These 5 States Are Home to the Richest Retirees, Study Finds

Wealthier retirees are living in these states.

Your retirement is an important time in your life, finally providing you with the time to do so many of the things you probably put off because of your career. However, without the necessary income, you might not be able to spend your golden years the way you had hoped.

And, according to a recent study by GOBankingRates, income levels for the average retiree can be very different depending on which state they call home.

The study examined the average retirement and Social Security income in each of the 50 states. GOBankingRates also include the average rates of those 65 and older moving into the state and out of it to see if there were any correlations.

The five states with the richest retirees are:

  1. Maryland
  2. California
  3. Virginia
  4. Alaska
  5. Colorado

Find Out: How Much You Need to Survive Retirement in Your State

The study reveals some interesting trends about where the lowest and highest levels of retirement income are found. For instance, there appears to be a clear trend that the states with the lowest average retirement income are less likely to feature especially crowded urban areas. Of the 10 states that have the poorest retirees, on average, very few come from states that have large cities. Only four of the country’s 50 largest cities can be located in one of the 10 states with the lowest average income for retirees, with Indianapolis as the lone outlier.

Likewise, many of the states with the richest retirees are home to most of the country’s largest metro areas by population. The states in the study’s top 10 feature 14 of the largest 50 cities  an average of more than one per state  and include five of the 10 largest cities in the country. However, that wasn’t an entirely consistent correlation as Alaska, the least-densely populated state in the country by far, and Nevada, the eighth-least densely populated state, are both among the 10 richest states for retirees.


It’s also notable that the states with the largest inflows and outflows of retirees don’t seem to be affected much by the relative income level of retirees in those states.

Vermont and Arkansas, for instance, are both among the states with the 10 lowest average income levels for their retirees, but they had the second- and third-highest rates for retirees moving into the state over moving out. And the 10 states that have the highest net outflows of those 65 and over include several of those states with the highest average incomes, including four of the 10 states with the highest average retirement incomes.

Here’s the complete list of how the income levels for each state’s retirees stack up:


StateMean Retirement IncomeMean Social Security IncomeInbound Migration, 65 and olderOutbound Migration, 65 and older
50Indiana$18,119$16,081 12.83%12.24%
49West Virginia$18,159$16,533 8.33%12.77%
48Arkansas$19,576$16,751 26.51%1.47%
47Iowa$19,880$16,900 9.35%12.71%
46Nebraska$20,717$16,965 2.08%10.47%
45Mississippi$20,762$17,022 18.46%12.00%
44North Dakota$20,764$17,124 0%23.53%
43South Dakota$20,835$17,333 14.71%7.41%
42Kansas$20,840$17,391 9.00%10.81%
41Vermont$21,098$17,402 28.57%0%
40Pennsylvania$21,119$17,463 17.73%11.31%
39Tennessee$21,119$17,542 9.88%18.18%
38Oklahoma$21,161$17,544 8.51%5.63%
37Wisconsin$21,438$17,579 11.79%16.56%
36Missouri$21,439$17,701 10.98%10.00%
35Kentucky$21,471$17,741 9.49%19.21%
34Idaho$21,879$17,823 25.33%13.21%
33Maine$22,059$17,879 29.55%21.36%
32Louisiana$22,143$17,899 7.77%7.96%
31Michigan$22,219$17,901 11.61%22.74%
30North Carolina$22,375$17,939 21.06%13.23%
29Montana$22,520$17,977 21.00%14.71%
28Alabama$22,788$17,987 14.44%5.83%
27Minnesota$23,049$18,038 9.24%20.97%
26Ohio$23,103$18,078 8.66%19.20%
25Wyoming$23,352$18,134 28.57%10.34%
24South Carolina$23,438$18,313 33.42%9.33%
23New Hampshire$24,173$18,341 18.92%20.00%
22Texas$24,396$18,381 10.57%12.67%
21Georgia$24,944$18,411 10.24%12.28%
20Arizona$25,197$18,418 32.63%11.60%
19Washington$25,251$18,437 15.96%17.53%
18Oregon$25,457$18,501 15.09%20.12%
17Rhode Island$25,711$18,526 3.45%28.57%
16Utah$25,790$18,528 18.18%8.87%
15Florida$26,105$18,529 37.95%8.25%
14Massachusetts$26,481$18,649 12.44%20.62%
13New York$26,543$18,731 7.10%25.29%
12Delaware$26,617$18,737 26.79%11.11%
11New Mexico$26,946$18,786 26.12%21.51%
10Illinois$27,278$18,864 4.70%21.30%
9New Jersey$27,331$18,867 5.92%28.44%
8Nevada$27,549$18,885 33.97%21.54%
7Connecticut$28,095$18,920 8.84%24.20%
6Hawaii$28,661$19,108 NANA
5Colorado$28,748$19,240 12.43%14.70%
4Alaska$28,895$19,301 NANA
3Virginia$29,972$19,483 10.90%18.15%
2California$30,242$19,783 9.55%20.68%
1Maryland$32,199$19,849 7.80%21.43%

Click through to see the most (and least) tax-friendly states for retirees.

Methodology: The study took the average income and the average Social Security income for citizens 65 or older in all 50 states, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau. After scoring the results, the scores were combined to determine the final ranking. Inbound and outbound migration rates for people over the age of 65 (sourced from the 2017 United Movers Study) were included for informational purposes only and did not factor into the final rankings.