ENCINITAS — When it comes time to retire, think small and look outside the typical destinations for settling down. In fact, Encinitas was ranked 56th in the top 100 places to live in retirement.
That’s a takeaway from the data crunched by GoodCall’s analysts, who reviewed 1,662 cities and towns in the U.S. and ranked them as the 2017 Best Cities for Seniors to Retire.
The top 10 best cities for seniors to retire were:
Prairie Village, Kan.
56. Encinitas, Ca.
Analysts aimed to take into account a wide variety of metrics that would make a city great for retirement. Some retirement-focused metrics included migration rates for residents age 65 and older, health care costs, weather, and restaurants and amenities.
Chesterfield, Mo., came in at the top of the list. The suburb sits west of St. Louis and just south of the Missouri River. The suburban feel has been attracting retirees lately: While the overall population barely changed from 2010-15, the number of residents age 65 and older jumped 15%. Chesterfield stands out in several categories, including its abundance of health care establishments (5 per 1,000 residents), high education rate (69% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher), low crime rate (17.7 per 1,000 residents), and home ownership (more than 77% of residents own their homes).
Top cities tended to be smaller. The top 10% of cities averaged about 45,000 residents, while the bottom 10% averaged more than 96,000.
Top cities tend to have many more homeowners. In the top 10%, an average of 68% of residents are homeowners. Only about 48% of residents are homeowners, on average, in the bottom 10%.
Health care costs are lower in top cities. While some of the top cities tend to be areas with slightly higher cost of living, they also tending to have lower costs for health care than those cities near the bottom.
On average, cities in the top 10% had health costs about 5% below the national average, while the bottom 10% of cities averaged about 5% higher than the national cost.
The top cities tend to be places where older residents are flocking to. The top 10% of cities averaged about 13% growth in population of people age 65 and older. The lowest tier averaged less than 5% growth, around the national average.
Populous coastal areas tend to be ranked lower. Very few of the top 10% of cities were in New England, Texas, or the northern Pacific regions. Instead, top cities were spread throughout the South and Midwest.