Personal Finance

Here are the best and worst US cities for retirement

Key Points
  • The five best cities for retirees can be found in Sun Belt states, while the five worst are in California and the Northeast.
  • Laredo, Texas, has the lowest cost of living for retirees, while San Francisco has the highest.
  • You might want to invest in a pair of Mickey Mouse ears if you're headed to the best city for retirees.

Just under a quarter of Americans are "very confident" they'll have enough money to retire comfortably. And many expect to delay retirement at least until age 65, according to recent studies.

So what's a person who's ready to call it quits at the office to do? Relocating to more affordable climes is one option.

Personal finance website WalletHub has ranked 182 U.S. cities by retiree-friendliness as part of its 2019's Best & Worst Places to Retire report. The study compared the cities across 46 key metrics, ranging from cost of living and quality of local health care to retired taxpayer-friendliness, crime rates and availability of recreational activities.

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Roughly speaking, the top cities for retirees tended to be located in Southeastern or Mountain states, while those ranking last seemed to be clustered in California and the Northeast. The latter regions tend to have higher housing costs and taxes, which can impact seniors living on fixed incomes more severely.

Some key findings about the cities surveyed included:

  • Most seniors: Pearl City, Hawaii, boasts the highest share of the population age 65 and older, 23.3% — 3.2 times higher than Fontana, California, the city with the lowest such share at 7.2%.
  • Lowest cost of living: Laredo, Texas, has the lowest adjusted cost-of-living index for retirees, 76.28, which is 2.6 times lower than San Francisco, the highest at 195.49.
  • Older workers: Juneau, Alaska, has the highest share of workers aged 65-plus, 28.08% — 2.8 times higher than bottom-ranked Detroit, with 10.11%.
  • Home health care: St. Louis has the most home health-care facilities per 100,000 residents, at 49.54, which is 25.7 times more than Fontana, at 1.93.

Here are the top five best cities for retirees, followed by the five worst (with No. 1 being worst), according to WalletHub:

The top 5

Orlando, Florida.
Gina Pricope | Moment | Getty Images

1. Orlando, Florida

2. Tampa, Florida

3. Scottsdale, Arizona

4. Charleston, South Carolina

5. Miami

The bottom 5

Stockton, California
DenisTangneyJr | iStock | Getty Images

1. Stockton, California

2. Bridgeport, Connecticut

3. Warwick, Rhode Island

4. San Bernardino, California

5. Bakersfield, California

For the full WalletHub report and ranking, along with the methodology used, go to

—CNBC's Crystal Mercedes contributed to this report.

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