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10 Best & Worst States for Retirement

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Choosing the best place to spend your retirement years can be difficult. There are so many factors to consider: cost of living, matching your desired lifestyle and closeness to family and friends.

There are lots of ways to slice and dice the data. In the past, we’ve looked at international places and offbeat, inexpensive places to spend post-work years.

Now we turn our attention to’s ranking of all 50 states. We’ve included the Top 10 and Bottom 10 in the rankings, which were based on several factors. They include taxes paid as a percentage of state income; cost of living based on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (the higher the score the more expensive the state); health care quality, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (the higher the score the better the health care); and the percentage of days the sun shines brightly.

Here is the countdown of the 10 worst retirement states, followed by those who rated highest:

10 Worst States for Retirement

Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Photo: AP)

10. Kentucky

Cost of Living: 90.9

Tax Burden: 9.5%

Health care Quality: 34.6

Possible Sunshine: 54.7%

 Baltimore Inner Harbor.

9. Maryland

Cost of Living: 116.5

Tax Burden: 10.6%

Health care Quality: 42.2

Possible Sunshine: 57%

 Tulsa, Oklahoma skyline.

8. Oklahoma

Cost of Living: 90.5

Tax Burden: 8.5%

Health care Quality: 34.6

Possible Sunshine: 61%

Mardi Gras in New Orleans. (Photo: AP) 

7. Louisiana

Cost of Living: 95.8

Tax Burden: 7.6%

Health care Quality: 35.2

Possible Sunshine: 64.3%

Montgomery, Alabama State Capitol. (Photo: AP) 

6. Alabama

Cost of Living: 93.4

Tax Burden: 8.3%

Health care Quality: 39.4

Possible Sunshine: 57.7%

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

5. Hawaii

Cost of Living: 158.1

Tax Burden: 9.6%

Health care Quality: 49.7

Possible Sunshine: 59.3%

Aerial view of Little Rock. (Photo: AP)

4. Arkansas

Cost of Living: 91.5

Tax Burden: 10.3%

Health care Quality: 36.5

Possible Sunshine: 65%

Valdez Harbor, Alaska.

3. Alaska

Cost of Living: 135.3

Tax Burden: 7%

Health care Quality: 38.1

Possible Sunshine: 37.7%

Charleston, West Virginia skyline.

2. West Virginia

Cost of Living: 97

Tax Burden: 9.7%

Health care Quality: 32.8

Possible Sunshine: 40%

Jets flying in formation past Lower Manhattan. (Photo: AP) 

1. New York

Cost of Living: 129.1

Tax Burden: 12.6%

Health care Quality: 46.1

Possible Sunshine: 50.8%

10 Best States for Retirement

Richmond skyline at night.

10. Virginia

Cost of Living: 96.4

Tax Burden: 9.2%

Health care Quality: 51.4

Possible Sunshine: 60.7%

Julien Dubuque's grave in Dubuque, Iowa.

9. Iowa

Cost of Living: 92.4

Tax Burden: 9.3%

Health care Quality: 60.7

Possible Sunshine: 60%

Great Big Idaho Potato Truck in Boise, Idaho.

8. Idaho

Cost of Living: 90.6

Tax Burden: 9.5%

Health care Quality: 46.4

Possible Sunshine: 64%

Fishing in a Montana river.

7. Montana

Cost of Living: 98.8

Tax Burden: 8.6%

Health care Quality: 48

Possible Sunshine: 58.8%

Omaha, Nebraska skyline.

6. Nebraska

Cost of Living: 90.2

Tax Burden: 9.4%

Health care Quality: 54.6

Possible Sunshine: 63.3%

A rider in the Tour de Wyoming. (Photo: AP)

5. Wyoming

Cost of Living: 97.2

Tax Burden: 6.9%

Health care Quality: 43.4

Possible Sunshine: 65.7%

Capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota (Photo: AP)

4. North Dakota

Cost of Living: 100.8

Tax Burden: 8.8%

Health care Quality: 56.8

Possible Sunshine: 58.7%

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. (Photo: AP)

3. Utah

Cost of Living: 92.6

Tax Burden: 9.4%

Health care Quality: 57.1

Possible Sunshine: 68%

Denver skyline.

2. Colorado

Cost of Living: 98.8

Tax Burden: 9%

Health care Quality: 55.2

Possible Sunshine: 72%


Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota

1. South Dakota

Cost of Living: 99.2

Tax Burden: 7.1%

Health care Quality: 54.2

Possible Sunshine: 63%

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