Florida Vs. Arizona for Retirement

Many people like the idea of retiring somewhere the weather is warmer than what they spent most of their life in.  Folks from the Midwest often choose between two very different, yet similar destinations.  Those two destinations are Florida and Arizona.  Today I’ll dive into this topic and pit Florida vs. Arizona and hopefully shed some light on why each one of them may be a potential landing spot for those of you nearing the age of retirement.

Florida vs. Arizona: Which Retirement Location Has the Best Value for Your Money?

If you are looking for a variety of housing options, warm weather, and gorgeous backdrops, you will find both Florida and Arizona amazing retirement destinations.

According to an article posted on Nasdaq, GoBankingRates ran a study to compare all of the features American retirees look for.  The study looked into affordability of houses, income, and taxes.

Population 65 Years and Over

Naturally people want to make friends with people their age, so they looked at finding out how many people were aged 65 or older.

The Choice:  Florida


Florida wins this one due to the sheer population of the state of Florida, but they also win in terms of the percentage of people who are actually in retirement.  Arizona boasts 17.6% of their population aged 65 or older, but Florida beats that with 20.5%, a number putting the population over 4 million people.

Retirement Communities

Speaking of meeting people your age, people gravitate to retirement communities to enjoy the social events and sense of community they provide.  You can stay active and enjoy activities like tennis, golf, and pickleball right inside your community.

The Choice:  Florida

Florida offers just shy of 700 active retirement communities, dwarfing the 144 currently in Arizona.  It’s worth nothing that both states offer some very high end options for the affluent.

Median Household Income for Those 65 and Older

It doesn’t matter how many places you look at living in if you can’t afford to reside there!  So let’s t

Arizona edges Florida this time with a median household income being $48,964 versus $46,182 in Florida.

The Choice:  Arizona

Average Retirement Income

How much money you’ll need to be generating in retirement also comes into play.  You’ll need to budget for food, utilities, and entertainment.

Floridians are generating retirement income of  $31,335 compared to $30,173 in Arizona.

Florida Income Tax Rate vs. Arizona Income Tax Rate

Both states are attractive destinations for people looking for low state tax or no state tax.  In this one, Florida wins out with it’s 0% state tax compared to Arizona’s variable rate of 2.59% – 4.50%.  Here’s a link where you can learn more about Florida state income taxes.

The Choice:  Florida

Cost of Living Florida vs. Arizona

According to the cost of living index, Florida and Arizona are both just over the average cost of living in the USA.  Florida edges Arizona in this one as well by a slight margin in terms of overall cost of living.

The Choice:  Florida

Cost of Healthcare Florida vs. Arizona

This is a cost that must be taken into consideration as you enter your golden years.  Once again, Florida finds itself as a winner by a very slim margin.

The Choice:  Florida
Rent Comparison Arizona vs. Florida
Not everyone will be purchasing a home in retirement, so the cost of renting has to be taken into consideration as well.  In this event, a survey went out to judge the percentage of income on housing costs by people 65 years or older.  The national average is 49%.  In this survey, Florida retirees spent 41.2% of their money on rent while in Arizona
To judge affordability, the study weighed the percentage of residents aged 65 years and older who spend less than 30% of their income on housing costs. In Florida, 41.2% of older renters spend less than 30% of their income on housing, compared to 48.6% in Arizona. The national average is 49%.
The Choice:  Arizona

Home Ownership for Retirees Cost Comparison:  Florida vs. Arizona

The same sort of survey was done, but this time was done on home ownership vs. renting.  Once again, Arizona came out on top.
The Choice:  Arizona

Media Property Taxes Arizona vs. Florida

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the cost of homes are more in Florida as a whole, so they have higher property taxes on the median level.  They also have a lower overall rate, at .6% vs. .86% in Florida.
The Choice:  Arizona
Public Safety and Quality of Life:  Florida vs. Arizona
Florida comes out ahead in this one, according to a U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of public safety in each state.
The Choice:  Florida

Medicare Comparison:  Florida vs. Arizona

Florida wins in Medicare as they rank #11 in the nation.  Arizona is right in the middle at #25.
The Choice:  Florida

Hospital Comparison:  Florida vs. Arizona

In a close call, Arizona ranked #11 with Florida right behind them in quality of hospitals at #14.

The Choice:  Arizona

Overall Better Place to Retire:  Florida or Arizona?

The stats don’t lie, Florida vs. Arizona for retirement facts are all here for the grasping. While some people may have individual needs and desires that make them choose Arizona over Florida (and there is nothing wrong with that), Florida is the logical choice based on all of the above criteria.