Where Does Tennessee Rank Among The Best States To Retire?

Photo: Campground Road – Cedars of Lebanon State Park – Tennessee

Photo Credit: Paul Chenoweth / CC

Published May 4, 2021

By Hristina Byrnes [24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square] –

Retirement may mark the end of a career, but it’s also the start of a new chapter of adulthood. Ideally, as retirees, people have fewer responsibilities and more opportunities for fulfilling activities.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Most people have an idea of when they will retire. Where to retire, however, may be a more complex decision to make.

Tennessee ranks as the 24th worst state for a physically and socially active retirement.

States that have relatively large 65 and older populations are likely to also have plenty of retirement homes and communities. In Tennessee, 16.7% of the population is 65 or older, the 22nd lowest share in the U.S.

Plenty of hours of full sun during the day, nice weather year-round, and plenty of recreational sites such as national parks can help support an active lifestyle. There is an average of 4 hours 23 minutes of peak sunlight a day in Tennessee, the 21st highest in the country. The National Parks Service manages a total of 12 parks, historic sites, and monuments in the state.

Volunteering can have a major impact on well-being, especially for older individuals. About 27.6% of Tennessee residents 65 and older volunteer several times a year. This is the 16th lowest share in the U.S., and compares to 28.0% of older adults nationwide.

To rank the best and worst states for people who want to stay active, both physically and socially, in retirement, 24/7 Tempo used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We created an index of more than 20 measures of retirement-friendliness, representing four categories — environment, health-related factors, social support, and demographics. 

These are the best and worst states for retirees:

RankStateShare of population 65+NPS sitesAverage peak sun time per dayAdults who volunteer
1Florida20.9%115 hours 10 minutes20.3%
2Maine21.3%43 hours 46 minutes33.7%
3Delaware19.5%14 hours 23 minutes32.0%
4West Virginia20.5%64 hours 4 minutes31.0%
5South Carolina18.2%74 hours 49 minutes31.9%
7South Dakota17.4%64 hours 12 minutes36.8%
8Montana19.5%84 hours 6 minutes35.1%
9Iowa17.5%24 hours 5 minutes36.9%
10Vermont20.1%23 hours 45 minutes33.6%
11Alabama17.4%94 hours 43 minutes25.4%
12Wyoming17.1%74 hours 31 minutes32.6%
13Arkansas17.4%74 hours 35 minutes28.9%
14Mississippi16.4%84 hours 44 minutes20.2%
15Pennsylvania18.7%193 hours 56 minutes32.8%
16Arizona18.0%225 hours 27 minutes25.0%
17Kansas16.4%54 hours 37 minutes36.0%
18New Mexico18.0%155 hours 20 minutes30.5%
19North Carolina16.7%104 hours 35 minutes32.7%
20Rhode Island17.7%24 hours 11 minutes28.4%
21Nebraska16.1%54 hours 23 minutes35.5%
22New Jersey16.6%94 hours 14 minutes21.9%
23Oklahoma16.1%34 hours 45 minutes33.0%
24Missouri17.2%64 hours 20 minutes26.7%
25New Hampshire18.6%23 hours 53 minutes32.3%
26Kentucky16.9%54 hours 14 minutes18.9%
27Tennessee16.7%124 hours 23 minutes27.6%
28North Dakota15.8%34 hours 2 minutes38.7%
29Oregon18.2%54 hours 29 minutes36.5%
30Ohio17.5%84 hours 3 minutes30.3%
31Connecticut17.6%24 hours 8 minutes30.7%
32Virginia15.9%224 hours 24 minutes33.5%
33Wisconsin17.5%23 hours 56 minutes37.1%
34Louisiana16.0%54 hours 53 minutes22.0%
35Massachusetts17.0%154 hours 6 minutes30.1%
36Maryland15.9%184 hours 17 minutes38.2%
37Minnesota16.3%53 hours 54 minutes43.3%
38Indiana16.1%34 hours 7 minutes35.2%
39Michigan17.7%53 hours 58 minutes26.1%
40Illinois16.1%24 hours 10 minutes27.8%
41California14.8%285 hours 21 minutes23.3%
42Georgia14.3%114 hours 48 minutes19.7%
43Colorado14.7%134 hours 50 minutes31.7%
44Nevada16.2%45 hours 1 minutes24.1%
45Washington15.9%154 hours 4 minutes36.8%
46New York16.9%243 hours 52 minutes22.2%
47Idaho16.2%74 hours 26 minutes30.5%
48Texas12.9%145 hours 6 minutes27.5%
50Utah11.4%134 hours 52 minutes44.6%
Source: 24/7 Wall St.
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