Are Americans looking for something other than sunshine when they retire? Apparently so.

New England states actually tend to have higher proportions of older residents than warm-weather states. Has the challenge of saving for retirement has forced retirees to choose cost-effectiveness over the beach? Or could it simply be that many people have different priorities for where they want to live when they retire? looked at 11 different criteria grouped into five categories to determine 2017's best and worst states for retirement.

The five major categories are:

  • Health and longevity
  • Personal safety
  • Climate
  • Economic factors
  • Proportion of older residents

Based on this wide range of criteria, seven of the 10 best states for retirement are in the northern portion of the country

South Carolina ranked 30th in the findings, which show Iowa as the best state for retirement in 2017 followed by Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Leading the states considered the worst for retirement was Alaska, with Louisiana, Georgia, Nevada and Illinois rounding out the bottom five.

Hawaii scored high because of the health of retirees: the state has the greatest life expectancy for people at age 50, says.

Meanwhile, Alaska placed last for a few reasons. "The climate is an obvious drawback, but Alaska also suffers from one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, and it does not score well for economic factors," according to

Other highlights include:

  • Most states cited as the best for retirement are in colder climates. "With retirement savings proving to be difficult for most, they may be considering states with more favorable economic factors than ones with sunshine," the online site says.
  • Eight of the 10 states with the largest proportions of residents aged 60 or above are north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

According to, the study wasn't designed to determine which state might be best for a given person's retirement "but instead to suggest some characteristics you may want to look for -- or watch out for.

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