New Ranking: Arizona's a Great Place to Retire

Arizona occupied three spots on Bankrate's recent ranking of the best U.S. cities in which to retire. That's not that many, but given that they occupied three of the top four spots on the list, we're feeling pretty good about it.

According to Bankrate's analysis, the Phoenix-Mesa area is the best spot in the country for retirees. Prescott and Tucson were third and fourth, respectively, right behind the Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia, area. Des Moines, Iowa, was fifth.

The site used cost of living, crime rate, level of well-being, walkability, taxes, health care and weather to rank the 172 areas. Though they varied in some categories, all three Arizona entries were deemed to have an average cost of living, low taxes and "great" or "good" weather.

Of course, this news should come as no surprise to those who've been enjoying these areas' hiking, dining and driving attractions already. But if you're on the fence, maybe this will convince you to set up shop in Arizona in retirement.

By the way: New York City is the worst place to retire, according to Bankrate. Not much of a surprise there, either.

Photo: Gill Couto | Phoenix (South Mountain)


One critical variable often omitted in evaluating Prescott as a retirement location is the lack of water to support additional growth. The Prescott area has not been able to achieve "safe-yield" to recharge water local sources, and any options to import needed water will prove expensive to local taxpayers. Furthermore, Prescott is dealing with problems created by the influx of predominantly unregulated, unlicensed "recovery homes" which have populated the city within the last few years. These facilities have negatively impacted some existing neighborhoods, and attempts to deal with them have proven difficult. There is a lack of affordable housing in the area which likewise is ignored in the ranking. Recent failed bond issues have had negative ramifications for the local school district which also was not mentioned. Neither was the struggle to fund our city's public safety retirement fund obligation. While Prescott has many wonderful qualities, people need to be aware of the challenges facing a community with limited resources. Bankrate's analysis needs to depict a balanced picture of the communities it portrays rather than a glossy overview.

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