Best places to retire in 2021

Find your ideal retirement spot.

You might be able to save money and improve your quality of life by relocating to a retirement spot that better suits your interests and budget. A new U.S. News analysis compares the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the country as potential places to retire. The study includes data on housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care, and is weighted based on a U.S. News online survey of people age 45 and older about their retirement preferences. This year’s list of the 25 Best Places to Retire is dominated by Florida, largely due to the state’s affordable homes, low taxes and high ratings for happiness and desirability. The list also includes three Texas communities that provide a high quality of life at an affordable price, and two places each in Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee are noteworthy for ranking in the top 25 places to retire. Here’s a look at the Best Places to Retire in 2021.

25. Pensacola, Florida

Population: 481,964
Share of population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,287
Median monthly rent: $992

Pensacola is an affordable beach retirement spot for retirees on a budget. Popular beaches include Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. You can look for wildlife including dolphins, sea turtles and rays or explore military forts at the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Pensacola scored high marks for desirability and housing affordability. The city is located in northwestern Florida near the border with Alabama and provides convenient access to the Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

24. San Antonio

Population: 2,426,204
Share of population age 60+: 18%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,458
Median monthly rent: $987
Hospital: Methodist Hospital-San Antonio

San Antonio is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. and has added 17,237 new residents in the past year. Located about 90 miles from Austin, San Antonio has far lower housing costs. San Antonio is the ideal place to combine a scenic Texas Hill Country retirement with the amenities of a large city, including health care options, art museums and amusement parks. Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, which means retirees who work get to keep more of their earnings. The San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015.

23. Charlotte, North Carolina

Population: 2,473,125
Share of population age 60+: 18%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,369
Median monthly rent: $986
Hospital: Carolinas Medical Center

North Carolina‘s most populous city is rapidly attracting new residents. The population has grown by 13,194 people over the past year. Many people relocate to Charlotte in search of job opportunities or a lower cost of living. The area is a center for the banking industry and motor sports, and has a variety of museums and performing arts venues for retirees interested in entertainment options or volunteer work. Charlotte received high marks for desirability, according to a U.S. News survey about potential retirement spots. Professional sports fans can root for the Hornets, Panthers and Checkers.

22. Houston

Population: 6,779,104
Share of population age 60+: 16%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,685
Median monthly rent: $1,055
Hospital: Houston Methodist Hospital

Houston is the fourth most-populous city in the U.S. and continues to attract new residents. The area is a center for the oil and natural gas industries. Houston has unusually affordable housing prices for a big city. This sprawling metro area is located near the Gulf of Mexico and has a museum district, a theater district and several professional sports teams. Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 20 on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. Seniors age 65 and older can audit courses for free at the University of Houston.

21. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Population: 1,050,440
Share of population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,253
Median monthly rent: $860
Hospital: Spectrum Health-Butterworth and Blodgett Campuses

Grand Rapids combines a thriving artistic community with an affordable cost of living. Grand Rapids has multiple art museums, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. The entire city periodically becomes an art gallery during the ArtPrize awards, which attracts artistic people from around the world. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a fortune to join the art community in Grand Rapids. The median home price among people age 60 and older is just $162,300.

20. Tampa, Florida

Population: 3,030,047
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,419
Median monthly rent: $1,070
Hospital: Tampa General Hospital

Tampa allows you to retire near the beach on a budget while still enjoying the amenities of a metro area. There are beaches with powdery sand along the Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico as well as towering skyscrapers and high rises. Tampa has a popular port for cruise ships that makes it easy to explore the Caribbean or Europe while enjoying on-board activities. Other entertainment options in Tampa include theme parks, professional sports teams, a zoo and an aquarium.

19. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Population: 552,043
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,204
Median monthly rent: $802
Hospital: CHI Memorial Hospital

Chattanooga calls itself the “Gig City” because in 2010 it was the first city in the United States to offer gigabit internet speed, and it continues to invest in high-speed internet. The speedy fiber optic network has attracted tech companies, venture capital firms and entrepreneurs who need broadband services for their work but are looking for a more affordable cost of living. The “Gig” also presents opportunities for retirees who want to work part time online or launch an internet business in a city that doesn’t cost a fortune, while also enjoying the nearby mountains and Tennessee River.

18. Lakeland, Florida

Population: 668,671
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,223
Median monthly rent: $944
Hospital: Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center

Waterfront property is affordable in this inland Florida area with 38 named lakes. The median home price for people age 60 and older is just $120,900. Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a lower-cost alternative to these larger cities that are both within an hour’s drive. Summers can be hot and humid in Lakeland, but winters are typically mild and pleasant. Several local lakes have swans that are descendants of two royal swans donated to the city by Queen Elizabeth.

17. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Population: 7,255,028
Share of population age 60+: 16%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,688
Median monthly rent: $1,085
Hospital: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Job opportunities draw many new people to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Forth Worth gained 16,369 additional residents in the past year. Reasonable housing costs make it affordable to relocate. The median home price in the area is just $179,100 among those age 60 and older. Texas doesn’t have an income tax, but you should remember to factor in the potential property taxes when purchasing a home. Sports fans have a variety of professional teams to root for, including the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars.

16. Orlando, Florida

Population: 2,450,261
Share of population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,457
Median monthly rent: $1,161
Hospital: AdventHealth Orlando

Orlando‘s theme parks, convention centers and resorts draw a steady stream of visitors to the area. Retirees often appreciate the pleasant winter weather, entertainment options and low cost of living. The University of Central Florida has more than 68,000 students, but the campus is also welcoming to retirees, and Florida residents age 60 and older can audit classes for free on a space-available basis. But a word of caution: Living near Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida could lead to frequent visits from your grandchildren.

15. Daytona Beach, Florida

Population: 634,773
Share of population age 60+: 32%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,258
Median monthly rent: $1,029

Daytona Beach is not your typical sleepy beach town. This city is most famous for motor sports. NASCAR fans flock to the area for the Daytona 500 and other races at the Daytona International Speedway. Retirees might be enticed to stay by the low housing costs, pleasant winter weather and desirability of retiring along the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the east coast of Florida, the area has 23 miles of sandy beaches, some of which allow you to drive your car onto the hard-packed sand.

14. Manchester, New Hampshire

Population: 411,087
Share of population age 60+: 21%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,010
Median monthly rent: $1,154

New Hampshire’s most populous city provides a high quality of life, including job opportunities and access to health care. New Hampshire doesn’t have a state sales tax or an earned income tax, but it does tax dividends and interest, and the property taxes can be high. Manchester‘s four-season climate produces stunning fall foliage and skiing opportunities in the winter, including at the city-owned McIntyre Ski Area. Artists will delight in the Currier Museum of Art and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House.

13. Jacksonville, Florida

Population: 1,475,386
Share of population age 60+: 21%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,427
Median monthly rent: $1,059
Hospital: Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville

Jacksonville is among the fastest-growing places in the country. The area has attracted 9,070 new residents over the past year, according to Census Bureau data. Mild winters, Atlantic Ocean beaches and scenic golf courses overlooking the ocean and river tend to draw retirees to this northern Florida city near the border with Georgia. The area has several high-performing hospitals, including a branch of the Mayo Clinic. The median home price is $185,700 among people age 60 and older.

12. Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 1,864,138
Share of population age 60+: 18%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,420
Median monthly rent: $1,008
Hospital: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

This musical city is best known for its association with country music. Music lovers can attend live performances at the Grand Ole Opry and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Tennessee’s state capital city is also a college town that is home to several institutions of higher learning, including Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University. Nashville supports several professional sports teams, including the Titans and Predators. The state of Tennessee doesn’t tax earned income, but will tax dividends and interest.

11. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Population: 447,775
Share of population age 60+: 33%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,267
Median monthly rent: $913

Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination. The area’s reasonable housing costs could allow retirees to enjoy the vacation lifestyle permanently. There are over 60 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Myrtle Beach has numerous golf courses designed by top architects, including Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. You can join the tourists at the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel and boardwalk, or find a quiet place to enjoy the fresh local seafood.

10. Melbourne, Florida

Population: 576,808
Share of population age 60+: 31%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,324
Median monthly rent: $1,018
Hospital: Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center

Melbourne residents use the area code 3-2-1 in reference to the countdown to liftoff. This area of Florida is often called the Space Coast due to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and locals can watch rockets launch into orbit. Melbourne also provides plenty of earthly pleasures, including strolling along Atlantic Ocean beaches or trying to spot dolphins at the Indian River Lagoon. The low housing costs make it easy to relocate to this sunny city with mild winters.

9. Miami

Population: 6,070,944
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,774
Median monthly rent: $1,295
Hospital: Baptist Hospital of Miami, Cleveland Clinic Weston

While more expensive than other parts of Florida, Miami has amenities that are worth the cost to many retirees. This tropical city at the southern tip of Florida allows you to create a beach retirement that is also close to big-city services. Retirees have several health care options to choose from, including the Cleveland Clinic Weston. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Miami provides lectures and discussions for people over age 50. Miami-Dade residents age 65 and older are eligible to ride public transit for free.

8. Asheville, North Carolina

Population: 449,937
Share of population age 60+: 29%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,286
Median monthly rent: $874

Asheville is the ideal place to launch an outdoor adventure to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests or a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This mountain town scores high marks for affordability and desirability. Residents report liking where they live and having pride in their community, according to a Gallup survey. Asheville has long been a haven for artists, writers and musicians, and is increasingly known for its innovative chefs who make artistic creations with locally sourced ingredients and craft-brew enthusiasts who have founded unique breweries.

7. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Population: 365,961
Share of population age 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,737
Median monthly rent: $1,083
Hospital: University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine

Ann Arbor‘s health care and job opportunities help to propel this city into the top 10 places to retire. In this college town, the economy and lifestyle often revolve around the University of Michigan, which provides free tuition for Michigan families with incomes below $65,000 as well as sporting events, musical performances and speakers the entire community can enjoy. The University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine is ranked No. 11 on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. Ann Arbor also scored well on the happiness metric, with residents reporting a manageable economic life and enjoying enough energy to get things done, according to a Gallup survey.

6. Ocala, Florida

Population: 348,371
Share of population age 60+: 35%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,065
Median monthly rent: $859

Ocala is an equestrian town known for producing Kentucky Derby-winning horses. Retirees can enjoy a leisurely horseback ride through nature trails, lively equestrian events and competitions, and the chance to tour local horse farms and meet international champions. This inland Florida city is an ideal place to explore the trees, lakes and springs of Ocala National Forest. Ocala has a reasonable cost of living and low housing costs, which appeal to retirees on a fixed income. The median home price among people age 60 and older is just $136,100.

5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Population: 538,347
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,516
Median monthly rent: $978
Hospital: Lancaster General Hospital

This former capital of Pennsylvania is located between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Lancaster residents told Gallup that they like where they live and feel safe in their community. The median home price is $196,000 among people age 60 and older. Lancaster is surrounded by Amish farmland, and you’ll find plenty of Amish produce, baked goods and craft items at local stores and the bustling Lancaster Central Market. The city has a growing foodie scene with a diverse collection of cuisines, and old warehouses and buildings have been transformed into hip restaurants and bars.

4. Naples, Florida

Population: 363,922
Share of population age 60+: 38%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,787
Median monthly rent: $1,228

While more expensive than many other Florida cities, many retirees appreciate the high quality of life. Residents of Naples report the highest sense of well-being in the country, according to an annual Gallup survey. People in this south Florida city say they enjoy supportive relationships, like what they do each day and have a secure economic life. Naples also scored highly on the desirability metric, and travelers and retirees are often drawn to the white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, the spacious golf courses and the mild winter weather.

3. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Population: 463,172
Share of population age 60+: 33%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,436
Median monthly rent: $1,126

Located on Florida‘s Atlantic coast, Port St. Lucie combines a reasonable cost of living with high marks for desirability. Port St. Lucie also scored well on the happiness metric, largely due to residents reporting a lack of stress in their economic life, according to a Gallup survey. In addition to the ocean beaches, you can explore the freshwater marshes at Savannas Preserve State Park and the boardwalk trails at Hillmoor Lake Park. Sports enthusiasts can check out the New York Mets spring training at Clover Park.

2. Fort Myers, Florida

Population: 718,679
Share of population age 60+: 35%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,416
Median monthly rent: $1,093

Fort Myers is a popular retirement destination, and over a third of the population is age 60 or older. This Gulf Coast city scored well on the desirability and happiness metrics, with residents reporting they have supportive relationships and are able to comfortably manage their economic life, according to surveys by Gallup and U.S. News. The median home price of $217,100 makes the Fort Myers area an affordable place to spend your retirement years fishing, boating or relaxing at the beach.

1. Sarasota, Florida

Population: 785,997
Share of population age 60+: 39%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,481
Median monthly rent: $1,152
Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Sarasota‘s white sand beaches, including Lido Key and Siesta Key, draw many retirees to the area. Sarasota scored highly in a Gallup survey of well-being, with residents saying they have supportive social and community relationships. The moderate housing costs allow retirees on a budget to enjoy a Florida beach retirement. There’s no state income tax in Florida, which benefits those who plan to work part time in retirement.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2021:

1. Sarasota, Florida.

2. Fort Myers, Florida.

3. Port St. Lucie, Florida.

4. Naples, Florida.

5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

6. Ocala, Florida.

7. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

8. Asheville, North Carolina.

9. Miami.

10. Melbourne, Florida.

See the full ranking.

More from U.S. News

The Most Affordable Places to Retire

The Best College Towns for Retirement

The Best Beach Towns to Retire in the U.S.

The Best Places to Retire in 2021 originally appeared on usnews.com

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