Top 10 Cities for a Worktirement – 2019 Edition

When you imagine retirement, you might picture travel, cocktails by the pool and rounds of golf. For a lot of Americans, though, retirement doesn’t mean the complete end of work - it just means scaling back their hours or perhaps taking on a newer, less stressful job. Life as a retiree in America is expensive, and unless you were a prudent saver, you may need to keep earning some form of income to get by in your golden years. To that end, SmartAsset has once again ranked the best cities for a worktirement in the country.

To find the best cities for a worktirement, we considered the following nine metrics: effective tax rate, unemployment rate, medical centers, retirement centers, recreation centers, seniors as a percentage of overall population, median annual housing costs, median household income for seniors and senior unemployment rate. For details on this data, see the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Think small. Smaller cities dominate the top of our rankings. Bigger cities like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, meanwhile, all find themselves among the worst cities for a worktirement.
  • Go West. Cities in Western states like California, Montana, Washington and Oregon all score well. There are six representatives from Western states in the top 10, and 12 in the top 25. The West is definitely a region to consider if you are looking to “worktire.”


  1. Edmond, OK

    The top city in our study is Edmond, Oklahoma. Edmond is located just north of Oklahoma City, so you’ll have all the life and work opportunities that the capital city has to offer if you choose to live here in retirement. Edmond has the second-highest median income for seniors in our top 10 at $66,132. This is a top-20 rate in the study overall. It also has a low senior unemployment rate at just 0.89% and the second-highest number of medical centers per 1,000 residents (approximately four) in the top 10. The city ranks 18th and 17th respectively for these metrics among all 345 cities in the entire study.

    Edmond doesn’t score as well in this list for number of retirement centers per 1,000 residents, with the third-lowest rate for this metric in our top 10.
  2. Scottsdale, AZ

    Scottsdale, Arizona is a suburb of Phoenix, so those looking for a worktirement here will have all the amenities and opportunities of the state capital relatively close at hand. Scottsdale has 1.00 recreation center per 1,000 residents, which is a top-20 rate and tied for second-most in our top 10. The city also has the highest percentage of seniors in its population in our top 10 and ranks second for this metric in the entire study, at 22.40%.
  3. Tyler, TX

    Tyler, Texas has an average tax rate of just 16.10%, which ranks in the top 10% of the study overall for this metric, and is the third-lowest rate for this metric in our top 10. Tyler has average housing costs of just $10,356, also the third-lowest in the top 10. The city’s average senior income ranks in the top third of the study at $48,028.
  4. Redding, CA

    Redding, California has easy access to nature and the outdoor beauty associated with Northern California. Redding has 2.80 medical centers per 1,000 residents, tied with Tyler, Texas for fourth in this metric in our top 10. It also has a population that is 18.70% seniors, which is the second-highest percentage in the top 10 and which is a top-15 rate for this metric in the study overall.

    Average housing costs are fairly high in Redding compared to the other cities on this list, at $12,612. This is the fourth-highest amount in the top 10 and ranks within the top 45% for this metric of all 345 cities in this study.
  5. Spokane, WA

    Spokane, Washington, found in the eastern part of the Evergreen State, takes the fifth spot. While it ranks toward the middle of the entire study for average tax rate, Spokane has the third-highest rate for this metric in the top 10, at 17.10%. It makes up for that with a relatively low senior unemployment rate of just 1.09% and ranks 26th for this metric in the study overall. Spokane has an average senior income of $43,831, the fifth-highest amount in this top 10. It also ranks sixth out of all 345 cities in our study for number of retirement communities per 1,000 residents.
  6. Billings, MT

    Billings, Montana starts the second half of the top 10. Billings has an average tax rate of just 14.50%, which is the second-lowest rate in the top 10 and 11th-lowest in the entire study. The city doesn’t rank as well for medical centers, for which it has the second-fewest in the top 10, at just 1.60 per 1,000 residents. Billings leads the top 10, though, in the concentration of recreation centers, with 1.30 centers per 1,000 residents. That’s a top-15 rate overall.
  7. Green Bay, WI

    Football fans are sure to be drawn in by Green Bay, Wisconsin, home of Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers. In addition to the football team, though, Green Bay also boasts average annual housing costs of just $9,192. Those low housing costs might be offset by the city’s average senior income of just $33,919 annually, the lowest amount among the top 10 cities of our study. But the senior unemployment rate is just 0.52%, which ranks seventh in the study overall and is the lowest in the top 10.
  8. Eugene, OR

    Working retirees in Eugene, Oregon can enjoy the best average tax rate in our top 10, which is 13.40%. That’s a top-five rate. Eugene is also tied with Spokane, Washington for the second-highest concentration in the top 10 of retirement communities per 1,000 residents - a top-10 rate in the study as a whole. The city has the fourth-highest average senior income in the top 10, at $50,121.
  9. Bellevue, WA

    Bellevue, Washington, an affluent suburb of Seattle, leads the top 10 in the metric of average senior income at $74,672, and ranks eighth for this metric in the entire study. Bellevue also leads the top 10 in average tax rate, though, at 17.80%, as well as average housing costs at $23,268 - so you’ll need that extra income to keep up with cost of living. Bellevue also has 0.50 retirement communities per 1,000 residents, the highest rate for this metric in the top 10 and a top-five rate for this metric in the study overall.
  10. Abilene, TX

    Located about 170 miles west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Abilene, Texas is the final entry in the top 10. Average annual housing costs there are just $9,408, which helps the city rank in the top 10% of the entire study for low housing costs, and which is the second-lowest rate in our top 10. Coupled with that, Abilene has a moderate average senior income (compared to the other cities in our top 10) of $46,405, so housing costs constitute approximately 20% of income. Abilene is tied with Tyler, Texas and Edmond, Oklahoma for last place in the top 10 for the metric of concentration of retirement communities - just 0.10 per 1,000 residents - so working retirees looking for a strong retirement community may need to look elsewhere.

Methodology

SmartAsset considered 345 cities to find the best place in America for worktirement. We compared the cities across the following nine metrics:

  • Effective tax rate. To find this, we plugged these variables into the SmartAsset tax calculator: approximately $35,000 in income, $15,250 of which comes from retirement income (like a 401(k) or an IRA), $13,724 from Social Security and $6,021 from work income.
  • Medical centers per 1,000 residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2015 Business Patterns Survey.
  • Retirement communities per 1,000 residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2015 Business Patterns Survey.
  • Recreation centers per 1,000 residents. Data comes from Census Bureau’s 2015 Business Patterns Survey.
  • Percent of residents who are seniors. This is the percent of residents age 65 or older. Data is from the Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Median annual housing cost. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Median household income for seniors. This is the median household income for homes in which the head of household is age 65 or older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Senior unemployment rate. This is the unemployment rate for residents age 60 or older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Unemployment rate. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey.

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