2 Alaska / Harshest climate in U.S., high cost of living, low percentage of retirees
4 Illinois / High property taxes and unemployment
5 Massachusetts / Slow growth of senior population, expensive cost of living, high property taxes
6 Ohio / Sluggish growth in senior population, low life expectancy, mediocre scores in other areas
6 New York / Soaring property taxes and cost of living, slow growth of senior population
1 Hawaii / Good climate, long life expectancy
2 Idaho / Low crime rate, good economy, fast-growing senior population
3 Utah / Strong economic factors, booming senior population
4 Arizona / Warm weather, long life expectancy
5 Virginia / Low crime rate, positive scores across the board
Ohio is one of the worst states in the nation to retire, according to a new study, based on crime rate, climate, life expectancy, the growth of its senior population and other factors.
Ohio is tied with New York for sixth place on MoneyRates.com’s list of worst states to retire. The study also factored in cost of living, the level of tax burden and unemployment.
Ohio might not have the retirement appeal of Hawaii. But retirement decisions are deeply personal, and what matters to one retiree is irrelevant to another.
“We did this study based purely on quantifiable things, but we understand that a retirement decision is centered on quality of life things, and those are subjective and not measurable,” said Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst with MoneyRates, a consumer financial information website. ”Obviously, nobody should retire to a state just because we said so, but we want to raise some issues that people might not think of on their own.”
Compared to some other states, Ohio has decent economic conditions, Barrington said. Ohio’s unemployment rate at 7 percent is lower than the national rate of 7.9 percent. The state’s tax burden in fiscal year 2010 was at the best level in 16 years, and Ohio ranked 20th in the nation for its burden, according to the most recent data from the Tax Foundation. Ohio’s cost of living is lower than the national average, and the state’s weather is only slightly worse than average.
But Barrington said Ohio ranked poorly as a place to retire because it has a high rate of property crime. Residents who are 65 years old have a shorter life expectancy than their counterparts in other states. Ohio’s 65 and older population is 14 percent statewide and growing much slower than it is across the country. Senior citizens are not moving to Ohio in the numbers that are moving to many other states.
The worst states to retire include Michigan (no. 1) and Pennsylvania and Alaska (tied for no. 2), according to MoneyRates. Michigan is very cold and its economy remains troubled. Pennsylvania’s senior population is growing very slowly, and economic factors dragged it down. Alaska has the harshest climate and a high cost of living.
The best states to retire are Hawaii (no. 1), Idaho (no. 2) and Utah (no 3). Seniors in Hawaii live longer than in any other state, and the climate is nearly ideal. Idaho has a strong economy, low crime rate and its senior population is soaring. Utah has a strong economy and booming senior population.
Barrington said the study only considered measurable factors, and it is only meant to serve as a guide for retirees.
Other important factors to consider is whether a retiree wants to live near family members. Hobbies, such as golf or hiking, are important to some retirees, while others want certain types of recreation, such as a vibrant performing arts community. Some retirees enjoy cold weather. And a state’s economic conditions might not matter to retirees whose spouses are not going to continue to work. Cost of living is an important consideration, but it may be less important to retirees with solid savings and strong portfolios.
Many people choose to retire in Ohio, and experts said there is no perfect state, because they all have downsides.