12 Surprisingly Great Places to Retire in the Midwest

America's Heartland has not been getting a lot of love lately.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

America's Heartland has not been getting a lot of love lately. Among the 12 states that the U.S. Census Bureau groups together as the Midwest region, five (Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Iowa and Michigan) make up half of the top 10 states people moved out of in 2018, according to United Van Lines' annual national movers study. Most report leaving the area due to a job change, but many credit retirement for their relocation, too. In fact, only 2% of pre-retirees plan on moving to the Midwest, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a research firm focused on the aging population.

But we still think the Midwest has plenty to offer retirees. Many states in the region offer affordability, beautiful scenery, an abundance of activities and quality health care. Indeed, two midwestern states rank among the top four best states for retirement in 2018. If you're ready to go against the grain and head to the Midwest for your own retirement, we suggest you consider the following spots. We highlighted one great retirement destination in each state, taking into account living costs, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for retirement-age residents, as well as residents' sense of well-being and the availability of recreational and health care facilities. Here are our retirement picks in the 12 midwestern states. Some (if not all) are sure to surprise you.


The list is ordered alphabetically by state. The 12 states in the Midwest region are classified by the U.S. Census Bureau. See "How We Picked the Best Places to Retire" at the end of the list for details on our data sources and methodology.

Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for Kiplinger.com in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.