Why Southern California is perfect for retirees
Few states in the U.S., or even the world, can be considered as famous as California. Thanks to countless songs, movies, books and television shows set in the Golden State, most Americans and even many who live in other countries are very familiar with California. But beyond the Hollywood Hills, theme parks and redwood forests, there is still so much the state has to offer for residents.
California is the most populous state in the U.S., which makes it unsurprising that it's also the state with the largest population of retirees. In fact, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the state will see the fastest growth of its elderly population among any other in the nation. By 2035, the number of Californians age 60 and older will increase by 64 percent over 2015 totals, according to a study from the University of California Berkeley's Labor Center.
That means seniors living in, or planning a move to, California will be in good company. Some of the areas with the state's fastest-growing senior population are in Southern California, an area famous for abundant sunshine and geographic variety. In counties like San Bernardino, Imperial and Kings, the population of those age 60 and older is expected to grow by at least 150 percent in 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Other counties including Ventura, Kern, San Luis Obispo and Riverside will see senior population growth rates of at least 100 percent over the same time period.
Where to move in SoCal
One major reason why so many retirees are attracted to the Southern California region is its very agreeable climate. In a city like Bakersfield, temperatures in the summer can approach the mid-90 degrees Fahrenheit range, but rarely dip below freezing in the winter, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Annual precipitation in this area averages just 6.47 inches per year, with much of it occurring in the winter and early spring. That makes much of Southern California a great place for seniors who love the outdoors.
The combination of weather, culture and variety make much of SoCal a top destination for retirees. Financially speaking, there are still real estate deals to go around, according to data from Marketwatch.
- San Luis Obispo County tops the Marketwatch list of more affordable California retirement destinations, with a median home cost ($463,000) far below the statewide average. Some residents call the town "Little Santa Barbara," in reference to another prestigious coastal Southern California city. San Luis Obispo is also located right on the Pacific coast, with the town that's easily walkable. Seniors will love the numerous cultural attractions and shopping destinations, not to mention a great selection of golf courses in the area.
- Palm Springs is another option for seniors interested in living the SoCal lifestyle, and it's among the more affordable options with a median home price just under $200,000. The desert town with a population of around 44,500 has long been a destination for nightlife thrill-seekers as well as laid-back golf enthusiasts. There are also plenty of hiking trails and historic sites to visit.
- Finally, for something closer to the middle in terms of both price and senior-friendliness, Marketwatch suggested San Diego. Though it might come as a shock, the area's median home value is a reasonable $361,000. The city itself boasts a sizeable population of 1.3 million, which means anyone retiring here probably isn't doing so for the peace and quiet. However, for seniors looking to stay active, San Diego is hard to beat.
These Southern California destinations are just a small sampling of what the region has to offer.