Move over, Florida — there’s a new retirement hot spot, and it’s nowhere near an ocean. In the latest survey from Bankrate.com, Pittsburgh — the Steel City — was first among 50 metro areas in the country in which to spend post-work years. It beat sunnier areas in Florida and California more often seen on the top of retirement lists, ranking high in health care presence, with low cost of living and crime rates. Boston, Los Angeles, Denver and Providence, R.I., round out the top five. Last on the list of 50? San Bernardino, Calif.
While Pittsburgh may not fit the stereotype of retirement destinations — it’s a former industrial town that can be bitter cold in the winter and averages only 160 sunny days a year — weather isn't a top priority on all retirement destination checklists, Bankrate found in an earlier survey. Retirees want cheaper, accessible health care, inexpensive housing and safety — on which Pittsburgh scores high marks. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's system is consistently ranked as one of the best health care systems in the country, and the city's median cost of living is lower than other major metropolitan areas', even as major companies like Google and Uber have set up shop in the city, bringing a large number of new residents to the urban core.
“Pittsburgh also scored very highly in the friend factor — the percentage of the population that’s 65 and older. The city is trending younger, but you’re not going to feel out of place,” said Bankrate.com analyst Taylor Tepper. “And Pittsburgh’s strong educational system is a positive thing for people in retirement. You can audit classes and be connected to continuing education through the city’s university system.”
The city has worked hard in the past decades to shift its reputation from a polluted steel mill town to an educational and tech hub — it now ranks as one of the greenest cities in America and hosted the G-20 economic summit in 2009. It also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with renowned theater and museums, and a burgeoning food scene. And if all of that isn’t enough, there’s always the view from the top of the city’s famed Duquesne Incline.
Read Bankrate’s full list of 50 cities here.