The 10 Worst Cities for Retirees

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When planning retirement, you may find yourself with hopes of saving money and dreams of making a fresh start in an exciting new place.

Moving to a different city, however, can involve many unknowns: Will you fit in? Make friends? Can you afford it? What about the weather?

This analysis can help: WalletHub recently ranked 182 U.S. cities based on their appeal for retirees. The website’s analysts based their recommendations on metrics across four broad categories: affordability, activities, health care and quality of life.

They assessed dozens of metrics, such as public transit, crime rates, weather and access to entertainment venues.

We focused on the bottom end of the rankings. Below are the cities, listed from bad to the very worst, that WalletHub finds to be least friendly for retirees.

See if you agree that these are indeed the worst places to retire.

Arlington, Texas

Arlington, Texas
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Overall rank: No. 173 out of 182 cities

Arlington earned poor marks, particularly in the activities category. For quite a few people, retirement is all about fishing, and WalletHub finds few fishing opportunities in Arlington, ranking it the third-worst city out of 182 based specifically on its number of fishing facilities per capita.

There is, however, plenty for sports fans. Arlington is home to MLB’s Texas Rangers, with home games at Globe Life Field. The city is also home to AT&T Stadium, where the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys play their home games.

Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
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Overall rank: No. 174 out of 182 cities

Jersey City’s low rank for affordability (No. 176) helps sink the town’s overall ranking.

The city boasts it has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the country, however.

Detroit

Detroit, Michigan
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Overall rank: No. 175 out of 182 cites

Motor City takes a hit here, in part because such a small percentage of its employed workers are 65 years or older. In fact, based on this particular metric, WalletHub ranks Detroit the very worst of all 182 cities included in the analysis.

That metric, and Detroit’s low ranking in the quality of life category (No. 177), help the city take the No. 175 spot overall.

Vancouver, Washington

Mount Hood in Vancouver, Washington
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Overall rank: No. 176 out of 182 cities

This Washington city’s location — across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon — can be nice for commuters. But is Vancouver a choice spot for retirees? WalletHub says, no.

Clark County, which includes Vancouver, touts its affordability relative to other large cities in the region, such as Portland and Seattle. But WalletHub sees it differently, giving Vancouver especially poor marks for affordability, ranking it No. 177 in that category.

Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas
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Overall rank: No. 177 out of 182 cities

Wichita is more affordable than Vancouver, Washington. But WalletHub still knocks its ranking down for the local quality of life for retirees, ranking Wichita No. 178 in this category.

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California
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Overall rank: No. 178 out of 182 cities

Fifth from the bottom on this list of 182 cities, Rancho Cucamonga, located east of Los Angeles, earned a low rank in part for its (lack of) activities.

WalletHub finds few amenities here for retirees. “Activities,” in this study, include such things as fishing, golf, museums, book clubs, art galleries, senior centers, music, bingo and the availability of opportunities for adult volunteering.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington
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Overall rank: No. 179 out of 182 cities

Spokane County is one of the faster-growing counties in the U.S. The population increased 14.5% between 2010 and 2020, reports KREM2 TV, citing the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the city of Spokane specifically, affordability is not great, this study finds, and Spokane failed to impress WalletHub’s analysts for its quality of life, health care and activities for retirees. The city did not come close to cracking the top 100 in any of those four categories.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Overall rank: No. 180 out of 182 cities

The median home value in Bridgeport is climbing fast, helping the city garner a poor grade for affordability. At this writing, Zillow estimated the typical home price at more than $281,000 — 28.7% more than one year earlier.

Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey
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Overall rank: No. 181 out of 182 cities

New Jersey’s most populous city earns particularly bad marks for affordability and quality of life, coming in at No. 171 out of 182 in both of those categories.

That’s not all: WalletHub also dings Newark’s rank for health care (No. 102). Only for the city’s activities does this study rank Newark as simply average.

San Bernardino, California

Downtown San Bernardino, California
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Overall rank: No. 182 out of 182 cities

What’s it like in the worst city for retirees?

Affordability isn’t awful in San Bernardino. In fact, the cost of living is low in San Bernardino — relative to the rest of Southern California, that is. Compared with the national average, though, the cost of living is 18% higher.

San Bernardino fares especially badly, however, in WalletHub’s other three categories: health care, quality of life and activities for retirees.

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