Yesterday, 24/7 Wall St, which does surveys on a number of economic topics, released a new survey:
The Best (And Worst) States for Older Americans, Ranked
Here is there methodology:
Using data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of measures related to income, health, education, environment, and access to in order to identify the best and worst states for older Americans.
At the bottom
50. West Virginia
Based on our index, West Virginia ranks as the worst state in the country to grow old in, in large part because of the myriad of health issues for seniors in the state. West Virginia is one of just four states where 40% or more of residents 65 and older have a disability. The state is tied with Kentucky for having the second shortest life expectancy for people who are 65. Higher education is tied to empowerment, and West Virginia’s retirement-age citizens are the least likely to have a bachelor’s degree.
(Note – 24/7’s write-up includes additional data.)
By the way, Arkansas was 49th and Mississippi was 48th.
At the top
Colorado ranks as the best state in the country to live for older Americans. Nearly 40% of the state’s 65 and older population has a bachelor’s degree, the highest share of any state. The state has one of the lowest senior poverty rates. When it comes to the health of the retirement-age population, the state has one of the smallest shares of 65 and over residents with a disability as well as the third lowest annual mortality rate for residents 65 and over.
By the way, Maryland was 2nd and Hawaii was 3rd.
(And for my out-of-state readers, Ohio was 37th, Pennsylvania was 29th, and Illinois was 26th.)
A few thoughts and another survey
I might quibble with some of their points. For example, I’m not sure what disability rates have to do with the rankings – simply living in/moving to WV doesn’t increase a person’s likelihood of becoming disabled. (Higher disability rates, it seems to me, would be directly related to the type of employment found in a state.) Additionally, what about a state’s cost of living? It doesn’t appear to be one of 24/7's criteria, but the article does link to another recent 24/7 article which does and consequently, the state fares better. Here’s their assessment of the cost of retirement in the state:
A comfortable retirement in West Virginia will cost an estimated $890,495, the second least of any state and well below the $1.1 million national average. The state’s low cost of living — 13.0% less than the national average — partially explains why. Still, the lower total retirement cost is also attributable to West Virginia’s low life expectancy. Life expectancy for 65 year old residents in the state is just 17.5 years to 82.5 years, about two years below the national average.