United States

Study finds Kentucky worst state for retirees

(The Center Square) – A new report released this week found Kentucky was the worst state in the country as a retirement location.

WalletHub based its rankings on 47 data points. In more than a third of those, the Bluegrass State ranked among the bottom 10 in the country. That helped solidify its spot at the bottom of the list.

It scored next-to-last in three categories – seniors with inadequate sleep (32.8% say they sleep less than seven hours a day), dentists per capita and the well-being index for individuals 55 and older.

Other low marks include life expectancy. The 75.1 average ranked 47th nationally.

Health factors also played a role in Kentucky being ranked 50th overall. Just 66.9% of seniors say they have good or better health, and 10.3% of seniors have poor mental health. Only two states ranked below Kentucky in those metrics, and the state came in 46th with 40.1% of seniors being disabled and 35.3% being obese.

In addition, 17.7% of Kentuckians 60 and older said they faced a food insecurity issue in the past year, while 11% of residents aged 65 or older live in poverty. Both of those scores were 46th nationally.

Alan Castel, a professor and principal investigator at the Memory and Lifespan Cognition Lab in UCLA’s Department of Psychology, said the economy can impact a person’s well-being.

“Inflation can cause stress and concern, as well as any unpredictable event, especially when people notice how their dollar is not going as far as it used to—planning for this could involve evaluating whether one could afford to move and if there are less expensive alternatives that may be more realistic and convenient in retirement,” said Castel, who also wrote Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging.

WalletHub’s ranking would seemingly conflict with a study conducted last year by Bankrate, which ranked Kentucky sixth nationally as a retirement destination.

However, both studies came away with some similar conclusions. Both ranked Kentucky low for well-being and culture while giving it high marks for its cost of living. WalletHub rated Kentucky fourth-best for its adjusted cost of living.

In the WalletHub study, Virginia came away with top honors for retirees, with Florida, Colorado, Wyoming and Delaware rounding out the top five.

New York, Oklahoma, Mississippi and New Jersey joined Kentucky in the bottom five.

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