Based on high crime, poor air quality, natural disasters, and more, we rated places you might want to rethink spending your golden years.
St. Louis, MO
The Gateway to the West and home of Anheuser-Busch is a beautiful all-American city, but if you're retiring, there are a few things to keep in mind. With high violent and property crime rates (it ranks as the second-most dangerous city in the U.S.), poor air quality, and nearly a 20 percent vacancy rate for homes and apartments (the national average is 11.38 percent), St. Louis might need to be crossed off your retirement list.
Las Vegas, NV
Sin City might be a tempting retirement option for people who are drawn to the city’s glitz and glam. However, with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, particularly when it comes to bank-seized “vampire” and homeowner-abandoned “zombie” foreclosures, Las Vegas might not be as attractive as it seems, according to RealtyTrac. While the roulette wheels spin, the Las Vegas economy continues to suffer with negative job growth and an unemployment rate that’s 6 percent higher than the national average, according to Sperling’s BestPlaces. Worse, though, is locals’ poor access to doctors. Only 69.7 percent of Las Vegans have a usual source of health care, which is much lower than the national average at 82.4 percent, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund.
With access to beaches, mountains and some of the best wineries in the country, the Golden State might seem like an appealing place to retire. Unfortunately, not all California cities are made equal. With one of the highest foreclosure rates in the U.S., Modesto’s proximity to Yosemite National Park isn’t enough to make up for its failing economy and high air pollution rate – it’s ranked sixth most-polluted city in the country, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report.
Southern charm might be enticing, but there are a few things to think about with Atlanta. With public transportation ranking as one of the country’s worst, Atlanta and its non-pedestrian-friendly streets are difficult to navigate without a car. Beyond the high violent and property crime rates, Atlanta gets 54 inches of rain per year—a full foot and a half more than the national average—and was even ranked number one in a Sperling’s BestPlaces study measuring the most irritation-prone cities due to pest control, average heat index, and overall traffic congestion.
If rest and relaxation are among your retirement must-haves, you may want to rethink Houston. Residents of the number two most-irritated city in the U.S. report sleepless nights and long commutes, according to a study conducted by Sperling’s BestPlaces. Plus, living in Texas means always being prepared for the occasional natural disaster, including tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and coastal hurricanes, making it one of the most natural disaster-prone states in the country.
With its hot weather, proximity to beaches, and vibrant nightlife, Miami might seem like a retirement dream. Unfortunately, the Magic City is one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians, according to Transportation for America, suffers from high crime rates, and even has a higher-than-average cost of living to boot!
Little Rock, AR
Little Rock isn’t only the hometown of President Bill Clinton, it’s also one of the most dangerous small cities in America and has one of the highest murder rates in the country, according to Law Street Media. Beyond its high crime rate, Little Rock still has some additional health and transit challenges. Although it ranks high in water quality with a score of 89—100 is best—its poor air quality may cause or aggravate respiratory conditions in older adults. What’s more, even though its downtown is walkable, the city has few public transit options and is mainly a car-dependent area, according to Walk Score.