The worst cities in America for retirees

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When planning for retirement, you may find yourself hoping to save money and dreaming of a fresh start in an exciting new place.

However, moving to a different city can involve many unknowns: Does it suit you? Make friends? Can you bear it? what about the weather?

This analysis can help: WalletHub recently ranked 182 US cities based on their attractiveness to retirees. The site’s analysts based their recommendations on metrics across four broad categories: affordability, activities, healthcare and quality of life.

They assessed dozens of metrics, such as public transportation, crime rates, weather, and access to entertainment venues.

We focused on the bottom end of the arrangement. Here are the cities, listed from bad to worst, that WalletHub found to be the least retired-friendly.

See if you agree that these are indeed the worst places to retire.

Arlington, Texas

Arlington, Texas
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overall rank: No. 173 out of 182 cities

Arlington scored poorly, particularly in the Activities category. For quite a few people, retirement is all about fishing, and WalletHub finds quite a few fishing opportunities in Arlington, making it the third worst city out of 182 based on the number of its fishing facilities per capita.

However, there is a lot for sports fans. Arlington is the home of the MLB’s Texas Rangers, with home games at Globe Life Field. The city is also home to AT&T Stadium, where the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys play their home games.

Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
Sorbis /

overall rank: No. 174 out of 182 cities

Jersey City’s low Affordability Rating (#176) helps deteriorate the city’s overall ranking.

The city prides itself on having one of the most culturally diverse residents in the country.


Detroit, Michigan
Susan Montgomery /

overall rank: No. 175 out of 182 cities

Motor City is taking a big hit here, in part because such a small percentage of its workers are 65 or older. In fact, based on this specific metric, WalletHub ranked Detroit the worst out of all 182 cities included in the analysis.

This measure, and Detroit’s low ranking in the Quality of Life category (#177) helps the city to rank 175 overall.

Vancouver, Washington

Mount Hood in Vancouver, Washington
Rigucci /

overall rank: No. 176 out of 182 cities

This Washington city’s location – across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon – can be great for commuters. But is Vancouver a favorite place for retirees? WalletHub says, no.

Clark County, which includes Vancouver, defends its affordability compared to other large cities in the area, such as Portland and Seattle. But WalletHub sees it differently, giving Vancouver particularly poor marks for affordability, ranking #177 in that category.

Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas
Sean Pavone /

overall rank: No. 177 out of 182 cities

Wichita is more affordable than Vancouver, Washington. But WalletHub still lags behind its rating for local quality of life for retirees, ranking Wichita #178 in this category.

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Tim Gray /

overall rank: No. 178 out of 182 cities

Rancho Cucamonga, located east of Los Angeles, ranked fifth from the bottom of the list of 182 cities, ranked low in part because of (lack of) its activities.

WalletHub finds a few amenities here for retirees. The “activities” in this study include such things as fishing, golf, museums, book clubs, art galleries, senior centers, music, bingo, and opportunities for adult volunteers.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington
John Billos /

overall rank: No. 179 out of 182 cities

Spokane County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The population increased by 14.5% between 2010 and 2020, KREM2 TV reports, citing the US Census Bureau.

This study found that affordability in Spokane specifically isn’t great, and Spokane fails to convince WalletHub analysts about the quality of life, health care, and retiree activities. The city did not come close to ranking in the top 100 in any of these four categories.

3. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut
Wendell Guy /

overall rank: No. 180 out of 182 cities

The median home value in Bridgeport is rising rapidly, which helps the city score low in terms of affordability. As of this writing, Zillow has estimated the price of the typical home at more than $281,000 — 28.7% more than a year ago.

Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey
EQRoy /

overall rank: No. 181 out of 182 cities

The most populous city in New Jersey earns particularly poor marks for affordability and quality of life, coming in at 171 out of 182 in both categories.

That’s not all: WalletHub also scrutinizes the Newark Healthcare (No. 102) rating. Only for city activities, this study ranked Newark as simple average.

San Bernardino, California

Downtown San Bernardino, California
Matt Gosh /

overall rank: No. 182 out of 182 cities

How is it in the worst city for retirees?

Affordability is not horrible in San Bernardino. In fact, the cost of living is low in San Bernardino – compared to the rest of Southern California, that is. Compared to the national average, the cost of living is 18% higher.

However, San Bernardino does particularly poorly in WalletHub’s three other categories: healthcare, quality of life, and retiree activities.

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