Retirees, go west. In WalletHub’s annual list of best states for retirement, states west of the Mississippi had a better showing this year.

WalletHub rated states based on 24 metrics in three key areas: affordability, quality of life and health care. Data was pulled from various sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and WalletHub’s own research.

Affordability was the primary determinant in judging a state’s friendliness to retirees, particularly cost of living. Taxes on pension and Social Security income, and WalletHub’s own Taxpayer ranking, as well as the annual cost of in-home services, were also considered.

However, affordability isn’t the only factor that goes into that decision. Proximity to friends and family, geography and climate, availability and access to health services, local and regional culture, crime statistics, recreation and leisure opportunities, tax burden, and political climate and employment prospects are all critical factors in choosing where to live after retirees stop working, according to Steven Applewhite, professor emeritus in the Graduate College of Social Work at University of Houston.

And while Olivia Mitchell, director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research in the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, said many people fail to take into account their new state’s income tax rate and tax base, or whether their pension or Social Security income will be taxed, Scott Baker warned that just looking at retirees’ future tax burdens isn’t enough. “Differences in lifestyle and living expenses could easily swamp the financial benefits of a zero percent state income tax rate,” Baker, the assistant professor of finance in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said in the report.

Retirees should also question whether they want to move at all. “Many retirees today may choose not to settle elsewhere upon retirement but rather to ‘age in place,’ meaning they will remain in their homes as they enter their later years,” Applewhite said in the report.

Here are the 15 best states for retirees, as rated by WalletHub.

 San Francisco

15. California

  • Total Score: 59.01
  • Affordability Rank: 41
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 8
  • Quality of Life Rank: 1
  • Health Care Rank: 13

Missouri

14. Missouri

  • Total Score: 59.07
  • Affordability Rank: 23
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 30
  • Quality of Life Rank: 20
  • Health Care Rank: 22

Des Moines

13. Iowa

  • Total Score: 59.86
  • Affordability Rank: 29
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 43
  • Quality of Life Rank: 19
  • Health Care Rank: 8

Philadelphia

12. Pennsylvania

  • Total Score: 60.41
  • Affordability Rank: 22
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 39
  • Quality of Life Rank: 5
  • Health Care Rank: 32

 Arizona

11. Arizona

  • Total Score: 61.01
  • Affordability Rank: 19
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 15
  • Quality of Life Rank: 13
  • Health Care Rank: 19

Chesepeake, Virginia

10. Virginia

  • Total Score: 61.06
  • Affordability Rank: 15
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 28
  • Quality of Life Rank: 14
  • Health Care Rank: 31

 Nevada

9. Nevada

  • Total Score: 61.19
  • Affordability Rank: 8
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 5
  • Quality of Life Rank: 12
  • Health Care Rank: 43

Montana

8. Montana

  • Total Score: 61.39
  • Affordability Rank: 21
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 3
  • Quality of Life Rank: 22
  • Health Care Rank: 10

Texas

7. Texas

  • Total Score: 61.85
  • Affordability Rank: 9
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 29
  • Quality of Life Rank: 16
  • Health Care Rank: 40

Idaho

6. Idaho

  • Total Score: 62.19
  • Affordability Rank: 10
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 7
  • Quality of Life Rank: 32
  • Health Care Rank: 29

 Colorado

5. Colorado

  • Total Score: 62.23
  • Affordability Rank: 27
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 12
  • Quality of Life Rank: 6
  • Health Care Rank: 11

 Charleston, South Carolina

4. South Carolina

  • Total Score: 62.5
  • Affordability Rank: 6
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 9
  • Quality of Life Rank: 26
  • Health Care Rank: 34

 South Dakota

3. South Dakota

  • Total Score: 66.62
  • Affordability Rank: 14
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 16
  • Quality of Life Rank: 29
  • Health Care Rank: 1

Wyoming

2. Wyoming

  • Total Score: 67.09
  • Affordability Rank: 1
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 4
  • Quality of Life Rank: 28
  • Health Care Rank: 16

Florida

1. Florida

  • Total Score: 70.75
  • Affordability Rank: 2
  • WalletHub Taxpayer Rank: 10
  • Quality of Life Rank: 3
  • Health Care Rank: 15

See also:

10 best and worst states for military retirees

These are the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees

3 tips for retiring out of state

 

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