Dutch treat: Lancaster tops Philly as a place to retire

An Amish buggy enters the long driveway into the Oregon Dairy supermarket and adjoining farm property In Lititz, Pa.

U.S. News and World Report has followed up its 100 Best Places to Live with 100 Best Places to Retire, and good news, Philadelphia. We’re movin’ on up!

But we’ve still got nothing on the Pennsylvania Dutch.

While Philadelphia was ranked in the magazine’s survey as the 77th-best place to live, it came in at No. 19 as a best place to retire — primarily due to the city’s extremely high (9.7 out of 10) ranking when it comes to health care. Retirees, as you might guess, rate the importance of health care quite highly, and Philadelphia has more top-ranked hospitals than just about anywhere else. The city’s collection of museums, historical sites, restaurants, and performing-arts institutions also makes this a desirable spot for folks with time on their hands who don’t want to walk too far.

Lancaster doesn’t rate as highly as Philadelphia on the health-care meter, but its 8.5 on that score combined with a slower, more bucolic lifestyle put it at No. 2 on the magazine’s Best Places to Retire list — right behind Sarasota, Fla. Although U.S. News doesn’t dwell on several other factors, reasons for Lancaster’s high desirability for retirees should be obvious: lots of shopping outlets, multiple miniature golf courses, much easier to dodge Amish buggies than big-city drivers, and a smorgasbord of all-you-can-eat buffets with early-bird pricing. Besides being a great place to retire, Lancaster also came in at No. 41 as a best place to live. Its primary drawback, says U.S. News, is that the county’s quantity of livestock can occasionally make it a little smelly.

Several other area spots hit the Top 100. Allentown was the 25th-best place to retire and the 79th-best place to live — it also scores very high in health care. Scranton came in as the 52nd-best place to retire and the 86th-best place to live. Harrisburg did not make the Top 100 as a place to live but finished a strong No. 38 as a place to retire. State legislators have long proved it a great place to do nothing.

U.S. News judged each area based on six factors: the happiness of the residents, housing affordability, health-care quality, retiree taxes, the job market (not all retirees wish to exit the workforce completely), and desirability — meaning how much retirees desire to live there, not how desirable the retirees are.

No city in New Jersey or Delaware made either chart.