Retirement can be some of the best years of your life.
That is the time to watch your children, and if you are lucky enough, grandchildren grow up and experience everything the world has to offer.
Retirement provides the opportunity to do things you never had the time to do before, like traveling the world, playing golf five days a week, or sleeping in late and spending the day doing nothing with your loved one.
What is one of the best states in the U.S. for retirement? California, of course!
California features beautiful weather, tons of golf courses, a plethora of distinct landmarks, fantastic beaches, awe-inspiring natural beauty (see: Redwood National Park), and many other attractions to keep retirees active and lively.
But, California is a big state and finding the proper town or city within The Golden State can be tricky.
That is why LendEDU has conducted a study to find out the very best communities in California for retirement. Using licensed data, we analyzed over 1,000 California towns and cities according to factors deemed important for a proper retirement.
The following five parameters were evaluated for each community:
- Retirement Population Score (30% weight, listed in table as “Retire,” the proportion of a town’s residents ages 65 and older)
- Cost of Living Score (20% weight, listed in table as “COL,” the cost of general expenses in a given town)
- Entertainment Score (20% weight, listed in table as “Ent.,” the number of golf courses, museums, parks, art galleries, etc., in a given town)
- Health Care Score (20% weight, listed in table as “Health,” the number of hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, etc., in a given town)
- Crime Score (10% weight, listed in table as “Crime,” the rate of all crimes committed on average in a given town)
The 100 California towns you will find below have been recognized by LendEDU as the best places in the entire state for retirement.
Interactive Map Featuring the Best Towns in California for Retirement
Ranking the Best Towns in California for Retirement
All data used in this study has been licensed by LendEDU from Onboard Informatics. Onboard Informatics’ dataset provides data points for every single town and city in the U.S. by ZIP Code. A population cutoff was established at 7,500, meaning that any California community with a population below 7,500 was eliminated from further analysis. In total, over 1,000 California towns were originally considered, but after the population cutoff, that number was cut to nearly 600 towns and cities. Each town and city were given scores for each parameter that were then added up to calculate the final score.
Retirement Population Score
The first parameter was dubbed the “Retirement Population Score.” This was done by finding the population of residents ages 65 and older, or the retirement age, as a proportion of the total population. The proportion of retired people in a given town was ranked against every other towns proportion on a percent scale from 0 to 100. The resulting number was multiplied by this parameter’s weight of 30% to get the score, which carried a maximum value of 30 points.
Cost of Living Score
The second parameter was titled the “Cost of Living Score,” and was meant to represent the general cost of all living expenses in a given town. This includes property taxes, sales tax, cost of gas, cost of food, etc., Onboard Informatics’ dataset provides the cost of living statistic as a stand alone statistics, so no manipulation was required. Each town’s cost of living statistic was ranked against the others on a percent scale from 0 to 100. The resulting number was multiplied by this parameter’s assigned weight of 20%, and the maximum point value was 20 points.
The third parameter was the “Entertainment Score,” and was indicative of how many entertainment facilities there were in a given town. Onboard Informatics’ dataset provides the exact count of how many entertainment venues there are in a given town. Entertainment facilities included golf courses, museums, art galleries, parks, bowling allies, libraries, and bingo halls. Each town’s count was ranked against all of the other towns counts on a percent scale from 0 to 100. The resulting number was multiplied by the parameters designated weight of 20%, and the greatest possible point total was 20 points.
Health Care Score
The fourth parameter was dubbed the “Health Care Score,” and this parameter represented how many health care facilities were present in a certain town. Similar to entertainment venues, the licensed dataset provided the exact count of how many health care facilities there were in an exact town. Health care facilities included hospitals, nursing homes, emergency clinics, etc., Each town’s health care facility count was ranked against all the other counts on a percent scale from 0 to 100. The resulting number was multiplied by the weight of this parameter, which was 20%. The maximum possible point total was 20 points.
The fifth and final parameter was the “Crime Score.” This parameter was indicative of the combined risk of rape, murder, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft compared to the national average crime rate. Each town’s crime score was ranked against one another on a percent scale from 0 to 100. The resulting numbers for each town were multiplied by its weight of 10%, and the greatest possible point total for this parameter was 10 points.
After each town was given a weighted score for each parameter, we moved forward with compiling the final rankings. All of a town’s parameter scores were summed together to get the final score. A final score closer to 100 was deemed more favorable for retirement and vice versa for lower scores. The final 100 California communities that were recognized in this report as the best places in California for retirement were the towns and cities that accumulated the most points.