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GreatPlacesToRetire.com Ranking Methodology

Ninety-nine elite destinations in the U.S. are tracked by the GreatPlacesToRetire.com survey. A simple ranking process is used to determine the best cities for that retirement home.

All cities are ranked from "1" (the best) to "99" (not) in each of 21 different Quality of Life criteria (check the links at the top of this page). The 21 ranks for each city are averaged. The city with the lowest average rank emerges as the top city.

All source information presented at GreatPlacesToRetire is publicly available from the following public and private organizations:

Existing and New Home Sales

County Tax Assessor/Recorder Offices, National Association of Realtors and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (fractional ownership in some resort areas may distort average home prices).

Home Rent by City/County

U.S. Housing and Urban Development

Cost of Living

County Tax Assessor/Recorder Offices, National Association of Realtors, Taxfoundation.org and U.S. Census Bureau

New Home Building Permits

U.S. Census Bureau

Population Demographics

U.S. Census Bureau

Household Income and Housing

U.S. Census Bureau

Medical Care

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and American Osteopathic Association

Air Quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Water Quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


U.S. Census Bureau

National Parks

U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Federal/State/Local Taxation

Taxfoundation.org and U.S. Census Bureau

Inflation (Consumer Price Index)

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

"Real" Gross Domestic Product Growth

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

Mortgage Interest Rates

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation

Federal Funds Rates

Federal Reserve System

Heating and Cooling Degree Days

National Weather Service or U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration

Crime Statistics


Natural Hazards Risk

U.S. Department of the Interior, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and Federal Emergency Management Association

Man-Made Hazards Risk (Nuclear)

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


National Park Service, Recreation.gov and state parks/parks & wildlife organizations



Hazardous Material Maps (City and State)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Interactive Maps and Street View



Walk Score®

Real Estate MLS®




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Twitter® Timeline (suspended indefinitely)


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