The 15 Worst U.S. Cities for Retirees

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Skeptical, frustrated or angry senior woman
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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.

15. Salem, OR

Salem, Oregon
James Curzio / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: No. 168 out of 182 cities

Ranked at 100 of the 182 cities studied for affordability, puts Salem in the middle of the pack on that metric.

The city earns a depressingly low rank — 179 — for its lack of activities for retirees. It scores in the lower half of the study for quality of life and health care.

14. Warwick, RI

Warwick, Rhode Island
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Overall rank: No. 169 out of 182 cities

Warwick ranks poorly for affordability — 156th.

Its scores in the other main categories — for activities, health care and quality of life — are in the lower half of the rankings.

13. Tacoma, WA

Tacoma at night
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: No. 170 out of 182 cities

A lack of affordability is a factor that tanks many of the cities that do not score well on this survey.

A shortage of affordable homes no doubt affects Tacoma’s low rank of 163rd (among the 182 cities) for affordability among retirees.

According to the City of Tacoma:

“Tacoma is in a housing affordability crisis. We see the impacts through rising rents, home prices and evictions.”

12. Aurora, IL

Aurora Colorado
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 171 out of 182 cities

Aurora ranks poorly — at 175th among these 182 cities — for affordability.

Its scores are better — in the middle of the group — for other measures, including quality of life, health care and activities.

11. Spokane, WA

Spokane, Washington
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 172 out of 182 cities

Spokane ranks low in this study, but the Spokane area’s Journal of Business, in a 2021 article, describes surveys that have called this midsize city one of the best in the nation for retirees.

Housing and health care prices are rising, the article acknowledges, but it deems health care access good. It points out that home prices, while rising, are attractive to people moving in from more-expensive regions.

10. Lubbock, TX

Lubbock Texas
Patricia Elaine Thomas / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 173 out of 182 cities

Home prices in the Lubbock area are rising — by about 16% in the last year, according to Zillow.

But the median home price of $209,934 (on Sept. 30, 2022) in the area will seem attractive to many outsiders who compare that with the national median price of $357,810.

9. Wichita, KS

Wichita, Kansas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 174 out of 182 cities

Affordability in Wichita, ranked at 104th in this study, is slightly worse than average, according to WalletHub’s findings.

The city falls further, though, in rankings for quality of life (169 of 182 cities), health care (148) and activities for seniors (128).

8. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore
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Overall rank: 175 out of 182 cities

Baltimore doesn’t fare well in this WalletHub assessment. Life there is expensive, reflected in its affordability ranking of 150th out of 182 cities studied.

Activities for retirees are more plentiful than in many cities, though. For one example, Baltimore’s Recreation and Parks Department has a Senior Citizens Division offering classes, cultural arts, line dancing, crab feasts and day trips, including a day at the races at Pimlico Race Track, with transportation included.

7. Vancouver, WA

Mount Hood in Vancouver, Washington
Rigucci / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 176 out of 182 cities

One reason Vancouver landed in WalletHub’s list of worst cities for retirees is its low rank for its annual cost of in-home services for seniors. Vancouver tied with Portland, Oregon, in this category, ranked 179 among 182 cities studied.

6. Detroit, MI

Detroit, Michigan
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 177 out of 182 cities

WalletHub ranks Detroit extremely low for quality of life, low for health care and below the middle of the pack for affordability.

But Zillow found the median home price in the city to be just $69,330 on Sept. 30, 2022 — and that despite an annual home price growth of 14.6%. The city of Detroit appears to be making a big push to boost affordable housing.

5. Stockton, CA

Stockton California street
Todd A. Merport / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 178 out of 182 cities

Stockton, California, is just fifth from the very bottom of this list of worst cities for retirees.

WalletHub found few if any activities for seniors, ranking Stockton No. 173 among 182 cities in that category.

Stockton earned the rank of 167 for health care options for seniors and 103 for affordability.

4. Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Tim Gray / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 179 out of 182 cities

This Southern California city has “a dense suburban feel and most residents own their own homes,” says Niche.com, adding that this town of around 178,000 skews young, professional and liberal.

It landed at the bottom of WalletHub’s rankings for retirees, which lists Rancho Cucamonga as 180th out of 182 for activities for seniors, and No. 170 for health care for the older generation.

3. San Bernardino, CA

Downtown San Bernardino, California
Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

Overall rank: 180 out of 182 cities

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.

2. Newark, NJ

Newark, New Jersey
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Overall rank: 181 out of 182 cities

Newark, the second-worst city for retirees in this ranking, was particularly faulted for quality of life and affordability.

The city of 307,220 has a diverse population, nearly 11% of which is older than 65.

1. Bridgeport, CT

Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Overall rank: 182 out of 182 cities

Bridgeport is about half the size of No. 181, Newark. It has 148,333 residents, about 12% of whom are age 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau.

WalletHub bestows the dubious honor of being the worst city for retirees on Bridgeport. The Connecticut city received low scores for affordability, quality of life and activities for seniors.

One bright light, though: Bridgeport came in No. 16 out of the 182 cities studied for the quality of its health care.