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Beyond Beaches and Golf Courses: Surprising New Study Reveals Healthiest (and More Affordable) U.S. Cities for Retirement

CHICAGO, Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Seattle is the best city in the United States for healthy retirement living, with Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Portland (Oregon) and Hartford rounding out the top five, according to a new study commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement® (CSR).

The study, America's Best Cities for a Healthy (and More Affordable) Retirement, ranked the 60 largest U.S. metropolitan areas on all factors of health and affordability for middle-income retirees, including data in eight categories that are key to the overall health of an area and its residents: healthcare, the economy and affordability, social, wellness, activities, environment, transportation and crime. Each category was statistically weighted to reflect the needs of the retired population.

Cities that topped the list had above-average scores for wellness and access to healthcare and some of the highest scores for overall life satisfaction, and social and emotional support. They also boasted natural beauty and a wealth of outdoor and cultural activities.

"The purpose of this study wasn't to compile a list of where to enjoy beaches, golf courses or other amenities that stereotypically describe retirement. In fact, only one warm, coastal city ranked in the top 20," said Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life. "This study identifies and recognizes cities that provide the services and support that people need to live healthy, happy lives.

"We want to show that many healthy places to retire can come with a reasonable cost-of-living price tag that is realistic and attainable for a great number of retirees."

The Categories

  • The Healthcare category examines the number of physicians and hospitals per capita, hospital ratings based on patient reviews and the affordability of home healthcare.
  • Economy and Affordability includes sales tax, the local unemployment rate, and any taxes on Social Security or pension income.
  • Social considers the size of the current senior population and includes their satisfaction with life, their social and emotional well-being; and the number of four-year colleges, libraries and civic and volunteer opportunities in the area.
  • Wellness includes life expectancy; smoking, obesity and depression rates; and mortality from cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Activities include opportunities for physical activities such as golf and tennis, 5Ks and marathons, gym memberships, and hiking and walking trails. The availability of cultural activities such as farmers markets and community gardens, museums, symphonies and operas, theater and dance, and zoos and aquariums were also considered.
  • Environment includes the number of sunny days, summer heat index, clean air levels and water measurements, the presence and accessibility of bodies of water, and the number of local and state parks.
  • Transportation includes public transportation accessibility and the percentage of commuters using mass transit.
  • Crime includes violent crime rate and property crime rate.

The America's Best Cities for a Healthy (and More Affordable) Retirement was commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement. It was conducted in April 2015 by the independent research firm Sperling's Best Places. The full report can be viewed at

The research ranked the 60 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. on a universal set of criteria that are directly or indirectly indicative of health and quality of living, from health and wellness to culture and the environment.

Cities that ranked in the top 15 percent most expensive for cost-of-living index, median housing price and median rental price were removed from consideration for the final overall list.

About the Center for a Secure Retirement
The Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement is the company's research and consumer education program. Its studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice to help everyday Americans achieve financial security in retirement.

About Bankers Life
Bankers Life focuses on the insurance needs of middle-income Americans who are near or in retirement. The Bankers Life brand is a part of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), whose companies provide insurance solutions that help protect the health and retirement needs of working Americans and retirees. There are more than 5,000 Bankers Life insurance agents at over 300 offices across the country. To learn more, visit

America's Best Cities* for a Healthy (and More Affordable) Retirement

1.  Seattle, Washington 

31.  Sacramento, California

2.  Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

32.  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

3.  Denver, Colorado

33.  New Orleans, Louisiana

4.  Portland, Oregon

34.  Louisville, Kentucky

5.  Hartford, Connecticut

35.  Orlando, Florida

6.  Omaha, Nebraska

36.  Nashville, Tennessee

7.  Baltimore, Maryland

37.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

38.  Miami, Florida

9.  Cleveland, Ohio

39.  Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

10.  Salt Lake City, Utah

40.  Phoenix, Arizona

11.  Warren, Michigan

41.  San Antonio, Texas

12.  Newark, New Jersey

42.  Virginia Beach, Virginia

13.  Richmond, Virginia

43.  Charlotte, North Carolina

14.  Milwaukee, Wisconsin

44.  Houston, Texas

15.  Grand Rapids, Michigan

45.  Detroit, Michigan

16.  Cincinnati, Ohio

46.  Las Vegas, Nevada

17.  Kansas City, Missouri

47.  Riverside, California

18.  Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida 

48.  Memphis, Tennessee

19.  Chicago, Illinois

49.  Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York

20.  Providence, Rhode Island

50.  San Francisco, California

21.  St. Louis, Missouri

51.  Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, Maryland

22.  Tucson, Arizona

52.  Boston, Massachusetts

23.  Buffalo, New York

53.  San Jose, California

24.  Columbus, Ohio

54.  Washington, DC–Arlington, Virginia

25.  Atlanta, Georgia

55.  Anaheim, California

26.  Indianapolis, Indiana

56.  Oakland, California

27.  Austin, Texas

57.  San Diego, California

28.  Dallas, Texas

58.  Honolulu, Hawaii

29.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida

59.  New York, New York

30.  Raleigh, North Carolina

60.  Los Angeles, California

*Includes surrounding metropolitan areas, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, including a central city and the surrounding county or counties.

SOURCE Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement