Special Report

The Worst States to Grow Old In

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a surge of retirements across the U.S. labor force. Experts estimate that in the first 18 months of the pandemic, there were 2.4 million more retirements than there would have otherwise been. Due in part to the historic increase, an estimated 19.3% of the U.S. population were retired as of mid-2021, the largest share in at least the last 25 years. 

The two primary reasons older Americans left the workforce for good in recent months were the health risks posed by the pandemic and rising asset values – particularly in housing and the stock market – that made retirement financially feasible. Indeed, health and financial stability are two of many factors that affect overall quality of life throughout old age. Here is a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in every state

With retirements at historic levels, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of over a dozen key socioeconomic measures to identify the best and worst states to grow old in. The measures were chosen to gauge the health, financial well-being, safety, and social engagement of 65 and older populations in each state. States are ranked from best to worst. 

The states that rank as the best places for older Americans to live are generally those that have higher than average life expectancy at age 65, high incomes in retirement age households, safe streets, and high-levels of social engagement, among other attributes. The top states are mostly located in the Northeast and the West. Meanwhile, the worst states are disproportionately concentrated in the South. This is the state where retirees are most likely to move

It is important to note that this is a ranking of an aggregate of conditions and is not necessarily an accurate reflection of quality of life for older residents of a given state at a personal level.

Click here to see the worst states to grow old in
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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