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 a recent ranking of the best places for retirees, WalletHub assessed each of 182 U.S. cities on the factors of health care, quality of life, affordability and activities for retirees and scored them on 46 attributes. The cities 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.
15. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis is ranked No. 12 overall of the 182 cities studied. It shines for its overall appeal to retirees and earned 20th place in the ranking for health care.
Minneapolis — and its neighboring “twin” city, St. Paul — are surrounded by lakes. In fact, Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, according to Minnesota Public Radio. So, retirees who love fishing, swimming, picnics and other types of water-based fun are sure to enjoy Minneapolis.
14. Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, the state capital of Nebraska, earns WalletHub’s overall rank of 59 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.
13. San Francisco
The City by the Bay is a hub for medical care, including the highly regarded University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
WalletHub awarded San Francisco sixth place, overall, in its ranking of best retirement cities. It put the city at No. 18 for health care.
It’s expensive to live in San Francisco, but if you’ve got the money, there are few places better for retirees, given the mild climate, rich cultural life, abundant recreation and stunning natural surroundings.
12. Durham, North Carolina
Durham comes in at No. 76 overall in the survey, and WalletHub ranks it 17th for medical 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 5.25%, according to SmartAsset.
11. Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, a relatively little-known city, earns a high overall rank, No. 26, for its attractiveness for retirees.
Good medical care in Fargo plays a part: WalletHub puts Fargo at No. 15 for medical care, out of the 182 cities studied.
10. Overland Park, Kansas
If you enjoy farmers markets, you will embrace Overland Park. Its 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 41st place, overall, on the list of best places to retire and is ranked 14th for health care and 41st for quality of life. Overland Park, with nearly 200,000 residents, is the second-largest city in Kansas.
9. Nashua, New Hampshire
Coming in at No. 39 overall, Nashua is ranked 12th 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.
8. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is a college town (University of Wisconsin-Madison) with a reputation for fun. For two years in a row, Madison has taken 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. 11 for health care and 22nd overall for retirees.
Boston, with its wealth of hospitals and stellar medical services, ranks in the top 10 cities for health care in WalletHub’s survey.
WalletHub gives Beantown 10th place for health care, but the city only places 63rd overall for retirees.
Boston.com blames costly housing and high utility rates and sales tax for making the city difficult for retirees.
6. Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City wins high honors from WalletHub for health care, earning a ranking of No. 9, and places 75th out of the 182 cities in the survey for overall retiree life.
Despite that, the town ranks low in other specific categories: No. 170 for quality of life and No. 119 for activities for retirees. Housing costs aren’t awful but they’re not great, according to WalletHub, which gave Rapid City 96th place for housing affordability.
5. Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland, located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is ranked 72nd 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, No. 21 for quality of life, No. 108 for activities for retirees and No. 150 for affordability.
4. Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington hits all the right notes for retirees. WalletHub ranks it No. 8 overall for retirees and No. 7 for its health care. It ranked fairly low, at No. 150, for quality of life, but it racks up better scores for affordability (53) and activities (20).
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.”
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 24th overall in WalletHub’s lineup.
Pittsburgh earns an impressive No. 6 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. 137 — 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 September 2022 as about $230,000; at the same time, Zillow listed the “typical” home price nationally at $358,000.
2. Missoula, Montana
Missoula checks a lot of the boxes for retirees: Located off Interstate 90 in Montana’s mountainous west, it is set among 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. 4 for health care and No. 32 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.
1. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, ranked 39th overall, took the No. 3 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’ 2021 survey. The Mount Rushmore State was second (behind Vermont) in the nation for inbound moves.
In the state, 69% of the moves tracked by United Van Lines in 2021 involved people migrating into the state rather than out. It was part of a trend, the moving company says, of migrants across the country seeking lower-density locations.
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