In recent times, the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected retirement plans for many Americans. And infection rates vary in different parts across the country, introducing new stressors and changing daily life.
So given all that, what are the best places in America to retire? On Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report released its list of the best places in the United States to retire for 2020 and 2021.
The top destination, according to the survey? Sarasota, Florida.
To determine the best places to retire, in August, U.S. News surveyed more than 3,000 people who were either approaching retirement age (45-59) or at it, about the factors they consider important in a retirement destination.
Based on those responses, they scored the 150 most populous metropolitan areas based on six indexes: housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, job market and health care quality. Each place was given an overall score out of 10 points.
These are the top five best cities to retire in 2020 and 2021, according to U.S. News:
Known for its spacious farms and Amish communities, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about an hour west of Philadelphia, was the fifth-best place to retire this year, with a score of 7.4 in the retirement index. In 2018, Lancaster came in first place in U.S. News’ retirement ranking. This year, Lancaster got top ranks in health care and housing affordability, with a median home price of $215,975.
The “Sunshine State” is a popular retirement spot for reasons beyond the year-round sunny weather. Naples, for example, which is on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida, got an overall retirement score of 7.4 out of 10. Homes are less affordable in Naples than other Florida cities, with a median price of $326,000. That said, Naples and other Florida municipalities have a “homestead tax exemption” for permanent residents, which decrease a property’s taxable value by up to $50,000.
Port St. Lucie, Florida — which is located between Miami and Orlando, and north of Palm Beach — took third place in U.S. News’ retirement ranking, with an overall score of 7.4. The reason? High scores in affordable housing and health care. (Port St. Lucie scored slightly higher than Naples in these two categories.) Sports fans might know Port St. Lucie as the spring training site of the New York Mets, and the home of the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance. In 2019, Port St. Lucie was ranked the fifth-best place to retire by U.S. News.
Though Fort Myers, Florida took the top rank of retirement destinations in 2019, this year it moved to second place with a score of 7.4. The Southwest Gulf Coast city has high scores in housing affordability (6.5), with the median home costing $226,825. However, it only scored 5.9 for healthcare. Lee County, where Fort Myers is located, has 21,331 cases of Covid-19.
With an overall score of 7.6, Sarasota, Florida was the top-ranked place to retire, up from second place last year. The “Circus City” which is located in southwest Florida, was ranked very high in housing affordability, with a median home price of $227,754. Sarasota also received a score of 6.4 for healthcare. (Sarasota County has reported more than 8,600 cases of Covid-19.) The city of 785,997 people is very popular among older adults; 31% of residents are over 65, and the median age of residents is 52.
Although Florida and other Southern states claimed many of the top spots in the U.S. News ranking, Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan, came in seventh place with high scores in health care. Elsewhere in the Midwest, Grand Rapids, Michigan, the second-largest city in Michigan, was ranked within the top 25. And in New England, Manchester, New Hampshire, which is an hour from Boston, Massachusetts, came in 14th place with a score of 7.0.
To see how your city measured up, visit U.S. News for the full listing.