Editor's note: These lists originally ran on MoneyRates.com. They have been reprinted here with permission.
If you dream of retiring to a sunny climate, be careful what you wish for -- not only can those climates bring hazards like skin cancer and mosquitoes, but the cost of living and crime often take their tolls in those places as well. For a more peaceful and affordable retirement, you may want to try a place like Idaho, the state that tops MoneyRates.com's 2013 list of the Best States to Retire.
MoneyRates.com looked at numerous factors across five categories to come up with this year's rankings of the best and worst states for retirement. The list did yield some traditional, warm-weather retirement destinations such as Hawaii, Florida and Arizona, but it also produced some surprises, such as overall winner Idaho. Indeed, one reason for looking at a diverse set of criteria is to produce a varied list, which offers people a wider range of choices -- including some unexpected ones.
Determining the top factors for retirees
Here are the five categories of factors MoneyRates.com used in producing this year's rankings of the Best and Worst States to Retire:
- Senior population, including the current portion of the state's population that is 65 and over, and the percentage growth of that segment of the population between the 2000 and 2010 Census tallies.
- Economic factors, including cost of living, taxes and unemployment.
- Crime, including both violent and property crime.
- Climate, with an emphasis on comfortable temperatures and moderate amounts of annual precipitation.
- Life expectancy at age 65, including both overall life expectancy and the Center for Disease Control's healthy life expectancy.
Below are the top finishers in this year's list of the Best States to Retire. This is normally a list of 10, but there are 11 states this time because of a tie for 10th place. Different factors will matter more to different people, so this list also highlights some of the strengths and weaknesses of each state.
So which states landed at the bottom of the list? Here are the 10 worst states for retirees, starting with the worst.