The Worst States to Grow Old In

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1. New Hampshire
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 17.0% (9th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 4.6% (2nd lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 33.3% (5th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 years (9th highest)

Supplemental retirement income can be the difference between poverty and financial security for many elderly Americans. In New Hampshire, 51.1% of households led by adults 65 and older receive some sort of retirement income other than Social Security, one of the larger shares of any state. Only 4.6% of elderly residents in the state live below the poverty line, the second smallest share of any state.

The relative financial security among New Hampshire’s oldest residents means they are more likely to be able to afford healthy lifestyles, preventative medical care, and medical treatment. Partially as a result, life expectancy in the Granite State is 80.2 years, more than a year longer than the national life expectancy of 79.1 years.

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2. Vermont
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 18.2% (4th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.7% (23rd highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 34.5% (2nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 years (7th highest)

Second only to its neighbor to the east, Vermont is one of the best states to grow old in. One of Vermont’s strongest attributes as a liveable state for elderly Americans is the concentration of social venues, as remaining socially connected in retirement can greatly increase overall quality of life for senior citizens. There are about 13 social associations such as civic organizations, bowling centers, golf clubs, fitness centers, and sports organizations for every 10,000 Vermonters, a higher concentration than in all but six other states.

The Green Mountain State is also one of the safest places in the country. There are only 158 violent crimes for every 100,000 state residents, the second lowest violent crime rate among states and well below the nationwide violent crime rate of 397 incidents per 100,000.

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3. Minnesota
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.0% (18th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 7.2% (7th lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 27.5% (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.9 years (2nd highest)

For Americans past working age, supplemental retirement income can be the difference between poverty and financial security. Some 92.2% of 65 and over households in Minnesota receive Social Security benefits, one of the larger shares of any state. Only 7.2% of the 65 and older population lives below the poverty line, well below the 9.2% elderly poverty rate nationwide. Additionally, goods and services are 2.6% cheaper on average across the state than they are nationwide.

Minnesota residents are also more likely to live longer than most Americans. Life expectancy at birth in the state is 80.9 years — nearly two years longer than the average life expectancy nationwide. A high concentration of hospitals across the state may be one factor contributing to positive health outcomes. There are approximately 16 hospitals for every 100,000 elderly Minnesota residents, well above the nationwide concentration of 10 per 100,000.

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4. Virginia
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 14.6% (10th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 7.8% (15th lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 31.3% (9th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.2 years (24th highest)

Low crime rates not only suggest residents are relatively safe, but also that they have a higher quality of life, as a high crime rate can have psychological impacts and other effects on a population. In Virginia, there are only 218 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents, nearly the fewest of any state and well below the U.S. violent crime rate of 397 incidents per 100,000 people.

Along with safety, financial security can be a critical factor in post-retirement life. In Virginia, the typical elderly household earns $49,755 a year — over $7,500 more than the national median income among the age group.

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5. Massachusetts
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.8% (24th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.5% (24th lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 34.1% (3rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.4 years (5th highest)

Driving is either not an option or can be relatively dangerous for many elderly Americans, as reaction time and vision can begin to deteriorate in older age. For many Massachusetts residents, however, driving is not a necessity. Indicative of walkable communities and effective transit infrastructure, some 14.9% of the state’s working population commutes by either walking or using public transit, the second largest share of any state.

Massachusetts also boasts one of the highest average life expectancies in the country. Life expectancy at birth is 80.4 years, over a year longer than the national life expectancy of 79.1 years.