Las Vegas and Honolulu Among Best Cities To Retire in 2022 — What Were the Worst?

Mature couple sightseeing in downtown las vegas streets stock photo
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If you wonder where to settle down after retirement, think warm and sunny. More than half of the Top 10 best cities to retire in 2022 are located in hot spots (literally), according to a new report from WalletHub. Four are in Florida, while one is in the Arizona desert and the other is along the South Carolina coast.

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WalletHub ranked more than 180 U.S. cities across 46 key metrics, ranging from the cost of living to taxes and health infrastructure. The list includes the 150 most populated U.S. cities along with at least two of the most populated cities in each state. The four main ranking categories were affordability, access to activities, quality of life and healthcare.

Charleston, South Carolina came in at No. 1 with an overall score of 58.97, while Bridgeport, Connecticut brought up the rear at No. 182 with a score of 37.21

Retire Comfortably

It’s perhaps not surprising that many of the top retirement cities are located in warm, sunny climates. That’s been the trend for decades now — not just because weather is an important consideration for retirees, but also because Sunbelt states are often less expensive than those in other parts of the country.

But not all of the top cities are located in warm climates. The Top 20 also includes several locations where weather can get downright frigid, including Salt Lake City, Utah; Casper, Wyoming; Minneapolis; Denver; and Boise, Idaho.

Here’s a quick look at some of the best cities to retire in, as well as some of the worst.

Move There Now

If you don’t live in one of these cities and have already retired, you might want to make the leap:

  • Charleston, South Carolina: This city along the Atlantic coast is well-known from its historic charm and first-rate culinary scene. It ranked in the top half for all four categories, and did especially well in terms of activities and affordability.
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida: The popular vacation destination located just north of Miami ranked fifth overall on the list, mainly because of a high score in activities. On the downside, it ranked in the lower half for affordability.
  • Las Vegas: Sure, Vegas is best known for its casinos along the Strip (which explains why it ranked No. 9 in activities). However, it’s also surprisingly inexpensive, landing in the Top 30 for affordability.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: Okay, Honolulu is nobody’s idea of cheap — it ranked No. 165 out of 182 in affordability. But the stunning views, range of activities and quality of life put it at No. 20 overall on the list.
Retire Comfortably

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If You Live There, Stay

Some cities you just fall in love with and don’t really want to leave. Here are a few that rank high as retirement destinations.

  • San Francisco: You might have read about people leaving San Francisco for cheaper locales, but if you already live there, consider sticking around for retirement. The Golden Gate City ranked No. 7 overall on the WalletHub list, as strong scores in activities, healthcare and quality of life offset one of the lowest scores for affordability.
  • Wilmington, Delaware: Here’s a city that probably flies under the radar as a retirement destination, but people who live there know that there’s plenty to do in Wilmington, and it’s only a short drive away from Philadelphia. It also boasts one of the highest healthcare scores on the list.
  • Minneapolis: The bigger half of the Twin Cities might not be a huge draw to people from warmer parts of the country, but there’s no reason for current residents to leave when they retire. Minneapolis ranks No. 12 overall on the list of Best Cities to Retire, helped by very high scores in activities and healthcare. Being home to the Mall of America and Mayo Clinic probably helps.

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Avoid at All Costs

If you value things like affordability and quality of life, then you’ll want to steer clear of these cities in retirement.

  • Bridgeport, Connecticut: Bridgeport is not only cold much of the year, but it also ranks close to last on the list in affordability, activities and qualify of life. Its one saving grace is a very high score in healthcare.
  • Detroit: The Motor City needs a major tune-up when it comes to retirement living. It ranks No. 177 on the list because of low scores across the board — including the second-to-last score in quality of life, likely because of its high crime rate.
  • Spokane, Washington: Fans of the Great Northwest might swear by the region’s scenery and open spaces, but many of its biggest cities rank in the lower half of retirement destinations (including Seattle, which ranks No. 97). Spokane’s overall ranking is No. 172 because of low scores in all four main categories, including No. 142 in quality of life.
Retire Comfortably

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Retire Comfortably

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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