Deciding Where to Retire

Douglas County in Colorado was named the healthiest community in the country by U.S. News & World Report.


If you plan to move when you retire, where will you go? What is important to you, and how will you decide? U.S. News & World Report, working with Aetna, has released a report about the healthiest communities in the country. While all of the 81 characteristics they compared aren’t about health, they do affect quality of life.

Their ranking calculated the scores on 3,000 counties across the country, broken down into 10 categories: population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality and infrastructure. (Douglas County in Colorado is No. 1, followed by Los Alamos County, the only county in New Mexico that’s ranked in the top 500.) 

To see the rankings, go online to On the first page, you can specify the county name or ZIP code of an area you’re interested in. After you click, you’ll see the rankings for your selected area, with individual category scores, as well as a state and U.S. average. Scroll down for the details of each one. You’ll find everything from the smoking rate to voter participation, the poverty rate, changes in housing values, crime rates — information on all 81 metrics. Be sure to click or mouseover everything because there’s more to it than appears.

At the very bottom of the page you’ll find sliders for each of the 10 categories where you can shop for your ideal retirement location. Customize your preferences by moving the sliders, and a list of your best communities will appear on the right of the screen.

Even if you’re not ready to decide about a move right now, this report will get you thinking about what’s important to you about where you live. All in all, this report is very well done and comprehensive in the amount of information it provides.

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