The Worst States to Grow Old In

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41. Florida
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 19.8% (the highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 10.4% (9th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 27.6% (22nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.5 years (21st highest)

One of the most popular destinations for retirees, Florida has the largest senior population in the country relative to its size. Nearly 1 in 5 state residents are 65 and older, the largest share of any state. While Florida is home to some of the most exclusive retirement communities in the world, many seniors in the state struggle financially. Just 45.2% of of senior-led households receive retirement income other than Social Security, one of the smaller shares of any state. The lack of supplemental income can put many seniors at a financial disadvantage, and some 10.4% of residents 65 and over in Florida live in poverty — the ninth largest share of any state.

Florida seniors may also have relatively poor access to health care. There are just 5 hospitals per 100,000 senior citizens in Florida, the second least of any state. Also, an estimated 28% of Florida adults do not have a personal doctor, the sixth largest share in the country.

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42. Oklahoma
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.0% (16th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.6% (25th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 22.5% (12th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.1 years (5th lowest)

By a number of measures related to income, education, and health, Oklahoma ranks as one of the worst states to grow old in. A college degree can help seniors retain cognitive ability in old age. In Oklahoma, however, just 22.5% of residents age 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, compared to the 26.7% of seniors who do nationwide. College attainment is also highly correlated to income, and the typical senior-led state household earns just $37,596 a year — the eighth least of any state.

Income and educational attainment are both major factors in health and longevity. Some 42.1% of Oklahoma seniors have a disability, the third largest share in the country. The life expectancy in the state is just 76.1 years, the fifth shortest of any state.

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43. Tennessee
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.7% (25th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.9% (20th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 20.9% (6th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.3 years (8th lowest)

Tennessee is one of the poorer states. Just 20.9% of residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, and the median household income among seniors is just $38,150 a year — each some of the lowest figures of any state. The average life expectancy in the state is also one of the lowest in the country, and the state has one the highest senior mortality rates.

Certain environmental factors may also make Tennessee a less habitable place for seniors. Walkable areas with access to public transportation allow residents a greater degree of mobility and physical activity, particularly for senior citizens. In Tennessee, just 2.0% of workers commute by walking or taking public transit, the third smallest share of any state. Additionally, there were 633 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2016, far more than the national violent crime rate of 397 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

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44. Alabama
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 16.1% (20th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 10.0% (12th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 21.3% (8th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.7 years (2nd lowest)

According to a number of measures related to income, health, and environment, Alabama is one of the worst states to grow old in. The median household income among seniors in the state is just $36,580 a year, over $5,500 less than the $42,113 national figure. Income is one of the main determinants of health, and life expectancy in the state is just 75.7 years, less than in any state other than Mississippi.

While in states like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, public transportation helps senior citizens achieve a greater degree of independence and active lifestyles, just 1.5% of workers in Alabama commute on foot or on public transit — the smallest share of any state. Violent crime may also make the state a less desirable place to live, regardless of age. There were 523 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2016, the seventh highest violent crime rate.

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45. Kentucky
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.5% (25th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 11.1% (5th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 18.7% (2nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.3 years (7th lowest)

Kentucky has one of the least healthy senior populations of any state. Some 42.3% of all residents 65 and over have a disability, the largest share of any state other than West Virginia. Additionally, 4,786 in every 100,000 senior state residents die every year, the highest senior mortality rate of any state.

Two of the largest determinants of health and longevity are education and income. Just 18.7% of residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, the second smallest share in the country. The median household income among seniors is just $35,215 a year, nearly $7,000 less than the national median of $42,113.