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May 18, 2020

Top destinations for retirees in 2020

  • Long Distance Moves

If you're approaching your golden years, you may have your mind set on retirement. While many people prefer to age in place, some others are excited to try out a different environment after they exit the workforce and downsize.

There are ample opportunities across the country for retirees who are looking to relocate in 2020 and the coming years. We've rounded up some of the most popular states and explored some less obvious retirement-friendly cities you might want to consider.

To give you a better sense of where retirees are headed overall, we'll take a look at some of the most popular states for people over 60 in terms of net migration. An analysis conducted by SmartAsset used 2018 data from the Census Bureau to determine which states saw the greatest total number of people in that age bracket moving in, once people moving out of state were subtracted.

Best states for retirees

The top two states might not surprise you.

Top retirement destination No. 1: Florida

It's no secret that Florida is widely seen to be a popular place for retirees who are looking to relocate. SmartAsset noted that the Sunshine State is remarkably tax-friendly for this demographic, and warm weather appeals to many people who have grown weary of handling harsh winters.

Florida cities that were particularly popular with older out-of-state movers, according to SmartAsset, included:

  • Lakeland.
  • Jacksonville.
  • Pompano Beach.

This trend could continue for a while. According to population projections released in 2019 by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Florida's population aged 65 and above could grow by nearly 1.8 million people by 2030.

Top retirement destination No. 2: Arizona

The second most popular relocation destination for those aged 60 and above, according to SmartAsset's analysis, was Arizona. Arizona is sunny and warm, like Florida. It's also a fairly tax-friendly option. However, as SmartAsset noted, the Grand Canyon State does tax distributions from retirement accounts, unlike Florida.

Arizona is also home to the most popular individual city for older Americans in terms of net migration: Mesa.

In addition, these Arizona cities made the top 10:

  • Scottsdale.
  • Tucson.

Best retirement cities you might not expect

While for many people, the popular image of an idyllic retirement - sandy beaches and low expenses - sounds pretty good, we realize that not everybody is looking for the same thing. There are many other indicators to look for in terms of quality of life instead of prioritizing only taxes and sunshine. Some people even like the snow!

With that in mind, we thought we'd highlight a few unexpected options. The following cities were some of the more unusual locations we found in's 2019 ranking of the best places to retire. The publication used more than 45,000 data points to produce this list. Among the factors they considered were crime, income, diversity, health care and amenities.

Here are some standout cities, along with their nearest metros:

  • West Bloomfield, Michigan - Metro Detroit.
  • Minnetonka, Minnesota - Minneapolis-St. Paul.
  • Georgetown, Texas - Austin.

When you're ready to downsize, we'll be here, whether you're moving across state lines or just down the street.