When you think Florida you think retirees. Just about everyone has a grandparent or at least a great aunt living down here. We were the setting of The Golden Girls after all, and somehow the average age in Florida just keeps getting older.
So we may be a popular place to retire, but it turns out we're nowhere near the best. Not at least to an analysis of best states to retire by BankRate.com. Out of all 50 states we came in 28th. We're actually below average for one of the things we're most famous for. That's like Maryland rating 28th for best crab cakes or Colorado coming in 28th for best mountains, and yet somehow it's true.
BankRate first rated each state according to individual factors including "their cost of living, crime rate (violent and property crimes), health care quality, state and local tax burden, personal well-being for seniors and weather (temperature, percentage of sunshine, humidity)."
Florida didn't crack the top ten on any of those categories and only hit the top 20 for two.
We were 18th best for community well-being for those 65 and over as determined by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. So the seniors who do live here aren't doing so bad.
We were also 20th for tax rate as determined by the Tax Foundation. Obviously, not having an income tax helps with that. Of course, many retirees don't have much of an income to begin with, so it's not like that makes the state all that appealing.
We came in 28th overall for weather — damn humidity! — 31st for cost of living, tied for 35th for quality of health care, and 39th for crime rate.
So there you have it. Florida is supposedly just an average place to retire. Never mind our white-sand beaches. Never mind our array of active senior-living retirement homes. Never mind what we assume to be a very high rate of shuffleboard courts per capita. We're just average.
So where is a good place to retire? Well, apparently Wyoming. It came in first. It's America's least populated state, so not many people want to live there, let alone live out their final years there, but you can't argue with data. Colorado came in second, which we could imagine would be great for retirees who still want to deal with winter until they're 90.
On the flip side Arkansas came in 50th while New York came in 49th, with that New York rating being particularly important to Florida. That state is our number-one source of retirees. As long as we look like a better place to retire than New York, we'll keep attracting old folks to our home state for quite a while.
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