Brookings, Oregon
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25 Places in America With the Most Seniors

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Brookings, Oregon
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The Retiring Kind

The population of older adults in the U.S. may be expected to nearly double to 98 million by 2060, according to World Atlas, but right now people over 65 make up only 16% of the overall population. In other words, finding the right location for retirement, a place where there’s likely to be plenty of people your own age, may take some work. AARP conducted an analysis of Census Bureau data to identify communities around the country that have the most substantial senior populations (those 65 and over). Its analysis was based on data from 2017, the most recent information available. Here’s a look at the 25 locations in the United States that were found to have the largest share of retirement-age residents, ranked in order starting with communities that have the most sizable percentage of seniors. (Hint: Florida is still the most popular place to be.)

Related: America's Healthiest States for Seniors, Ranked

Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada
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25. Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada

Total population: 48,309
Percentage 65 and over: 26.7%
Placing among the top 25 areas with the highest percentage of retirees is the Nevada community of Gardnerville Ranchos, where the cost of living is a steep 13.6% higher than the national average and the median home price is $329,200. The area may be ideal for those in search of small-town America. Home to a handful of charming hotels, a small casino, the 18-hole Carson Valley Golf Course and the popular Heritage Park Gardens, which offer demonstrations and workshops, the town traces its roots back to frontier days.

Easton Maryland at Night
Easton Maryland at Night by Mellowcream (CC BY-SA)

24. Easton, Maryland

Total population: 37,103
Percentage 65 and over: 27.1%
The only Maryland city to make the list, Easton bills itself as a charming small town. It's home to Colonial and Victorian buildings, art galleries, and award-winning restaurants. Easton has been named one of the best small towns in America. Though it's not necessarily one of the most affordable options on this list. The cost of living is 6.1% higher than the national average, and a home will set you back about $277,500.

Newport, Oregon
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23. Newport, Oregon

Total population: 48,920
Percentage 65 and over: 27.8%
A vibrant coastal town surrounded by natural beauty, it's easy to understand Newport's attraction for active retirees. The town's Historic Bayfront district features a vibrant food scene, while the outdoor activities here range from surfing and kayaking to hiking, biking, and birding. The cost of living in Newport is 1.9% lower than the U.S. average, while the average cost of a home is about $294,400.

Related: Birdwatchers Flock to These 15 Prime Spots Across America

Payson, Arizona
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22. Payson, Arizona

Total population: 53,501
Percentage 65 and over: 27.9%
One of three Arizona communities to find itself among the places with the most retirees, Payson is a picturesque mountain town with a revitalized Main Street and an abundance of outdoor activity options including biking and hiking. It's also very affordable. The cost of living in Payson is 0.9% lower than the national average, while the average home price is $265,100.

Cape Coral
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21. Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Florida

Total population: 739,224
Percentage 65 and over: 28%
Fort Myers is known for its attractive downtown and the fact that it's the spring training location for several baseball teams. Cape Coral, meanwhile, is a planned community that has attracted a significant retiree population and boasts stellar beaches and abundant golf courses. There are also more than 400 miles of canals and plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports. One of the drawbacks of the region, however, is its lack of cultural offerings. The cost of living is also 3.9% higher than the national average.

Ocala, Florida
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20. Ocala, Florida

Total population: 354,353
Percentage 65 and over: 28.6%
This Florida city rounds out the top 20 most popular places for retirees. Located in central Florida, Ocala is about an hour east of Daytona Beach. The community is known for its tree-lined streets and Old South architecture. This inland city doesn't offer the beachfront lifestyle of many Florida communities. Though for those who like a hot, humid climate, it may be a good choice. The cost of living may also be part of the appeal here for retirees at 16.2% lower than the national average.

Port Angeles, Washington
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19. Port Angeles, Washington

Total population: 75474
Percentage 65 and over: 29.2%
A top choice for retirees who love the great outdoors, Port Angeles is perhaps best known as the gateway for Olympic National Park. There are enough hiking and biking opportunities here to last a lifetime thanks to the national park and the Olympic Peninsula. (There's a 130-mile Olympic Discovery Trail for biking). A tiny seaside town, the cost of living in Port Angeles is 6.1% lower than the national average, while the median home cost is $253,400.

Related: The Best Bike Trails in All 50 States

Fredericksburg, Texas
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18. Fredericksburg, Texas

Total population: 26,646
Percentage 65 and over: 29.3%
Located in Texas' legendary Hill Country, Fredericksburg has been named one of the most romantic small towns in the country by CNN. Perhaps that's a reason to settle here during retirement. But additional attractions include the many wineries (more than 50) and an abundance of outdoor activities including hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and bicycling. As attractive as the area is, the cost of living remains just 1.1% higher than the national average. The median home cost is $304,600.

Silver City, New Mexico
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17. Silver City, New Mexico

Total population: 27,687
Percentage 65 and over: 29.5%
One of the biggest bargains on this list, the cost of living in Silver City is 20% lower than the U.S. average. That's not the only factor that may be attracting retirees to settle in this hilltop town. The picturesque area on the edge of the Gila Wilderness is also home to a vibrant arts scene, a growing diversity of culinary offerings, adventure opportunities, and a long list of scenic drives as an added bonus.

Related: 50 Most Beautiful Highway Drives in America

Brevard, North Carolina
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16. Brevard, North Carolina

Total population: 33,956
Percentage 65 and over: 29.7%
Seniors are apparently flocking in significant numbers to Brevard, a place where the cost of living is 7.5% lower than the national average. The average home cost here is $217,700. A picturesque area, Brevard is part of North Carolina's Land of Waterfalls. In addition to the outdoor appeal, Brevard offers a quaint Main Street that's lined by local shops and galleries. Outdoor recreation here ranges from hiking to fly fishing.

Related: Best 'Main Street' Shopping Districts in All 50 States

Lake Havasu City, Arizona
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15. Lake Havasu, Kingman, Arizona

Total population: 207,200
Percentage 65 and over: 29.7%
While Lake Havasu may be well known as a spring break destination, it's also a popular retirement area. Located in the northwestern corner of the state, one of Lake Havasu's most attractive features is its sunny climate (Think: 300 days of sunshine each year). It's also a great place for those who enjoy being active, as hiking, biking, boating, golfing, and fishing are popular pastimes. On the flipside, there are few cultural resources here for residents. The cost of living is 2.7% higher than the national average.

Sandy Neck Lighthouse
Sandy Neck Lighthouse by Don Rogers (CC BY-NC-ND)

14. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts

Total population: 213,444
Percentage 65 and over: 29.8%
The only Massachusetts city to attract such a substantial senior population, Barnstable Town is a pricey choice for retirement. A Cape Cod community that's flooded with tourists each summer, the cost of living reflects that seasonal traffic and demand, coming in at 21.5% higher than the national average. The average cost of a house is a steep $382,400. Living expenses aside, the attraction for retirees may be the abundance of recreation opportunities in the Cape Cod region, from boating and fishing to beaches and everything in between.

Pahrump, Nevada
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13. Pahrump, Nevada

Total population: 44,202
Percentage 65 and over: 29.8%
About an hour outside Las Vegas, Pahrump is a rapidly growing community that's home to five casinos and a handful of wineries. Its desert location is also an attraction for those who love the outdoors. Popular pastimes here include golfing and riding all-terrain vehicles. Retirees may also find this community appealing because of its low cost of living, which is 9% lower than the national average. What's more, the median home price is just $187,100.

Prineville, Oregon
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12. Prineville, Oregon

Total population: 23,122
Percentage 65 and over: 30.5%
One of two Oregon communities to make the list, Prineville offers many options for active seniors including fishing, hiking, boating, and year-round golf. It's also a reasonably affordable region where the cost of living is 7% lower than the national average. The median home price is about $222,700.

Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville
Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville by Brian Stansberry (CC BY-SA)

11. Crossville, Tennessee

Total population: 59,078
Percentage 65 and over: 30.7%
The only Tennessee community to make it into the top 25, Crossville is a downright bargain, which is likely very appealing for retirees. The median home price is just $146,500, while the cost of living is 18.6% lower than the national average. Yet another reason that retirees may find it so appealing — Crossville is the golf capital of the state. It is home to 10 golf courses including the state's first Jack Nicklaus-designed course.

Prescott, Arizona
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10. Prescott, Arizona

Total population: 228,168
Percentage 65 and over: 30.8%
The only Arizona community to make it into the top 10, Prescott is located in northwest Arizona about 60 miles south of the popular tourist city of Sedona. There's a lot to like about Prescott, making it easy to understand the concentration of retirees. Highlights include a vibrant arts community, and a well-kept downtown that's a blend of Old West and Midwest, with numerous historically significant buildings. With a cost of living that is about 15.7% higher than the national average, Prescott attracts many affluent retirees.

Related: 22 Small Towns with Vibrant Art Scenes

Naples, FL
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9. Naples, Immokalee, Marco Island, Florida

Total population: 372,880
Percentage 65 and over: 31.5%
Another highly popular retiree area in the Sunshine State, the Naples region is located on Florida's southern Gulf Coast. The area is known for its beaches, parks and nature preserves, as well as a variety of activities including golf courses and golf-centered residential communities. With all of these attractive features, however, the cost of living is no bargain. The Naples area is dominated by upscale housing where the median home cost is $323,700.

Mountain Home, Arkansas
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8. Mountain Home, Arkansas

Total population: 41,355
Percentage 65 and over: 31.5%
Another non-Florida location to make the top 10, Mountain Home is an ideal place to be if you're a retiree who enjoys the outdoor life, and fishing in particular. On more than one occasion the area has been listed among the top 20 cities in the country for sportsmen by Outdoor Life Magazine. It has also been recognized by Field and Stream magazine as one of the best fishing towns in America. Fishing aside, the community is a popular resort and retirement haven. Added bonus? The cost of living here is a downright bargain at 22.5% lower than the U.S. average. And yet another potentially appealing fact for retirees — the median home cost is just $136,300.

Related: Best Fishing Spots in All 50 States

Sebastian-Vero Beach, Florida
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7. Sebastian, Vero Beach, Florida

Total population: 154,383
Percentage 65 and over: 31.8%
While many communities and regions in Florida have experienced significant growth and transformation, the Sebastian/Vero Beach area has managed to retain its small-town charm, by some accounts. The downside of the small-town atmosphere is that there isn't a lot to do here (at least compared to some of Florida's other well-known communities), something retirees may want to keep in mind. On the other hand, the cost of living is about 2% less than the national average, which may be what the 65-plus demographic finds so very appealing about Sebastian and Vero Beach.

Bradenton, Florida
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6. North Port, Sarasota, Bradenton, Florida

Total population: 804,690
Percentage 65 and over: 31.9%
A three-city region just south of Tampa, the communities of North Port, Sarasota, and Bradenton are known for their walkable downtowns and small city feel. In addition, Sarasota has the distinction of being home to more than 30 golf courses. The region's population has been growing significantly in recent years (at least 10.6% since 2010) and the cost of living has been impacted by that growth — it's about 3.5% higher than the national average.

Brookings, Oregon
jmoor17/istockphoto

5. Brookings, Oregon

Total population: 19,764
Percentage 65 and over: 33.1%
The only Oregon community to make it into the top 10, Brookings is a picturesque, coastal community in Southern Oregon. Known for its uniquely moderate climate, when much of the surrounding region is challenged by clouds or fog, Brookings often remains pleasantly sunny. The cost of living here however, is not exactly a bargain. The median home price is about $348,000 and the cost of living is about 5.8% higher than the U.S. average.

 Sebring, Florida
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4. Sebring, Florida

Total population: 102,883
Percentage 65 and over: 34.7%
An affordable Florida option for retirees, Sebring is located about 130 miles from Tampa and Orlando. The median home price here is $134,100. In addition to being relatively affordable, there's not much traffic and winters are mild. But don't expect a ton of entertainment here. Sperling's Best Places to Live notes that there are few amenities or cultural resources to be found in Sebring.

Homosassa Springs, Florida
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3. Homosassa Springs, Florida

Total population: 145,647
Percentage 65 and over: 36.4%
The Homosassa Springs region is also known for its affordability (the median home price is $152,500), as well as its low crime, and mild winters. One of Florida's original fishing towns, Homosassa is perhaps most famous these days for being home to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, a reserve that showcases rescued and rehabilitated native Florida wildlife. But there's more to Homosassa than a state park. It's also a community known for its active waterfront lifestyle, which includes being one of the state's top sport fishing locations.

Related: 30 Unexpectedly Awesome Places to Retire Across America

Punta Gorda, Florida
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2. Punta Gorda, Florida

Total population: 182,033
Percentage 65 and over: 39.4%
A community that has a long list of accolades including being named one of the best places to live by Money Magazine (on two occasions), Men's Journal, Forbes and MSN, Punta Gorda apparently has much to offer, no matter what age you are. Located in Southwest Florida between Fort Myers and Sarasota, the city boasts a variety of recreational opportunities (from boating to fishing and golfing), a small-town feel, low crime, and an inexpensive cost of living.

Related: 25 Cities With the Most Working Seniors

The Villages, Florida
Michael Warren/istockphoto

1. The Villages, Florida

Total population: 125,165
Percentage 65 and over: 56.6%
The Villages, a massive retirement community in Central Florida just outside Orlando, is apparently the place to be if you're a retiree looking for camaraderie. The Orlando Sentinel reported last year that The Villages was the fastest growing metro area in the entire country, a statement based on 2018 Census data. The population of this community has increased a staggering 38% since 2010. No other location in the country had a growth rate that was even remotely comparable between 2010 to 2018. So, what about The Villages is attracting people in droves? A master planned community for those 55 and over, The Villages describes itself as an “active golf-cart community.” It features homes on tree lined streets, small town squares, 50 golf courses, and 2,500 clubs and activities — to name a few highlights.