Lancaster, Pennsylvania tops the list as the Best Place to Retire in 2022-2023 as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, a recognized American media company that publishes news, opinion, consumer advice, rankings, and analysis. The rankings offer a comprehensive evaluation of the country’s 150 largest metropolitan areas based on how well they meet Americans’ expectations for retirement, with measures including housing affordability, desirability, health care, and overall happiness. Number one ranked “Lancaster, Pennsylvania,” the Report states, “offers a balance between natural and commercial spaces that residents appreciate. Expansive farms rub elbows with manicured suburbs, which lead right into the bustling city.”
Willow Valley Communities, a premier 55-plus community in Lancaster, has seen this sentiment played out for nearly 40 years. Visitors from across the nation, those who have chosen Lancaster as a retirement destination, as well as those originally from Lancaster, agree on Lancaster’s benefits:
- Drivable distance to major cities like Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Conveniently located airport, bus station, and train station.
- Four distinct seasons
- Low cost of living
- Diverse residents
- Culturally rich downtown with live theater, art, shopping, and wide variety of restaurants
Craig D. Thompson, president and COO of Willow Valley Living, the management company for Willow Valley Communities, commented on the U.S. News & World Report article and remarked that the “Best” ranking for Lancaster retirees was not surprising. “Visitors to Willow Valley Communities often speak about Lancaster’s uniqueness; its beautiful countryside, along with a vibrant downtown, makes the decision to retire here an easy one.”
Willow Valley Communities also enjoys strong interest from seniors because it is the only exclusively Lifecare Type A contract senior living community in Lancaster County. Beyond a typical CCRC (continuing care retirement community), Lifecare is a unique and financially smart type of contract that means a resident’s fees will not increase because of the need for personal care, skilled nursing care, or memory support if it is needed in the future.
The measures used by U.S. News and World Report were selected and weighted based on an online survey U.S. News conducted of those approaching, or at retirement age in September 2022. Responses were collected from 3,100 people 45 and older nationwide. Respondents were asked to indicate what attributes of a retirement destination were most important to them, choosing from a predefined list of options. Based on survey scoring, U.S. News assigned the following weights to the indexes in compiling the overall retirement score for each city:
- Happiness Index – 22%
- Housing Affordability Index – 24%
- Quality Index – 16%
- Retiree Taxes Index – 16%
- Desirability Index – 13%
- Job Market Index – 9%