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The 10 best states to grow old

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Even if you’ve heard that old rhyme, “Grow old along with me — the best is yet to be,” you may not have given much thought to just where you’ll want to do so. 

The folks at 24/7 Wall St. has very kindly given thought to it on your behalf, coming up with a list of the top 10 states in which to grow old. 

To determine how elder-friendly each state was, 24/7 Wall St. considered seniors’ median household income. 

It also looked at policies concerning accessibility and other elder-friendly measures. 

And education was considered, since it translates not only into job opportunities and higher incomes but serves as an indication of well-being. Another major factor was safety, since older people tend to be more vulnerable. 

See also: Here are the 25 best business jobs for 2015

What follows is 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 10 best states for aging.

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10. Massachusetts

Median household income for those over 65: $40,020 (15th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 29.2 percent (7th highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 34.1 percent (10th lowest)

Violent crime rate: 404.0 per 100,000 residents (16th highest) 

Elders in Massachusetts have the good fortune to live in a state with a very strong health care system. Just 0.5 percent of residents over 65 did not have health insurance; that’s one of the lowest rates in the country. The state also promotes policies that provide services to seniors and other groups that need them, and there’s a state directive requiring all public transportation land-use plans to incorporate features necessary to provide better access for people of all capabilities. Oh, yeah, and they have the Patriots! 

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9. Washington State

Median household income for those over 65: $42,287 (12th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 29.8 percent (5th highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 37.4 percent (17th highest)

Violent crime rate: 277.9 per 100,000 residents (21st lowest) 

If you want a place where services for the elderly are accessible, Washington State is your target. Seniors in Washington gave their accessibility to services a score of 8.9 out of 10, which is pretty good no matter how you look at it. Washingtonians are also highly educated and have good incomes, which helps to keep them healthy. (Plus there’s all that strong coffee in Seattle.)

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8. Connecticut

Median household income for those over 65: $44,240 (7th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 28.3 percent (11th highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 32.1 percent (2nd lowest)

Violent crime rate: 254.5 per 100,000 residents (15th lowest) 

Elderly residents of the Nutmeg State are well-educated, have high median incomes and good health — all things to be welcomed as one grows older. And with all those advantages, they can spend long retirement years (the third longest lifespan in the country) taking advantage of all the recreational activities they never had time for before they retired: everything from skiing to sailing to looking for antiques (that’s furniture older than they are, in case you were wondering).

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7. Colorado

Median household income for those over 65: $43,281 (10th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 34.1 percent (the highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 34.3 percent (14th lowest)

Violent crime rate: 291.2 per 100,000 residents (24th lowest) 

A high education rate among the state’s elderly and healthy incomes are just two of the characteristics of the Centennial State. And while it’s not guaranteed that you’ll live to be 100 if you move there, it’s a pretty safe place (unless you’re prone to skiing accidents, that is).

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6. Minnesota

Median household income for those over 65: $38,531 (18th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 24.3 percent (22nd highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 31.8 percent (the lowest)

Violent crime rate: 223.2 per 100,000 residents (9th lowest) 

The Land of 10,000 Lakes not only boasts great recreational opportunities, but its seniors have the third best access to services in the country — something that’s important as people age and need assistance. Yet senior Minnesotans seem to be pretty hale and hearty, with the lowest disability rate among elders in the country. They also have the second highest life expectancy at birth, according to 2011 figures. Beware of jokers, though; the state bird is the common loon, so your friends may tease you if you move there. 

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5. Virginia

Median household income for those over 65: $44,440 (5th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 28.0 percent (12th highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 33.9 percent (9th lowest)

Violent crime rate: 187.9 per 100,000 residents (3rd lowest) 

High household income keeps Virginia’s elders from lacking food or living in poverty, with less than 4 percent having trouble putting food on the table. It’s also safe, with a low violent crime rate, and has a well-educated elder population, so you shouldn’t get bored talking to your neighbors — unless maybe they’re politicians, and all you can do is listen.

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4. Vermont

Median household income for those over 65: $35,844 (20th lowest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 32.7 percent (2nd highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 34.2 percent (13th lowest)

Violent crime rate: 114.9 per 100,000 residents (the lowest) 

If you’ve always been worried about crime, you’ll be safe in Vermont, with the lowest violent crime rate in the country. Also, if you’re worried about a rise in sea level because of climate change, you can rest easy here; it’s the only state in New England that doesn’t border the Atlantic. (Of course that means no beaches, but with all that snow and skiing, do you care?) 

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3. Hawaii

Median household income for those over 65: $55,650 (the highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.0 percent (17th highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 35.6 percent (25th lowest)

Violent crime rate: 245.3 per 100,000 residents (13th lowest) 

Hawaii’s elderly make up almost 16 percent of the state’s overall population, probably because it’s just so inviting. It also has the highest income median in the country. The state has near-universal healthcare, a popular perk with anyone who has health issues, and something that may account for it having the longest life expectancy in the country. Besides, what’s not to like? Beaches everywhere, the ability to grow pineapples and coconuts in your own back yard, and the soothing sounds of the surf to lull you to sleep at night all add up to a very relaxing retirement. 

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2. New Hampshire

Median household income for those over 65: $42,406 (11th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 28.6 percent (10th highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 34.6 percent (16th lowest)

Violent crime rate: 199.6 per 100,000 residents (6th lowest)

Maybe you hadn’t thought of living with all New Hampshire’s snow, but the poverty rate of the state’s elderly is the second-lowest in the country at 5.6 percent. In addition, their healthy income rates meant that just 5 percent of its seniors, according to 2011 data, did not have access to healthy foods. That’s better than most of the states in the country. It also recognizes nano-breweries as separate entities from larger breweries, which may mean you’ll get more enjoyment out of that beer with dinner. 

Image credit: (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

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1. Utah

Median household income for those over 65: $44,384 (6th highest)

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.9 percent (3rd highest)

Percentage of 65+ with disability: 36.0 percent (24th highest)

Violent crime rate: 209.2 per 100,000 residents (8th lowest)

Utah actually has one of the lowest elderly populations in the country, but those there are highly educated and had healthy incomes after strong work histories (its motto is “Industry” and its nickname is the Beehive State, both of which may tell you something about its people). It’s also the 10th least densely populated state in the country, so there’s probably room if you’d like to move there.