Smaller cities, suburbs preferred for retirement, analyst says

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Walkers enjoy a path in Arlington County, VA.
Walkers enjoy a path in Arlington County, VA.

Older adults prefer to retire to smaller cities and suburbs, according to Bankrate.com. New rankings by the financial website list Arlington, VA, as the best city in which to retire, and Niagara Falls, NY, as the worst.

“We found that smaller cities and suburbs fared the best,” said Bankrate.com analyst Jill Cornfield. “Most seniors prefer to live in these types of communities because they offer access to big-city amenities without as much hustle, bustle and crime.”

The website list of 196 cities based on nine categories: cost of living, climate, healthcare cost and quality, taxes, crime, well-being, walkability and cultural vitality. The list relies on data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Council for Community and Economic Research, the FBI, HealthView Services, Gallup-Healthways, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Tax Foundation, WalkScore.com and the Western States Arts Federation.

Arlington, VA, was rated well because it offers numerous cultural activities, a strong sense of well-being among older adults and quality healthcare, according to the website, which acknowledged that the city's high cost of living is its main drawback.

Niagara Falls, NY, was rated poorly because of high taxes, a cold and snowy climate and an above-average crime rate, according to the website.

The highest-rated cities on the list:

  1. Arlington, VA (best)
  2. Franklin, TN
  3. West Des Moines, IA
  4. Sarasota, FL
  5. Scottsdale, AZ

The lowest-rated cities on the list:

  1. Niagara Falls, NY (worst)
  2. Milford, CT
  3. San Bernardino, CA
  4. Troy, NY
  5. Worcester, MA

Bankrate.com offers an online calculator that recommends retirement destinations to users based on their preferences.

Photo cropped from Arlington County, VA, Flickr account.

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