Retirement is a topic that nobody wants to consider, yet everyone has to deal with it in one way or another, eventually. With modern healthcare allowing humans to live much longer than they did in the past, it’s a fact that many people will eventually have to stop working for a living. 

There are many factors to take into consideration when planning for retirement, and location is merely one of the factors worthy of examining.

Relocating Due to Cost of Living

While many people are deeply attached to the place where they live and work, given that many people stay in one place for the majority of their lives, once retirement hits, it’s often a different story. Americans are increasingly relocating for retirement, and it’s understandable why.

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The cost of living in many major cities in America makes living in them during retirement completely unrealistic. With the exception of the independently wealthy, many senior citizens are being forced to consider moving after their retirement in order to stretch their retirement savings further, if they have any. 

Popular Cities for Retirement

There are some cities and states that are very popular for senior citizens to relocate to, for a variety of reasons. Florida continues to be one of the most popular destinations for seniors to retire, but it isn’t the only location.

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Increasingly, states like Ohio, Texas, and – most recently – Arizona are becoming more popular for senior citizens to retire to. This is due, in part, due to lower cost of living, an abundance of recreation activities, and access to excellent healthcare. 

Conservative States Leading the Charge

It’s perhaps unsurprising that many of the states that are popular for seniors to retire to are conservative, Republican-led states. There is a significant pattern of individuals becoming more conservative as they age, and many people want to live in states that have similar political beliefs as they do.

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These states have also boasted over their lower costs of living for the last several years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a mass exodus of citizens from more expensive states like California, and they relocated to states with significantly lower costs of living like Texas. 

A Surprising Retirement City

These factors shed some light on senior citizens’ decisions regarding their final home in retirement. And one city has risen to the top of desirable retirement places, though it might not be what you would first think of.

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Scottsdale, Arizona, came out on top as the most popular and desirable city to retire in, according to’s latest rankings on retirement cities. The website considered various factors when making its determination, including crime rates, housing costs, diversity, and demographics. 

Located North of Phoenix

Scottsdale is located just northeast of Phoenix, and is a part of Maricopa county. It draws visitors year-round with its stunning desert landscapes and luxe retreats, but it is far from the image that many have of an ideal retirement destination.

Source: Wikimedia/InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA

In spite of perception, Scottsdale has plenty to provide its 240,000 full-time residents. Of those residents, over 25% of the population are seniors. This is wonderful news for newcomers, because it encourages an active social life for those in their twilight years. 

Crime Lower than the National Average

In the crimes and safety section, Scottsdale scored a B-, but the city’s crime rate is lower than the national average, and is continuing to fall.

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This is in line with a pattern that is being seen across the country. In spite of Republican rhetoric claiming that crime in America is worse than it’s ever been, data shows that rates of violent crime are actually lower than they have been in recent years. Additionally, new policies being implemented in states across the country are helping to push that number down even lower, and Scottsdale is no exception to this pattern. 

Excelling in Weather and Amenities

Scottsdale also excelled in the weather category, scoring a perfect A+. The website also considered urban amenities such as dining and sports facilities when ranking retirement communities, looking at the various ways that senior citizens could spend their time.

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In those categories, too, Scottsdale excelled. The city offers a variety of dining options, coffee shops, parks, and golf courses for the delight of its residents, as well as any visitors that might come looking for a weekend away. 

Considering Healthcare

One of the most important factors up for consideration, though, is healthcare. This is understandable, given that senior citizens have specific needs regarding their healthcare, and living somewhere that provides enough options for different specialties is important in this more fragile stage of life.

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In the health and fitness category on the list, Scottsdale excelled. Overall, the city ranked 30th when considering healthy cities in America, out of more than 200 destinations. 

Beautiful Outdoor Options

The city also has the highest concentration of spas per capita. This, in addition to the many hiking trails, endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and excellent healthcare facilities, creates an environment that is not only lovely to look at for residents, but also lovely to be in.

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Of course, though, there are always downsides when considering where to live. For all the benefits that Scottsdale offers to residents who are looking for their final home, there are also some significant costs to consider. 

A Higher Cost of Living

In the case of Scottsdale, the costs are actually costs. Financial costs. Unfortunately for seniors, Scottsdale’s housing and cost of living remain high, due to high inflation and other economic factors that are out of anyone’s control.

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This is the category where Scottsdale scored the lowest on the Niche list, earning grades of C+ and C-, respectively. According to Zillow, the list price for homes in Scottsdale is $807,104, which is more than twice the national average. 

Expensive Across the Country

This is an unfortunate trend that is seen in many popular retirement cities across the country. Florida is ranked as the 15th most expensive state to live in, and even small towns like St. George, Utah, are feeling the squeeze despite their popularity for senior citizens and retirement.

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In Scottsdale, the news is not good for senior citizens. The cost of living is 13% higher than the national average, and is 6.2% higher than the state of Arizona as a whole. The higher cost of living means that no matter the other benefits that seniors might gain from choosing Scottsdale, they could still choose somewhere else that’s slightly more affordable.

New Cities Coming Every Year

Fortunately for seniors, though Scottsdale is currently ranked the best city on the Niche list, the list updates every year. New data comes through to reevaluate the rankings, and while Scottsdale is the current champion, that could very well change with new data next year. 

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Currently, Clearwater, Florida is the second city on the list, and Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana, was third. There are plenty of options when considering where to retire, and choosing the best is an incredibly personal choice that requires some introspection and a good, honest look at lifestyle and finances. 

Considering Retirement with Compassion

Retirement is an important part of life, and one that shouldn’t be brushed aside simply because senior citizens have fewer years of their life left to live. Seniors should still enjoy life, and be treated with compassion and respect by those younger than them.

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While the challenges of retirement cannot be understated, there is also a certain relief in knowing that you’ll never have to work again, if you don’t want to. Seniors simply have to be careful about their ultimate retirement location. It might be Scottsdale, Arizona, or it could be any one of the hundreds of cities across the country that have their arms open and welcome for their newest senior resident.