The Healthiest (and Unhealthiest) States in America for Seniors

What are the healthiest states to live in for seniors? And what are the best states to retire in for seniors?

We’re going to look at the answers to both of those questions in a minute. But first let’s discuss why it’s important to know these things.

For one thing, the number of seniors in the U.S. is growing. And in the upcoming decades, the number of people 65 years of age and older is projected to double.

That means there will be more than 98 million seniors by the year 2060. And they will represent 24 percent of the population, up from 15 percent today.

Health Is Top of Mind for Seniors

As this happens, we need to look at it from two different perspectives.

Regarding the negative side of things. Nearly 65 percent of seniors have hypertension, nearly one-half have high cholesterol and more than 25 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.

That means an increasing number of older people will need a significant amount of medical care.

Now for the positive side. More seniors than ever are getting serious about pursuing a healthy lifestyle. They are exercising more and eating healthier foods. And taking supplements that help them in a variety of ways.

Healthiest State for Seniors Is…

According to, the healthiest state for seniors to live in is… New Hampshire.

Eighty-three percent of older folks in this northeastern state describe themselves as being in good, very good or excellent health.

Colorado is second at 82 percent, followed by Utah (82 percent), Minnesota (81), Iowa (81) and Vermont (81). Next are Rhode Island (80), Washington (80), South Dakota (80) and Maryland (80).

Now for the unhealthiest states for seniors. Mississippi takes the unwanted title with only 64 percent describing themselves as being in good, very good or excellent health.

Other bottom-10 states include West Virginia (66 percent), Kentucky (66), Arkansas (67) and Louisiana (67). Then come Tennessee (68), Alabama (68), New Mexico (69), Texas (71) and Oklahoma (71).

For those of you interested in such things, the U.S. government compiled this data as part of its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. It involved phone interviews with more than 400,000 adults across the country.

Best State for Retirement Is…

OK, what about the best states in which to retire for seniors? This list was compiled by the website

They based their rankings on factors such as cost of living, taxes, healthcare quality and weather. Plus crime rates, cultural vitality, and general wellbeing.

First place is… South Dakota. Utah placed second, Idaho third, New Hampshire fourth and Florida fifth.

Montana ranked sixth, North Carolina seventh, Wyoming eighth, Nebraska ninth, and Mississippi 10th.

More Facts About Seniors

Here are a few more interesting facts about seniors in the U.S. The Population Reference Bureau of Washington, D.C. compiled these stats.

  • In 1900, only one in 25 Americans was 65 years of age or older. By 1994, it was one in eight (12.5 percent). More recently, it became 15 percent.
  • In 1950, the life expectancy for seniors was 68 years. That number rose to 79 years by 2013.
  • In 1965, only 5 percent of seniors had earned a bachelor’s degree. That figure rose to 25 percent by 2014.
  • In 1990, women were outliving men by about seven years on average. By 2013, that gap had narrowed to less than five years (81.2 years for women, 76.4 years for men).
  • In 2014, about 23 percent of senior men and 15 percent of senior women were in the workforce. Those levels are expected to increase to 27 percent for men and 20 percent for women by 2022.

Help Yourself Stay Healthy

Regardless of which state they live in or retire in, seniors now have a huge presence in this country. And that presence is growing.

If you are in this growing club, you owe it to yourself and your family to stay as healthy as possible. Your health will make a big difference in how much you’re able to enjoy the rest of your life.


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