Central Pennsylvania has long been known as a retirement mecca, and the latest rankings from U.S. News and World Report show why.
In the publication’s ratings of the nation’s best places to retire, Lancaster and Harrisburg come in at No. 1 and 2, with York close behind at No. 4.
U.S. News analyzed data from the country’s 150 largest metro areas for the rankings, assessing how well they met Americans’ retirement needs and expectations. Criteria considered included the happiness of local residents, housing affordability, tax rates and health care quality.
The indexes that determined the overall rating were desirability, value, job market, quality of life and net migration. Lancaster, Harrisburg and York scored best in the value and quality of life categories, which carried the most weight.
Here’s some of what U.S. News said about why the local metros ranked so high:
· Lancaster “offers a balance between natural and commercial spaces that residents appreciate,” the magazine said. “Expansive farms rub elbows with manicured suburbs, which lead right into the bustling city. A short drive can take one through each of these environments. Each area boasts its own unique groups of inhabitants: farmers, families, college students and young professionals.”
· State capital Harrisburg was lauded for its access to “the great outdoors. … Bikers and runners take in the scenery of the Susquehanna River on the trails of Riverfront Park, which also hosts many of the metro area’s annual festivals and events. Residents also enjoy hiking the famous Appalachian Trail or camping and mountain biking in the many nearby state parks and forests.”
· York earned praise for its historical “punching power. … The region’s bragging rights include being the onetime home of the Continental Congress, the birthplace of the Articles of Confederation and even the capital of the U.S. for a brief period.”
The data sources used to compile the rankings included the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. News’ internal resources.
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer