Best places to retire in the Midwest
Last year, 1.2 million people aged 55 and older in the United States moved to a different state, setting a record. Retirees are looking outside of their locales for a place to settle down, and reports show that the Midwest is becoming more attractive to those who are searching for a place to relax in their golden years.
People approaching retirement look at five different components when scouting for locations: proximity to family and friends, affordability, health-care accessibility, weather, and crime.
And while sunny Florida might come first to mind as a retirement spot that meets those criteria, the Midwestern United States is becoming an increasingly popular place for retirees. Of the top five states to retire, one study ranked Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota in the top four. Out of those states, Missouri is the most affordable, which checks an important box for those living on a fixed income. Certain states, like Nebraska, also have decidedly cheaper Medicare plans compared to Florida.
That low cost of living—which is harder to find along the coasts—can sweeten the deal even more for people who don’t have plentiful savings. Baby boomers are predicted to have less in retirement savings compared to previous generations, and the average amount the generation has tucked away comes out to about $209,000.
Often, homes in the Midwest are cheaper than their counterparts in other areas of the U.S. In Traverse City, Mich., one of the fastest-growing retirement destinations, retirees are even purchasing older cottages or buying plots of land to build a home from scratch.
To determine the best places to retire in the Midwest, Stacker took the 2019 rankings from Niche of the best places to retire in all the United States and selected towns, cities, and suburbs with over 5,000 people in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Those towns were then ranked based on their original placement in the Niche rankings. It’s important to note that Niche ranked places based on several weighted factors, including the number of residents 65 and older, the cost of living, crime rates, nearby amenities such as doctors' offices and restaurants, and weather.
Read on to find out the best places to retire in the heart of the U.S.
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#50. Montgomery, OH
- Population: 10,587 (16% age 55-64 and 21% age 65+)
- Median household income: $115,489
- Housing: $343,800 median household value and $1,073 median rent
Montgomery—a suburb of Cincinnati—is beloved by its residents for the Montgomery Heritage District, which boasts shopping, dining, and entertainment, but is also known for its top-notch treatment of its senior citizens. The town is part of a Cincinnati-area consortium of towns that operate a Council on Aging, which offers support for caregivers, assisted living, transitions from nursing homes, and help with housekeeping and bathing.
#49. Willowbrook, IL
- Population: 8,598 (13% age 55-64 and 22% age 65+)
- Median household income: $67,780
- Housing: $217,800 median household value and $1,336 median rent
The police department in Willowbrook, Ill., has a senior citizens forum called Senior Willowbrook Adults Connected that provides aging residents a place to hold discussions on issues important to them. Different groups give presentations to the forum, including AARP and the Tri-State Fire Protection District, on topics such as preventing injuries and home inspections.
#48. Northfield, IL
- Population: 5,459 (16% age 55-64 and 26% age 65+)
- Median household income: $105,929
- Housing: $596,700 median household value and $1,477 median rent
The North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, Ill., is an award-winning senior center that offers support groups, transportation, and lecture series among other activities that senior citizens can take advantage of. The center is arguably the most well-known for its lifelong-learning classes, which seniors can take almost every weekday on topics like jazz, politics, or poetry.
#47. Birmingham, MI
- Population: 20,836 (14% age 55-64 and 15% age 65+)
- Median household income: $114,537
- Housing: $467,700 median household value and $1,414 median rent
Birmingham, Mich., is home to Birmingham Next, which is a nonprofit organization that caters to adults aged 50 and older and offers outdoor exercise equipment, computer classes, trips to Detroit, and even a pottery studio. The group also provides free legal counseling, free blood pressure screenings, and medical equipment loans.
#46. Glenview, IL
- Population: 47,066 (15% age 55-64 and 21% age 65+)
- Median household income: $103,773
- Housing: $488,300 median household value and $1,732 median rent
Glenview, Ill., is a popular destination for golfers, with four courses: the Glen Club, North Shore Country Club, Glenview Park Golf Club, and Glenview Prairie Club. But retirees who aren’t golfing-inclined can also stay busy, whether attending shows at the Oil Lamp Theater, visiting prairie grove land at the Grove, or taking the grandchildren to the Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago.
#45. Upper Arlington, OH
- Population: 34,943 (13% age 55-64 and 17% age 65+)
- Median household income: $110,397
- Housing: $357,200 median household value and $1,169 median rent
Annual membership to the Upper Arlington Senior Association is just $15 for residents of the Ohio suburb, which grants access to the town’s senior center. Members can use the center’s fitness room, take classes, and participate in programs that include lessons in Photoshop, lectures on the American Revolution, and Reiki appointments with professionals.
#44. Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
- Population: 15,678 (18% age 55-64 and 19% age 65+)
- Median household income: $95,697
- Housing: $205,000 median household value and $1,429 median rent
Retirees won’t feel alone in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., with 19% of the town’s population aged 65 years or older and 18% falling between the ages of 55 and 64. The city is the #14 top place to retire in Michigan out of 617 towns and is the sixth-best place to buy a home in the Detroit-metropolitan area.
#43. Lake City, MN
- Population: 5,154 (15% age 55-64 and 27% age 65+)
- Median household income: $53,300
- Housing: $148,900 median household value and $841 median rent
Lake City, Minn., is perfect for retirees who want to settle down somewhere in the Midwest, but, want to live on the water. The town is nestled along Lake Pepin and has several public beaches as well as Frontenac State Park, which is beloved by birding enthusiasts. Hikers can also visit Maiden Rock Bluff, which is just across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, for a pleasant day trip.
#42. Blue Ash, OH
- Population: 12,096 (17% age 55-64 and 17% age 65+)
- Median household income: $75,775
- Housing: $243,100 median household value and $1,079 median rent
Blue Ash, a suburb of Cincinnati, has a small-town feel with the advantage of being located less than half an hour outside a major city, meaning there is no shortage of things to do during the workweek. Residents can tee up at the Blue Ash Golf Course, get a view of the city for free from the glass elevator in Summit Park’s Observation Tower, or listen to music at the town’s summer concert series.
#41. Edina, MN
- Population: 50,603 (13% age 55-64 and 21% age 65+)
- Median household income: $96,477
- Housing: $438,300 median household value and $1,288 median rent
The Edina Senior Center in Edina, Minn., promises to offer something for everyone, whether it’s the opportunity to learn mah-jongg, participate in a softball league, watch movies, or play in a pool tournament. The center specifically caters to adults aged 55 and over and has over 1,000 members who are committed to maintaining active lifestyles.2018 All rights reserved.