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10 Worst Places to Retire in the US


Retiring to a warm and sunny climate is the kind of thing most workers dream about. However, the financial feasibility of that dream can depend a lot on which sunny climate you choose.

Retiring to a warm and sunny climate is the kind of thing most workers dream about. However, the financial feasibility of that dream can depend a lot on which sunny climate you choose. recently evaluated 150 cities based on a variety of factors, including affordability, job outlook for people 65 and older, availability of recreational activities, accessibility of healthcare and quality of life. The latter category included a variety of criteria, such as weather, crime rates and air and water quality. All of the categories were given equal weight, with the exception of the jobs category, which had a lower impact on overall scores.

The winner? Tampa, FL. In fact, Florida in general was the winner. Half of the Top 10 cities were in the Sunshine State. California, meanwhile, didn’t fare so well. Its high cost of living and difficult job markets drove the Golden State’s cities toward the bottom half of the list.

So who came out at the bottom? Below are the worst 10 US cities in which to retire, according to WalletHub.

Affordability Rank: 124

Jobs Rank: 132

Activities Rank: 133

Quality of Life Rank: 88

Healthcare Rank: 50

Jersey City, sometimes known as New York’s sixth borough, earned decent marks for quality of life and healthcare availability. However, the survey found Jersey City lacking when it came to jobs and activities. And while the cost of living is cheaper than the city’s neighbor across the Hudson River, the average cost of a home in Jersey City is still $279,500, according to Trulia. Photo by Dan DeLuca (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Affordability Rank: 103

Jobs Rank: 106

Activities Rank: 71

Quality of Life Rank: 131

Healthcare Rank: 142

Baltimore ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to availability of activities, but the city is in the bottom-third in the remaining indicators. The city’s quality of life suffers in a number of categories. Baltimore has the third-highest violent crime rate among major US cities. It also scored poorly for air quality. A 2013 study found Baltimore had the highest emissions-related fatality rate of any US city.

Affordability Rank: 109

Jobs Rank: 78

Activities Rank: 139

Quality of Life Rank: 77

Healthcare Rank: 134

The Central Valley city is no stranger to Quality of Life surveys like the study. Fresno has high unemployment and poverty rates, and lags behind the rest of the state in areas such as physicians and surgeons per 100,000 people. However, let it not be said that Fresno isn’t self-aware. A business group and public television station joined forces this year to launch the Fresno Community Scorecard, a publicly available database of a variety of data about the city and its residents. Photo by Ron Reiring (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Affordability Rank: 99

Jobs Rank: 83

Activities Rank: 136

Quality of Life Rank: 113

Healthcare Rank: 127

Worcester, located about 40 miles west of Boston, earned its highest scores in the jobs category, and lowest scores for recreational activities. About 11.7% of the city’s residents were 65 or older in 2010. That’s less than the state and national averages, but it’s actually a higher rate than the number-one city on the retirement cities list, Tampa, FL. Photo by Leonardo DaSilva (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Affordability Rank: 111

Jobs Rank: 97

Activities Rank: 141

Quality of Life Rank: 83

Healthcare Rank: 126

Stockton has the distinction of being the worst place in California to retire, according to WalletHub. Don’t blame it on the weather, though. WalletHub lists the city as having the 11th most mild weather in the US. The local economy, however, is another story. The city declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2012. That same year, an estimated 23.3 percent of residents were living in poverty.

Affordability Rank: 119

Jobs Rank: 131

Activities Rank: 90

Quality of Life Rank: 146

Healthcare Rank: 96

Chicago may be the third-largest city in the US, but that doesn’t make it an ideal place to retire, according to WalletHub’s metrics. The city scored relatively well in healthcare and activities, but it’s in the lowest echelons when it comes to affordability, jobs and quality of life. The latter earned Chicago 4th place in Forbes’ 2013 America’s Most Miserable Cities ranking.

Affordability Rank: 134

Jobs Rank: 141

Activities Rank: 130

Quality of Life Rank: 36

Healthcare Rank: 143

New York is something of an anomaly, in that it scores poorly in four out of five categories and still has a high quality of life ranking. However, retirees who choose to spend their golden years in the city that never sleeps need to be prepared to shell out plenty of cash. According to Rent Jungle, the average rent of an apartment within 10 miles of New York City was more than $2,900.

Affordability Rank: 123

Jobs Rank: 136

Activities Rank: 97

Quality of Life Rank: 84

Healthcare Rank: 148

The City of Brotherly Love is a popular tourist destination, but it’s not the best place for a retirement home, according to Wallet Hub. However, the city does score well in one area: It’s got the fourth-most recreation and senior centers per capita, according to Wallet Hub.

Affordability Rank: 112

Jobs Rank: 146

Activities Rank: 122

Quality of Life Rank: 142

Healthcare Rank: 89

New Jersey’s largest city has something of a reputation as a struggling city. The city is home to an NHL team and just a short train ride away from Manhattan, but its economic woes have been persistent. The city had a 10.6% unemployment rate in June, a number that’s far higher than the national average, though it’s down significantly from 2012.

Affordability Rank: 117

Jobs Rank: 139

Activities Rank: 116

Quality of Life Rank: 138

Healthcare Rank: 117

Providence comes in dead last in the WalletHub survey, scoring its lowest marks for jobs and quality of life. This isn’t the first time Providence has found itself at the bottom of a WalletHub list. The city came in second-to-last when the website ranked cities by weather.

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