Aging well in Alamo City

San Antonio takes senior spot on Forbes list of best cities for retirees

San Antonio takes senior spot among Forbes' best cities for retirees

Retired couple
Texas cities claim two spots on Forbes' list. Getty Images

The more than 100,000 military retirees who call San Antonio home must be on to something. In its annual list, Forbes ranks the Alamo City among the top 25 places to retire for 2020.

For the ranking, Forbes compared data for more than 750 places (with populations of at least 10,000) in all 50 states. This is the second time in three years San Antonio has made the cut; it was also named a top place to retire in 2018.

“Our list has always aimed first and foremost to identify retirement value — places that offer a high quality of life at an affordable price,” Forbes says. “Another timely metric we’ve long considered is the availability of medical care, using doctors per capita as a proxy. Plus, we look at whether a city encourages a healthy and active lifestyle with good air quality, convenience for walking and biking, and low serious crime.”

In a ranking released August 14, Forbes praises San Antonio for its:

  • Low cost of living
  • Median home price of $188,000, which sits 34 percent below the national median
  • Adequate number of doctors per capita
  • Good air quality
  • Bike-friendly atmosphere
  • Low risk for climate change
  • Lack of state income tax and inheritance tax

On the flip side, Forbes dings San Antonio for a rate of serious crimes that’s above the national average and a shortage of walkable areas. 

Forbes lists the 25 best places for retirement in alphabetical order, so there’s no hierarchy in terms of which city is No. 1, No. 2, and so on. The only other Texas city to show up on the list is Dallas. Forbes lauds Dallas for its:

  • Relatively low cost of living
  • Median home price of $219,000, which is 21 percent below the national median
  • Adequate number of physicians per capita
  • High ranking on the Milken Institute’s list of the best cities for successful aging
  • Lack of state income tax and inheritance tax
  • Good climate
  • Good air quality
  • Low risk of climate change
  • Robust cultural scene
  • Bike-friendly and somewhat pedestrian-friendly environment

But, like San Antonio, Forbes knocks Dallas for a rate of serious crimes that’s above the national average.

In choosing its top picks for 2020, Forbes says it did make adjustments this year "to reflect current concerns." Gone are many of the small college towns that usually dot the list, a consideration the magazine made in light of the COVID-19 economy.

"We worry that the educational and cultural opportunities that had made them so appealing, will be slow to return," notes the magazine.

Also, for the first time in the list's 10-year history, Forbes factored in climate change as a retirement value, using data from University of Notre Dame Urban Adaptation Assessment. Both San Antonio and Dallas received high marks in the climate change category, despite both cities averaging more than 85 days per year with temperatures above 90 degrees.

As mentioned, though the list is unranked, Fargo, North Dakota, could be considered the best of the best places to retire. The city has made the list for 10 years straight.