How we picked the Best Places to RetireWorking with data provider OnBoard and consultant Bert Sperling of BestPlaces.net, we set out to find the best places to retire in America. We combed 30 of the country's largest cities for areas that have low crime, rich cultural amenities, easy access to transportation and great medical facilities.
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Online notes and sourcesUnless otherwise indicated, all data are as of 2006.
Projections are based on available U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Purchasing power is the median household income adjusted using Sperling Cost of Living Index. (Sperling Cost of Living Index derived from the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (published and unpublished), with health costs from Medicare and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Consumer Expenditure Survey (BLS), Current Population Survey (BLS), Department of Energy, the Federal Travel Directory, National Association of Realtors, Home Price Mortgage Index from Freddie Mac, median home sales prices from county deed records and state associations of Realtors). In some cases, AACRA Q4 2006 COLI publication was used, as supplied by OnBoard.
Average annual state auto insurance premium are 2006 figures as reported by Insurance.com. Note: no values were available for AK, HI, MA.
Median home sale price is actual sales collected from county and municipal assessor's offices for 2006. Only includes sales within the place boundaries.
Quality of Life
Air quality index are county numbers. Source: EPA.
Personal crime incidents are per 1,000 from 2005 FBI incidence reports.
Property crime incidents are per 1,000 from 2005 FBI incidence reports.
Leisure and culture
Number of arts and leisure activities (including museums, restaurants, bars, golf courses and ski resorts) within proximity of each city is calculated by OnBoard. Data sources: InfoUSA, MRI and InSource marketing survey data, Trails.com, American Public Gardens Association, American Hiking Society, American Association of Museums, Symphony.org, Reserve America, Ticketmaster, American Zoo and Aquarium Assocation, GoSki.com.
Weather data from NOAA National Weather Center observation reporting stations.
Condition rates (diabetes, hypertension) are for the county from Bert Sperling's bestplaces.net. Other health statistics (life expectancy, number of doctors) are for the city, also from Bert Sperling's bestplaces.net.
Data sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and 2003/2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey from the CDC.
Elder-care facilities from Total Living Choices. (www.tlchoices.com)
Map data detailsHomes for sale provided by Trulia Real Estate Search.
City stats from Money, OnBoard. [onboardllc.com]
Map location sources and data partnersLocations and data for colleges, hospitals, museums, wineries, gardens, ski resorts, and top employers are from OnBoard (www.onboardllc.com) -- which maintains a data warehouse of community, demographic, school, school performance, local businesses and amenities, and property transaction data -- and its aggregation of data from public sources and the organizations below:
American Association of Museums - names and addresses of their member institutions. (www.aam-us.org)
GoSki.com - names and locations of North American ski resorts. (www.GoSki.com)
Great Schools - NCLB test scores. (www.GreatSchools.net)
InfoUSA - top employers by county and listings and counts of businesses by type including doctors offices, recreational facilities, hospitals and more (www.infoUSA.com)
Insurance.com - average auto insurance rates. (www.Insurance.com)
Total Living Choices - Elder Care facility counts and related content (www.tlchoices.com)
Note: Only four-year colleges and graduate schools are displayed.
All content based on public, private and governmental sources - and while we make every effort to identify errors or omissions in these sources, neither OnBoard nor CNNMoney.com guarantees the accuracy of this information.
Find your best place to live -- How it worksAffordable housing based on median home price.
Plentiful leisure activities based on number of: sports, concert and family/arts events within 15 miles (source: Ticketmaster), movie theaters within 15 miles, restaurants within 15 miles (source: InfoUSA).
Plentiful cultural options based on number of: museums in 30 miles (source: American Association of Musuems), arts theaters in the city (source: InfoUSA), orchestras within 30 miles (source: Symphony.org), and family arts events within 15 miles (source: Ticketmaster).
Job growth is based on 2000-2006 % growth. Source: Census data, with Onboard projections for 2006 and data normalization for 2000.
Low crime rate is based on violent crime incidences, including robbery and assault, percentages. Source: FBI 2005 incidence reports. Geographic aggregation and estimate (where needed), by OnBoard.
Sunny weather based on number of clear days in the area per year.
Short commute time based on median commute in minutes.
Good health-care access based on number of teaching hospitals in the area.
MONEY Magazine's Best Places to Retire 2007