The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2023

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sad senior man outdoors
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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 as well as 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 things seems difficult, perhaps a recent analysis from the website WalletHub can help. By ranking all 50 states based on dozens of factors ranging from social isolation to tax-friendliness, and sorting those into three categories of affordability, quality of life and health care, the site found the best — and worst — places to retire.

Following are the worst states for retirees.

15. Kansas

Overland Park Kansas
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 46.76 out of 100 points

Nothing about Kansas stands out in the categories of affordability, quality of life or health care — it just happens to be below average in all of them. The state is home to two of the “15 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living,” though.

14. West Virginia

Older man biking in West Virginia woods.
Steve Heap / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 46.44 out of 100 points

It’s not all bad news for retirees in West Virginia. The state takes the No. 1 spot on the factor of lowest annual cost of in-home services and No. 3 in the category of affordability, according to WalletHub. And, as we wrote in “The 10 Cheapest States for Household Bills,” it’s the cheapest state in the country for paying common monthly costs.

13. Oregon

Bridge over Willamette River, Oregon
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Total score: 46.10 out of 100 points

Oregon’s place on this list seems to stem primarily from how much it costs to live there — it ranks 41st on affordability, but it scores reasonably well on both quality of life and health care.

One bright note on costs is that seniors in Oregon are eligible for property tax deferral.

12. Texas

Dallas, Texas
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 45.90 out of 100 points

Texas has one of the lowest percentages of the population who are age 65 or older, only higher than Alaska and Utah.

11. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 44.95 out of 100 points

Rhode Island enjoys better a health care ranking (No. 14) than several states on this list, but its rankinggs for quality of life (No. 39) and affordability (also No. 39) are nothing to write home about.

10. Arkansas

Tulsa Oklahoma
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 44.73 out of 100 points

Arkansas ranks No. 8 for affordability, but it may be a little harder to find activities here compared with other states.

Arkansas is near the bottom for its number of theaters and museums per capita, WalletHub found. But you might try moving to tiny Eureka Springs, which we noted is one “16 Great Small Towns to Retire In” partially because of its many art galleries and festivals.

9. Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 44.55 out of 100 points

Maryland is one of the least affordable states, ranking at No. 46.

The state’s second-most populated county is among “The 15 Worst Places to Live on Social Security,” we’ve reported.

8. Washington

Bellevue, Washington
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 44.46 out of 100 points

Washington state has the second-most expensive in-home services in the country and one of the highest property crime rates, according to WalletHub. However, it ranks high for quality of life, and its retirees have among the highest life expectancies.

7. Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 44.30 out of 100 points

Illinois ranks near the bottom for affordability, at No. 42. It does somewhat better on quality of life and health care, placing No. 22 and No. 27 on those categories, respectively.

6. Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 43.90 out of 100 points

Louisiana ranks No. 13 for affordability but fares quite poorly in WalletHub’s other major categories. It’s among the states people are moving out the fastest, we noted in January.

5. New York

Buffalo, New York
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 43.69 out of 100 points

New York is the least affordable state in the country (No. 50) in WalletHub’s ranking, but it scores well on quality of life (No. 10) and health care (No. 16).

4. Oklahoma

Lawton Oklahoma
WillHuebie / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 43.61 out of 100 points

Oklahoma has the third-lowest adjusted cost of living, but it ranked fourth-worst on the quality of life category, WalletHub said. It is also among “10 States With the Worst Drivers.”

3. Mississippi

Gulf Coast at Biloxi, Mississippi.
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 40.80 out of 100 points

Mississippi is the 10th most affordable state for retirees, according to this ranking, but it takes last place (No. 50) for quality of life and third-last (No. 48) when it comes to health care.

However, it’s home to the city of Hattiesburg, one of “18 Great Warm and Sunny Places to Retire in the U.S.

2. New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 40.23 out of 100 points

New Jersey is near the middle of the pack in categories like health care (No. 22) and quality of life (No. 34) but is among “9 States Where Quality of Life Is Improving for Seniors,” as we wrote in 2022.

Unfortunately, New York’s neighbor ranks just above that state — second-to-last (No. 49) — in the category of affordability, WalletHub found.

1. Kentucky

nature
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

Total score: 38.80 out of 100 points

Kentucky ranks No. 33 out of 50 for affordability, but that’s its best showing among the three categories in this study. It ranks in the bottom five states on health care (and last on the factor of life expectancy) and in the bottom 10 on quality of life. Overall, Kentucky is the worst state for retirees, according to WalletHub.