Looking to retire? Several Arizona cities may be the best place to settle down, according to a study by financial website WalletHub.
The study, released this week, determined that Scottsdale and Peoria are among the top 10 spots to retire in the country, based on criteria such as cost of living, weather and hospitals.
Mesa wasn’t far behind, coming in 21st.
Other Arizona cities that scored in the top 50 were Tucson (29th), Tempe (33rd), Gilbert (45th) and Chandler (49th). Phoenix ranked 63rd.
Scottsdale came in second place behind Tampa, Fla., in the research that looked at the “retirement-friendliness” of America’s 150 largest cities.
Peoria ranked 10th.
WalletHub.com compared cities based on affordability, activities, quality of life and health care.
The study found Peoria and Scottsdale have low violent-crime rates, boosting their scores.
Best Places to Retire
1. Tampa, Fla.
2. Scottsdale, Ariz.
3. Boise, Idaho
4. Cape Coral, Fla.
5. Orlando, Fla.
6. Sioux Falls, SD
7. Baton Rouge, La.
8. Port St. Lucie, Fla.
9. Overland Park, Kan.
10. Peoria, Ariz.
Mesa scored high — 11th in the country — for the number of public golf courses per 100,000 residents. The city has more than 40 golf courses, according to the website for Visit Mesa, the city convention and visitors bureau.
The findings show Scottsdale ranks No. 1 in the country for percentage of residents 65 and older among cities with populations of 100,000 or more.
The city takes its age-friendliness seriously, with two senior centers and an “All Things Senior” expo that draws thousands of attendees every February.
Scottsdale Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp, a supporter of the city’s aging-in-place initiative for seniors, said it “is natural” that Scottsdale is very focused on the group of residents.
Retirees want “beautiful surroundings, purposeful social and recreational activities,” she said by e-mail, as well as connectivity to others and good health care.
The Scottsdale Fire Department recently collaborated with the HonorHealth hospital network to identify a group of patients – often the elderly – who use emergency services most often. They are finding ways to keep the patients out of the hospital and in their homes, she said.
“The city is also expanding transportation options with greater availability of the free trolley service for its older residents,” she said.
Klapp said Scottsdale works closely with non-profit, faith-based and other agencies that serve the city’s older population.
The city has age-friendly programs through its senior centers, parks, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and museums and the arts.
Scottsdale still strives to always be better, which is why it participates in a regional “aging in place” effort, she said. The initiative looks at possible gaps in service for seniors, and tries to fill unmet needs so residents can remain in their homes as long as possible, Klapp said.
It is the second time Peoria has received the ranking, City Manager Carl Swenson said.
He called it “a testament to the services and amenities available to all of our residents, especially retirees.”
“There are a number of programs that have been developed specifically for active adults, particularly in the health and fitness area,” he said, “And we continually evaluate the needs of our older population to ensure we are meeting their needs as best as we can.”