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10 Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

What are 10 best cities to retire in Pennsylvania? Keystone State has become one of the most popular destinations among seniors for a few reasons. First, it does not tax social security income, federal, state or local pensions, thus leaving its residents with fuller wallets. Although it has one of the greatest effective real estate tax rates in the country, housing prices are not as high as in neighboring New Jersey, for instance. With the median home value of 164,900, the Mid-Atlantic state occupies 26th place in the US. Moreover, America’s health ranking shows that Pennsylvania’s older residents receive quality healthcare – unlike many other states, it does not have an alarming geriatricians shortfall, the majority of seniors receives recommended hospital care and undergoes necessary screenings while total community support expenditures are kept at high levels. Finally, in terms of costs of living, many PA cities, including metro areas such as Pittsburgh, are well below national average.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania


In creating this ranking, we took into account a few factors, including real estate prices, costs of living and crime rates. You will discover that in some places average square foot price is as low as $38. Even more importantly, in nine of ten towns, monthly housing expenses do not exceed the national average, while overall living costs are from 2 to 22 percent less than America’s average. Affordability in listed places allows seniors to put some money aside for travelling, maybe visiting these cheapest countries to live like a king. However, it is hard to find a perfect place and listed towns have shortcomings. In some, crime rates are more than double America’s average. Moreover, humid weather and lack of sunny days might put seniors off from relocating to some of the ranked places.

 To find out which are 10 best cities to retire in Pennsylvania, we compared a few lists made by different websites searching for places that appear on two or more rankings. Our primary sources were Niche’s Best towns to retire in Pennsylvania, Smartasset’s Best towns to retire, website Best places to retire, and Forbes’s Best place to retire in 2016. We ranked these places using as criteria average square foot price, which we obtained from Realtor, median household income and average commuting time (US Census Bureau data), overall costs of living and crime rates, which we found at Sperling’s best place.

10. Gettysburg

The smallest town on the list with a total population of 7,633, Gettysburg is also the most expensive one. Home buyers pay $120 per square foot on average, while costs of living are only 1.9 percent lower than US average. In comparison to other listed place, as well as Pennsylvania as a whole, Gettysburg is the least affordable place to retire. However, high expenses are compensated by recreational opportunities, diverse cultural offer and an abundance of historical attractions, including reenacting of the Battle of Gettysburg, which takes place every year in July.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

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9. New Castle

Best Place to Retire ranks New Castle and Lawrence County, where the city is located, as the most desirable retirement destination. Besides nice weather, the website lists amenities, diversity of senior housing options, and different forms of assistance for older citizens, are reasons why this area is worth considering as a retirement destination. When you look at real estate prices ($42 per square foot) and costs of living (19.2 percent below the national average), you find that New Castle is one of the cheaper places on the list. Still, the city has one major disadvantage – high crime rates. According to website Sperling’s Best Places, the violent crime rate is more than double US average, while the rate of property offences also exceeds America’s mean. Moreover, the city has the third-smallest median household income. Because of these two reasons, it did not rank higher on our list.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

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8. Pittsburgh

The most populated city on this list Pittsburgh is an ideal place for people who do not want to give up the advantages of the metro area in exchange for low costs of living. To buy a home in the second largest city in Pennsylvania, you need to be ready to pay $75 per square foot, while median monthly housing costs of $440 are little over the national average. Still the money you spend on home expenses won’t empty your wallet since you can save on overall costs of living which are 16 percent below national average. Moreover, senior residents can count on getting proper health care as the city has a high number of doctors per capita. Finally, crime rates exceed the national average, but that’s something every metro resident must count on, and Pittsburgh is no different in that respect.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

7. Johnstown

Johnstown is the second-least expensive place on this list. Costs of living are 22 percent above the national average and real estate prices are far from reaching skyrocketing sums. If you want to buy a home in Johnstown, you need to pay only $41 per square foot. Still, with a median household income of $25,367, Johnstown is also the poorest place on the list. Besides poverty, high crime rate and the weather might be reasons why only 0.1 percent of all newcomers to Johnstown are seniors. Currently, 18.5 percent of residents are older than 65, which makes the city the oldest one on this list. So if you do not mind living in a place with high humidity and scarcity of sunny days, and if you have solid savings on your bank account, Johnstown is worth considering as a retirement destination.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania


6. Lebanon

With 25,573 residents Lebanon is the second most populated city on our list 10 best cities to retire in Pennsylvania. It is also the most popular retirement destination since 0.6 percent of all newcomers are seniors while residents older than 65 account for 13.8 percent of the total population. Although real estate prices are higher than in previously mentioned places ($94 per square foot) overall housing expenses on a monthly basis are as low as $393. Moreover, the cost of living which are 15.9 percent below the national average, puts Lebanon in the group of affordable places. The city is the seat of Lebanon County, which boasts a favorable number of primary care physicians and dentists per residents.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania


5. Waynesboro

Movato ranked Waynesboro as the second best place for retirees in Pennsylvania for three reasons – the weather, air quality, and amenities. The borough boasts four historic buildings which are included in the National Register of Historic Places. Average square foot price in the area is $84, and overall costs of living are 8.5 percent lower than US average. Taking these two criteria into account, Waynesboro can be labeled as one of the more expensive places on the list. However, the city has the lowest crime rates and second-highest median household income ($40,037), so it might be a good bargain to spend extra cash on buying a home in Waynesboro in exchange for the safe and healthy environment and nice weather.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

4. Bloomsburg

Bloomsburg, home to the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has a large student population which affects statistical data about the city. The university accepts around 7,000 students every year, and they constitute a significant share of the population in the town with 14,727 residents. Median household income is $29,694 while more than a third of Bloomsburg’s residents are labeled as poor. The gloomy numbers should be partly seen as the result of the fact that student population generally earn far less than working people and retirees, which subsequently affects income and poverty data for the city as a whole. Bloomsburg offers low costs of living, chance to buy a home for $79 per square foot, safe environment with crime rates below the national average and quality health care. Additionally, average commuting time in the city is around 15 minutes, which makes Bloomsburg the easiest place to get around.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

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3. Chambersburg

Niche ranked Chambersburg as the second best place to retire in Pennsylvania. The site assigned the city the highest grades on criteria such as access to recreational facilities, grocery stores, and doctors. Our analysis shows that although the city falls into the category of more expensive ones on this list – average square foot price is $76, and costs of living are second highest; its residents have solid earnings that secure comfortable living. Median household income of 40,936 is the highest among listed places while crime rates slightly exceed the national average..

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania


2. Pottsville

House buyers in Pottsville pay $42 per square foot. However, once you become a homeowner in Pottsville, you will be spending $477 per month on housing costs, which is not only more compared to other listed places, but also to the national average. A positive thing though is that overall costs of living are pretty low. Other appealing things about living in Pottsville are nice weather, low crime rates, and quality health care. Finally, Pottsville might not be the right choice for seniors who plan to spend their retirement days travelling since the nearest international airport is 61 miles away.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania

1. Oil City

As the name suggests Oil City, located in Venango County, owes its development to the discovery of petroleum. It is the second-smallest place among 10 best places to retire in Pennsylvania with a total population of 10,227. Oil City is the most affordable town on the list with real estate prices of $38 per square foot, and costs of living 22 percent below America’s average. Compared to previously mentioned Johnstown, which also falls into the category of the least expensive places, Oil city has almost $10,000 higher median household income which is estimated at $ 34,897. Another appealing thing about the city is a safe environment with low crime rates.

Best Cities to Retire in Pennsylvania