The best — and worst — states to retire

Author: Rachel Layne, CBS Moneywatch
Published: Updated:

South Dakota probably isn’t the first state that springs to mind when Americans look for places to retire.

Yet in new rankings from, the Mount Rushmore state tops the list, in part because it came in first in the category of overall well-being.

Bankrate weighed seven categories: cost of living and taxes were each worth 20 percent of the total, health care quality and weather were 15 percent each, and crime, cultural vitality and well-being were 10 percent each.

Satisfaction with overall living conditions was enough to outweigh South Dakota’s less-than-ideal weather, which unsurprisingly ranked 38th, analyst Taylor Tepper said in a statement.

South Dakota also placed second in taxes, 10th in cultural vitality and 12th in health care quality. Weather was the only metric to hit the bottom rung of the ranking ladder.

These results ares something to consider as the U.S. population ages. By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65, making one of every five U.S. residents retirement age, according to figures from the U.S. Census.

“You need a sophisticated understanding of what will make you happy in retirement,” Tepper said. “Yes, South Dakotans enjoy a low tax burden, but they are also more satisfied with their lives than anyone else.”

New York was dead last, dragged down by its low ratings in three categories: cost of living at 50th, taxes at 49th and health care quality at 41st.

Rounding out the top five were Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire and Florida, which ranked second in weather. (Hawaii was first in that category, and 11th overall.)

In addition to New York, the bottom five states included New Mexico, Maryland, Louisiana and Arkansas. compiled its list using data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, The Council for Community and Economic Research, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gallup-Sharecare, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tax Foundation, University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Western States Arts Federation.

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