Oct 3, 2017

Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown Rank High Among Best Places to Retire


Author: Jason Scott

Two of the best places in the country to retire are in Central Pennsylvania, according to U.S. News & World Report.

In its latest ranking of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, the publication placed Lancaster County at No. 2 and the Harrisburg area at No. 38.

Sarasota, Fla., is the top place to retire, according to the list. Pittsburgh was No. 8 on the list, while Philadelphia was No. 19. Allentown made the list at No. 25.

The retirement score for each of the 100 areas was based on index scores for happiness, desirability, retiree taxes and the job market, as well as housing affordability and health care quality. Results were based on two online surveys of pre-retirees (ages 45 to 59) and people 60 or older. The publication received 841 survey responses.

Lancaster County scored high for housing affordability and health care quality.

U.S. News & World report added that Lancaster County offers a "balance between natural and commercial spaces that residents appreciate."

The profile goes on to say: "Expansive farms rub elbows with manicured suburbs, which lead right into the bustling city. A short drive can take one through each of these environments. Each area boasts its own unique groups of inhabitants: farmers, families, college students and young professionals. From close-knit church communities to the indie coffee shop scene, Lancaster holds something for everyone."

If that's not enough, the profile cites the unique smells in Lancaster County — from the farm animals to food factories, including a Mars chocolate plant, and the world's largest chicken barbecue.

"Though new residents will surely take notice at first, this unique smell eventually becomes the smell of home," the publication said.

The Harrisburg area, by comparison, was recognized for its smorgasbord of outdoor activities.

"The great outdoors are easily accessible in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital," the publication said. "Bikers and runners take in the scenery of the Susquehanna River on the trails of Riverfront Park, which also hosts many of the metro area's annual festivals and events. Residents also enjoy hiking the famous Appalachian Trail or camping and mountain biking in the many nearby state parks and forests."

U.S. News & World report said the Harrisburg area, even with a population of more than 550,000, has a "small-town atmosphere" and one of the country's most affordable housing markets. Plus, it's close to big cities along the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

"Harrisburg provides an urban atmosphere with a manageable price tag," the profile says.