score)

Annual cost of in-home homemaker services from the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey (16.7 percent of overall score)

Average annual temperature from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (12.5 percent of overall score)

Walk Score from (12.5 percent of overall score)

Sreekar Jasthi is a Strategy Analyst at

Sreekar Jasthi Read More
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