Special Report

The Best States to Grow Old In

7. Colorado
> Median household income (65+): $43,281 (10th highest)
> Pct. with a disability (65+): 34.3% (14th lowest)
> Pct. with a bachelor’s degree or higher (65+): 34.1% (the highest)
> Violent crime rate: 291.2 per 100,000 residents (24th lowest)

Colorado’s elderly population is especially well-educated, which likely helped improve their income security and quality of life. More than 34% of Colorado residents 65 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2013, the highest such rate nationwide. Older Colorado residents are less likely than most older Americans to have a retirement income as well as to be employed. Still, they had relatively high incomes. The median household income among the state’s 65 and older population was $43,281 in 2013, the 10th highest in the country.

6. Minnesota
> Median household income (65+): $38,531 (18th highest)
> Pct. with a disability (65+): 31.8% (the lowest)
> Pct. with a bachelor’s degree or higher (65+): 24.3% (22nd highest)
> Violent crime rate: 223.2 per 100,000 residents (9th lowest)

Minnesota had the second highest life expectancy at birth compared to other states in 2011, at 81.1 years. Less than 32% of the state’s elderly population reported having any disability whatsoever in 2013, the lowest rate in the country. Seniors were also among the most likely to have adequate access to nutritious and affordable food in 2011, which may have also helped foster longevity among residents. As older Americans tend to require more services than other age groups, services tend to be far more accessible in the best states to grow old. Services in Minnesota were rated the third most accessible nationwide, according to a recent OECD study. In addition, state residents of any age were among the most satisfied with the city they lived in compared to residents in other states, according to a Gallup poll.

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5. Virginia
> Median household income (65+): $44,440 (5th highest)
> Pct. with a disability (65+): 33.9% (9th lowest)
> Pct. with a bachelor’s degree or higher (65+): 28.0% (12th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 187.9 per 100,000 residents (3rd lowest)

Older Virginians have far better income security than most elderly Americans. While less than 48% of Americans 65 and older had retirement income to supplement social security benefits in 2013, more than 54% of elderly Virginians had such an income, the fifth highest rate nationwide. State households with at least one elderly member had a median income of $44,440 in 2013, also among the highest incomes in the age group reviewed. As a result, Virginians are much less likely to live in poverty and suffer from food insecurity late in life. Less than 4% of Virginia’s elderly population had inadequate access to nutritious and affordable food, the lowest percentage nationwide, and just 7.4% lived in poverty, versus the comparable national figure of nearly 10%.