The Worst States to Grow Old In

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31. Georgia
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 13.2% (4th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 10.1% (11th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 24.9% (20th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.4 years (10th lowest)

Just 24.9% of Georgia residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, less than the comparable national share of 26.7%. Senior citizens with college degrees often have higher incomes. The median income among senior-led households in Georgia is just $40,386 a year, nearly $1,700 less than the national median household income among seniors.

Wealth and educational attainment are highly correlated with health and longevity. In Georgia, 36.5% of the senior citizen population has a disability, one of the larger shares of any state. The life expectancy at birth in the state is just 77.4 years, far less than the national life expectancy of 79.1 years and the 10th shortest in the country.

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32. California
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 13.6% (6th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 10.3% (10th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 30.5% (11th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.8 years (3rd highest)

In California, some 30.5% of residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, one of the largest shares of any state. A college education can lead to higher incomes later in life, and the typical senior-led household in the state earns $49,531 a year, the seventh most of any state.

While incomes are high in California, goods and services are 13% more expensive than on average nationwide — a higher cost of living than in any state other than New York and Hawaii. Some 10.3% of seniors in the state live in poverty, the 10th largest share nationwide. California is also one of the more dangerous states, which can be a negative factor for residents of all ages. There were 445 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2016, more than the national violent crime rate of 397 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

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33. North Carolina
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 15.5% (24th lowest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 9.4% (15th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 24.7% (18th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.9 years (13th lowest)

By a number of measures assessing education, income, and health, North Carolina ranks as one of the worst states to grow old in. Just 24.7% of residents 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 26.7% of seniors nationwide. College attainment is closely tied to income throughout life, and the median household income among senior-led households in the state is just $38,794 a year. By comparison, the median household income among senior households nationwide is $42,113.

While public transportation can grant seniors a greater degree of independence and contribute to health and longevity, just 2.7% of North Carolina workers commute by walking or by public transit — the seventh smallest share of any state. The state’s average life expectancy at birth is just 77.9 years, compared to the national life expectancy of 79.1 years.

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34. Arizona
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 16.9% (10th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 9.0% (19th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 29.0% (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.6 years (17th highest)

Some 29.0% of Arizona residents have a bachelor’s degree, more than the 26.7% national share. College attainment can lead to improved cognitive ability in later life, as well as increased income. The typical state household led by a resident 65 and over in the state earns $43,647 a year, over $1,500 more than the $42,113 national figure.

While Arizona seniors are more likely to be wealthy and college educated than most elderly Americans, they may have less access to health care. There are just 7 hospitals in the state per 100,000 senior citizens, less than the national average concentration of 10 institutions per 100,000 elderly Americans. Additionally, 26.7% of adults in the state report not having a personal doctor, the 11th largest share of any state.

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35. South Carolina
> Pct. of pop. age 65 and up: 16.7% (12th highest)
> 65 and over poverty rate: 8.6% (25th highest)
> 65 and over bachelor’s deg. attainment: 25.4% (22nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.9 years (9th lowest)

In South Carolina, some 25.4% of residents age 65 and over have a bachelor’s degree, less than the national senior college attainment rate of 26.7%. A college degree can increase the chance of obtaining a high-paying job and can help secure a high income in later life. The typical state household led by a senior earns $40,099 a year, over $2,000 less than the national median.

Various environmental factors in South Carolina may make life harder for the elderly population. While public transportation can afford seniors a greater degree of mobility and independence, just 2.7% of South Carolina workers commute on foot or on public transit, the seventh smallest share of any state. South Carolina is also relatively dangerous, a negative factor for residents of all ages. There were 502 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2016, the 10th most of any state.