3 Great States for Retirement

Wyoming, Delaware and Iowa are surprisingly attractive destinations for retirees.

Choosing a place to retire is a personal decision. Some retirees never want to pick up another snow shovel; others will put up with bad weather and high housing costs to be close to the grandkids.

But if you’re considering several destinations, we’ve done some number-crunching to help you with your search. These three states received top marks because they’re economically healthy, affordable for retirees, and have low crime rates.


Let’s start out West with Wyoming. The Cowboy State has lots of wide open spaces, no income tax, and the third lowest poverty rate in the country for people who are 65 and older. The state’s unique landscape includes Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Teton mountain range and the Snake River. Cheyenne, Wyoming’s capital, is a good city to consider for retirement.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up


In the Midwest, don’t overlook Iowa—yes, Iowa—where the retirement-age population is both robust and economically secure. Affordability is a big draw. In Des Moines, which offers many big-city amenities, the cost of living for retirees is nearly 10% below the national average. If you’d like to live in a smaller city, consider Cedar Rapids. AARP named it one of the most livable midsize cities in the U.S. for people 50-plus. Another option: Iowa City, which was ranked the top small metro area for successful aging by the Milken Institute.


If you have roots on the East Coast, your best place for retirement might be Delaware. This small state is a big winner when it comes to taxes on retirees. Delaware has no sales tax, income taxes are modest, and Social Security income is exempt. Real estate is expensive in beach towns such as Dewey and Bethany, so look inland to save on housing. A good bet in Milford. Frequent Amtrak service from Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, makes it easy to reach D.C., New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

Take a look at seven more of the best states for retirement. Plus, check out our state-by-state guide to taxes on retirees.

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.