The 10 Worst States for Retirees in 2021

Stressed retiree doing budgeting and paying bills
Elnur /

Choosing where to retire can be an exciting decision, a challenging one or perhaps both.

We all want somewhere affordable that can support a good quality of life within our budget, and somewhere with excellent health care. And we may have personal priorities, such as living close to family or fulfilling old dreams.

If juggling all those factors seems difficult, perhaps a new analysis from WalletHub can help. By ranking all 50 states based on dozens of factors ranging from social isolation to tax-friendliness, the site found the best — and worst — places to retire.

Following are the worst states for retirees.

10. Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Nejdet Duzen /

Total score: 45.88 out of 100 points

Illinois ranks near the bottom 10 for affordability, at No. 40. It does somewhat better on quality of life and health care, placing No. 27 and No. 21, respectively.

9. Texas

El Paso, Texas
BrianWancho /

Total score: 45.85 out of 100 points

Texas ranks No. 40 for quality of life and No. 38 for health care, but it’s in the middle of the pack for affordability (No. 28).

It also has one of the youngest populations, ranking near the bottom (No. 48) for the percentage of its population age 65 or older.

8. Connecticut

The skyline of Hartford Connecticut, where median rents are relatively low
Sean Pavone /

Total score: 44.35 out of 100 points

Connecticut is one of the most expensive states for retirees, according to the study, which ranks the Constitution State No. 47 out of 50.

On the brighter side, it’s in the top half for quality of life and health care. It also ranks high among the “10 States With the Biggest Average Social Security Check in 2020.”

7. West Virginia

Older man biking in West Virginia woods.
Steve Heap /

Total score: 44.12 out of 100 points

West Virginia ranks at the bottom (No. 50) on both health care and the percentage of its workforce age 65 or older, and it ranks No. 41 for quality of life.

However, for affordability, it ranks quite a bit higher, at No. 18. As we wrote in “The 10 Most Affordable States to Buy a Home,” it’s the cheapest state in the country to buy a home.

6. Kentucky

Alexey Stiop /

Total score: 43.78 out of 100 points

Kentucky ranks No. 23 out of 50 for affordability, but that’s its best showing in this study. It ranks in the bottom five states on health care and life expectancy, and in the bottom 10 on quality of life.

5. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Jon Bilous /

Total score: 42.85 out of 100 points

Rhode Island enjoys better health care (No. 24) and quality of life (No. 38) than several states on this list, at the cost of being among the least affordable (No. 45).

As we reported last August, it’s also among the “10 States Where COVID-19 Threatens Seniors the Most.

4. New Mexico

New Mexico
turtix /

Total score: 42.68 out of 100 points

New Mexico has the second-highest property crime rate in the country, WalletHub found. It also ranked No. 47 on quality of life.

However, just in case petting animals is your chief preoccupation in retirement, know that New Mexico is home to the fourth-most dog-friendly city in the U.S.: Albuquerque.

3. Mississippi

Gulf Coast at Biloxi, Mississippi.
Joseph Sohm /

Total score: 41.88 out of 100 points

Mississippi is in the top 10 most affordable state for retirees, but ranks last (No. 50) for quality of life and second-last (No. 49) when it comes to health care.

It’s also home to two of America’s most worried cities, as we reported in “The 10 Most Stressed-Out Cities in America in 2020.”

2. New York

Buffalo, New York
Atomazul /

Total score: 41.86 out of 100 points

New York is the second-least affordable state in the country (No. 49), based on metrics that include the cost of living and tax-friendliness, among others.

It has a middling rank on health care (No. 27) but has the highest quality of life among the states listed as the worst to retire (No. 17 overall).

1. New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
f11photo /

Total score: 37.41 out of 100 points

New Jersey is near the middle of the pack in categories like health care (No. 33) and quality of life (No. 35). Unfortunately, it ranks dead last (No. 50) in the category of affordability, WalletHub found. That’s enough to make it the worst state to retire.

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