Special Report

The Best (And Worst) States for Older Americans, Ranked

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15. Oregon
> Life expectancy at age 65: 84.5 years (tied – 17th highest)
> 65 and older poverty rate: 7.9% (tied – 16th lowest)
> 65 and older pop. with a disability: 33.6% (tied – 25th highest)
> Median income for 65 and older households: $47,314 (14th highest)
> Population 65 and older: 739,611 (17.6% – 11th highest)

Older Oregon residents are more likely to be financially secure than the typical retirement-age American. The median income among 65 and older households in the state is $47,314, slightly higher than the comparable national median of $44,992. Additionally, the poverty rate among Oregon’s 65 and older population is just 7.9%, lower than the 9.4% poverty rate among elderly Americans nationwide.

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14. New Jersey
> Life expectancy at age 65: 85.3 years (5th highest)
> 65 and older poverty rate: 8.0% (tied – 18th lowest)
> 65 and older pop. with a disability: 30.0% (2nd lowest)
> Median income for 65 and older households: $53,637 (8th highest)
> Population 65 and older: 1.4 million (16.1% – 21st lowest)

Despite a far higher than average cost of living, New Jersey’s retirement-age population is more likely to be financially secure than most older Americans. The typical retirement-age household has an annual income of $53,637, well above the $44,992 comparable national median. Additionally, just 8.0% of New Jersey residents 65 and older live below the poverty line compared to the 9.4% national poverty rate among older Americans.

Life expectancy is also higher than average in the Garden State. For New Jersey residents who are 65 years old, life expectancy is 85.3 years, nearly a year longer than the national average life expectancy at 65.

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13. Minnesota
> Life expectancy at age 65: 85.3 years (tied – 5th highest)
> 65 and older poverty rate: 7.6% (tied – 12th lowest)
> 65 and older pop. with a disability: 30.9% (tied – 7th lowest)
> Median income for 65 and older households: $47,054 (15th highest)
> Population 65 and older: 888,634 (15.8% – 17th lowest)

Minnesota’s eldery population ranks among the healthiest in the United States. Life expectancy at age 65 in the state is an additional 20.3 years to 85.3 years, nearly a year longer than the national average. The state’s elderly population is also far less likely to be struggling financially than most older Americans as just 7.6% of retirement-age Minnesota residents live below the poverty line, well below the comparable national rate of 9.4%.

Quality of life in Minnesota is also boosted by low crime rates. Both the state’s violent crime rate and property crime rate are lower than the comparable national averages.

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12. Alaska
> Life expectancy at age 65: 84.1 years (21st lowest)
> 65 and older poverty rate: 6.7% (5th lowest)
> 65 and older pop. with a disability: 37.4% (tied – 9th highest)
> Median income for 65 and older households: $59,339 (3rd highest)
> Population 65 and older: 88,000 (11.9% – 2nd lowest)

Incomes are higher for retirement-age households in Alaska than they are in nearly every other state. The median household income of 65 and older households in the state is $59,339, about $14,000 more than the median nationwide. Additionally, Alaska’s 65 and over poverty rate of just 6.7% is the fifth lowest among states.

Remaining socially engaged through retirement can greatly improve quality of life — and in Alaska, doing so is likely easier than in other states. There are 95.5 social organizations — such as clubs, bowling centers, golf clubs, fitness centers, sports organizations, or religious organizations — for every 100,000 65 and older residents, compared to 58.0 per 100,000 nationwide.

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11. Delaware
> Life expectancy at age 65: 84.4 years (tied – 23rd highest)
> 65 and older poverty rate: 6.1% (tied – 3rd lowest)
> 65 and older pop. with a disability: 30.9% (tied – 7th lowest)
> Median income for 65 and older households: $54,744 (4th highest)
> Population 65 and older: 180,756 (18.7% – 6th highest)

Like many of the states ranking highly on this list, Delaware’s elderly population is more likely to be financially secure than most older Americans. The typical 65 and older household in Delaware earns $54,744 a year, more than in all but three other states. Additionally, just 6.1% of the state’s 65 and older population lives below the poverty line, well below the 9.4% national poverty rate for older Americans. Life expectancy for those who are 65 in the state is an additional 19.4 years to 84.4, in line with the national average life expectancy at 65.

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