The factors that make a state the number one place for retirement include the availability of quality healthcare, weather, taxes and the cost of living. Some rankings also take into consideration a state's crime rate, wellness index and life expectancy of seniors.
The criteria used to rank the top states for retirement differ from organization to organization. Bankrate, which ranks South Dakota as its number-one choice for retirees as of 2015, emphasizes the state's excellent healthcare system and strong well-being index ratings. The state also features a low cost of living, tax burden and crime rate. According to Bankrate, these factors outweigh the state's harsh winter weather.
In its 2014 list of the best places to retire, MoneyRates ranks Hawaii in the first place, citing the state's excellent climate and its long life expectancy for people over the age of 65. MoneyRates places less emphasis on the cost of living, which is considerably higher in Hawaii than in many other top-10 states. Other factors that go into the state rankings include the size of the senior population, the rates for violent and property crimes and the annual hours of sunshine. The state's economic condition is also a factor, particularly in terms of property taxes, unemployment and economic growth.