In October, 2012, MoneyRates.com published their annual “10 Best States to Retire” article, along with their ranking of all 50 states. While the author of the article readily admits that much of what makes a good place to retire is subjective and will vary from person to person, any attempt to generate such lists using statistical data usually produces results ranging from random and curious to bizarre and downright laughable.
This is illustrated by the fact that Idaho came in at #2 and South Dakota came in at #9. Not that there aren’t nice people or nice attributes in these states, but I doubt that anyone would consider these places to be retirement havens.
Most attempts to rank places to live using statistical data produce questionable results.
First, states are not homogenous. Within California, living in San Diego would be night-and-day different from living in, say, Stockton. In my home state of Arizona, Phoenix is considerably different from Bisbee or Yuma or Kingman.
Second, all one has to do is alter the criteria or tweak the weighting of the criteria to get different results. In this MoneyRates survey, they weight their five categories (senior population growth, economic conditions, crime rate, climate, and life expectancy) equally. The single category "economic conditions" encompasses cost of living, tax rates, job growth vs. unemployment - all lumped in together.
So, I place about as much credibility in surveys like this as I would put in my daily horoscope. And certainly, one shouldn’t make any life decisions based on either.
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