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16 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest

This article takes a look at the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating retirement living in the US, you may go to 5 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest.

The Ease of American Travel - and Its Place in Retirement 

While Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) and Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) are high up on the list of what makes America great, there’s another factor that takes the winning spot - the ease of American travel. Undoubtedly, one of the best things about the US is its lack of inter-state travel requirements. Simply get up, book a flight, pack a bag, and head to the airport - no need for visas or complicated documents or waiting periods. It's partly due to this ease in requirements that the US Federal Aviation Administration handles upwards of 45,000 flights and more than 2.9 million travelers every single day. Of course, a large part of these travelers would be those who are traveling for work-related purposes or for leisure, but there’s also another group in the US that accounts for inter-state moves: retirees. 

2023 saw more than 338,000 retirees move states to live out their Golden Years, reports AARP. Not only is this number huge itself, but it also depicts the growth in move-to-retire trends as the 338,000 figure is a 44% increase from 2022’s number. 

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In the Advisor Authority survey conducted by Nationwide, findings shed light on the reasons why American retirees move. The reasons listed included the search for a lower cost of living, tax benefits, and relocation for family purposes - in descending order of likelihood. While this survey was conducted with a sample of investors to inquire about their retirement plans, it is plausible to apply the same reasons to a broader group of retirees. All in all, it’s safe to say that retirees venture to find the best cities to retire for 2024

Regardless of the reason, now is the time for advisors and financial professionals to check in with clients who are approaching retirement to make sure they have a plan in place for their next steps, and to work together to ensure their path is one that will lead to a secure and happy retirement. It’s also a great opportunity to drive a conversation about what life may look like when they reach a point where they are unable to work, which could come sooner than some may expect". -Rona Guymon, Senior Vice President, Nationwide Annuity Distribution

Of those who do choose to move for retirement, the destination chosen is varied. While Florida still reigns as one of the most popular retirement states, others have claimed their positions. The Pacific Northwest - namely, Idaho - has also made it to the top ten spots, as shared by Forbes. With growing popularity, the Pacific Northwest US states are attracting more and more retirees, and finding the best retirement cities during this trend becomes crucial. While these states don’t offer the magic of Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) - there are over one hundred Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) locations though - they offer something much more valuable to retirees: lower costs of living and lower median house prices in many of their cities. 

To facilitate present and potential retirees in navigating the Pacific Northwest move, we have compiled a list of the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest

16 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest
16 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest

Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

Methodology

To compile this list of the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest, we consulted several sources including our list of 20 Best Cities to Retire for 2024, FinanceBuzz, The Ascent, WorldAtlas, MoneyTalks, and The Honest Local. As the list of Pacific Northwest US states is often disputed, for the purpose of this article we took the definition of National Geographic Maps. They define the following US states as Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. 

Once a list of places was compiled using these sources, we then ranked them across multiple factors, namely, their cost of living, their livability scores, and their median house price. For this article, cost of living indices were taken from Best Places, livability scores were taken from Area Vibes, and median house prices were taken from Redfin Corp (NASDAQ:RDFN). A cumulative score was then assigned to each city, with the 16 highest-scoring cities making our list of the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest.  For cities that gained an equal score, their cost of living index was used as a tie-breaker. The resulting list is presented in ascending order, with the highest-ranked place being presented last. It is important to remember that personal preference plays a big part. The best course of action is to visit the place you plan to move to, converse with locals, take advice from a financial consultant, and only then make your final decision. 

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. 

Here are the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest:

16. Tumwater, Washington

Insider Monkey Score: 68

Cost of Living Index: 112.1

Livability Score: 84

Median House Price: $500,000

Set in Washington’s Thurston County, Tumwater starts off our list of best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest. At the crossroads of Budd Inlet and the Deschutes River, Tumwater holds abundant natural beauty - complete with a stunning waterfall. Its high livability score, decent housing opportunities, and expansive retail options make it an ideal retirement city.

15. Grants Pass, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 69

Cost of Living Index: 102.5

Livability Score: 70

Median House Price: $387,500

With a cost of living that is just 2.5% higher than the national average and a median house price that is close to the US median figure, Grants Pass can prove to be a suitable retirement option for retirees with a decent figure in the bank. What pits Grants Pass above some of the cheaper cities is its homely environment. The city provides residents with a suburban atmosphere along with a mix of nature. Retirees can relax along the Rogue River, attend one of the city’s galleries, or explore one of its cozy coffee shops. They can also indulge in delectable farm-to-table cuisine for some healthy yet delicious treats.

14. Salem, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 73

Cost of Living Index: 104

Livability Score: 79

Median House Price: $427,900

While a somewhat more expensive option than some of the other cities on our list of best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest, Salem’s many other benefits make it a place worth considering. Not only does the destination offer top-notch healthcare facilities, but it also boasts a variety of nature-related and entertainment activities that are ideal for fun-loving retirees. Senior citizens can catch a ride on the Salem Riverfront Carousel, relax in the city’s lush parks, or kick back with a drink at Santiam Brewing.

13. Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Insider Monkey Score: 73

Cost of Living Index: 92.8

Livability Score: 62

Median House Price: $340,000

With a cost of living that is 7.2% lower than the national average, Bonners Ferry in Idaho is one of the best places to live in the Pacific Northwest. A popular retirement city, senior citizens can spend their days taking in the beautiful views of surrounding forests and mountains. Better yet, for retirees looking to invest in their forever home, Bonners Ferry homes sit a good $47,000 below the national average, giving them a leg up on the market.

12. Coos Bay, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 75

Cost of Living Index: 90

Livability Score: 60

Median House Price: $318,000

Our third Oregon pick, Coos Bay is an ideal spot for retirees with a smaller retirement bank balance as the cost of living is 10% below the national average. Especially favorable for retirees who are weather-conscious, Coos Bay experiences a mild and pleasant climate with mild winters and cool summers. A coastal city, senior citizens can soak up all the benefits of coastal living, including scenic hiking areas, stretches of sand dunes, and fresh cuisine.

11. Ashland, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 76

Cost of Living Index: 106.1

Livability Score: 83

Median House Price: $485,200

If your retirement plans come with a bit of budget, then Ashland in Oregon is one of the best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest - and definitely worth exploring.  Home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and several galleries, the city welcomes classic art lovers and gives them an experience to remember. On the nature side of things, Ashland’s Lithia Park offers pickleball courts, a rose garden, a volleyball court, and duck ponds.

10. Roseburg, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 76

Cost of Living Index: 89.5

Livability Score: 66

Median House Price: $366,050

Located in the Umpqua River Valley, Roseburg is known as the ‘Timber Capital of the Nation’. While still integral to the Roseburg economy, the city also offers many other amenities such as excellent healthcare services, perfect for the health-conscious retiree. A nature haven, Roseburg boasts surrounding rivers, lakes, mountains, and streams while offering a close-knit community feel.

9. Astoria, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 81

Cost of Living Index: 107.1

Livability Score: 82

Median House Price: $393,750

A soothing coastal city, Astoria is popular for its history and natural beauty - ideal for retirees who crave a more laid-back and peaceful retirement period. The city offers museums, the highly-rated Bowpicker Fish and Chips, and the hilltop Astoria Column.

8. Walla Walla, Washington

Insider Monkey Score: 87

Cost of Living Index: 93.2

Livability Score: 79

Median House Price: $355,000

Our second Washington pick for best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest is none other than Walla Walla. A college town, Walla Walla is home to Whitman College, welcoming people, Walla fresh produce, many wineries, and several eateries - including the much-loved Maple Counter Cafe.

7. Umatilla, Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 88

Cost of Living Index: 88.5

Livability Score: 75

Median House Price: $319,434

A small city close to the bigger ones, Umatilla is an ideal spot for retirees who look for slower living but still want access to big-city energy.  An affordable option, Umatilla boasts a cost of living that is 11.5% lower than the national average, attracting retirees who live on smaller monthly budgets.

6. Spokane, Washington

Insider Monkey Score: 92

Cost of Living Index: 103.1

Livability Score: 81

Median House Price: $337,500

While Spokane’s cost of living is 3.1% above the national average, retirees can seek financial benefit from Washington’s tax policies. Since the state does not tax any form of retirement income, senior citizens can enjoy the full benefit of their finances. With great healthcare, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and the Riverfront Park, Spokane is among the best places to live in Washington state for retirees

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Disclosure: none. 16 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest is originally published on Insider Monkey.