The 15 best + worst states for retirement in 2021

The top three states for retirement are in the South, while the worst state is on the East Coast and was dragged down in the rankings because of its lack of affordability and mediocre scores on culture and weather. 

The rankings for 2021 come from Bankrate, a firm that offers financial calculators for estimations of mortgage payments, budget management and retirement plans. For its study, Bankrate looked at five broad categories: affordability (40 percent), wellness (20 percent), culture (15 percent), weather (15 percent) and crime (10 percent).

Some insights into the rankings and scores: 

  • Georgia's ranking as the third most affordable state in the country paired with its standing as No. 4 for weather countered its mediocre scores for culture (No. 41), wellness (No. 32) and crime (No. 29). 
  • The Bankrate team notes that Florida finished so close to Georgia in its ranking "that the results were nearly a draw."
  • Tennessee is ranked the most affordable state in the U.S., and Hawaii is the least affordable.
  • Massachusetts is the top state in the country for wellness, and Mississippi has the lowest ranking for this domain. 
  • Massachusetts' rankings for wellness (No. 1), weather (No. 6) and culture (No. 12) countered its affordability rank (No. 42) to put it at No. 5 overall. 
  • Although Maryland was ranked the No. 4 state in the nation for wellness, it fell to No. 47 for affordability, No. 39 for culture and No. 36 for weather.

Below are the top 15 states and bottom 15 states. This listing includes ties. The complete ranking and scoring can be found here


The best 

1. Georgia 

2. Florida 

3. Tennessee

4. Missouri 

5. Massachusetts

6. Wyoming 

7. Arizona 

8. Ohio

9. Indiana 

10. Kentucky

11. North Carolina

12. West Virginia 

13. South Dakota

14. Wisconsin 

15. Utah


The worst

36. Iowa

37. California

38. Illinois

38. Louisiana

40. Washington

41. Connecticut

41. Idaho

43. Alabama

44. Arkansas

44. Maine

46. Alaska

47. Montana

48. Kansas

49. Minnesota 

50. Maryland

Copyright © 2022 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars