You can find lots of lists of the best places to retire, often based on the quality of health care or low cost of living. But if you're single and over 50, you might also want to know which cities may boost your chances of finding a partner or just be more conducive to dating.
Places that offer older adults more opportunities to find someone to share a meal, snuggle up, take in the sights, go dancing, stroll or have a cocktail may rate higher for those who are single and looking to make connections.
"In many cities, there may be a lot of people aging in place, but with no place to meet each other,” says Pepper Schwartz, a social psychologist, professor and host of Lifetime's Married at First Sight. “What you're looking for are cities or towns that have both population and opportunity.”
Ryan Frederick, founder of SmartLiving 360, a real estate development advisory firm that works with entities across the country and author of Right Place, Right Time: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Home for the Second Half of Your Life, says a good way to find the places with opportunities is to “look for areas that are growing and follow the millennials and Gen Zers. Where they are is not a bad spot for older folks because they tend to live where the economy is growing, where the cost of living may be more reasonable."
Those younger generations are building families, starting companies and creating an optimism that tends to be infectious. But it's important to look beyond data, too — while the number of seniors concentrated in a particular city might mean a larger dating pool, a place where a high percentage of the overall population is older “might not be as dynamic,” Frederick says.
To spotlight some of these cities, we examined scores from AARP's Livability Index, factored in the number of older adults living in each place, examined city sizes and locations, and took into consideration access to health care and amenities to satisfy the needs of those 50-plus. In this list, “adults” are those 18 and older and “seniors” are 65 and older.
Though this list is a good place to start, choices are based on individual interests and circumstances: Consider your own lifestyle and what you like to do in order to meet the kind of person you'd date. Do you prefer big-city lights or the small-town life? Do you hike, run, bowl, knit, watch films? Keeping all that in mind, here are 13 great places for older singles.
AARP's Livability Score
This score rates the overall livability of a selected neighborhood, city, county or state on a scale from 0 to 100. It is based on the average score of seven livability catgories — housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity — which also range from 0 to 100. We score communities by comparing them to one another, so the average community gets a score of 50, while above-average communities score higher and below-average communities score lower.
1. New York, New York
Population: 6,664,770 adults; 1,222,270 seniors
AARP livability score: 63
Possibly a cliché, but the amazingly diverse Big Apple truly has everything — walkability, public transportation, cultural venues, sports events, street festivals. “It's full of places to congregate,” Schwartz says, and “there is a culture of getting out and about rather than being in your apartment.
And, according to AARP's livability index, New York ranks in the top 10 most livable large cities in the nation. It has myriad initiatives devoted to improving the living standards of its older residents including those to increase healthy and affordable housing options, to add Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, to better caregiver support and to improve transportation. The Age-Friendly Neighborhoods Initiative offers information on health services, cost of living and transportation options, as well as interactive neighborhood maps. In 2022, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order to create New York’s first Master Plan for Aging. Its goal is to “ensure our aging New Yorkers have access to quality long-term care in healthy, livable communities where they can thrive.”
2. Denver, Colorado
Population: 565,889 adults; 81,488 seniors
AARP livability score: 61
Denver gets high marks in access to and quality of health care, preventive health care and transportation. The Mile High City is known as a place for those pursuing an active outdoor lifestyle, but there are plenty of museums, music venues (including a symphony), restaurants and opportunities to catch pro sports. There are also several suburbs known for their large number of retirees.
3. The Villages, Florida
Population: 78,775 adults; 64,761 seniors
AARP livability score: 51
The Villages is a master-planned age-restricted community. It's located in central Florida, about an hour north of Orlando. “There are a gazillion activities going on here 24-7. A thousand clubs — golf, volleyball, pickleball, painting rocks, a ukulele club … it seems like every village has a singles club,” says Christine Martin, 61, a software developer for a company in New Jersey, who moved to The Villages in March 2020. She met a great group of women friends in a singles group. She also joined a bowling league and met a guy who recently moved there, too. “He's handy and he helped me install cabinet hardware,” Martin says. “I wasn't looking for anything, and they say that's how it always happens."