Every year, Liveability.com creates a list of the best places in the United States to retire. In 2014, Springfield, Missouri is ranked number 1. KSMU’s Simone Cook has more.
Matt Carmichael is the editor for Livabilty.com.
“We look at pretty much every city with a population over 20,000 and to about 350,000, so that gives us a universe of about 2,000 cities. We run the same data for all of them and then select the top 10 based on those results.” Carmichael said.
Data that was taken into consideration included Springfield’s cost of living, at 7 percent below the national average, and its 7.6 percent sales tax rate.
“Springfield actually is on our Top 100 Best Places to Live for everybody, and then we also factor in some components that are strictly related to seniors and retirees. We looked at the unemployment rate for people 55 or older, knowing that many retirement age people aren’t necessarily retiring these days. We also looked at the tax climate and cost of living for seniors, and just tried to come up with great places to live that are also great places to retire,” Carmichael said.
Currently, 14.5 percent of Springfield’s population is comprised of people aged 65 or older. The report cites that there are no taxes on prescription drugs and most Social Security benefits are not taxed. The area is also credited with its housing options, with more than a dozen independent living, senior apartments and retirement communities.
Additionally, the report cites a youthful balance with its colleges and universities, and nearby activities in the Ozark Mountains.
Maggie Bridgeman is the communication coordinator for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I think if you look into the methodology, it talked about cost of living, it talked about a lot of different things that are good not just for a place to retire but good for a place to live. And also to locate your business too, and I think that’s probably why we [Chamber of Commerce] were excited about it, was just because it’s just another testament to what a great community we have.”
Rounding out the top 3 on the Best Places to Retire list were Knoxville, Tennessee and Bellevue, Washington.