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New York

Everyone knows that Florida is where New Yorkers go to retire.  Florida is the number one retirement destination in the United States.  But did you know that New York is the #7 destination for retirees?  That's right.  A new study by (looking at statistics from 2017) reports that New York is the seventh top retirement destination for people 55 and older coming from other states.  The largest number of new Florida residents aged 50+ came from New York.  Despite the stereotype, only 13% of outgoing 50+ New Yorkers moved to Florida.  And oddly enough, the largest number of seniors relocating to New York came from Florida.

The study also finds that Ithaca was the number one metropolitan destination for people aged 18 to 29 in 2017, with 33.8% of residents coming from a different metropolitan area.  Especially impressive since that was only two years after the notorious Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau campaign in 2015 that advised tourists, "Due to the ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit The Keys this week.  Please come back when things thaw out.  Really.  It's for the birds here right now."  With a big promotional link for Key West.

But before you get all excited about retiring in New York, a 2020 Wallethub study ranked the state as the 42nd most desirable state to retire to.  Florida made number one with Colorado, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wyoming topping off the top five.  New York ranked #50 as the least affordable state to retire to.  it ranked #9 best quality of life, and the 14th best state in health care.

If you are wondering, Minnesota ranked #1 in health care.  I guess it doesn't hurt to have the Mayo Clinic within your borders.  Minnesota also ranked #1 in quality of life.  But it was only ranked #16 as a best retirement destination, probably because it ranked 46th in affordability.  So Florida is the top destination with an affordability rank of the #2 best and quality of life rank of #5.  Just try not to get sick, because Florida ranked #26 in health care.

The top 10 states receiving new 50+ residents in 2017 were Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.   Florida had 222,475 new residents in 2017, while New York had 44,055 according to the study.  The origins of new New York seniors were (in order of most to fewest) Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and Puerto Rico.  Only 3.1% of people 50 and older moved moved to a new metropolitan area.

Homossassa Springs, Florida made the top ten 'metropolitan areas with the most new residents' destination list in the 30-39 demographic, and ranked #1 for people in the 40-49 and 55+ categories.  Homossassa Springs is on the west Florida coast, approximately due west and a little south of Daytona Beach (on the east coast).  It's about an hour and 20 minute drive from Tampa, and about an hour and a half from Florida.  A wildlife state park is located there, and a warm spring in the park that attracts manatees during the cold months from November through March.  If you're over 50 and thinking of moving there, some live Web cams are on the Internet to give you a preview of what it is like.

Fun fact: in 1492 Christopher Columbus reported a mermaid sighting, which scientists say was the first actual manatee sighting report in North America.  Most mermaid sightings are attributed to people seeing manatees with the exception of sightings in movies, children's books, and theme parks.  And a not so fun fact: algae blooms like the ones we've been fighting here in Cayuga Lake recently were the top cause of manatee deaths in 2013, accounting for 276 of the 829 manatees killed in Florida that year.  115 died from an undiagnosed disease and 72 from boating accidents.  Cold water can kill them, too, thus Homossassa Springs' popularity with manatees who may or may not be of retirement age.

If you are thinking of retiring, Sheboygan, Wisconsin might be the place for you.  Sheboygan had the greatest growth of new 50+ residents in 2017 with a total of 2,574 new 50+  residents, amounting to 8.2 times the 2007 number.  But it was the Milwaukee/Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin area that had the largest 50+ population growth of 16,742 new residents, accounting for 4.8 times the number a decade earlier.

The Wallethub study in particular seems to indicate that you get what you pay for with the best quality of life and health care in the least affordable states.  That can be a problem for retirees with fixed incomes, and explains the popularity of smaller communities that are a short drive from popular travel destinations.  That hour and a half drive from Homossassa Springs to Disney World doesn't seem so bad, and if you can't afford the Disney entry fees you can always spend the winter with the manatees.

Or you could just go back in time -- 28 was a good age... -- and stay here in Ithaca.

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