The best states for Baby Boomers

The baby boomers aren’t ok.

Sure, millennials are hurting more, with stagnant wages, rising student debt, and earnings far below their parents. However, there is plenty of suffering to go around. Baby boomers are aging rapidly. Sure, they spend less on avocado toast, but baby boomers are rapidly aging. Many are reaching or are now past retirement age.

Yet, a large percentage of those aged 55-78 are in no position to retire. They have inadequate savings and hefty mortgages. They worked hard their whole life and may have to keep working hard for the rest of it. However, where baby boomers live can make a huge difference in their quality of life.

We analyzed all 50 states to uncover where it is best to be a baby boomer.

Below we detail the criteria we used to rank the states and have the full ranked list. But first, let’s see the 10 states where baby boomers have it the easiest:

Here are the 10 best states to be a baby boomer:

  1. Iowa
  2. Nebraska
  3. New Hampshire
  4. North Dakota
  5. South Dakota
  6. Wyoming
  7. Minnesota
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Alaska
  10. Maine

Baby boomers looking to relocate for retirement might think Florida, but perhaps they should reconsider. 7-of-the-10 top states for baby boomers are in the Midwest. Low costs of living, coupled with affordable housing, and high well-being make the Midwest a prime location for boomers. Absent from the top 10? Any southern or west coast states.

Keep reading to see why these states have the most to offer baby boomers and to see the full ranked list of all 50 states.


Each state was ranked 1 to 50 in five categories:

  • Average Retirement Savings
  • State Well-Being
  • Baby Boomer Unemployment Rate
  • Percent Of Baby Boomers With Mortgage
  • Percent Of Baby Boomers Living In Poverty

All five categories were then averaged together, each weighted equally. The lower score in each category, the lower the rank. For example, Iowa baby boomers have a 1.9% unemployment rate, the second lowest of any state, earning them a #2 rank for unemployment.

We used the most recent American Community Survey 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau to get unemployment rate by state for those 55-64. The ACS data also provided the poverty rate by state for the 60-74 age demographic. To analyze baby boomer mortgages, we once again used the ACS data to find the percentage of mortgages among those 55-74.

At all points, our goal was to include as many baby boomers as possible, while excluding brackets that would include a majority of non baby boomers.

To gather wellness by state, we used the most recent Gallup Health And Well-Being Report. This comprehensive survey examines essential career, social, financial, community, and physical components of well-being. As baby boomers age, these metrics will only be more important.

Finally, we used data from Personal Capital on average retirement savings.

If your state isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see where it lands on the full list. Otherwise, learn more about why these states are the absolute worst place to be a baby boomer.


Unemployment: 1.9
Mortgages: 47.71%
Poverty Rate: 6.6%
Retirement Savings: $245,071
State Well-Being: 26

Many might be surprised to see Iowa top the list, but the Hawkeye state has a lot to offer baby boomers. Only 6% of baby boomers live in poverty there (some of the lowest rates in the nation) and their unemployment rates are incredibly low. It’s not so bad being a baby boomer in Iowa.


Unemployment: 2.2
Mortgages: 47.44%
Poverty Rate: 6.7%
Retirement Savings: 233,910
State Well-Being: 18

Right behind Iowa is Nebraska. While Nebraska might bring to mind cornfields, it is the second best state to be a baby boomer. Nebraskan baby boomers are unlikely to live in poverty and pretty likely to have a job if they want one, with unemployment rates at 2.2%.


Unemployment: 2.4
Mortgages: 54.87%
Poverty Rate: 5.6%
Retirement Savings: 264,624
State Well-Being: 11

At #3 we have New Hampshire. Baby boomers have a lot going for them in this tiny New England state. Nestled on the Atlantic Ocean, baby boomers who live there have the lowest poverty rate in the nation.


Unemployment: 2.0
Mortgages: 37%
Poverty Rate: 6.8%
Retirement Savings: $178,005
State Well-Being: 10

In addition to having the lowest mortgage rate, baby boomers in North Dakota have low mortgages and low poverty rates. That’s pretty nice.


Unemployment: 1.9
Mortgages: 41%
Poverty Rate: 7.4%
Retirement Savings: $183,225
State Well-Being: 9

Just below North Dakota on the list is it’s neighbor to the south, South Dakota. Baby boomers are faring well in the Mount Rushmore state, with the #1 lowest unemployment.


Unemployment: 2.0
Mortgages: 47%
Poverty Rate: 7.6%
Retirement Savings: $153,182
State Well-Being: 2

In 6th spot we have Wyoming. Baby boomers, and Wyomingites in general, are pretty satisfied with life. Why shouldn’t they be? They have the 2nd highest well-being in the country.


Unemployment: 2.7
Mortgages: 54%
Poverty Rate: 7.5%
Retirement Savings: $234,106
State Well-Being: 12

Minnesotans enjoy a low unemployment and lower than average chance of living in poverty. Baby boomers who live in Minnesota experience a great quality of life.


Unemployment: 2.1
Mortgages: 53%
Poverty Rate: 7.4%
Retirement Savings: $227,382
State Well-Being: 24

Wisconsin is the #8 best state for baby boomers. Wisconsin’s scores are as smooth as the milk from its dairy industry. While no one score earned Wisconsin a spot on the list- it has consistently decent scoring in every category. That’s nice.


Unemployment: 4.5
Mortgages: 50%
Poverty Rate: 7.7%
Retirement Savings: $271,197
State Well-Being: 3

If the midwest or northeast doesn’t appeal to them, baby boomers should check out Alaska. The beautiful, rugged state has a lot to offer baby boomers. A high state well-being score means most Alaskans feel pretty good about living there, and that goes for baby boomers, too.


Unemployment: 2.1
Mortgages: 52%
Poverty Rate: 9.1%
Retirement Savings: $228,713
State Well-Being: 21

Maine baby boomers might be as happy as a Maine clam. Low unemployment, high retirement savings, and good state well being earned Maine its spot as the 10th best state for baby boomers.


There you have it, the 10 states where baby boomers have it best. Midwestern states made up a majority of the list, with low poverty rates and low unemployment earning them top spots. While the Midwest may not be #1 of any one’s list of retirement locations, maybe it should be. At the bottom of the list? Primarily southern states and those with high costs of living.

Interestingly, there was quite a bit of overlap between this list and the best states to be a millennial. Maybe baby boomers and millennials have more in common than they thought.

Check out the list below to find your state and see full list, from the best states for baby boomers, to the worst.

This article first appeared on Zippia.