PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) – Eight Pennsylvania cities have been the named one of the best places to retire on a list of 25 by U.S. News and World Report and all top five cities are located in Pa.
These rankings were determined by surveying individuals nearing retirement age and those retirement age and older about what matters the most to them when looking for a home post-retirement. The methodology calculated for quantitative values such as affordability, health care quality, retiree taxes and the job market, as many retirees do not plan to exit the workforce entirely.
The survey also accounted for qualitative values such as how happy retirees feel living there taking into account crime rates, Air Quality Index and FEMA Risk Index. The weather temperateness and establishments-to-population ratio, or factors that are typically associated with the desirability of an area, were also taken into account.
These are the top five of the 2024 best places to retire in the nation:
#1 – Harrisburg, Pa.
The state’s capitol ranked it at number one citing the city’s availability of quality health care for seniors, with Harrisburg being in close proximity to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, as well as the city being tax-friendly for retiree taxes.
Harrisburg has a population of just over 587,000, with 17.7% of the population being age 65 or older.
The median monthly mortgage cost for those looking to buy in Harrisburg is $945. For those looking to rent, it’s reported that the median monthly rent is $1,019.
The unemployment rate in Harrisburg is 8.3%.
Recreationally, Harrisburg offers residents a lot of options and even has an active nightlife. The Riverfront Park offers a venue for runners and bikers, as well as a place to walk with some amazing views. The city is also located near state forests for those interested in hiking or camping. Harrisburg is also home to a plethora of live music venues, theatres, museums, galleries and fine dining.
Located on the Susquehanna River in South Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg is an easy driving distance to many large metro areas, including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Harrisburg is also only approximately 15 miles away from Hershey, the chocolate capital of the world, and home to the Hershey Bears ice hockey team.
#2 – Reading, Pa.
Home to the real-life Reading Railroad from the Monopoly board game, Reading is a small city nestled in southeastern Pennsylvania and is only a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia.
Reading ranked in at number two given its close proximity to nearby big-city health care, diversity and its many cultural attractions such as the Reading Pagoda, which has a 30-mile panoramic view and has been standing as a symbol of the city for over a century.
Reading also has its own hospital – Reading Hospital – which was first established in 1867. This hospital has 738 beds and is a non-profit teaching hospital associated with Tower Health, as well as a level one trauma center and certified stroke center.
The city has a population of roughly 427,000 people with 17.1% of the population being age 65 and older.
The median monthly rent in Reading is $985 and the median monthly mortgage cost is $972 and the reported cost of living in Reading is said to be well below that of many other metro areas due to these affordable housing costs.
The unemployment rate in Reading is 10.2%.
Reading is home to the Fightin Phils baseball team and the Royals ice hockey team.
#3 – Lancaster, Pa.
Also located in South East Pennsylvania is Lancaster, number three on the top places to retire.
While Lancaster is better known for its farmlands, Amish community and many farmers markets, the city secured its spot for its high marks in health care, low taxes and overall happiness of current residents.
Penn Medicine’s Lancaster General Health is located within the city and residents may also have the ability to access Philadelphia health-care providers with Philadelphia being only a 90-minute drive away.
The city has a population of about 550,000 people and 18% of the population is age 65 or older.
Home buyers can expect a median monthly mortgage cost of $1,000 and renters can expect to pay a median of $1,114 in monthly rent.
Lancaster has an unemployment rate of 8.1%.
It is one of the oldest inland cities in the U.S. having been settled in 1709 by German immigrants, who we came to know as the Pennsylvania Dutch.
For foodies, Lancaster has a growing scene with a diverse collection of cuisine. The city has recently seen an uptick in old warehouses and buildings being converted into restaurants and bars.
Lancaster also has a thriving water sports scene and is home to many hiking trails and is home to the Barnstormers baseball team.
#4 – Scranton, Pa.
Scranton is located in North East Pennsylvania and is only a two hour drive from New York City or Philadelphia, which helped this city secure the number four spot, appealing to retirees who want to be close to a major city but enjoy a small community feeling with more affordable housing costs and lower crime rates.
The proximity to New York and Philadelphia bolsters this city’s ranking for access to quality health care.
This city has the lowest median monthly mortgage and rent costs of the top five cities with home buyers paying about $783 and renters paying $834.
Scranton has a population of over 566,000 with 19.7% of the population being age 65 or older.
The city has an unemployment rate of 11%.
The Lackawanna Heritage Trail, Sturgis Park and the Davis Trail at Nay Aug Park give retirees in this city a chance for outdoor adventure.
Scranton is home to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders baseball team and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins ice hockey team.
#5 – Allentown, Pa.
Allentown is the third-largest metro area in Pennsylvania, with a population of approximately 858,000 people. 18% of the population is age 65 or older. Residents of Allentown who were surveyed said that despite it’s size, the city retains the charm of a smaller town.
Located in North East Pennsylvania and only 90 miles from New York City and 60 miles from Philadelphia, Allentown’s proximity gives residents access to top-quality health care. Lehigh Valley Hospital is located on 17th Street in Allentown and the health network has many other locations within driving distance.
Allentown has a median monthly mortgage cost of $1,038 and a median monthly rent of $1,141.
The unemployment rate in Allentown is 9.9%.
With a reported average winter temperature of only 30.3°F from the National Climactic Data Center, Allentown is a haven for skiers with three ski resorts within a 30 mile radius – Blue Mountain Resort, Bear Creek Ski and Recreation Area and Spring Mountain Adventures.
The area also offers a number of family-centered activities, perfect for retirees with grandchildren, including the Liberty Bell Museum, the Allentown Art museum, the Da Vinci Science Center and the America On Wheels Museum.
Allentown is home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs baseball team and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms ice hockey team.
York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia also made the list, coming in at #7, #10 and #13 respectively.