Contents: Countries | US Cities | Retirement locataions | Economic Indicators


US Towns

New Jersey (9) and California (6) had the most cities in the top 25 in CNN/Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live" list in the 3 years I looked at, see below.
They were followed by WA, TX, MN, MA, & CO all with 5.
(The list is different every year with only a couple of cities repeating in the top 25.)

However NJ and Calif ranked 48th and 50th respectively in net migration of people over 60.
I.e. more old people moved out of NJ and CA.

California (6) was #3 behind FL (8) and AZ (7) for number of cities in the top 50 in the book "Retirement Places Rated: What You Need to Know to Plan the Retirement You Deserve"


BEST PLACES TO LIVE and RETIRE - Several different sources below.
Note: Rankings vary widely depending on the criteria used. In the 3 best cities listings below only Atlanta, Seattle and Washington DC are repeated in the top 10.
BEST PLACES TO LIVE - list from CNN/Money Magazine. The list seems to change a lot. e.g. In the top 25 cities on the 2005, 2006, 2009 lists there were only 5 cities which appeared more than once and none appeared on all 3 lists.
"MONEY magazine and CNN/Money spent months looking for Great American Towns -- where you would want to raise your children and celebrate life's milestones. "
Top 5 states in 2005,2006,2009: 9 NJ, 6 CA, 5 WA, 5 TX, 5 MN, 5 MA, 5 CO

2009 List
Rank City Population   13 Superior, CO 10,500
1 Louisville, CO 18,800 14 Farmington, UT 16,500
2 Chanhassen, MN 23,700 15 Westerville, OH 35,700
3 Papillion, NE 22,200 16 Acton, MA 21,100
4 Middleton, WI 16,900 17 Newcastle, WA 9,800
5 Milton, MA 25,400 18 Highland Heights, OH 8,600
6 Warren, NJ 16,100 19 Hopkinton, MA 14,000
7 Keller, TX 38,100 20 Chaska, MN 23,900
8 Peachtree City, GA 34,500 21 Montville, NJ 22,300
9 Lake St. Louis, MO 13,900 22 Draper, UT 38,600
10 Mukilteo, WA 20,500 23 Solon, OH 22,000
11 West Goshen, PA 8,800 24 Mansfield, TX 44,100
12 Sammamish, WA 35,200 25 Ellisville, MO 9,200
2006 List
Rnk Town Population: Typical single-family home:
1 Fort Collins, Colorado 128,000 $215,000
2 Naperville, Illinois 141,600 $360,000
3 Sugar Land, Texas 75,800 $170,000
4 Columbia/Ellicott City, Maryland 159,200 $350,000/$550,000
5 Cary, North Carolina 106,400 $280,000
6 Overland Park, Kansas 164,800 $250,000
7 Scottsdale, Arizona 226,000 $500,000
8 Boise, Idaho 193,200 $215,000
9 Fairfield, Connecticut 57,800 $545,000
10. Eden Prairie, Minnesota 60,600 $300,000
11 Plano, TX 250,100
12 Eagan, MN 63,700
13 Olathe, KS 112,100
14 West Bloomfield , MI 65,000
15 Richardson, TX 99,200
16 Gilbert, AZ 178,100
17 Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ 51,600
18 Santa Clarita, CA 172,500
19 Carrollton, TX 124,700
20 Henderson, NV 232,100 $318,000
21 Bellevue, WA 117,100  
22 Newton, MA 83,200  
23 Sandy, UT 89,700  
24 Westminster, CO 105,100  
25 Ann Arbor, MI 113,300  
28 Edison, NJ 100,500 $355,000
31 Livermore, CA 78,400 $580,000
32 Wayne, NJ 55,200 $450,000
34 Folsom, CA 65,600 $490,000
50 Middletown, NJ 67,800 $390,750
Big Cities

1. Colorado Springs, CO
2. Austin, TX
3. Mesa, AZ
4. Raleigh, N
5. San Diego, CA
6. Virginia Beach, VA
7. Omaha, Ne
8. Columbus, Oh
9. Wichita, KS
10. New York, NY
2005 List
Rank Town Pop Nearest City
1 Moorestown, NJ 20,700 Philadelphia
2 Bainbridge Island, WA 21,600 Seattle
3 Naperville, IL 163,900 Chicago
4 Vienna, VA 61,700 Washington, DC
5 Louisville, CO 32,400 Boulder
6 Barrington, RI 16,800 Providence
7 Middleton, WI 21,400 Madison
8 Peachtree City, GA 35,800 Atlanta
9 Chatham, NJ 17,600 New York City
10 Mill Valley, CA 29,200 San Francisco
11 Larchmont, NY 18,200 New York City
12 Greenwich, CT 62,000 Stamford
13 Westwood, MA 14,500 Boston
14 Blue Bell, PA 19,700 Philadelphia
15 Princeton, NJ 48,700 Trenton
16 Chanhassen, MN 22,100 Minneapolis
17 Gaithersburg, MD 132,500 Washington, DC
18 Powell, OH 30,300 Columbus
19 Mequon-Thiensville, WI 23,400 Milwaukee
20 Ellicott City, MD 72,000 Baltimore
21 Yorba Linda, CA 64,400 Los Angeles
22 Delmar, NY 16,300 Albany
23 Papillion, NE 27,400 Omaha
24 Fishers, IN 48,900 Indianapolis
25 Coronado, CA 23,800 San Diego

Where to Retire Magazine published the following chart in their July/Aug. 2005 Issue.
States Ranked by the Net Number of Migrants Age 60+, 1995-2000
Rank Stae Number of Migrants Net
In Out
1 Florida 401,052 171,300 229,752
2 Arizona 134,183 52,403 81,780
3 North Carolina 77,720 42,731 34,989
4 Nevada 62,155 27,243 34,912
5 South Carolina 47,698 25,229 22,469
6 Texas 101,446 79,938 21,508
7 Georgia 63,120 41,985 21,135
8 Tennessee 50,036 31,853 18,183
9 Alabama 31,155 23,307 7,848
10 Arkansas 29,876 23,138 6,738
11 New Mexico24,893 18,503 6,390
12 Oregon40,778 35,905 4,873
13 Mississippi19,433 14,951 4,482
38 Washingtonn DC4,538 11,192 -6,654
48 New Jersey54,425 97,316 -42,891
49 Illinois40,697 106,106 -65,409
50 California127,693 194,085 -66,392
51 New York49,640 204,826 -155,186

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index 2013
Well-being is about the interaction between physical health, finding your daily work and experiences fulfilling, having strong social relationships and access to the resources you need, feeling financially secure, and being a part of a true community.

In 2013, physical health reached its lowest point in the past six years, in large part due to rising rates of obesity, based on self-reported height and weight. The rise in obesity, which had eased somewhat, resumed at alarming rates in 2013.

Over the six years of our well-being measurement, Americans\0xFFFD life evaluations have improved, emotional health and healthy behaviors have remained stable, and basic access, physical health, and work environment have declined.

In 2013, physical health reached its lowest point in the past six years, in large part due to rising rates of obesity, based on self-reported height and weight. The rise in obesity, which had eased somewhat, resumed at alarming rates in 2013.

These high well-being locations tend to exhibit many shared characteristics, including lower chronic disease rates, lower incidence of obesity, more frequent exercise, less smoking, and a more positive outlook on their communities.

Top States
1. North Dakota
2. South Dakota
3. Nebraska
4. Minnesota
5. Montana
6. Vermont
7. Colorado
8. Hawaii
9. Washington
10. Iowa
Top Large Communities:
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
2. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
5. Denver-Aurora, CO
6. Raleigh-Cary, NC
7. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
8. Austin-Round Rock, TX
9. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
10. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
TOP MID-SIZE COMMUNITIES
1. Provo-Orem, UT
2. Boulder, CO
3. Fort Collins-Loveland, CO
4. Honolulu, HI
5. Ann Arbor, MI
6. Naples-Marco Island, FL
7. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA
8. Lincoln, NE
9. Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME
10. Madison, WI
TOP SMALL COMMUNITIES
1. Bellingham, WA
2. Billings, MT
3. Barnstable, MA
4. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
5. Sioux Falls, SD
6. Charlottesville, VA
7. Medford, OR
8. Prescott, AZ
9. Yakima, WA
10. Topeka, KS

"Cities Ranked and Rated: More than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. and Canada", 2004, by Bert Sperling, Peter Sander
Top 10. See the book for more.
1. Charlottsville, VA
2. Santa Fe, NM
3. San Luis Obispbo - Atascadero -
    Passo Robles, CA
4. Santa Barbara - Santa Maria, CA
5. Honolulu, HI
 6. Ann Arbor, MI
 7. Atlanta, GA
 8. Ashville, NC
 9. Reno, NV
10. Corvallis, OR

Rankings from "Places Rated Almanac: Your Guide to Finding the Best Places to Live in North America,", 2000, David Savageau.
Top 10. See the book for more.

1. Salt Lake City - Ogden, UT
2. Washington DC
3. Seattle - Bellevue, WA
4. Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater, FL
5. Denver, CO
6. Raleigh - Durham, NC
7. Toronto, Canada
8. Houston, TX
9. Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN
10. Phoenix - Mesa, AZ


Rankings at CityRatings.com

Atlanta
Cincinnati
Minneapolis - St. Paul
Salt Lake City
Tampa
Denver
Houston
Raleigh - Durham
Seattle
Washington D.C


Outdoor Life
August 2005 issue of Outside magazine

Online quize at FindYourSpot.com

"Looking to settle in Shangri-La? Check out ten towns that are making a strong play for perfection, with eco-smart designs, adventure-friendly innovations, and plentiful outdoor playgrounds - plus a commitment to the good life that really hits home."

Salt Lake City, Utah
Littleton, New Hampshire
Fort Collins, Colorado
Charleston, South Carolina
Davis, California
Portland, Oregon
Chicago, Illinois
Madison, Wisconsin
Pasadena, California
Portland, Maine.


Best places for Recreation, Outdoors - Active Life Style:
Top Cities: Minneapolis, Minn - 3; San Diego CA, Sacramento CA, Tampa FL - 2
Top States: Florida - 6; Calif - 5; Minn - 4; Arizona, Colorado - 3
15 U.S. cities for people who love the outdoors | MNN - Mother Nature Network
Top 10:
  1. Portland, Ore
  2. Jackson Hole, Wyo.
  3. Burlington, Vt.
  4. Fort Collins, Colo.
  5. Minneapolis, Minn.
  6. Asheville, N.C.
  7. Flagstaff, Ariz.
  8. Seattle, Wash.
  9. Knoxville, Tenn.
  10. Juneau, Alaska

Best & Worst Cities for Recreation | WalletHub®
Top 10

  1. Cincinnati, OH
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Omaha, NE
  4. Minneapolis, MN
  5. Tampa, FL
  6. St. Petersburg, FL
  7. St. Louis, MO
  8. Boise City, ID
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Sacramento, CA

Best Cities 2010: 10 Best Cities for Recreation | Parenting
Top 10

  1. Jacksonville, FL
  2. Albuquerque, NM
  3. Scottsdale, AZ
  4. Anchorage, AK
  5. Aurora, CO
  6. Augusta, GA
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Little Rock, AR
  9. Louisville, KY
  10. Oklahoma City, OK

10 Best Places for Outdoorsy Types to Live - HowStuffWorks

  1. Portland, Maine
  2. Las Vegas, Nev.
  3. Bend, Ore.
  4. Costa Brava, Spain
  5. Boone, N.C.
  6. Durango, Colo.
  7. North Conway, N.H.
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic
  10. Ely, Minnesota

America's Best Cities For The Outdoors - Forbes Top 10

  1. San Francisco, Calif.
  2. San Diego, Calif.
  3. San Jose, Calif.
  4. Jacksonville, Fla.
  5. Phoenix, Ariz.
  6. Tampa, Fla.
  7. Minneapolis, Minn.
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Las Vegas, Nev.
  10. Virginia Beach, Va.

The Best Adventure Towns - National Geographic Adventure Magazine

OutdoorLife.com - Best Towns for hunting and fishing.
Top 10: Rapid City, SD; Pocatello, ID; Page, AZ; Lewiston, ID; Kanab, UT; Bend, OR; Mountain Home, AR; Saratoga, WY; Rawlins, WY; Pierre, SD
Number of towns by state: 13 CO; 12 OR, MT; 11 ID; 9 SD, MN, 8 WY; 7 WI, UT, CA; 6 TX, NE; 5 WA, NY, ND, MO, AZ, AR, AK; 4 OK, NM, MI, KS.


Best Cities For Singles 2005 at Forbes
1. Denver-Boulder
2. Boston
3. San Francisco
4. Raleigh-Durham
5. Washington-Baltimore
6. Atlanta
7. Los Angeles
8. New York
9. Chicago
10. Seattle
11. Austin
12. Philadelphia
13. Minneapolis-St. Paul
14. Phoenix
15. Sacramento
16. Detroit
17. Houston
18. Columbus
19. Portland
20. Dallas-Ft. Worth
Links to Yahoo City Guides for above.

"Retirement Places Rated: What You Need to Know to Plan the Retirement You Deserve", Sixth Edition, 2004, by David Savageau
More than 200 places rated on Ambiance, Cost of Living, Climate, Personal Safety, Services and Economy.
Note: Only 6% of people between the ages of 55 and 65 move and many of them move to be near their children. Take this into account before you speculate in property in these areas.

The regional ranks below are my own. See the book (above) for more detailed regional listings and other cities.
[Rank]
Southwest: [1]
Scottsdale, AZ [2], Tuscon, AZ [6], Sedona, AZ [13], Mission-McAllen-Alamo, TX [19], Wickenburg, AZ [23], Mesa, AZ [26], Victorville - Apple Vly, CA [31], Palm Springs - Coachella Vly, CA [33], Yuma, AZ [37], Santa Fe, NM [38], Silver City, NM [71]
GA, AR, FL (central and Atlantic): [2]
Melbourne-Palm Beach, FL [4], Daytona Beach, FL [9], Fayetteville, AR [10], Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL [14], Savannah, GA [22], Gainsville, FL [31], Thomasville, GA [69], ... St Simons - Jekyll Isl., GA [157]
California Coast and Costal Range: [3]
North County San Diego [5], Santa Barbara [12], Laguna Beach-Dana Pt. [16], Santa Rosa, CA [21], Carmel-Pebble Beach [45]
Gulf Coast: [4]
Largo, FL [18], Sarasota, FL [24], New Port Richey, FL [28], Pensacola, FL [29], Western St. Tammany Parish, LA [33]
VA, NC, SC, TN: [5]
Charleston, SC [3], Ashville, NC [20], Charlotsville, VA [35], Fredericksburg - Spotsylvania, VA [38], Williamsburg, VA [46], Maryville, TN [83], ... Myrtle Beach, SC [112], Hilton Head Isl., SC [130]
Oregon and Washington: [6]
Florence, OR [1], Medford - Ashland, OR [7], Bellingham, WA [11], Port Angeles - Sequim, WA [44], Grants Pass, OR [57]
Rocky Mountains: [7]
Fort Collins-Loveland, CO [17], Grand Junction, CO [27], Flagstaff, AZ [36], Kalipspell - Flathead Vly., MT [40], Colorado Springs, CO [47], Coeur d'Alene, ID [80], ... Jackson Hole, WY [173]
New England: [8]
Lake Winnipesaukee, NH [8], Hanover, NH [15], Monadrock Reghin, NH [49], Bar Harbor, ME [66], Northampton - Amherst, MA [77], Burlington, VT [81], Litchfield Hills, CT [89]
NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE: [9]
East End Long Island, NY [30], Tom's River-Barnegat Bay, NJ [45], State College, PA [50], Annapolis, MD [107], Lake Placid, NY [154], Rehoboth Bay - Indian R., DE [111]
Tahoe & Sierra Nevada:
Carson City - Carson Vly, NV [51], Reno-Sparks, NV [51], Paradise-Magalia, CA [54], Grass Valley - Nevada Cty [134]
Northern Woods & Midwest:
Traverse City, MI [25], Madison, WI [61]

Compare cost of living, crime, cities, schools and more. Sperling's BestPlaces

Best Places to Retire Young, Feb., 2007 Money Mag.

1. Coeur d'Alene, ID
2. Charlottesville, VA
3. Logan, UT
4. Blacksburg, VA
5. Burlington, VT
6. Anacortes, WA
7. Sarasota, FL
8. Hanover, NH
9. Manhattan, KS
10. Ames, IA

See Also:
Best Places to Retire at CNN/Money
State Pouplation and Growth
America's 100 Best Places to Retire by Elizabeth Armstrong
Most Overpriced Places In The U.S (Forbes 2005)
1. Seattle
2. New York
3. Portland
4. Chicago
5. San Jose
6. Bergen-Passaic, NJ
7. San Francisco, CA
8. Middlesex, NJ
9. Denver, CO
10. Los Angeles, CA

Best countries for retirees
1. Switzerland
2. Norway
2. Sweden
4. Germany
5. Canada
6. Netherlands
7. Iceland
8. Japan
9. United States of America
10. United Kingdom
Source: global AgeWatch


Cost of living:
Cost of Living 2014 Annual Average | Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) for all states
Living Wage Calculator | MIT
Cost of Living Calculator & Comparison Index
Cost of Living Index for Selected U.S. Cities | Infoplease.com
Cost of Living Calculator | Comparison Tool
Cost of Living Calculator: Compare the Cost of Living in Two Cities - CNNMoney
2014 Annual Average Cost of living (Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC))
State Index Grocery Housing Utilities Transport-
ation
Health Misc.
Mississippi 86.9 91.0 72.5 86.1 94.2 91.7 94.6
Tennessee 89.3 93.2 77.3 91.0 93.6 89.8 96.0
Idaho 90.2 93.1 75.7 86.6 103.9 99.9 96.3
Michigan 91.8 94.2 80.6 96.3 99.5 94.8 95.7
Texas 92.8 90.7 86.2 93.4 96.3 94.9 97.8
North Carolina 96.5 102.5 85.9 99.7 98.5 105.4 100.2
Virginia 97.0 96.4 93.3 103.7 93.2 98.6 99.7
Florida 99.8 104.1 95.5 101.2 103.0 98.5 100.2
Arizona 100.2 100.9 101.1 96.6 100.7 101.9 100.0
Colorado 101.3 97.2 109.4 90.8 101.8 104.3 98.7
Minnesota 101.5 105.4 97.1 89.4 101.8 103.9 107.2
Nevada 101.6 108.8 96.9 86.1 106.1 98.6 106.4
Pennsylvania 102.1 103.0 99.2 107.9 102.6 95.2 103.2
New Hampshire 115.6 97.9 128.1 124.5 99.1 118.1 115.5
Massachusetts 123.5 104.7 140.9 126.1 114.7 118.7 119.5
New Jersey 126.7 106.3 165.1 114.3 108.3 106.6 115.7
California 128.7 114.5 175.7 113.4 113.8 110.5 106.7
New York 133.3 109.8 191.7 106.1 112.0 104.4 113.1
Connecticut 145.2 117.1 208.4 127.7 118.5 110.7 122.7
Hawaii 164.0 157.1 210.3 238.4 125.8 113.5 123.5
The biggest difference is in housing, with Conn. more than twice as expensive than Mississippi and Utilities (Conn. is 50% more than Miss.). See Cost of Living 2014 Annual Average | Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) for all states.


See Also:
Books:
"Places Rated Almanac: Your Guide to Finding the Best Places to Live in North America,", 2000, David Savageau. (This got a lot of publicity before the Money Magazine listing started comming out.
"Cities Ranked and Rated: More than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. and Canada", 2004, by Bert Sperling, Peter Sander
Retirement Places Rated: What You Need to Know to Plan the Retirement You Deserve, Sixth Edition, 2004, by David Savageau
America's 100 Best Places to Retire by Elizabeth Armstrong

Web Links:
State public health statistics | America's Health Rankings
Cities with the highest murder rate.
FBI Uniform Crime Reports by state
"The Numbers Game", Geoff Loftus of Washington Univ. comments on rating systems.
Sperling's Best Places
Best Cities for Relocating Families
Pew Global Attitudes Project
State Pouplation and Growth
Counties with highest household income
Demographia: Demographics Development, Urban Policy, Housing Costs
Highest murder rate in large cities

last updated 6 Nov 2014