Baby boomers are reaching retirement age in substantial numbers. In 2013, there were 44.7 million Americans ages 65 and older, up from 35 million in 2000.
Although the United States is one of the best countries in which to spend your sunset years, “each state offers a very different quality of life for its older residents,” 24/7 Wall St reported.
In a state-by-state assessment, the report looked at how well the needs of elderly Americans are addressed, including availability of appropriate medical care, access to services, infrastructure and other amenities.
The best states in which to grow old also rated high in these areas: strong income security for seniors, reliable access to guaranteed income, health services and high incomes, relatively safe communities and educational opportunities.
According to 24/7 Wall St, the five best states to enjoy your golden years are:
- Utah. Seniors enjoy being highly educated and living in a safe place. The elderly population, who make up the smallest proportion of the total population among states, also have strong income security.
- New Hampshire. Seniors in New Hampshire enjoy living without poverty in a safe state with a high median household income, access to safe and nutritious food, and a high life expectancy (80.3 years).
- Hawaii. Hawaiian seniors enjoy a strong state health care system, a high life expectancy and strong income security with the highest median income for seniors nationwide ($55,650).
- Vermont. Vermont’s seniors have the second highest rate of college education in the United States. Although their median income isn’t especially high, this population has adequate access to healthy food and enjoys the lowest violent crime rate in the nation.
- Virginia. More than half of Virginia’s seniors can tap into retirement income beyond Social Security benefits. The median household income for seniors is $44,440, the fifth highest in the country. Older Virginians are less likely to live in poverty or have concerns about food.
And the worst…
24/7 Wall St. judged these states the toughest for seniors:
- Mississippi. Mississippi’s older residents have the lowest household income in the nation ($29,511), and nearly 15 percent of the elderly live in poverty — the highest rate in the country. Forty-five percent of this population suffers from disability, the second highest rate among the states. The state ranked last in terms of accessibility of services for seniors.
- Louisiana. The elderly in this state are among the most financially insecure in the country, with a median household income of $31,230. They are also among the least likely in the nation to receive Social Security benefits or other retirement income. Nearly 13 percent of seniors live in poverty in the Bayou State, which also has one of the lowest life expectancies in the country (76).
- West Virginia. West Virginia’s seniors earn the third lowest income in the country, averaging $31,542. About half of elderly West Virginians are disabled.
- Arkansas. “More than 94 percent of elderly Arkansas residents received Social Security benefits in 2013, the highest rate among all states,” the 24/7 Wall St report said. But the income fell short for many, and nearly 13 percent did not have access to affordable and nutritious food.
- Nevada. Among residents 65 and older, the proportion who did not have health insurance was the highest in the country, 24/7 Wall St. reported. Violent crime presented another challenge to seniors here.
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For some tips on planning for retirement, wherever you might be, watch the video below.