Top States to Retire In

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Here are the top 10 places to retire:

If you’ve been searching for the best place to retire, we may have your answer. While Florida has long been considered a top retirement destination, this year’s United Van Lines National Movers Study identified a new top state for retirement.

Today, retirement is more active and adventurous than ever as most retirees choose to relocate to the Mountain West region, which stretches from Arizona to Wyoming, the South and a couple states in the Northeast. With baby boomers continuing to retire, locations in the West that boast vast outdoor activities, art and education are surpassing locations providing sandy beaches.

Top states people moved to retire in 2018

  1. New Mexico (43%)
  2. Florida (39%)
  3. Arizona (37%)
  4. South Carolina (37%)
  5. Idaho (34%)
  6. Maine (33%)
  7. Vermont (31%)
  8. Nevada (29%)
  9. Wyoming (27%)
  10. Montana (26%)

States that most retirees moved away from were Connecticut and New Jersey — both Northeastern states.

When considering where to retire, people are often in search of states with a temperate climate, plenty of outdoor activities and an affordable cost-of-living. However, the states most retirees chose to move to in this year’s study might not be top of mind.

Curious as to why New Mexico, Florida and Arizona made the top of the list? We looked into each of these states to find out why they were so popular among this demographic.

New Mexico

Top States to Retire In - Riding horses up a trail in Cerrillos, NM. - United Van Lines

For the first time, New Mexico tops the list as the most popular state for relocating retirees. Specifically, 43% of moves to New Mexico were related to retirement and almost 60% of movers to the state were between the ages of 55 and 74.

New Mexico’s rich culture and history, paired with its plentiful national parks and outdoor activities, make this state a dream location for adventure-bound retirees. Its desert mountains and mesas are great for those looking to hike and mountain climb. Further north, you’ll find the Taos Ski Valley a great escape from the day-to-day. Not interested in these active hobbies? Santa Fe and Taos are both cultural hubs for art and history alike. You can spend your time among museums, historic sites (the pueblo cliff dwellings are very popular) and observatories.

The cost of living in New Mexico is approximately 3% less than the national average, making it more affordable than Arizona or Colorado. New Mexico also has a relatively low state income tax. With that in mind, it is an especially affordable state for those looking to retire on mid-level incomes and efficiently manage their personal finances.

Whether it’s for the nature, adventure or melting pot of a culture, New Mexico provides a new outlook on retired life that no beach state can match.


Top States to Retire In - Siesta Key, FL: Retired couple enjoy a romantic interlude at sunset on Siesta Key beach Florida- United Van Lines

When thinking about the top retirement locations, Florida normally comes to mind. The state has reigned as one of the most popular states for retirees for years — and it’s not stopping anytime soon. In 2018, 39% of relocations to Florida were for retirement. Of the total moves to the state, the majority age group was between 55 and 74.

With many older Americans choosing to move to Florida, there are numerous reasons why it is appealing to this demographic. It’s difficult to disagree the weather, as well as the retiree-friendly real-estate and communities, makes Florida a retirement paradise. But, one of the best perks for retirees is the zero percent state income tax — meaning retirement income is exempt from state taxation. The cost-of-living is also just under the national average, making it more affordable than many other retirement locations, such as California.

With its white sand beaches, affordable living and inclusive retirement communities, Florida has once again earned its spot on the list as a best place to live for retirees.


Top States to Retire In - Two happy women hiking together in a red rock sandstone canyon in the deserts of Utah on an adventure vacation. Two women smiling and talking together during a fun hike - United Van Lines

Another Southwestern state tops our list as one of 2018’s most popular destinations for retirees – Arizona.

Like New Mexico, Arizona’s climate and beautiful scenery are tempting to those relocating for retirement. In 2018, approximately 37% of moves to the state were for retirement. This isn’t hard to believe, as Arizona has a widely developed retiree population with a variety of retirement communities across the state. (Fun fact: Sun City, Arizona was home to the first active retirement community in the United States).

Arizona retirees could be found walking along a hiking trail or socializing during a game of golf for a relaxed, but active lifestyle. If looking to retire somewhere with great weather, great outdoor activities and even greater company, Arizona may be the state for you.

So, are you thinking of retiring and wondering which state is the best place for you? It’s most likely you’ll head west, as the mountains and desert have attracted many retirees this past year. It’s safe to say if you’re interested in living amongst a rich culture, riddled with beautiful scenery and national parks, you’re likely to move to Arizona, Idaho, or even Wyoming. But, if you prefer sandals over hiking shoes, Florida and South Carolina are more your style with their laid-back retirement communities and affordable living.

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