Where to live when you retire is a big deal -- it can have an impact on your finances, your health, your social life and your overall well-being.
Thirty-one percent of retirees would choose a different place to retire if they could do it over again, according to a survey by Age Friendly Advisor, an online community with crowd-sourced user reviews on how and where to age.
In the survey, of the list of factors that influenced a decision of where to retire, the top three were family (65%), general livability (36%) and desired weather conditions (32%).
This list of best places to retire showcases the towns and cities that enable older Americans to most easily stay in their community, using Age Friendly Advisor's user reviews and ratings data, along with third party data on cost of living, transportation, and other data from the Milken Institute.
The communities were scored and ranked based on these factors:
- community engagement, (including cultural opportunities, recreation, public services and religious institutions)
- transportation availability and affordability
- education (access to universities and further training)
- working (opportunities for working and volunteering)
- general livability (such as housing and cost of living.)
From among tens of thousands of reviews, Silver Spring, Md. topped the list. See the full list of Age Friendly Advisor's Best Places to Retire here.
"We sought to build an innovative, technology-driven platform that would allow users to provide their feedback directly, and in real time," said Tim Driver, the founder and CEO of the site's parent company, Age Friendly Ventures. "The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we congratulate Silver Spring and the state of Maryland for their collective approach to solving the challenges facing older Americans. This survey will get even more refined as we gather more reviews, not unlike the way review sites like TripAdvisor have evolved over time."
These are the top 25 most age-friendly cities to retire:
The Best Age-Friendly Cities to Retire
1. Silver Spring, Md.
With a walk score of 98/100, Silver Spring is considered a walker's paradise with excellent transit. Its proximity to higher learning institutions, diversity and general livability landed it at the top of this list. Residents commented that Silver Spring has a large older population, and lots of activities. The city has high scores across the board for care, community engagement, education and working.
Longtime Silver Spring resident Marc Bloom, 62, agreed with the assessment: "Silver Spring has been an excellent place to age," told Age Friendly Advisor. It has universities nearby, ample public transportation with metro and bus lines, and top-tier care facilities. I couldn't imagine a better place to retire."
Photo: Rob Crandall / Shutterstock
Boston has an excellent transit system, and it's a walker's paradise -- daily errands do not require a car. Boston has an age-friendly action plan that adapts its structures and services to be accessible and inclusive to residents of all ages and abilities.
3. New York City
Population: 8.6 million
Greater New York is extremely walkable and bike-friendly, and has an excellent transportation system. The city's department of aging provides a range of resources for its citizens, including in-home services, transportation and bill-paying help. There are senior centers around the city which provide assistance, entertainment and medical screenings.
4. Raleigh, N.C.
Raleigh has a walk score of 96/100 and is home to numerous cultural, educational, and historic sites, major universities and colleges. North Carolina does not have taxes on Social Security or estate taxes.
5. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Fort Lauderdale's average year-round temperature is 75.5 F. and it has 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. It has a walk score of 94/100. One commenter said: "I live in a 55+ community association and we are all friendly people. We watch out for one another, help when needed."
6. Cape Coral, Fla.
The city is known as a waterfront wonderland: With over 400 miles of navigable waterways, Cape Coral has more miles of canals than any other city in the world. One commenter said: "There is a diversity of ages, color and religion here."
Pittsburgh scored 100/100 for its transportation and a 97/100 walk score. The city is a member of the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities.
Photo: Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock
8. Austin, Texas
In this fast-growing city, the Area Agency on Aging provides a variety services for older adults, including long-term care services, benefits counseling, and referrals.
Photo: PiercarloAbate / Shutterstock
9. New Orleans
The city is considered a walker's paradise. Louisiana does not have estate taxes or taxes on Social Security.
Photo: travelview / Shutterstock
Michigan's largest city has an Area Agency on Aging that offers everything from nutrition services and long-term care assistance to insurance counseling and health and wellness workshops.
Photo: Keya5 Shutterstock
11. Columbus, Ohio
Central Ohio has an Area Agency on Aging that serves eight counties surrounding Columbus. The state does not tax Social Security.
Photo: arthurgphotography / Shutterstock
12. Killeen, Texas
The economy of this central Texas city largely revolves around the Fort Hood military base. It is home to Central Texas College.
Photo: Staff Sgt. Leah Kilpatrick/U.S. Army
Population: 1.6 million
This walkable city with world-class transportation has "Grocery corner stores conveniently at almost every other block and apartments for senior citizens throughout the city with comfortable, nice and safe living arrangements," according to one commenter. Pictured is the Philadelphia Art Museum.
14. Tampa, Fla.
Tampa enjoys mild weather year-round, and Florida is generally a tax-friendly state for retirees.
15. Washington, D.C.
The nation's capital has excellent transportation and walkability. The city's Age Friendly D.C. program seeks to help residents over 50 stay active, connected, healthy, engaged and happy in their environment.
Photo: Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock
16. Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte has an abundance of schooling, elderly care, day cares, and easily accessible transportation.
Population: 2.7 million
The city is rich with cultural experiences, is very walkable and has great transportation. The Chicago Department of Family & Support Services links residents age 60 and older to more than 70 city, state and federal benefits.
Photo: Tosca66 / Shutterstock
Cleveland has a high walk score of 95/100, although one commenter points out that winter makes it difficult for older people to walk to buses.
19. Klamath Falls, Ore.
This small city in Oregon, set in a scenic region just north of the California border, generally enjoys more sunshine than other parts of the state. It has an active senior center and lots of community volunteerism.
The southern city enjoys milder weather than its northern counterparts, and offers a variety of cultural experiences. It has a friendly, diverse community.
Photo: Adam Yesner / Shutterstock
21. Louisville, Ky.
A walkable city with basic transit. Louisville's Office for Aging and Disabled Citizens interacts with the community to maintain age-friendliness. Kentucky does not tax Social Security or inheritance.
Population: 1.34 million
Dallas is a member of the WHO's Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities.
Photo: Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock
A busy city on the Ohio River, Cincinnati has a range of cultural opportunities and sporting events. It has a walk score of 98/100, excellent transit, and commenters say it has many age-friendly living facilities and apartments.
Photo: Cory Woodruff / Shutterstock
The Central Indiana Council on Aging helps residents with planning for in-home or long-term care, housing options, community-based services and other resources.
Miami, a member of WHO's Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities, offers rich cultural experiences, diversity, and mild weather year round.
Search for more cities or add your comments at the Age Friendly Advisor site.