Needless to say, people are made happy by a wide range of factors, and what suits one will not suit another. 

But Kiplinger took a look at all 50 states to see which ones might afford retirees happiness once they’ve left the daily grind for good, using among other sources, components of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being index.

The slides that follow show its top 10. (All photos: Shutterstock)

10. Burlington, Vermont.

Well-being score: 63.0 (U.S.: 61.8) │ City population: 42,453 │ Share of population 65+: 10.7 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 16.4 percent above the national average │ Average income for population 65+: n/a │State’s tax rating for retirees: Least Tax Friendly

You could be happy here, but it’ll cost you—taxes and the cost of living are both high, as is nursing home care.

9. Charleston, South Carolina.

Well-being score: 63.1 │ City population: 120,903 │ Share of population 65+: 12.0 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 2.1 percent above the national average │ Average income for population 65+: $45,574 │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Tax Friendly

If you’re into history, you’ll likely find a lot to like in this city with the oldest community-based historic preservation group in the country.

8. Provo, Utah.

Well-being score: 63.2 │ City population: 116,199 │ Share of population 65+: 6.0 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 1.7 percent below the national average │ Average income for population 65+: n/a │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Least Tax Friendly

If you’re active, you could find Provo to be just what you’re looking for—there’s plenty to do, both indoors and out, and there are also plenty of health care facilities for the less physically fit.

7. Richland, Washington.

Well-being score: 63.6 │ City population: 53,991 │ Share of population 65+: 15.5 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 1.7 percent below the national average │ Average income for population 65+: $70,059 │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Tax Friendly

Whether your pleasure is wineries or exploring the great outdoors, you could find retirement bliss here.

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6. Cape Coral, Florida.

Well-being score: 63.6 │ City population: 173,679 │ Share of population 65+: 21.9 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 2.4 percent below the national average │ Average income for population 65+: $42,123 │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Most Tax Friendly

Lovers of water sports and other outdoor forms of recreation will find plenty to love in and around Cape Coral, with access to more than 400 miles of canals on which to float away the days.

5. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Well-being score: 63.6 │ Metro population: 550,281 (Durham: 257,170) │ Share of population 65+: 13.6 percent (Durham: 10.8 percent)

Cost of living for retirees: 10.5 percent below the national average │ Average income for population 65+: $63,046 (Durham:$59,567) │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Not Tax Friendly

There’s plenty for the sports lover and culture aficionado here, as well as access to quality health care. But be warned; violent crime is higher here than you might like.

4. Carlsbad, California.

Well-being score: 63.8* │ City population: 113,147 │ Share of population 65+: 16.0 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 40.6 percent above the national average │ Average income for population 65+: $70,348 │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Mixed

*Data for San Diego-Carlsbad metropolitan statistical area.

It’ll cost you, but the beautiful setting in Carlsbad—including retirement communities with ocean views, moderate temperatures and plenty of activities, both cultural indoor offerings and outdoor options will give you plenty of options for retirement nirvana.

3. Portland, Maine.

Well-being score: 63.9 │ City population: 66,715│ Share of population 65+: 13.7 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 17.1 percent above the national average │ Average income for population 65+: $44,769 │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Mixed

Beaches, shopping, restaurants, museums and theaters could fill your retirement days with plenty of activities to keep mind and body active.

2. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Well-being score: 64.4 │ City population: 119,303 │ Share of population 65+: 11.3 percent

Cost of living for retirees: n/a │ Average income for population 65+: $82,971 │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Not Tax Friendly

Home not only to the University of Michigan but also the university’s Geriatrics Center & Institute of Gerontology, Ann Arbor can keep you both physically and mentally healthy—and there’s public transportation for those who’d rather leave the driving to someone else.

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1. Charlottesville, Virginia.

Well-being score: 65.0 │ City population: 46,487 │ Share of population 65+: 10.4 percent

Cost of living for retirees: 0.2 percent below the national average │ Average income for population 65+: n/a │ State’s tax rating for retirees: Tax Friendly

Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville offers proximity to the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park—as well as access to the University of Virginia and an artistic downtown promenade.

(Related: Quiz: How Well Do You Know Social Security?)

Despite the bleak pictures being painted in the headlines over people’s relative financial preparedness (or lack thereof) for retirement, the goal at the end of one’s career or working life is generally expected to be something people look forward to with anticipation. A time of happiness, if you will.

With that end in mind, Kiplinger took a look at all 50 states to see which ones might afford retirees happiness once they’ve left the daily grind for good.

Kiplinger reviewed places that would make retirees happier, including “community” and “physical” components of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. The Index “is based specifically on residents’ feelings about five elements of well-being: ‘purpose’ (liking what you do and being motivated to achieve goals), ‘social’ (having supportive relationships and love), ‘financial’ (managing your budget to feel secure), ‘community’ (liking where you live) and ‘physical’ (being in good health). The higher the score,” Kiplinger points out, “on a scale of 0 to 100, the happier residents indicate they are about where and how they are living their lives.”

It also included, where available, such day-to-day necessities as living costs, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for retirement-age residents and the availability of recreational and health care facilities.

Check out the slideshow above and you’ll find the 10 cities Kiplinger chose as having the highest overall score on the Index. Have a look and see if you think you could be happy in any of them.

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