Special Report

This Is Where West Virginia Ranks Among the Best States to Retire

Retirement may mark the end of a career, but it’s also the start of a new chapter of adulthood. Ideally, as retirees, people have fewer responsibilities and more opportunities for fulfilling activities.

Most people have an idea of when they will retire. Where to retire, however, may be a more complex decision to make.

West Virginia ranks as the fourth best state for a physically and socially active retirement.

States that have relatively large 65 and older populations are likely to also have plenty of retirement homes and communities. In West Virginia, 20.5% of the population is 65 or older, the third highest share in the U.S.

Plenty of hours of full sun during the day, nice weather year-round, and plenty of recreational sites such as national parks can help support an active lifestyle. There is an average of 4 hours 4 minutes of peak sunlight a day in West Virginia, the 11th lowest (tied) in the country. The National Parks Service manages a total of 6 parks, historic sites, and monuments in the state.

Volunteering can have a major impact on well-being, especially for older individuals. About 31.0% of West Virginia residents 65 and older volunteer several times a year. This is the 25th lowest share in the U.S., and compares to 28.0% of older adults nationwide.

To rank the best and worst states for people who want to stay active, both physically and socially, in retirement, 24/7 Tempo used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We created an index of more than 20 measures of retirement-friendliness, representing four categories — environment, health-related factors, social support, and demographics. These are the best and worst states for retirees.

 

Rank State Share of population 65+ NPS sites Average peak sun time per day Adults who volunteer
1 Florida 20.9% 11 5 hours 10 minutes 20.3%
2 Maine 21.3% 4 3 hours 46 minutes 33.7%
3 Delaware 19.5% 1 4 hours 23 minutes 32.0%
4 West Virginia 20.5% 6 4 hours 4 minutes 31.0%
5 South Carolina 18.2% 7 4 hours 49 minutes 31.9%
6 Hawaii 19.0% 8 N/A 20.5%
7 South Dakota 17.4% 6 4 hours 12 minutes 36.8%
8 Montana 19.5% 8 4 hours 6 minutes 35.1%
9 Iowa 17.5% 2 4 hours 5 minutes 36.9%
10 Vermont 20.1% 2 3 hours 45 minutes 33.6%
11 Alabama 17.4% 9 4 hours 43 minutes 25.4%
12 Wyoming 17.1% 7 4 hours 31 minutes 32.6%
13 Arkansas 17.4% 7 4 hours 35 minutes 28.9%
14 Mississippi 16.4% 8 4 hours 44 minutes 20.2%
15 Pennsylvania 18.7% 19 3 hours 56 minutes 32.8%
16 Arizona 18.0% 22 5 hours 27 minutes 25.0%
17 Kansas 16.4% 5 4 hours 37 minutes 36.0%
18 New Mexico 18.0% 15 5 hours 20 minutes 30.5%
19 North Carolina 16.7% 10 4 hours 35 minutes 32.7%
20 Rhode Island 17.7% 2 4 hours 11 minutes 28.4%
21 Nebraska 16.1% 5 4 hours 23 minutes 35.5%
22 New Jersey 16.6% 9 4 hours 14 minutes 21.9%
23 Oklahoma 16.1% 3 4 hours 45 minutes 33.0%
24 Missouri 17.2% 6 4 hours 20 minutes 26.7%
25 New Hampshire 18.6% 2 3 hours 53 minutes 32.3%
26 Kentucky 16.9% 5 4 hours 14 minutes 18.9%
27 Tennessee 16.7% 12 4 hours 23 minutes 27.6%
28 North Dakota 15.8% 3 4 hours 2 minutes 38.7%
29 Oregon 18.2% 5 4 hours 29 minutes 36.5%
30 Ohio 17.5% 8 4 hours 3 minutes 30.3%
31 Connecticut 17.6% 2 4 hours 8 minutes 30.7%
32 Virginia 15.9% 22 4 hours 24 minutes 33.5%
33 Wisconsin 17.5% 2 3 hours 56 minutes 37.1%
34 Louisiana 16.0% 5 4 hours 53 minutes 22.0%
35 Massachusetts 17.0% 15 4 hours 6 minutes 30.1%
36 Maryland 15.9% 18 4 hours 17 minutes 38.2%
37 Minnesota 16.3% 5 3 hours 54 minutes 43.3%
38 Indiana 16.1% 3 4 hours 7 minutes 35.2%
39 Michigan 17.7% 5 3 hours 58 minutes 26.1%
40 Illinois 16.1% 2 4 hours 10 minutes 27.8%
41 California 14.8% 28 5 hours 21 minutes 23.3%
42 Georgia 14.3% 11 4 hours 48 minutes 19.7%
43 Colorado 14.7% 13 4 hours 50 minutes 31.7%
44 Nevada 16.2% 4 5 hours 1 minutes 24.1%
45 Washington 15.9% 15 4 hours 4 minutes 36.8%
46 New York 16.9% 24 3 hours 52 minutes 22.2%
47 Idaho 16.2% 7 4 hours 26 minutes 30.5%
48 Texas 12.9% 14 5 hours 6 minutes 27.5%
49 Alaska 12.4% 24 N/A 35.0%
50 Utah 11.4% 13 4 hours 52 minutes 44.6%