The 10 Healthiest — and Most Affordable — Places to Retire

  • By Catey Hill, MarketWatch
  • September 21, 2015

Retirement

Ask retirees what their priorities are in retirement, and you’ll hear one message loud and clear: they care about their health.

That led nearly two in three middle-income retirees ages 47 to 75 to say that good health is “extremely important” to a satisfying retirement, according to a survey from the Center for a Secure Retirement. And conversely, health problems are Americans’ No. 1 concern in retirement, with 72 percent of people 45 and older saying it is their biggest worry in retirement, according to Merrill Lynch’s Retirement Survey.

So it makes sense for retirees to pick somewhere they can live the healthiest life possible. To that end, an analysis released Monday by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement revealed the healthiest cities (that are also affordable) for retirement. The survey ranked the 60 largest U.S. cities on eight categories: health care, the economy and affordability, social, wellness, activities, environment, transportation and crime.

Here are the 10 healthiest — and most affordable — cities for retirees.

1. Seattle, Washington
Seattle snagged the No. 1 spot on this list thanks to its all-round high rankings: It finished in the top 10 in five of the eight health categories measured (health care, environment, social health, activities and transportation). Plus, it offers plenty of outdoor activities and relatively affordable home health care.

2. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 
This city ranked No. 1 in the study for the amount of social and emotional support seniors reported and No. 3 for the civic and volunteer opportunities offered. Plus, it has one of the nation’s best park systems, including the crown jewel — the Chain of Seven Lakes, an area made up of seven lakes surrounded by trails, nature sanctuaries and other outdoor delights.

3. Denver, Colorado
Denver residents are the healthiest in this study, as they have low levels of heart disease, obesity and cancer. That may be due, in part, to the plethora of outdoor activities the city offers, which can be enjoyed often thanks to the 300 days of sunshine a year.

4. Portland, Oregon
With one of the country’s most active running scenes (there are more than 200 5Ks held each year within 25 miles of the city) and top-notch health-care options like the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, this green city lands the No. 4 spot on the list.

5. Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is home to seven farmers’ markets, which “blanket the city in fresh, healthy, local produce,” a spokesperson for the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement tells us. Plus, this town has highly ranked hospitals and one of the most affordable home health-care industries among large cities.

6. Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha residents have more hospital choices per capita than people in nearly any other large city. Plus, boomers who live in this city report high levels of civic involvement, and they like the low housing costs.

7. Baltimore, Maryland
As the home to Johns Hopkins Hospital (a top 5 hospital in 10 different specialties), Mercy Medical Center and UM Medical Center, Baltimore gives its residents access to world-class health care. There are also plenty of opportunities for lifelong learning at nearby colleges and libraries.

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Low crime, affordable living and top-notch cultural institutions like the Pittsburgh Public Theater and the Andy Warhol Museum help this city snag its prime spot, the survey revealed.

9. Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland makes this list thanks in part to the its stellar health care options (the Cleveland Clinic is a top hospital for cardiology, urology, geriatrics, oncology and more) and offerings to keep the retired mind sharp (it has a plethora of quality libraries and cultural institutions like the Cleveland Orchestra and Playhouse Square, a well-regarded theater district).

10. Salt Lake City, Utah
Residents of this city are some of the most physically healthy in the nation, the survey revealed — with low levels of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Plus, they have high levels of civic involvement and get ample opportunity for outdoor activities thanks to nearby national and state forests.

This article originally appeared on MarketWatch.com and is reprinted by permission from Marketwatch.com, ©2015 Dow Jones & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

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