In our older years, we often find that health care matters more than ever before. We’re likely to need physicians, medical services, hospitals, clinics and other health professionals, and it’s best to have them nearby for easy access.
In its latest annual ranking of the best places for retirees, WalletHub assessed each of 182 U.S. cities on four factors — health care, quality of life, affordability and activities for retirees– and scoring them for 45 attributes under those four factors. The cities studied included the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state.
Looking only at cities that ranked in the upper half of WalletHub’s best cities overall, we identified those that also scored among the best for access to and quality of health care.
Following are great places to retire where health care is also particularly good and accessible.
20. Richmond, Virginia
There’s so much to like about Richmond, Virginia, starting with the city’s neighborhoods. Each has a unique personality.
Take the urban neighborhood of Scott’s Addition, formerly an industrial area. It’s become “brewery central,” with the development of housing, entertainment and at least a dozen breweries, cideries and meaderies in a quarter square mile, says Richmond Is Awesome, a site dedicated to Richmond’s charms and attractions.
Other city neighborhoods highlighted include the “beautiful and walkable” Museum District, historic Church Hill and Union Hill, in addition to the Byrd Park and Fan District neighborhoods.
19. Glendale, California
WalletHub’s assessment ranks Glendale No. 5 among the 182 cities for quality of life.
The median household income (half are higher, half lower) is $74,488 (in 2021 dollars), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Glendale has one of the largest populations of Armenians in the world, The Atlantic writes in a 2016 profile of Glendale’s Armenian community:
“In Glendale, Armenians can live comfortably and profitably without speaking a word of English. Armenian television stations, restaurants, churches, and schools are ubiquitous.”
18. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona, ranks high — in sixth place — for quality of life in the WalletHub assessment of retirement spots with better-than-average health care.
One nice benefit for retirees: Although Arizona has a state income tax, income from Social Security benefits is exempt.
Scottsdale has 50 golf courses within its city limits and another 45 courses are close by.
17. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky, ranks 22nd for health care in WalletHub’s 182-city study.
It may be helpful to know that Kentucky allows a homestead exemption against qualifying property owners’ property tax assessment. The value of the exemption, for assessment years 2023-2024, caps at $46,350.
To be eligible, a property owner must be 65 years or older, or totally disabled and receiving disability income payments.
To learn details, see the Kentucky Department of Revenue.
16. Overland Park, Kansas
If you enjoy farmers markets, you may enjoy Overland Park. Its farmers market took top honors at the 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration in 2022, receiving the most votes from shoppers in a 7,000-market national competition.
The market is a part of the reason Overland Park shone in WalletHub’s survey. The city holds 51st place, overall, on the list of best places to retire, is ranked 21st for health care and 34th for quality of life. Overland Park, with nearly 200,000 residents, is the second-largest city in Kansas.
15. Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, the state capital of Nebraska, earns WalletHub’s overall rank of No. 78 and is No. 19 for health care.
The Lincoln Visitors & Convention Bureau’s Visitors Guide lists an array of music performances, theatrical shows, farmers markets, festivals, art galleries and exhibitions, sports events and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are two of the numerous colleges and universities that make this Pennsylvania location a vibrant city. Pittsburgh ranks No. 18 overall in WalletHub’s lineup.
Pittsburgh earns the No. 17 rank for its health care. “The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s system is consistently ranked as one of the best health care systems in the country,” according to AARP.
WalletHub gives Pittsburgh a relatively low score — No. 134 — for affordability. But others disagree. Housing, an important component of a city’s affordability, is relatively affordable there, according to Zillow’s analysis.
Zillow’s Home Value Index lists the “typical” Pittsburgh home price in April 2023 as about $210,000; at the same time, Zillow listed the “typical” home price nationally around $350,000.
13. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is a college town (University of Wisconsin-Madison) with a reputation for fun. In 2022, Madison took the top spot in one national survey for livability.
It is also a great place for the older generation, according to WalletHub, which ranks Madison No. 16 for health care and No. 24 overall for retirees.
Minneapolis is ranked No. 14 overall of the 182 cities studied. It shines for its overall appeal to retirees and earned 15th place in the ranking for health care.
Minneapolis — and its neighboring “Twin City,” St. Paul — are surrounded by lakes. In fact, Minnesota counts 11,842 lakes statewide, according to Minnesota Public Radio. So, retirees who love fishing, swimming, picnics and other types of water-based fun are sure to enjoy Minneapolis.
11. Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck came in at No. 60 overall in this WalletHub study — and for health care, No. 14.
Bismarck has lots of coffee shops and parks, giving the place a “dense suburban feel, says Niche, an education site that profiles schools and colleges.
The schools are above average and the political tone is conservative, Niche adds.
10. Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington hits all the right notes for retirees. WalletHub ranks it No. 13 overall for retirees and also No. 13 for its health care.
TravelAwaits, which targets the 50+ traveling set, recommends Delaware to its audience. The state has no sales tax and low property tax, the site says, singling out Wilmington for “wonderful parks, a zoo, and numerous historic areas.”
9. Nashua, New Hampshire
Coming in at No. 57 overall, Nashua is ranked No. 12 by WalletHub for its access to and quality of medical care.
Retirees will enjoy Nashua’s small-town ambiance as well as its proximity — a 45-minute drive — to big-city Boston’s culture and amenities.
Boston, with its wealth of hospitals and stellar medical services, ranks in the top cities for health care in WalletHub’s survey.
WalletHub gives Beantown 11th place for health care, but the city only places 80th overall for retirees.
Boston.com blames costly housing and high utility rates and sales tax for making the city difficult for retirees.
7. Billings, Montana
Fun fact: Billings’ nickname is “Magic City.” That’s because it grew so quickly after it was founded as a railroad town in March 1882.
6. Durham, North Carolina
Durham comes in at No. 82 overall in the survey, and WalletHub ranks it ninth for health care.
North Carolina is attractive for retirees in part because the state doesn’t tax Social Security retirement benefits.
Other types of retirement income are taxed at the state’s relatively low, flat income tax rate of 4.99%, according to SmartAsset.
5. Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland, located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is ranked 27th overall, in this survey of 182 U.S. cities for best and worst places to retire.
WalletHub puts Columbia at No. 8 for health care.
4. Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo earns a high overall rank, No. 32, for its attractiveness for retirees.
Good medical care in Fargo plays a part: WalletHub puts Fargo at No. 7 for health care, out of the 182 cities studied.
3. Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City wins high honors from WalletHub for health care, earning a ranking of No. 5, and places 62nd out of the 182 cities in the survey for best overall retiree life.
Despite that, the South Dakota town ranks low in other specific categories. Housing costs aren’t awful, but they’re not great, according to WalletHub, which gave Rapid City 103rd place for housing affordability.
2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, ranked 50th overall, took the No. 4 spot for health care in WalletHub’s report on best places for retirees.
And people have been gravitating to South Dakota lately, according to United Van Lines’ 2022 survey. The Mount Rushmore State was eighth in the nation for inbound moves — especially remarkable considering that it’s one of the least densely populated states in America.
1. Missoula, Montana
Missoula checks a lot of the boxes for retirees: Located off Interstate 90 in Montana’s mountainous west, it is set amid stunning scenery and is not far from Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.
The University of Montana lends an element of academic rigor and culture, and there’s plenty of music, art and theater. What’s more, WalletHub ranks Missoula No. 3 for health care and No. 22 overall for retirees.
But before you pack for “Big Sky Country,” remember that winter in the Rocky Mountains can be a challenge, and retirees may find it difficult to get around — on foot or in a vehicle — in the cold months.