Best Small Cities to Retire Index Finds St. George, Utah at Top of the List

Share Article

Data measures economic, quality of life, health care and other factors for 50+ retirees

"Southern Utah's lifestyle simply can't be beat."

Derek Rowley, manager of the Pinnacle Business Consulting’s senior housing advisory group, announced the inaugural release of the 100 Best Small Cities to Retire Index, a new, objective and transparent measure of the top small cities in the United States as a favorable retirement destination. The Index ranks and compares the top 100 U.S. small cities in 23 categories that retirees consider vital when choosing a retirement destination, including affordability, economic growth, lifestyle, quality of life, health care and wellness using independent, published data sources.

The top small city retirement destination in 2014, according to the Index, is the city of St. George, Utah. St. George won the top spot in the 2014 ranking with the #1 rankings in the categories of “Quality of Life” and “Wellness”, a #4 ranking in “Economic Vitality”, and a Top 20 ranking for “Health Care”. With a population of 77,000, St. George clearly has a lot to offer to today’s retirees who are looking for a great senior lifestyle in the environment of a smaller city.

St. George, Utah is located on I-15 in the southwest corner of the State, 120 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is also the home of the annual Huntsman World Senior Games, as well as Sun River St. George, Utah’s only master-planned active adult golf course community situated at the southern edge of town with approximately 2,000 homes. In addition, last month another community - Brillo Del Sol - was announced in the development stages outside St. George as an age-targeted community with 610 planned homes.

“Southern Utah’s lifestyle simply can’t be beat,” said Darcy Stewart, the developer of Sun River St. George, who is visibly passionate about serving the needs of active retirees. However, Stewart’s enthusiasm for the area as a retirement destination is also supported by the data.

“Sun River St. George was the first large-scale active adult community in the country that was developed in what was then, essentially, a rural area,” added Stewart. “Our development partners took quite risk when we first broke ground in the middle of nothing, but it has really paid off. I think we have created something very special and unique that really focuses on providing the type of lifestyle that gives our residents a reason to be get up and be passionate about something every single day.”

When asked about the new, age-targeted community coming in across town, Stewart said, “I think it is wonderful! It is really all about giving homebuyers more options. For some people, they will prefer to live in an age-targeted community with a blend of families, while others will prefer the consistency and predictability that an age-restricted community provides. At the end of the day, all these options just make St. George a better retirement destination for retirees who prefer living in a small city environment.”

According to the results of the inaugural Index, the Top Ten small cities for retirement are:
1. St. George, Utah
2. Dubuque, Iowa
3. Bismarck, North Dakota
4. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
5. St. Cloud, Minnesota
6. Montpelier, Vermont
7. Grand Forks, North Dakota
8. Barnstable, Massachusetts
9. Logan, Utah
10. Iowa City, Iowa

The Index uses data gathered from independent, published sources, including the US Census, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, United Health Foundation, Tax Foundation, Consumer Reports,, Yelp, and Wikipedia. The categories that comprise the overall Index ranking includes: cost of living; state/local tax burden; median household income; housing cost and affordability; unemployment; job growth; commute time; high school graduation rate; public golf courses per capita; senior health levels; senior well being; number of sunny days; violent crime rate; property crime rate; religious activity; air quality; physicians, nurses and dentists per capita; health care expenditures per capita; and hospital ranking.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Derek Rowley
Sun River St. George
+1 (435) 673-4300
Email >
Follow >