Every retiree ponders the “where should I retire” question. The standard measurements of happiness in retirement are weather, access to health care, affordability and recreational offerings. Boomers of the LGBT community need to add to the list and often think about “where they will feel welcome.”
Using SeniorScore, a data-driven algorithm that determines the most accommodating places in America for seniors, she offers a list of the best cities in the country for retirees who identify with the LGBT community.
In addition to all the usual factors, they also analyzed the overall LGBT populations per capita for each city, the presence of gay-friendly social environments, support for gay-owned businesses, and the overall level of tolerance and legal protection of the communities.
1. Austin, Texas
Austin is a very progressive city where tolerance is the norm. Over 5% of the population identify as gay and there is a thriving social scene to go along with this large community. There is also a general acceptance of the LGBT community by the population at large and strong support for gay-owned businesses – there is even an Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. But beyond the abundance of gay bars and a Pride Week that rivals those in many large coastal cities, Austin is also a political hub for LGBT advocacy.
2.Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
When people think of LGBT-friendly South Florida cities, Miami probably pops to mind first. But Fort Lauderdale has most of the same gay-friendly accommodations and nightlife in a more laid back and affordable environment. The city also has the highest concentration of gay couples of any major American city, with about 3% of all households.
3.Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Both cities have high populations of LGBT residents (just under 4%) and both offer a progressive, tolerant environment. Beyond that, they have thriving restaurant and bar scenes, with a good number of gay-friendly establishments to be found. The Advocate even went as far as to call Minneapolis “The Gayest City in America!”
Older residents can also enjoy excellent access to health care services from one of more than 25 area hospitals. There are an abundance of assisted living and retirement communities throughout the Twin Cities, and the average life expectancy is almost five years higher than the national average. The city is also relatively affordable when compared to other large gay-friendly metropolitan areas.
The city is generally tolerant and has LGBT-owned businesses scattered throughout the Midtown, Kirkwood, and Candler Park neighborhoods. They also have the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that helps promote gay- and lesbian-owned businesses around the city. Atlanta even has one of the largest Pride Week festivals of any large city in America.
Atlanta also scores high for its older residents due to the abundance of top-quality healthcare from highly-ranked facilities like the Emory University Hospital system. It has relatively mild weather year around with plenty of sunshine to enjoy the city’s many outdoor amenities, such as the 100+ area golf courses.
Phoenix has long been a popular destination for retirees. With 300 days of sunshine each year and all the amenities seniors generally value, there is never a shortage of fun social activities to enjoy. It’s also an affordable place to live, with reasonable tax rates and property values that have remained a bargain years after the local housing market crashed.
Beyond the generally accommodating environment for retirees, Phoenix is also an up and coming destination for individuals in the LGBT community. There are no specifically gay neighborhoods in Phoenix, but over 1% of households are now occupied by gay couples who live throughout the city and are generally accepted.
Retirees from all walks of life want to settle down in a place that is fun and inviting, but also affordable and accommodating to the needs of older people