The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a surge of retirements across the US labor force. Experts estimate that in the first 18 months of the pandemic, there were 2.4 million more retirements than there would have otherwise been. Due in part to the historic increase, an estimated 19.3% of the US population were retired as of mid-2021, the largest share in at least the last 25 years.
The two primary reasons older Americans left the workforce for good in recent months were the health risks posed by the pandemic and rising asset values - particularly in housing and the stock market – that made retirement financially feasible. Indeed, health and financial stability are two of many factors that affect overall quality of life throughout old age. Here is a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in every state.
With retirements at historic levels, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of over a dozen key socioeconomic measures to identify the best and worst states to grow old in. The measures were chosen to gauge the health, financial well-being, safety, and social engagement of 65 and older populations in each state.
New Jersey ranks among the top 15 best states for older Americans, partially because it is one of the safest states in the country. There were 195 violent crimes reported in New Jersey for every 100,000 people in 2020, well below the national violent crime rate of 399 per 100,000. Older New Jersey residents are also more likely than most older Americans to be relatively affluent. The average earnings among 65 and older households in the state is over $79,000, while the average income among 65 and older households nationwide is about $63,500.
Older Americans also tend to live longer than average in New Jersey. Average life expectancy at age 65 is 19.9 years in New Jersey, higher than in all but half a dozen other states.
|rank||State||Population 65 and older (%)||Avg. annual earnings, 65 and older households ($)||Life expectancy at age 65 (years)|