2017 Best Counties to Retire Methodology

The 2017 Best Counties to Retire ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of key factors that are meaningful for recent or near retirees at the county level. This grade takes into account key factors, such as weather, crime rates, residents 65 and older, housing costs, and access to amenities such as restaurants, golf courses, exercise facilities, and doctors, in an attempt to measure the appeal of an area for retirement. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Residents 65 Years Old and Over Percentage of residents aged 65 and over. U.S. Census 15.0%
Retiree Newcomers The percent of residents 65 years old and over, who moved into the area within the last year. U.S. Census 15.0%
Average Sunny Days per Year The average number of sunny days per year, assigned at the county level. When data was not available, the average of nearby counties was used. NOAA 10.0%
Cost of Living Grade Based on the consumer price index and access to affordable housing. Niche 10.0%
Crime & Safety Grade Based on violent and property crime rates. Niche 10.0%
Access to Doctors A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of Offices of Physicians. Niche 7.5%
Access to Restaurants A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of Full-Service Restaurants. Niche 7.5%
Housing Grade Based on home values, property taxes, housing costs, local schools, and more. Niche 5.0%
Winter Average Low Temperature The 30-year average monthly low temperature in December through March, where a higher temperature is considered better. NOAA 5.0%
Winter Average Snowfall The 30-year average monthly snowfall in December through March, where less snowfall is considered better. NOAA 5.0%
Access to Golf A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of Golf Courses and Country Clubs. Niche 2.5%
Access to Grocery Stores A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of Grocery Stores. Niche 2.5%
Access to Libraries A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of Libraries. Niche 2.5%
Access to Recreation/Fitness Facilities A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers. Niche 2.5%

This ranking assesses 2,768 counties in the U.S. The same methodology is used to produce the Good for Retirees Grade for each ranked county as well as additional places. Statistics are primarily obtained from the U.S. Census and represent the most recent data available.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.