Ready for re­tire­ment? Head for Lan­caster, Pa.

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Mike Snider

Lan­caster, Penn­syl­va­nia, which sits in a county dubbed the “Gar­den Spot of Amer­ica,” is now con­sid­ered the top place to re­tire in the na­tion.

Lan­caster tops the lat­est U.S. News & World Re­port list of the 2019 Best Places to Re­tire in the United States. The city – sit­u­ated in south cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia less than two hours from Philadel­phia and three hours from New York City – held the No. 2 spot in U.S. News’ list last year but vaulted past Sara­sota, Florida, in this new list.

Sara­sota dropped to No. 3, while two other Florida cities moved up: Fort My­ers took the No. 2 spot, up from No. 15 last year, and Lake­land was No. 10, up from No. 26. Pittsburgh climbed three spots to No. 5, while Grand Rapids, Michi­gan, dropped from No. 4 to No. 6.

Three Texas cities made the top 10: Austin rose five spots to No. 4, San An­to­nio fell five spots to No. 8, and Dal­lasFort Worth ad­vanced two to No. 9.

Nashville, Ten­nessee, No. 35 last year, filled out the Top 10 at No. 7.

“De­cid­ing where to re­tire is a big de­ci­sion,” Emily Bran­don, se­nior editor for re­tire­ment at U.S. News, said in a state­ment ac­com­pa­ny­ing the re­sults. “The Best Places to Re­tire of­fers a way for fu­ture re­tirees to make a more in­formed de­ci­sion based on what mat­ters the most to them. Whether that be hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity, ac­cess to qual­ity hos­pi­tals or the de­sir­abil­ity of a place in gen­eral, the rank­ings of­fer a com­pre­hen­sive list that can point peo­ple in the best di­rec­tion for their needs.”

U.S. News based the rank­ings, now in their sec­ond year, on six fac­tors: hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity, de­sir­abil­ity, re­tiree taxes, the hap­pi­ness in­dex, job mar­ket and health care qual­ity. The hap­pi­ness in­dex quan­ti­fies how con­tent res­i­dents were based on Gallup-Health­ways’ “State of Amer­i­can Well-Be­ing: 2017 Com­mu­nity Well-Be­ing Rank­ings” re­port, pub­lished in March.

De­sir­abil­ity was weighted slightly more heav­ily this year, based on re­sponses to con­sumer sur­veys of 841 pre­re­tirees (ages 45 and older) and re­tire­ment-age per­sons (ages 60 and older) con­ducted by U.S. News in Septem­ber 2017.

Lan­caster, which is also No. 32 on U.S. News’ list of best places in the U.S. to live, has a mix of sub­ur­bia, farm­land and charm­ing down­town with arts, the­ater and din­ing, with the Penn­syl­va­nia Amish coun­try to the east. It rose in the list be­cause of in­creases in hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and the over­all hap­pi­ness of its res­i­dents, U.S. News says.

Fort My­ers, Florida, rose be­cause of in­creases in de­sir­abil­ity and hap­pi­ness scores, while Sara­sota, Florida, dropped due to de­clines in over­all hap­pi­ness and de­sir­abil­ity.

Find the full list at us­news.com.

GETTY IM­AGES

Lan­caster, Pa., rose to No. 1 be­cause of in­creases in hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and the over­all hap­pi­ness of its res­i­dents, U.S. News & World Re­port says.

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