Georgia ranks No. 1 as the best state to retire in and Maryland comes in last in a new list compiled by Bankrate.com.
“Affordability is one big selling point,” Jeff Ostroski, a senior mortgage reporter at Bankrate, said of the Peach State. “The state combines a low cost of living and a light tax burden to rank No. 3 in affordability.”
Georgia also ranked high in the weather category — one of five that determined the rankings — but fell to the middle and lower regions of the pack in the study’s other sections of crime, wellness and culture.
Bankrate’s study weighted its five categories differently, with affordability by far meaning that most to a state’s score at 40%. The wellness category was weighted at 20%, and the culture and weather categories both at 15%. Crime was given a 10% weight.
To accurately score each state, the study used sources including affordability information from the Council for Community and Economic Research, wellness data from the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index and weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bankrate also analyzed the number of entertainment possibilities in a location, including restaurants and arts and recreation establishments per capita. The number of adults 65 and older also was taken into account to measure culture.
The top 10 states to retire in were Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. High-ranking affordability was a common similarity between the states, except for Massachusetts.
The bottom 10 states to retire in were Connecticut, Idaho, Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Alaska, Montana, Kansas, Minnesota and Maryland. Although those states scored the lowest, Maine and Montana ranked first and second in the culture category, respectively. Many of those states are among the most expensive to live in.