Factors That Make Small Towns Desirable for Retirement
In planning for retirement, many people seek out a new home in a new town, whether to downsize, move to a sunnier climate, or simply for a change of pace. While some baby boomers are looking for more excitement and a thriving night life, many people – both singles and couples – hunt for new homes in quieter, more cozy places than the suburban or urban environments in which they spent their working years.
Small cities – those with populations of 25,000 or fewer – offer some distinct benefits for senior citizens seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of life, but don’t want to live out in the middle of nowhere. In the hunt for the perfect small-town retirement destination, you may want to consider a number of factors: criteria that can help you determine whether or not a small city in question is a good spot to retire.
So, what makes certain small towns more desirable for retirement than others? There are a wide range of answers to that question, but the same few seem to pop up again and again: Low crime rate; mild weather; ease of travel within city limits (walk-ability) and to other destinations (nearness to international airport); number of retiree amenities per capita; natural beauty and charm of the surroundings; and ability to make quality social connections. While some of these factors (low crime rate and mild climate) are easy to quantify, others are a bit more subjective.
Ease of travel: To some, this may mean the ability to walk easily to the majority of restaurants, venues and shops in the community, while to others it may mean excellent public transportation options in a small city. For those who are moving to be closer to their children and grandchildren, how easy is it to visit them is a factor as well. They want to be on the right side of the metro area to be close for visits.
Retiree Amenities: Some are looking for a 55+ community with all the included amenities and facilities, while others look to the town in general to see what healthcare facilities, senior centers, adult education opportunities, libraries, and arts and entertainment venues are available. Is there a senior center nearby?
Social Connections: Many small towns or small cities share a common “theme,” or may have large concentrations of certain types of people. Perhaps citizens share a common ethnic heritage, like Leavenworth, WA’s Scandinavians, or shared interest like the Sedona, AZ population of artists. Towns that host annual festivals and other events also offer many opportunities to meet new people.
Are there many baby boomers or seniors your age?
Regional Medical – Is there regional medical resources nearby and 24 hour medical services close by? See
Tip! Small towns with one of the large Active Adult Communities like those of Del Webb, K. Hovnanian Homes, Brookfield Homes, Lennar, Beazer Homes, WCI Communities or Erickson Retirement communities – they usually have done the research for you and are in or near desirable small towns for retirement. See my post Hospital Nearby Is Mandatory.
Retiring to a small town can be an appealing option on many fronts. After battling traffic and hassles of urban or suburban living for decades, the attractions of small town life can be a serene alternative, and offer opportunities to learn, grow, socialize, and live happy and healthy lives as seniors.