Elder-care company Caring.com recently conducted a study to determine the best US states to grow old in. And the winner is…
That’s right: In addition to being one of the top 5 fiscally responsible states in the Union, the home of Mormonism is also the most friendly state for elderly Americans to grow old and retire in. Earlier this year, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University compiled a comprehensive study, based on a number of objective financial metrics, ranking the 50 US states according to their overall fiscal condition. Utah came in third behind Alaska and Florida.
But Utah handily bested both those states on a ranking based on 13 categories including quality, cost, and availability of health care for seniors, as well as factors that speak to the state’s overall quality of life.
Here’s a breakdown of the data, courtesy of Bloomberg:
New York, one of the worst states for retirees, was singled out because of the extreme disparity between health-care cost and quality, as Bloomberg explains…
“New York, No. 33 in the well-being ranking, was singled out by Caring.com for its extremes. The very high cost of the state’s health care doesn’t produce results close to commensurate with that spending, according to the report. While New York ranked 46th in cost (the lower the rank, the higher the cost), its life/health care quality rank was 34 (the lower the rank, the worse the quality). Massachusetts had a similar pattern; it ranked 49th in cost and 18th in quality. That’s reflective of a larger trend in the U.S.—high spending on health care isn’t translating into longer lives, as this interactive graphic demonstrates.”
Washington State and California do a better job of translating higher costs to better-quality care…
“Higher costs show more of a payoff in Washington state and California. Washington is 38th for cost and is the top state for quality of life and health care. California has a cost ranking of 36 and quality ranking of 3 (it’s tied with Oregon for quality).”
According to Bloomberg, the lighter the color, the higher the overall ranking of the state as a place to grow old.
The study was conducted by Caring.com, which ranked states on 13 categories, including quality, cost, and availability of health care for seniors. The study’s authors used a range of data sets, including Census data and proprietary data sets from AARP.
“The ranking, which drew on data from the U.S. Census, the insurer Genworth, AARP, the Commonwealth Fund, and Gallup-Healthways, among others, also factored in 150,000 consumer reviews from Caring.com’s database of facilities and care providers for seniors. The availability, quality, and cost of care for the elderly got greater attention in the report than some of the common measures used in retirement destination rankings.”
As Tim Sullivan, vice president at Caring.com, explains, the author’s decision to name the study “The Best States To Grow Old In” instead of “The Best States To Retire In” was meant to highlight an important distinction…
“One reason we call this report the best states to grow old, versus best states to retire, is because it’s really important for people to plan out their 60s, 70s, and 80s with as much care as they plan their retirement in their 30s, 40s, and 50s,” said Tim Sullivan, vice president at Caring.com. “Your needs change as you age, and they are not always going to be driven by the sort of leisure or amenities or weather considerations that are what a lot of people think about retirement.”
The report’s greatest utility, according to Bloomberg, is helping to spark a discussion about where millennials should plan on settling down for the long haul. Unfortunately, Utah is largely devoid of the amenities – like comprehensive public transportation and quality night life – that millennials covet. But affordable health care, low taxes and the state’s overall low cost of living make a compelling case for going without.