Tennessee ranked best state for retirement

Authored By Chloé Morrison

Bankrate.com named Tennessee the top place to retire in the country. 

“Tennessee rates especially well in cost of living (second-lowest in the nation) and local tax burden (third-lowest),” Bankrate spokesman Ted Rossman said via email. “It also ranks among the best in the country for access to medical care, and its weather is warmer than average.” 

State leaders have a website dedicated to promoting the state as a great place to retire. 

According to the Retire Tennessee site, which cites the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, Tennessee’s cost of living is 10 percent less than the national average.

There is a 7 percent sales tax in the state and no personal income tax, according to Nooga.com archives. 

The one drawback Bankrate.com cites is Tennessee’s crime rate, which officials said is among the worst in the United States. 

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported in 2011 that people were more likely to be victims of a violent gun crime in Tennessee than in any other state. 

Only Washington, D.C., had a higher rate, according to FBI statistics. 

Last summer, TopRetirements.com found that Tennessee had unseated Florida as the best place to retire. 

And last year, editors with Where to Retire magazine picked Chattanooga to be profiled in the September/October feature story, “15 Low-Cost Towns.”

Changed methodology 
Bankrate.com recently changed their methodology on how officials gauge best and worst retirement states. They previously ranked Tennessee as one of the worst places to retire. 

The most recent report takes into consideration:

-Cost of living, using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research

-Average temperature, using information from 1981 to 2010 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Western Regional Climate Center

-Crime, such as violent and property crimes, according to the FBI

-Health care, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the number of doctors per 100,000 residents from the U.S. Census Bureau

“Last year, we looked at crime rate, percentage of retirees living below the poverty line and life expectancy,” Rossman said via email. “We think this year’s methodology more accurately addresses the key questions that retirees should ask themselves when choosing where to live.”

Updated @ 8:55 a.m. on 5/7/13 to correct a factual error: The sales tax rate for Tennessee is 7 percent, not 6 percent, as originally reported.