The Worst States to Grow Old In

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26. Idaho
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.2% (21st lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 10.0% (12th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 26.0% (25th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.5 years (20th highest)

By a number of measures assessing the income, education, and health of elderly Americans, Idaho ranks in the middle of the country. A college education can help preserve cognitive function in old age, and 26.0% of state residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree — slightly less than the 26.7% national rate. The typical senior-led household in Idaho earns $39,338 a year, less than the $42,113 national median.

Idaho is also one of the safest states, and senior have better access to health care institutions than in most of the country. There were just 230 violent crimes per 100,000 state residents in 2016, the sixth lowest violent crime rate nationwide. There are 16 hospitals per 100,000 senior citizens in the state, more than the national average concentration of 10 hospitals per 100,000 elderly Americans.

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27. Michigan
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 16.2% (18th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.1% (19th lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 23.9% (15th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.3 years (16th lowest)

Some 57.0% of households led by residents aged 65 and over in Michigan receive retirement income other than Social Security, the second largest share of any state. Despite the income supplement, the typical senior-led household earns $40,765 a year, slightly less than the $42,113 national median. One factor contributing to the low incomes is likely the low educational attainment among seniors in the state. Just 23.9% of residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 26.7% national college attainment rate for the age group.

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28. Ohio
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 16.2% (17th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.1% (19th lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 21.5% (10th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.9 years (14th lowest)

A college education can help senior citizens retain cognitive ability in old age and lead to increased well-being overall. In Ohio, however, just 21.5% of residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, the 10th smallest share of any state. Educational attainment is also highly correlated with income, and the median income among senior-led households in Ohio is just $39,423 a year, less than the $42,113 national figure.

Ohio also has one of the least healthy populations of any state. The average resident born in Ohio is expected to live for 77.9 years, less than the national life expectancy of 79.1 years. Also, 4,610 in every 100,000 senior citizens in the state die every year, the seventh highest mortality rate among elderly people in the country.

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29. North Dakota
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 14.5% (8th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 7.9% (16th lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 21.4% (9th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 years (12th highest)

North Dakota has better access to health care facilities and better health outcomes than most of the country. There are 40 hospitals per 100,000 state residents age 65 and over — the second highest concentration of any state. The average resident born is North Dakota is expected to live for 80 years, nearly a year longer than the U.S. life expectancy of 79.1 years. The median age of the 65 and older population in the state is 73.9 years, the oldest of any state.

Despite the long life expectancy in North Dakota, the state’s seniors are less likely to be wealthy and college-educated than the average elderly American. Just 21.4% of adults 65 and older in the state have a bachelor’s degree, the ninth smallest share of any state. The median household income of seniors is $41,084 a year, less than the comparable national figure of $42,113.

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30. Missouri
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 16.0% (22nd highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.2% (21st lowest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 22.7% (13th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.7 years (12th lowest)

Life expectancy is low in Missouri, and the state has one of the higher senior mortality rates. The life expectancy at birth in the state is 77.7 years, compared to the national life expectancy of 79.1 years. For every 100,000 residents age 65 and up, 4,449 die annually, more than in a majority of states.

While a college education can help senior citizens retain cognitive ability in old age, just 22.7% of Missouri seniors have a bachelor’s degree — less than the 26.7% national rate. College attainment is also highly correlated with income. The typical senior-led household in the state earns just $39,143 a year, compared to the $42,113 national figure.