The 3 Biggest Factors Influencing Where People Live in Retirement

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Grandfather and grandson
Marina Demidiuk /

Choosing where to retire is one of the biggest tasks we face during the latter part of our lives.

For some, the decision is easy. But it can be agonizing for others, especially for those who have many good options.

Recently, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies surveyed 2,100 retirees and asked them to name the most important criteria in choosing where to live during retirement.

Here are the biggest factors people cite when deciding where to spend their golden years.

1. Nearby family and friends

Retired friends – Yuri A /

Share of retirees who cited this as an important factor in choosing where to live: 64%

Great weather, exciting cultural opportunities and the beauty of nature are all wonderful. But for most of us, those things cannot compare to the joy family and friends bring to our lives.

2. Affordable cost of living

sirtravelalot /

Share of retirees who cited this as an important factor in choosing where to live: 58%

Sometimes, it feels like housing costs and other expenses have gone through the roof in every nook and cranny of the country.

However, affordability still exists if you know where to look, as we reported in “America’s 15 Most Affordable Cities for Retirees.”

3. Access to excellent health care

Smiling nurse and happy senior woman patient receiving home health care – Yuri A /

Share of retirees who cited this as an important factor in choosing where to live: 47%

As we get older, it becomes increasingly likely that we will need to access health care services more frequently.

If this is a major concern for you, learn more about the “20 Retirement Hot Spots With Great Health Care.”

Other important criteria

Retired friends on the beach
bikeriderlondon /

Here are other criteria and the share of respondents who consider them important for deciding where to retire:

  • Good weather: 43%
  • Low crime rate: 40%
  • Leisure and recreational activities: 32%
  • A walkable community with easy access to retailers and amenities: 22%
  • Convenient transportation: 20%
  • Cultural activities and events: 16%
  • Community engagement or volunteer opportunities, including churches and charitable organizations: 15%
  • Lower risk of COVID-19: 10%
  • Access to continuing education at nearby schools, universities and educational sources: 4%
  • Employment opportunities: 3%

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