Lancaster Named Top City to Retire Along with Five Other Pa. Cities

By Kim Shindle | June 27, 2023 | 4 min. read

Move over Sunshine State. Once again, several Keystone State cities bested Florida locations as some of the top places to retire, according to a U.S. News & World Report study.

The annual Best Places to Retire in the U.S. list named Lancaster, as the No. 1 place to retire in 2023. Other Pennsylvania metros named in the top 10 were Harrisburg, York, Allentown and Reading. While analyzing the data for the 150 largest metros in the U.S., the study looked at the happiness of local residents, housing affordability, tax rates and healthcare quality. They looked at data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. News’ own internal sources.

“It’s no surprise to those of us who live in Pennsylvania that these cities are ranked so high,” said PAR President Al Perry. “The commonwealth continues to be an extremely affordable place to live and retire and offers beautiful scenery and terrific activities across the state.”

This isn’t the first year that the report has ranked Lancaster in first place. The report highlighted Lancaster “offers a balance between natural and commercial spaces that residents appreciate.” The region offers farmland, as well as a busy city and a unique group of residents including farmers, families, college students and young professionals. It does note, however, that the abundance of farmland and its animals do bring a specific odor to the area’s air. The study lists the median home price at $259,812.

“Lancaster County, a cherished spot for retirees, continues to make its name known among the nation’s finest retirement destinations. Its exceptional healthcare system, encompassing renowned hospitals, caters to the well-being of seniors, ensuring a life of comfort and peace,” said Lancaster County Association of Realtors® President-elect Jeff Peters.

“The county offers an abundance of senior housing options that accommodate a diverse preference of price and amenities. From active adult communities to assisted living, many retirees have been calling Lancaster home for years. The county’s close proximity to major metropolitan areas, with quick access by multiple train stations or highways, offers retirees an enjoyable trip to Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, or D.C.,” he added. “Amidst the charms of this retiree’s paradise, the low cost of living and mild climate create an ideal setting for retirees to thrive. Affordable housing options abound, granting retirees the freedom to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without compromise.”

Harrisburg came in second, thanks to its annual festivals, events and beautiful scenery along the Susquehanna River and the Appalachian Trail. It mentions the city’s proximity to Amish country, Gettysburg National Military Park and Hersheypark, along with New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The survey notes the median home price is $236,158.

“Harrisburg offers affordability, a tax-friendly environment, cultural amenities, access to healthcare, a central location for exploration, convenient transportation, active retirement communities and four distinct seasons, making it a great place to retire,” said Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors® President Wendell Hoover.

In fifth place was York, which the list noted is known for its history, museums and hiking trails. Housing costs lower than the national average lure many people who work in Maryland to live in the White Rose City. Not to mention historical features like being the birthplace of the Articles of Confederation and even the capital of the U.S. for a brief period. The median home price is $210,546.

“York offers several factors that make it an attractive place to retire,” said Reid Weinbrom, president of the Realtors® Association of York and Adams Counties. “We have a relatively low cost of living compared to many other retirement destinations. Our county’s natural beauty is unmatched. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, fishing and golfing in the county’s numerous parks, nature reserves and golf courses. York has a prime location with proximity to major metropolitan areas. This allows retirees to access cultural amenities, entertainment options, and top-notch healthcare facilities without being in the hustle and bustle of a big city.”

Allentown makes the list at No. 9. The historic buildings, museums and an active business district make this city attractive to retirees. The study says the median home price is $332,690.

Hitting No. 10 is Reading, which recently celebrated its 275th anniversary. It notes the housing costs, with the median home price at $210,816, make it an affordable place to live.

Also listed in the top 10 were Pensacola, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Naples, Fla.; Daytona Beach, Fla. and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Scranton ranked No. 17, Philadelphia was at No. 19 and Pittsburgh was close behind at No. 20.

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