Whether you’re recently retired or just sent your last child off to college, it may be time to consider downsizing once your nest starts to empty out. At Rent.com, we have compiled our list of top cities for empty nesters which all boast an affordable cost of living, low crime rates and plenty to do.
Whether you’re interested in delicious restaurants, access to travel or outdoor activities like golfing or skiing, our list has something for everyone. Read on to find out which towns made the list!
10. Chandler, Arizona
With a quarter of residents over the age of 50, Chandler offers several senior centers and one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation, Chandler Regional Hospital. Recreational activities such as golf, racquetball, tennis and aquatic facilities are at residents’ fingertips.
Town celebrations include the Jazz Festival, Cinco de Mayo Celebration and a Tumbleweed Festival. Combined with its low cost of living and affordable rental rates, Chandler offers great opportunities for those looking for desert sunsets and warm climates in their second act.
- Population Over 50: 25 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 116
- Median Rent 2BR: $1,111
- Median Household Income: $72,600
9. Henderson, Nevada
Boasting little rain and sunny skies for the majority of the year, Henderson is the perfect place for empty nesters who love spending time outdoors. Henderson is less than an hour’s drive from Lake Mead, which is a great place for boating, sailing, jet skiing, fishing, water skiing, camping and windsurfing.
For empty nesters over 50, the newly built Heritage Park Senior Facility offers a wide variety of activities, wellness screenings and excursions. Henderson also has more than 37 miles of trails to explore with your kids when they come for a visit!
- Population Over 50: 35 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 96
- Median Rent 2BR: $1,167
- Median Household Income: $69,524
8. Manchester, New Hampshire
Manchester, New Hampshire is a tax-friendly, affordable and up-and-coming town for empty nesters! For those looking to take an old hobby and turn it into a profitable endeavor, this city is one of the best cities to launch a new business.
Aside from affordability, Manchester offers more than 40 parks and nine golf courses and plenty of activities adults can enjoy well into retirement. For those looking for a home base that makes travel fast and easy, Manchester is conveniently located close to cruise ports and is only four miles from the airport – great for weekend trips or destination vacations.
The newly constructed William Cashin Senior Activity Center has a large line dancing studio, provides easy access to the public library and hosts an ever-changing selection of monthly classes and activities.
- Population Over 50: 32 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 111
- Median Rent 2BR: $1,260
- Median Household Income: $54,035
7. Torrance, California
Known for its low crime rates, Torrance is one of the safest cities in Los Angeles County. For people who want to escape harsh winters in retirement, Torrance’s weather is one of the most appealing things about the city with the average temperature in January being a temperate 56 degrees – no coats needed!
Bordering L.A.’s famous Redondo Beach, Torrance provides residents with easy access to white sand beaches, delicious restaurants and coastal shopping without the high cost of living. In addition, Torrance is about ten miles from Los Angeles International Airport as well as the Port of Los Angeles, providing easy access to exciting air and cruise travel during your golden years.
The combination of these features along with multiple golf courses and two senior centers makes Torrance a great place for empty nesters.
- Population Over 50: 36 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 78
- Median Rent 2BR: $1,824
- Median Household Income: $75,598
6. Irvine, California
With sunny skies and streets lined with palm trees, it’s no surprise that another California city made it onto Rent.com’s list for empty nesters! Located in the heart of Orange County, Irvine gives residents easy access to a plethora of activities.
Whether it’s boating or beaching in neighboring town, Newport Beach, hiking in Irvine Ranch or dining / shopping at famed South Coast Plaza mall, those who have settled down in Irvine will never be bored.
Also located in Irvine is the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial, the first memorial in the U.S. ever built before the wars were over. For those looking to socialize a few days a week, Irvine’s two senior centers offer Friday matinees and afternoon tea to help the community stay connected.
- Population Over 50: 27 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 75
- Median Rent 2BR: $2,459
- Median Household Income: $92,445
5. Riverside, California
Riverside showcases some of the most renowned, culturally significant sites in all of California, if not the entire country. With more than 100 city landmarks – 20 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and two on the National Historic Landmarks list – Riverside is a great place to learn about photography, art, and culture.
Each October, the California Riverside Ballet sponsors the Ghost Walk, an event showcasing the city’s oldest and most historic buildings, where volunteers lead tours and tell ghost tales. Riverside has four senior centers, an active senior community and nearly 40 senior living locations in and around the city, making it easy for empty nesters to get involved and settle into a new city.
- Population Over 50: 25 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 111
- Median Rent 2BR: $1,309
- Median Household Income: $58,061
4. Scottsdale, Arizona
If you imagine yourself golfing under sunny skies every day in your retirement, Scottsdale is the perfect destination. Whether you’re into traditional green fairways or desert golf designs, Scottsdale’s 200 area golf courses have something to offer for every player.
Scottsdale is home to two senior centers, the Granite Reef and Via Linda Senior Centers, which offer everything from support for seniors to recreational classes. For those looking for different sports-related activities, Scottsdale is the spring training home for 15 different Major League Baseball teams including, the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, among others.
In addition, Scottsdale has lots to offer to keep boredom away with the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, casino gambling, hiking and rock climbing at Camelback Mountain, and shopping at Fashion Square or Keirland Commons malls.
- Population Over 50: 43 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 94
- Median Rent 2BR: $1,434
- Median Household Income: $73,743
3. Huntington Beach, California
Known as “Surf City,” Huntington Beach is the perfect place to call home, especially when you factor in its year-round sunshine, mild temperatures, warm sandy beaches and great restaurants.
The downtown district includes an active art center, a colorful shopping district, the Surfing Walk of Fame and the International Surfing Museum. Huntington Beach is also the location of the annual U.S. Open, the largest surf competition in the world held each summer on the south side of the city.
Aside from surfing, Huntington Beach has plenty to offer – two senior centers, two golf courses and more than 70 parks, including a very large Central Park, which is vegetated with xeric plants and inhabited by native wildlife.
- Population Over 50: 36 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 47
- Median Rent 2BR: $2,123
- Median Household Income: $82,064
2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado is often synonymous with the majestic snow-capped Rocky Mountains, gorgeous views and wide-open land. Colorado Springs offers the opportunity to explore all that Mother Nature has to offer with 9,000 acres of parks, 500 acres of trails and a biker-friendly attitude.
This city is positioned at the base of the famous, Pikes Peak and is home to the popular Garden of the Gods. Located not too far from bustling Denver and multiple skiing destinations, this Colorado city offers the best of both worlds.
It is also home to the Olympic Training Center, Army and Air Force bases, and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. In addition, the median rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment is under $1,000 / month, making it affordable and easy to call Colorado Springs home during the empty nester years.
- Population Over 50: 31 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 123
- Median Rent 2BR: $998
- Median Household Income: $53,994
1. Fremont, California
The number one city for empty nesters, Fremont, is located in the southeast section of the San Francisco Bay Area in Alameda County, California. The closest East Bay city to Silicon Valley, Fremont is often associated with tech companies and startups.
A Tree City USA since 1996, it’s estimated that there are 55,000 trees throughout Fremont, making it a naturally lush place to reside. In terms of outdoor activities, Fremont offers camping, golfing, biking and rock climbing, as well as more than 50 parks!
The city also operates the Olive Hyde Art Gallery which has featured local artists like Wendy Yoshimura, the California Society of Printmakers and the Etsy collective. With six different senior centers, Fremont definitely keeps its older citizens in mind, whether it’s arranging trips, special events or daily activities.
- Population Over 50: 30 percent
- Crime Risk (100 = National Average): 51
- Median Rent 2BR: $2,543
- Median Household Income: $98,319
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Image Source: Laura Hartog, Kevin Schraer, Images by John ‘K’, PSNH, jenniferbuyshouses.com, Rachel Titiriga, Daniel Orth, Philip, Angel LaCanfora, Dru Bloomfield, Peter Thoeny
Methodology: Rent.com assembled the Top 10 Cities for Empty Nesters with the help of New York-based Onboard Informatics ©2014, the premier data and technology company. All demographic data provided by Onboard Informatics is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. This list is based on cities with an overall population of at least 50,000, rental dwellings greater than 20,000, crime rate equal to or less than 150 (100 = national average), weather risk equal to or less than 100 (national average). In addition, only cities with a large concentration of adults over 50 (25% or more) were considered. To ensure easy access to travel, only cities within 30 miles of airports were considered. Cities with median household income less than $53,000 (national average) were removed from the ranking. Median rental rates for two-bedroom apartments were compared to average annual income and cities with an annual rental rate greater than 35% of the annual median household income were removed. Empty nester friendly criteria considered included number of senior centers, parks/recreation, golf courses, beaches, scenic views, etc. Affordability, weather and activities/scenic views were given a score and then ranked. Rental data and median rental rates based on Rent.com data.