It may be hard to believe, but one state has seven locations in the top 10 on the 2024 U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Places to Retire Ranking. Nope, it’s not Florida.
Drum roll, please! It’s … Pennsylvania! Harrisburg is No. 1 because of its scores on healthcare for seniors, retiree tax rates and overall happiness of its residents. Reading was No. 2. Lancaster, which was No. 1 last year, fell to No. 3. Scranton is No. 4, and Allentown, No. 5. York ranks No. 7 and Pittsburgh, No. 10.
The only Florida location in the top 10 this year is Daytona Beach, at No. 8. New York City came in sixth and Youngstown, Ohio, came ninth.
What happened? For 2023, four Florida locations — Pensacola, Tampa, Naples and Daytona Beach — were in the top 10, and Sarasota was No. 11. On the list released in 2021 for 2022, Florida dominated the top 10.
“Over the last year, Americans have observed record-high interest rates in the housing market, steadily increasing cost of goods and extreme weather patterns impacting the living conditions of our nation,” says Beverly Harzog, personal finance expert at U.S. News, in a press release.
“As retirees consider where to spend their golden years, they want areas that not only give them the best bang for their buck, but places where they can live a happy, healthy life,” she continued. “This is why Pennsylvania dominated the Best Places to Retire ranking’s top positions, taking seven of the top 10 spots on the list.”
Florida did have six places on the 2024 list ranking in the top 25. U.S. News evaluated 150 of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas.
What was the criteria?
Affordability was the most heavily weighted of the six factors in the 2024 Best Places to Retire methodology, which also includes happiness, healthcare quality, retiree taxes, desirability and job market ratings.
Desirability was expanded beyond a survey of whether people want to retire to particular metro areas and now includes weather temperateness, which evaluates the number of days annually with moderate temperatures and minimal precipitation. It also includes an establishment-to-population ratio, which assesses the number of restaurants, bars and activities per 1,000 residents.
The Affordability Index — which previously focused solely on housing affordability — now factors in price parity, a Bureau of Economic Analysis data point on the general cost of goods within an area.
To see the full rankings, click here.