Study: Best Cities to Grow Old in New York

If you think Florida is overrated as a retirement spot, consider staying or moving north to New York. It's got loads to do and see when you no longer have to toil away at the office. Whether you prefer a mountain view or sinking your toes in the sand, there are plenty of great places to live in the Empire State. Take a look at the cities that get the CreditDonkey team's seal of approval for spending your retirement years.

Study Methodology

To get our top 10, we began by gathering U.S. Census data for those New York cities that have a population of at least 20,000 residents. From there, we assigned each city a ranking based on how it scored in five separate categories, which we'll explain below. The places that rose to the top of our list are the ones that had the best all-around rating in terms of these five criteria:

  1. Senior Population
  2. Housing
  3. Income
  4. Recreation
  5. Health care/social assistance

Generally, the more seniors there are in a particular area, the more opportunities you'll have for making new friends. The first piece of data we looked at was the percentage of residents in each city who are 65 are older.

A smaller home usually means less maintenance to worry about and fewer housing costs. If you're looking to downsize in retirement, an apartment or townhouse may be the way to go. Our rankings took into account the percentage of multi-unit housing structures in each city.

As you transition into your golden years, one of the things you have to keep in mind is how it may affect your income situation. Some seniors depend on pension payouts or Social Security while others rely on retirement savings they've built up over the years. To give you an idea of what your peers are taking home, we considered the median household income for residents 65 and older in each city.

Finding your way around a new city takes time, but it helps when you've got plenty of things to see and do. We know that staying active is a priority for retirees, so we compared the number of people in each city to the number of art, recreation and entertainment establishments.

Last but not least, we considered the ratio of people to the number of health care and social assistance establishments in each city. This is the time in your life when quick and easy access to doctors and dentists is a must.

10 Best Cities to Retire in New York

10. Rome

  • Population Over 65: 17.1%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 41.2%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $33,605
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 2,052.5
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 295.9

Rome is located in roughly the center of New York, not far from Oneida Lake. Close to 33,000 people call themselves Romans and just over 17% are 65 or older. Multi-unit structures account for a significant portion of the city's housing and seniors will appreciate how affordable properties are. The Delta Lake State Park is an ideal spot to take in the fresh air, or you can check out the Erie Canal Village, a unique outdoor living museum.

Did You Know: Construction of the Erie Canal began in Rome in July 1817.

9. Harrison

  • Population Over 65: 14%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 39.9%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $73,594
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,029.1
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 434.1

The village of Harrison is a highly affluent community located around 25 miles northeast of Manhattan. Seniors earn the highest median income out of all the cities in our study, topping $73,000 annually. Almost 28,000 people make their home here and 14% are over 65. There are two different senior centers and both sponsor regular opportunities for recreation and socializing. Harrison features several historical attractions, plus you're within a relatively short drive of all New York city has to offer.

Did You Know: Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart moved to Harrison shortly after her marriage to George Putnam.

8. Kingston

  • Population Over 65: 14.8%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 51%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $31,889
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,030.9
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 113.4

Kingston sits along the Hudson River, approximately 60 miles south of Albany. Almost 15% of the city's nearly 24,000 residents are seniors, which is reflected in the second-lowest ratio of people to health care and social assistance providers on our list. Moreover, just over half of the city's housing is made up of multi-unit structures, including multiple senior living communities. And there's a ton to do - the river is a popular spot for sailing or enjoying a cruise aboard the Rip Van Winkle (just don't fall asleep!), and you're close enough to the Catskills for a weekend getaway.

Did You Know: Kingston was established as New York's first capital in 1777.

7. Garden City

  • Population Over 65: 18.4%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 14.2%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $67,403
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 901.8
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 134.2

With just over 22,500 residents, Garden City is the least populous city in our study, but it has the highest concentration of seniors. The village is one of Long Island's more well-to-do locations, with the 65-and-up crowd taking home a median income of more than $67,000. It has an impressively low ratio for health care and social programs as well as the second-best rating for entertainment. One of the area's hidden gems is the Cradle of Aviation Museum, where you can learn about local aerospace history and take a spin on the historic Nunley's Carousel.

Did You Know: Garden City's Cathedral of the Incarnation was built as a memorial to the village's founder, Alexander Turney Stewart.

6. New Rochelle

  • Population Over 65: 15.1%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 59%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $44,661
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,742
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 263

Retirees who are interested in a waterfront view should consider New Rochelle. This city of 78,000 people is located on the Long Island Sound, less than 15 miles south of White Plains. Multi-unit housing isn't in short supply, although median sale and rental prices are higher compared to some of the other cities in our rankings. There are close to 300 health care and social assistance establishments in the area, including the Sound Shore Medical Center, which is the largest private teaching hospital in Westchester County.

Did You Know: Famed abolitionist and women's rights activist Lucretia Mott once resided in New Rochelle.

5. Saratoga Springs

  • Population Over 65: 17.4%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 39.2%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $37,962
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 612.7
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 191.2

In its early inception, Saratoga Springs was primarily a resort destination, and thousands of visitors still arrive annually to visit the local mineral springs. Almost 27,000 people live here year-round, including a fair number of seniors. The Saratoga Spa State Park is where you'll find the National Museum of Dance, the Roosevelt Baths and Spa and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails as well as two well-maintained golf courses.

Did You Know: The Yaddo artists' community has hosted a number of noted guests over the years, including writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote and Flannery O'Connor.

4. Long Beach

  • Population Over 65: 16.4%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 60.4%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $46,841
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 2,092.5
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 270

Long Beach, one of Long Island's older communities, is desirable for retirees who want to stay close to the shore. The city has the second-highest percentage of multi-unit housing, with an abundance of condominiums along the oceanfront. Long Beach's 33,000 residents are served by more than 100 health care and social assistance providers, including the recently revamped Long Beach Memorial Hospital. The beach is hands-down the most popular attraction for surfers, kayakers and sunbathers alike.

Did You Know: Local legend holds that elephants helped in the 1907 construction of the Long Beach Boardwalk, which was later destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

3. Glen Cove

  • Population Over 65: 17.5%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 41.7%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $50,313
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,355
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 220.3

Glen Cove sits almost directly across the Long Island Sound from New Rochelle on Long Island's north shore. Of the city's 27,000 inhabitants, 17.5% are seniors, the second-highest percentage in our study. The median household income surpasses the $50,000 mark and there are a generous amount of condos, townhouses and apartments to choose from. Retirees may enjoy spending an afternoon at one of several area attractions like the Garvies Point Museum or the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center.

Did You Know: The historic Glen Cove Mansion has been used as the backdrop for a number of films, including North by Northwest and Sabrina.

2. Rockville Centre

  • Population Over 65: 17%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 39.7%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $48,849
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,048.2
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 106.7

Moving further south, we come to the village of Rockville Centre, which is located about halfway between Hempstead and Long Beach. Although the city places second overall in our rankings, it boasts the best rating in the health care and social assistance category. The median household income for seniors is just under $49,000, which is good since housing tends to be slightly higher priced. Seniors who are looking to get in shape, meet new acquaintances or explore volunteer opportunities will want to pay a visit to the Sandel Center.

Did You Know: The nation's first ATM was installed at Chemical Bank's Rockville Centre branch in 1969.

1. White Plains

  • Population Over 65: 15.8%
  • Multi-unit Housing Structures: 65.7%
  • Median Household Income 65 and Over: $49,583
  • People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,739.5
  • People per Health Care and Social Assistance Establishment: 132.3

White Plains is a bustling suburb situated less than 30 miles to the northeast of Manhattan. This city of 57,000 people takes our top spot because of its higher median income for seniors, substantial percentage of multi-unit housing and excellent access to health care. If you enjoy arts and cultural events, White Plains doesn't disappoint; the White Plains Performing Arts Center, the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra and the Play Group Theater offer a full roster of performances to choose from. There are also several parks to explore and a regular schedule of activities at the senior center.

Did You Know: The Battle of White Plains took place in October 1776, precipitating a retreat by Washington that eventually led to his famous crossing of the Delaware.

To be sure, cities like Syracuse, Buffalo and, of course, the Big Apple are home to many retirees, and each of them fare well in terms of things like multi-unit housing and access to health care. In fact, in terms of arts, culture, and entertainment options, New York City clearly outstrips the competition. But our rankings as a whole pushed the more well-known cities off the list, to provide the most well-rounded choices for retirees.

The Top 20 Cities to Retire in New York

RankCityPopulation Over 65Multi-unit HousingMedian Household IncomePeople per Art, Entertainment and Recreation EstablishmentPeople per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment
1White Plains15.8%65.7%$49,5831,739.5132.3
2Rockville Centre17.0%39.7%$49,8491,048.2106.7
3Glen Cove17.5%41.7%$50,3131,355.0220.3
4Long Beach16.4%60.4%$46,8412,092.5270.0
5Saratoga Springs17.4%39.2%$37,962612.7191.2
6New Rochelle15.1%59.0%$44,6611,742.0263.0
7Garden City18.4%14.2%$67,403901.8134.2
18Mount Vernon13.4%64.3%$33,4964,243.5432.5
20New York12.2%83.6%$29,5271,566.5400.1

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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Comments about Study: Best Cities to Grow Old in New York
  • Joyce Furfero from New York
    on November 2014 said:

    Somebody has been drinking the KoolAid! This study has a poor methodology. It fails to take into consideration the real cost of living in the cities. I live in New Rochelle, but I would not want to grow old here. The City Council keeps pushing city services off-budget and making the homeowners pay for them, even as the City Council continues to raise property taxes. Seniors cannot afford to stay in New Rochelle and live in their own homes. If seniors are staying in New Rochelle, it is only because the City keeps voting to allow more senior apartments to be built with tax abatements, low-cost IDA/LDC loans, and HUD money (more of my taxes at the federal level!). Trust me, New Rochelle does not need more seniors living in these homeowner-subsidized apartment residences and young people should consider twice before moving to New Rochelle the hidden costs of living here.

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