Top 7 Best states to retire in the US with the Best quality of life – 2024

In the vast landscape of the United States, where 50 states offer a diverse range of living experiences, deciding on the best retirement destinationrequires careful consideration of multiple factors. This decision involves not only beautiful landscapes and warm weather but also other factors, including housing costs, tax rates, healthcare quality, and the overall cost of living, all while maintaining the highest quality of life.

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the top states to retire in the US. Topping the list is Alabama, which features mountains and beaches and is tax-friendly for retirees, to New Hampshire, that is ideal for older adults who enjoy forests and lakes, with the added benefit of no state income tax.

Read on to discover the best states to retire in the US with the best quality of life.

Top 7 Best states to retire in the US with the Best quality of life – 2024

Methodology

Due to “Best” being a subjective word, below is our methodology to compile the best places to retire in the US with the Best quality of life in 2024

Using our existing ranking of the safest and cheapest places to live in the USA, we based our ranking on three criteria: housing affordability, number of health facilities nearby plus quality of life, and percentage of seniors (65 years and over).

Statistics come from Rockethomes’ average pricing in 2023 and Zillow’s median rent for all bedrooms for January 2024. The number of Health facilities nearby refers to the place with the most number of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the target area. The percentage of seniors refers to the demographics of seniors residing in a specific neighborhood.

The “Best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on health, pollution, green space and recreation, and climate. These factors played vital roles in determining the overall appeal of these retirement destinations.

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1. Alabama

  • Population: 5,108,468
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,389
  • Median property buying cost: $259,539

Alabama combines Southern charm with modern amenities, offering scenic coastlines, sandy beaches, and year-round pleasant weather. Many retirees, seeking an active lifestyle, enjoy hiking in its mountainous areas like Cheaha and Oak Mountain State Park and kayaking and fishing in the state’s rivers. Its vibrant cities like Montgomery and Birmingham coexist with charming small towns, for those who prefer a slower-paced Southern lifestyle.

With a population of 5,108,468, approximately 18% is composed of seniors. Alabama has one of the lowest cost-of-living indices and the second-lowest housing costs in the U.S. As of December 2023, the median property price is $259,539, and a 1-bed apartment rents for around $1,389.

Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

Alabama

2. Wyoming

2. Wyoming - Best States to Retire in the US
  • Population: 584,057
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $995.00
  • Median property buying cost: $274,822

Wyoming is one of the largest states with the lowest population density, housing 584,057 residents, including 18.6% seniors. Located among the landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, and rock climbing in its national parks: Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

The state provides a small-town life with a slower pace, ideal for retiring in a close-knit community. However, it’s important to note that grocery stores are limited compared to larger cities. Additionally, it is considered a favorable place for retirement due to its lack of income tax and low cost of living. As of December 2023, Wyoming has a median property price of $274,822, and a 1-bedroom apartment rents for $995.00.

Wyo.gov (Jan 2024), Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

Wyoming

3. North Dakota

3. North Dakota - Best States to Retire in the US
  • Population: 783,926
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,300
  • Median property buying cost: $290,206

North Dakota stands out as an ideal retirement destination, known for its low tax burden, including one of the lowest income tax rates and property taxes. This contributes to an affordable cost of living and an attractive housing market for prospective homebuyers, with a median home price of about $290,206 and a 1-bedroom apartment renting for around $1,300 as of December 2023.

It is renowned for its friendly community and genuine welcome to newcomers. Residents claim to enjoy a high quality of life with abundant outdoor recreation in its 4 national parks, such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and 13 state parks. Additionally, amenities such as shopping, dining, and nightlife are easily accessible. Notably, it has one of the shortest commute times in the country, with an average of 17 minutes.

Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

North Dakota

4. Delaware

  • Population: 1,031,890
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,930
  • Median property buying cost: $349,991

Delaware, despite its size, is a coastal gem that attracts retirees with its stunning shoreline, low tax burden, affordable living, excellent healthcare, and varied recreational options. The state has a nationally ranked healthcare system, providing easy access to medical services in each county and surpassing the national average in resident health insurance coverage.

With over a million residents, 20.80% of whom are seniors, Delaware offers a beach lifestyle and access to 16 state parks with over 150 miles of trails for outdoor enthusiasts. In terms of housing, Delaware has one of the lowest property tax rates, with a median property price of around $349,991 and a 1-bedroom apartment rental cost of approximately $1,930 as of December 2023. Moreover, there is no sales tax!

Dhss.gov (Jan 2024), Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

Delaware

5. Florida

5. Florida - Best States to Retire in the US
  • Population: 22,610,726
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,812
  • Median property buying cost: $361,918

Retiring in Florida presents an appealing option due to its lower cost of living, with a median property price of $361,918 and a $1,812 average for 1-bedroom apartment rentals as of December 2023. With a population exceeding 22 million, including 21.60% seniors, it fosters diverse retirement communities like The Villages, offering amenities like golf courses, restaurants, shops, and nearby medical services. 

Seniors in Florida enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including beaches, parks, cultural attractions, and music events, improving their quality of life. Retiring in the Sunshine State brings significant tax advantages, as it is one of the most tax-friendly states with no state income tax, tax-free Social Security benefits, pensions, and other retirement income. Moreover, Florida does not impose estate or inheritance taxes.

Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

Florida

6. Virginia

6. Virginia - Best States to Retire in the US
  • Population: 8,715,698
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,898
  • Median property buying cost: $385,038

Virginia is an ideal state for retirees with diverse lifestyle preferences, offering scenic shorelines, mountains, and proximity to major cities like Washington, all within a 3-hour drive. Its mild climate enhances the coastal lifestyle, providing beautiful beaches such as Cape Charles and Virginia Beach for waterside walks. Residents relish local seafood cuisine, including oysters, blue crabs, and rockfish, and many retirement communities are located near family-friendly attractions, all contributing to a relaxed pace of living.

It offers an affordable living costs with tax advantages. State income taxes exempt Social Security benefits and retirement income, while seniors benefit from deductibility of up to $12,000 for pension and retirement account withdrawals. Low sales and property tax rates add to the financial appeal, with a median property price of $385,038 and a 1-bed apartment renting around $1,898 as of December 2023.

Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

Virginia

7. New Hampshire

7. New Hampshire - Best States to Retire in the US
  • Population: 1,402,054
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $2,250
  • Median property buying cost: $398,886

New Hampshire is renowned for its natural beauty, offering opportunities for winter sports and hiking in locations such as the White Mountain National Forest and Mount Washington. Residents also enjoy water activities in Lake Winnipesaukee and along the sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean coast. With a population of over 1.4 million people, 20.20% are seniors who can relish living in a quiet and picturesque environment that provides numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and fishing.

New Hampshire has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States, with 239.18 crimes per 100,000 people, making it a secure place for retirees to live. Moreover, there is no state sales tax or income tax on wages, adding to its appeal. New Hampshire reported a median property price of $398,886, and a 1-bedroom apartment rents for around $2,250 as of December 2023.

Census.gov (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Dec 2023), Rocket Homes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Dec 2023)

New Hampshire

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Conclusion

In your quest to find the top state to retire in the United States, consider factors that contribute to a fulfilling retirement experience. Explore states with robust Centers for Medicare to guarantee access to high qualityhealthcare services; additionally, an outdoorsy environment is crucial for long-term well-being. Remember that an affordable state is important, where the cost of living aligns with your retirement income, ensuring financial stability throughout your golden years.

By consulting this list, you can make an informed decision tailored to your preferences and that aligns with your lifestyle. If you are moving soon, don’t forget to explore in advance the best long distance movers in the USA to make your move as smooth as possible.

 

Last year’s ranking (2023)

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Virginia
  3. Wyoming
  4. Florida
  5. Delaware
  6. North Dakota
  7. Alabama
  8. Utah
  9. Alaska
  10. Colorado

 

Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering affordability and quality of life. It’s important to highlight that certain places were excluded from last year’s lists due to insufficient rental data. Moreover, entries with higher average housing pricing in the previous year were excluded from the current rankings. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process.

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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