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The 5 Absolute Best And Worst States To Retire

03/23/2015 07:18 am ET | Updated Mar 23, 2015
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It appears Americans value the great outdoors and a low cost of living much more than the beach when considering where they should retire. Bankrate.com released its annual list of the best and worst states to retire today and Wyoming topped the list, while Arkansas ranked the lowest.

"The Cowboy State" took the top spot in the rankings after factors such as cost of living, taxes, health care, crime rates, climate and overall well-being were considered.

The survey of around 1,000 adults in the U.S. questioned what Americans' priorities are when it comes to retirement. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said being close to family was the deciding factor. But when it came to climate, it seems we should rethink the stereotype of retirees lounging on the beach with a fruity drink. The survey revealed that while around a quarter prefer being close to a beach, nearly 40 percent of people want access to the great outdoors, rivers and mountains -- which Wyoming has plenty of. Sorry, Florida.

Besides offering several national parks, fishing, hiking and winter sports, Wyoming boasts no personal income taxes as well as low crime rates and excellent medical facilities.

“Warm weather may be an initial draw, but all the sunny days in the world won’t make you happy if you’re constantly stretching your budget or don’t have access to quality health care," said Chris Kahn, Bankrate.com's research and statistics analyst, in a statement.

Meanwhile, Arkansas was at the very bottom of the list despite a low cost of living, since it was among the worst states in terms of crime, community well-being and quality health care, according to data gathered from the FBI, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. New York, Alaska, West Virginia and Louisiana also were in the bottom five.

"There are many factors retirees should consider before deciding where to put down their roots. Deciding where to live in the golden years is still a very personal decision,” Kahn said. “This list is meant to help inform, rather than choose a state for you. For example, if you want to retire on the beach and need top-notch health care, this can help narrow down your choices.”

Check out the top five states to retire in and go to Bankrate.com to see where your state ranks.

  • 1 Wyoming
    Robert Alexander via Getty Images
    Besides Wyoming's breathtaking natural beauty -- it's home to both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park -- the western state ranks high thanks to its low crime and tax rates, as well as pleasant weather.
  • 2 Colorado
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Colorado comes in second place thanks to a strong ranking for community well-being. It's also one of the most popular states due to its weather. While Colorado is known for its winter activities, such as skiing in world-renowned Aspen, it has many cultural offerings such as Native American heritage sites and sites related to the Gold Rush.
  • 3 Utah
    Mlenny via Getty Images
    You can't go wrong with Utah's combination of a low cost of living and high quality health care. Besides its variety of outdoor offerings, including hiking, skiing and wildlife, the state has a strong Mormon community, beautiful temples and even one of the world's best-known annual film festivals -- Sundance.
  • 4 Idaho
    Glen Allison via Getty Images
    Idaho ranked high for having a good cost of living and low crime rates. According to Zillow, the median home value and home prices are both under $200,000.
  • 5 Virginia
    Andy Ryan via Getty Images
    The only coastal state to make the top five, Virginia ranks high for its low crime rates and appealing weather. Virginia offers plenty for history buffs, being the birthplace of many presidents and home to several Civil War sites. It also has gorgeous beaches for the grandkids to enjoy.

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