The Best Places to Retire in 2020

Find your ideal retirement spot.

In many cases, retirees can save money and improve their quality of life by relocating to a retirement spot that better suits their interests and budget. A new U.S. News analysis compares the 125 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 2,541 people age 45 and older about their retirement preferences. There are nine cities in Florida that made the 25 Best Places to Retire, largely due to the state’s affordable homes, low taxes and high ratings for happiness and desirability. The list also includes four places in Pennsylvania and three Texas communities that provide a high quality of life at an affordable price, and two places in North Carolina are noteworthy for ranking in the top 10 places to retire. Here’s a look at the Best Places to Retire in 2020.

25. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Population: 565,008
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,420
Median monthly rent: $903
Hospital: Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Harrisburg‘s impressive Pennsylvania State Capitol building was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and is filled with stained glass, sculptures and paintings. You can pick up locally grown organic produce at Broad Street Market, which has been continuously operating since 1860. The federal and state governments are the largest employers, but there are several companies based nearby, including Giant Food Stores and the Hershey Company. Your grandchildren are sure to appreciate a day in nearby Hershey, where you can enjoy the amusement park rides at Hersheypark, savor some sweet treats at Hershey’s Chocolate World and marvel at the streetlamps designed like Hershey’s Kisses and an entire town that smells like cocoa.

24. El Paso, Texas

Population: 838,527
Share of population age 60+: 16%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,172
Median monthly rent: $789

Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, El Paso is bordered by Mexico and New Mexico and is across the Rio Grande from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez. This Texas city scores particularly well on the happiness metric, and residents report liking what they do each day and feeling motivated to achieve their goals, according to a recent Gallup survey. El Paso’s low housing prices make it easier for retirees to enjoy a high quality of life on a limited budget.

23. Allentown, Pennsylvania

Population: 832,790
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,657
Median monthly rent: $990
Hospital: Lehigh Valley Hospital

Located an hour’s drive from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City, Allentown provides convenient access to big-city pleasures while also promoting a more relaxed pace of life and a far lower cost of living than these two larger cities. The Lehigh Valley Health Network provides health care to the region and is also a major employer. Once a center for the steel industry and manufacturing jobs, Allentown features many historic industrial buildings that have been converted to lofts and apartments.

22. Orlando, Florida

Population: 2,390,859
Share of population age 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,415
Median monthly rent: $1,107
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.

21. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Population: 548,359
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,188
Median monthly rent: $771
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.

20. Portland, Oregon

Population: 2,382,037
Share of population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,766
Median monthly rent: $1,118
Hospital: OHSU Hospital

Portland is a city of parks and gardens, including an extensive city park system, the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. Oregon’s largest city is an ideal retirement spot for those who intend to remain active and enjoy the outdoors. The city is friendly to walkers and bikers and maintains a public transportation system with discounts for those age 65 and older. Portland gets high scores for desirability, according to a U.S. News online survey. The city also has a noteworthy food scene that includes locally sourced farm-to-table dining and an extensive collection of independent microbreweries and specialty coffee shops.

19. Melbourne, Florida

Population: 568,183
Share of population age 60+: 30%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,281
Median monthly rent: $971
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.

18. Pittsburgh

Population: 2,348,143
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,274
Median monthly rent: $776
Hospital: UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside

Retirees with a modest income can enjoy a high quality of life in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s affordable housing makes it cost-effective to relocate to the area. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside is ranked 15th in the country on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. Sports fans will enjoy the many professional sports teams, including the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers. The area has several colleges, including Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Residents age 65 and older can take advantage of free public transportation on the bus and rail systems.

17. Tampa, Florida

Population: 2,978,209
Share of population age 60+: 25%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,387
Median monthly rent: $1,014
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.

16. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Population: 429,060
Share of population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,018
Median monthly rent: $714

Moving to a place with significantly lower housing costs can improve your retirement finances. The median home price is just $120,900 among those age 60 and older in Fort Wayne, and you can rent an apartment for a median of only $714 per month. Fort Wayne has four distinct seasons, with snow in the winter and warm summers. The Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center is the ideal place to research your family’s history, and it has an extensive collection of census records, passenger lists and military records.

15. Lakeland, Florida

Population: 652,256
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,184
Median monthly rent: $913
Hospital: Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, 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 $146,500. 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.

14. Miami

Population: 6,019,790
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,725
Median monthly rent: $1,232
Hospital: Cleveland Clinic Florida

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 Florida. 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.

13. Knoxville, Tennessee

Population: 862,490
Share of population age 60+: 24%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,183
Median monthly rent: $779
Hospital: University of Tennessee Medical Center

This college town is home to the massive University of Tennessee, which has over 29,000 students. Knoxville’s low housing costs appeal to both college students and retirees. The University of Tennessee Medical Center provides health care to the community. Another plus for residents: Dividends and interest are the only types of income that are taxed in Tennessee, and low-income seniors age 65 and older are exempt, but watch out for the sales and property taxes. Knoxville has 112 miles of greenway trails, including Ijams Nature Center, and is about an hour’s drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

12. Manchester, New Hampshire

Population: 406,371
Share of population age 60+: 21%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,985
Median monthly rent: $1,132

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.

11. Austin, Texas

Population: 2,000,590
Share of population age 60+: 15%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,744
Median monthly rent: $1,155
Hospital: St. David’s Medical Center

This state capital city has attracted 12,504 new residents in the past year. Many people move to the area for the job opportunities. The area is a hub for tech jobs, with major employers including Apple, Dell, IBM and Samsung. Austin is also home to the University of Texas–Austin, where retirees can root for the Texas Longhorns or take classes worth up to six credit hours tuition-free. Housing is more expensive in Austin than in many other parts of Texas, but it is considerably more affordable than coastal cities.

10. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Population: 7,104,415
Share of population age 60+: 15%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,620
Median monthly rent: $1,022
Hospital: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Job opportunities draw many new people to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Forth Worth gained 19,552 additional residents in the past year. Reasonable housing costs make it affordable to relocate. The median home price in the area is just $165,200 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.

9. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Population: 1,039,182
Share of population age 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,221
Median monthly rent: $826
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 $153,800.

8. Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 1,830,410
Share of population age 60+: 18%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,372
Median monthly rent: $951
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.

7. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Population: 658,195
Share of population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,137
Median monthly rent: $732
Hospital: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

In North Carolina‘s Yadkin Valley, you can grow grapes for wine and sip a locally produced vintage with friends without the Napa Valley prices. Once a center for the tobacco industry, Winston-Salem is now the headquarters for companies including BB&T Corporation, Hanesbrands and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Winston-Salem’s affordable housing prices are appealing to retirees on a budget and allow for a high quality of life on a modest retirement income. The median cost to rent an apartment is just $732 per month.

6. Jacksonville, Florida

Population: 1,447,884
Share of population age 60+: 21%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,404
Median monthly rent: $1,019
Hospital: Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville

Jacksonville is among the fastest-growing places in the country. The area has attracted 12,153 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 $172,500 among people age 60 and older.

5. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Population: 454,482
Share of population age 60+: 32%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,392
Median monthly rent: $1,074

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 First Data Field.

4. Asheville, North Carolina

Population: 445,625
Share of population age 60+: 28%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,244
Median monthly rent: $849

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.

3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Population: 536,494
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,482
Median monthly rent: $957
Hospital: Penn Medicine 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 just $189,600 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.

2. Sarasota, Florida

Population: 768,381
Share of population age 60+: 38%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,436
Median monthly rent: $1,089
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.

1. Fort Myers, Florida

Population: 700,165
Share of population age 60+: 34%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,377
Median monthly rent: $1,035
Hospital: Lee Memorial Hospital

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 $200,200 makes the Fort Myers area an affordable place to spend your retirement years fishing, boating or relaxing at the beach.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2020:

— Fort Myers, Florida.

— Sarasota, Florida.

— Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

— Asheville, North Carolina.

— Port St. Lucie, Florida.

— Jacksonville, Florida.

— Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

— Nashville, Tennessee.

— Grand Rapids, Michigan.

— Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

See the full ranking.

More from U.S. News

The 10 Best Places to Retire With Affordable Housing

The Best College Towns for Retirement

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

The Best Places to Retire in 2020 originally appeared on usnews.com

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