The Best Cities For
Retirement

Study identifies the best cities in the world for retirees based on a range of factors including later life liveability, financial security, healthcare and wealth management. The results reveal where local retirees enjoy the highest quality of life as well as the best cities for legacy management.

At Veolar, we are motivated to help people live longer and healthier lives. Three years into the pandemic and now with war in Ukraine, retirees around the world find themselves facing significant headwinds with soaring inflation and social instability. With that background, we partnered with Magmatic Research to study which global cities provide the best living conditions for their local retired population, and which cities are the best for retirees to protect their assets.

In order to establish the locations with the best environments for retirees, we began by assessing thousands of global cities with comparable data before compiling a list of the top 100 ranking cities for local retirement infrastructure as well as asset management.

Firstly, we looked at the infrastructure of each city by analysing the quality of healthcare services, mobility options and housing, as well as the financial security and legacy management benefits available to retirees in each city.

Following this, we evaluated the access retirees have to quality healthcare services and public transport in each location as well as how well connected each city is with other parts of the world.

Then, we considered the quality of life for retired people in each city. To do this, we rated each city’s cultural offering by assessing the number and quality of museums, public parks and spaces, senior-focused events, and restaurants. In addition, we evaluated each city’s safety, proximity to conflict or political unrest, air quality, and the quality of its tourism infrastructure, in addition to the life expectancy of its citizens.

The results provide a comprehensive assessment of the global cities offering the best environments for local retirees as well as a ranking of the best cities for legacy management. Data sources include the World Health Organization, World Bank, local governments and the OECD among many others.

Best Cities for Retirement

  • Tokyo
    Japan
  • Wellington
    New Zealand
  • Singapore (city)
    Singapore
  • Paris
    France
  • Vienna
    Austria

Best Cities for Financial Security and Legacy Management

  • Dubai
    UAE
  • Singapore (city)
    Singapore
  • Wellington
    New Zealand
  • Abu Dhabi
    Abu Dhabi
  • Vienna
    Austria

Instructions for journalists

Below you will find the results separated into two distinct sections:

The best cities for local retirees, and the locations that offer the best conditions for legacy management. We have also included regional datasets to allow for a more complete evaluation of retirement living standards around the world. You can filter each factor from highest to lowest and vice versa by clicking on the icon above each column. For a full explanation of how each factor was calculated, please see the methodology at the bottom of the page.

City Infrastructure
  • Healthcare Quality

  • Mobility

  • Housing

  • Financial Security

  • Legacy Management

Accessibility
  • Accessibility of Healthcare

  • Quality of Public Transport

  • Ease of Travel

Liveability
  • Culture

  • Museums

  • Public Parks and Spaces

  • Dining

  • Events for Seniors

  • Air Quality

  • Healthy Longevity

  • Boomer Destination

  • Safety

  • Conflict

International Results

Cities With The Best Retirement
Standards For Their Local Retirees

Methodology

The Best Cities for Retirement Index uses data to identify the cities where retirees enjoy the highest quality of life as well as the best cities for legacy management. The study considers over 130 data points covering a range of indicators that evaluate the infrastructure, accessibility and liveability of each location.

The results of the study are split into two separate tables. The first incorporates all 130 data points to reveal the best cities for locals to retire in, the second reveals the best cities for financial security and legacy management and is based on the relevant data points for this topic.

City Selection

Thousands of global cities were ranked and reviewed according to existing data and socioeconomic indicators on elderly welfare. The study then ranked the 100 best cities in the world for retirees as well as revealing the 100 best cities for wealth management in retirement. Tables are also available comparing the best 120 locations in different geographical regions.

The final selection considers small cities, global capitals and metropolitan areas, therefore accounting for retirees with different lifestyle choices.

Data Collection

The data for this study was sourced from international organisations, NGO reports, open-access datasets, public surveys and crowdsourcing platforms. Significant outliers and missing data at city level were inferred from national statistics.

Factors & Scoring

Multiple indicators were used as components when scoring each factor. The underlying indicators were first standardised using a Z-Score [z = (x-μ)/σ; μ=indicator mean; σ=indicator standard deviation] normalisation procedure. The final score was computed as a weighted average of the component Z-Scores, and the resulting score normalised to a scale of 50 to 100 using min-max normalisation [(value - min)/(max-min)*50+50]. The floor of 50 for the scale was chosen to emphasise that the minimum score does not imply the absence of the infrastructures under analysis, as the position is relative to that of other cities in the ranking.

Below you can find a detailed description of each factor within the study and the sources used:

City Infrastructure

Healthcare
Quality

A score that reflects the extent to which retirees can find quality healthcare services in each location. A higher score indicates a higher quality of healthcare and is based on:

  • Convenience of location.
  • Mortality rates of preventable diseases.
  • Number of medical professionals.
  • Number of hospital beds.
  • Overall satisfaction with quality and cost.
  • Perceived skill, friendliness and courtesy of medical staff.
  • Presence of state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Speed and satisfaction of service.
Sources: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; local survey data; World Bank; World Health Organization.

Mobility

A score that reflects the efficiency of each city's mobility infrastructure. A higher score indicates more efficient mobility solutions for retirees and is based on:

  • The average number of kilometres covered in a minute by cars, bikes, motorbikes and public transport (metro and bus).
  • The average percentage of people walking, riding a bike, driving and using public transport in each city.
Sources: local survey data; TomTom.

Housing

A score that reflects how easily retirees can rent or purchase affordable housing in each location. A higher score indicates a healthier real estate market and a more accessible and affordable rental market, and is based on:

  • The share of furnished one-bedroom apartments from the total number of apartment listings.
  • Average rental prices divided by the city’s average salary.
  • Yearly mortgage interest rate (%) for 20 years.
  • Average price per m2 to buy a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre divided by the average city salary.
  • Rate of decoupling of real estate prices from city incomes and rents.
  • Standards of living and housing quality
Sources: InterNations; property listings in each location; OECD; UBS.

Financial
Security

A score that reflects the economic situation as well as the welfare and fiscal environment for retirees in each city. A higher score reflects a more favourable situation for retirees with the possibility of retiring earlier and access to beneficial welfare and fiscal incentives. It is based on:

  • Average number of years retirees access welfare.
  • Income security.
  • Old-age poverty rate.
  • Relative welfare of the elderly (%).
  • Top marginal income tax and average inflation rates.
  • Government, law and business scores.
  • GINI Index.
Sources: Global AgeWatch; Freedom House; World Bank; World Population Review.

Legacy
Management

A score that reflects how easily retirees can manage their legacy and inheritance. A higher score indicates a city where retirees can manage their inheritance more easily, with the lowest costs and greatest ease of compliance. It is based on:

  • National regulations on inheritance, estate and gift taxes, top marginal rates.
  • Top marginal income tax rates on capital gains.
  • Government scores.
Sources: Global Property Guide; PwC; Thomson Reuters.

Accessibility

Accessibility
of Healthcare

A score that reflects retirees’ ability to access quality healthcare in each city. A higher score indicates a city where access to high-quality healthcare is easy, rates of universal healthcare coverage are high and out-of-pocket spending on healthcare is low. It is based on:

  • Healthcare Accessibility and Quality Index.
  • Rate of universal healthcare coverage.
  • Out-of-pocket expenditure as a percentage of current health expenditure.
Sources: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; World Bank; World Health Organization.

Public
Transport

A score that reflects how easily a retiree can access good quality public transport networks and, in their absence, move efficiently within the city. A higher score indicates a city with a high number of public transport stops and smooth traffic conditions. It is based on:

  • Performance rankings evaluating public transport.
  • Average time to reach public transport.
  • Overall traffic levels.
  • Use of public transport compared to private transportation.
Sources: AllTransit; Arcadis; Deloitte; local survey data; McKinsey; WalletHub.

Ease
of Travel

A score that reflects the degree of international connectivity that the city offers to retirees. A higher score reflects a well-connected city that affords retirees the ability to travel home to visit relatives via air, rail or road and is based on:

  • The number of passengers using city airports (<50 km).
  • The number of intercity connections on offer.
  • Quality of air transport infrastructure.
  • The quality of rail and road infrastructure.
  • The number of passengers using rail or road transport from each city.
Sources: International Air Transport Association; International Union of Railways; OECD; World Economic Forum.

Liveability

Cultural

A score that reflects the extent to which retirees can access leisure activities in each city. A higher score indicates a strong cultural offering in absolute terms, as well as in relation to population size and area. The score is based on:

  • The number of mid-range and fine dining restaurants.
  • The number of theatres and performing arts venues.
  • The number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Sources: travel review platforms; UNESCO.

Museums

A score that reflects the extent to which retirees can access museums in each location. A higher score indicates a high number of museums in absolute terms and in relation to population size and area. The score is based on:

  • The number of museums in absolute terms, per 100k inhabitants and per m2.
  • Number of visitors to museums.
  • Museums’ prestige.
Sources: Museum World Ranking; travel review platforms.

Public Parks
and Spaces

A score that reflects the extent to which retirees can access green spaces and outdoor locations such as natural parks, urban green spaces and beaches. A higher score indicates a city with more accessible parks and green public spaces. The score is based on:

  • Number of parks in absolute terms, per 100k inhabitants and per m2.
  • Percentage of urban areas taken up by open public spaces.
  • The urban population that lives within 400m of open public spaces.
  • Square metres of green area per capita.
Sources: OECD; travel review platforms; United Nations.

Dining

A score that reflects the access that retirees have to mid-range and fine dining restaurants in each location. A higher score represents a city with a wide range of culinary experiences in absolute terms, as well as in relation to population size and area. The score is based on:

  • Aggregate scores of restaurants’ prestige.
  • The absolute number of mid-range and fine dining restaurants.
  • The number of these restaurants per 100k inhabitants.
  • The number of these restaurants per m2.
Sources: travel review platforms.

Events for Seniors

A score that reflects the access that retirees have to outdoor activities, guided tours and entertainment in each location. A higher score indicates a city with a large number of events for seniors in absolute terms, as well as in relation to population size and area. The score is based on:

  • The absolute number of outdoor activities, guided tours and entertainment on offer.
  • The number of these activities per 100k inhabitants.
  • The number of these activities per m2.
Sources: travel review platforms.

Air Quality

A score that reflects the air quality in each location. A higher score indicates a city with better air quality. The score is based on:

  • Total Air Quality Index.
  • Average concentration of a range of atmospheric gases, fine particles and anthropogenic pollutants (Pm2.5, Pm10, So2, No2, O3).
  • Pollution indexes.
  • Ambient air pollution attributable death rate per 100k population.
Sources: Plume Labs; United Nations; World Air Quality Index.

Healthy Longevity

A score that reflects the health and wellbeing of retirees in each location as they approach old age. A higher score reflects a city with an ageing population which has a higher healthy life expectancy. The score is based on:

  • Percentage of population aged 65 and above.
  • Life expectancy at birth.
  • Healthy life expectancy at birth and at the age of 60.
Sources: World Bank; World Health Organization.

Boomer Destination

A score that reflects the number of services tailored to baby boomer retirees on holiday in each location, per 100k inhabitants and per km2. A higher score reflects a safe city with a wide range of services for baby boomers (people born in the years following the Second World War when there was an increase in the birth rate). The score is based on:

  • The number of outdoor activities, guided tours and entertainment options for families.
  • The number of spa and wellness centres.
  • The number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • The number of theatres and performing arts venues.
  • Local crime index.
Sources: local crime indexes (see the Safety factor); travel review platforms; World Population Review.

Safety

A score that reflects how safe retirees feel in regard to violent crime. A higher score indicates that retirees feel safe in a city and is based on:

  • Number of reported crimes per 100k people.
  • Hazard exposure.
  • Homicide rates.
  • Incidence of hate crimes.
  • Perception of safety walking alone at night.
Sources: The Economist; European Commission; Igarapé Institute; local survey data; United Nations; World Population Review.

Conflict

A score that reflects the incidence, or absence, of armed conflict, terrorist incidents and armed crime in each location. A higher score reflects a low incidence of conflict, combined with a stable political framework for public security. The score is based on:

  • Number of incidents (armed confrontations, bombings, violence against civillians).
  • Number of incidents per 100k population.
  • Political stability and absence of violence and terrorism score.
Sources: The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project; World Bank.