As Americans continue to live longer, they also are aging better and thriving more in later life. Seniors are more satisfied with their standard of living and worry less about finances than their younger counterparts. They also have a significantly higher sense of well-being and have reduced amounts of stress in their lives.
This good news is part of the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series. The survey examined the well-being of Americans ages 55 and older across five elements: purpose, social support, financial security, community pride, and physical health. Interestingly, people 75+ reported the highest satisfaction in all five elements – much higher than people under 55 in financial and community satisfaction especially.
Happiest and Least Happy States
As for where seniors are most content, Hawaii ranks as the top state for older Americans’ well-being for the second year in a row. The Aloha State leads the country in purpose, community, and physical well-being.
The Top 5 for happiest states for seniors is rounded out by Arizona, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Colorado.
And the least happy states? They are, in descending order:
Sizing Up the Happiest States for Seniors
Here’s a closer look at the merits of the Top 5 happiest states for seniors, as ranked by the Gallup-Healthways survey.
Hawaii: You will get what you pay for if you move to Hawaii. While the high cost of living may be a drawback, it is a paradise in every sense of the word. The most appealing aspects to retiring here are, of course, the weather, tropical forests and beaches. Most areas have a high number of hospitals and quality health care. A great perk for seniors is that most pension income and Social Security benefits are state income tax-exempt. Property tax exemptions also are available for residents 65 and older.
Ready for island life? Check out senior living in Hawaii.
Arizona: Given the state’s mountain ranges, flowering deserts, and miles of biking and hiking trails, retirement in Arizona seems an easy choice. Besides amazing weather year-round in the southern part of the state, Arizona offers much land for development, very little rain, and a large number of arts performances. Popular retirement communities are Phoenix and Tucson. In the Gallup-Healthways survey, Arizona ranked No. 1 for social well-being and received high marks for purpose and physical well-being.
Hot for the desert? Check out senior living in Arizona.
New Hampshire: This state offers a combination of charm and a senior-friendly tax code. Older adults come to New Hampshire to live a free-spirited lifestyle. Although the cost of living is higher than in other parts of the country, it’s still cheaper than in neighboring states. The Granite State has a low crime rate and boasts much natural beauty. In the survey, New Hampshire ranks high for financial, physical and social well-being. However, it ranks near the bottom of the list for purpose.
New England-bound? Check out senior living in New Hampshire.
North Dakota: This state is at the top for financial and community well-being. It has a low cost of living and booming local economies. While North Dakota is not a touristy state, it is a great place for outdoorsy seniors. Its thriving economy is due partly to the oil industry and a low unemployment rate. However, the winters aren’t for everyone. It can get as cold as 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cool with the cold? Check out senior living in North Dakota.
Colorado: This is another top state for seniors because of the scenery and recreational opportunities. Colorado’s economy is strong and diversified, and its tax burden is lower than the national average. The Centennial State has many cultural activities and culinary havens, especially in the Denver area. In the survey, Colorado ranks high in physical well-being and above average in purpose, financial security, and community well-being.
Up for the mountains? Check out senior living in Colorado.
The best places to retire: Are these five states not your style? Check out After55.com’s Retirement Tips for more ideas on places and planning for your retirement years.
Your turn: Retirees, what makes you happy or not happy about your state? Tell us in the comments below.