Golden opportunity

Fort Worth eases onto new AARP list of 9 best U.S. cities for retirees

Fort Worth eases onto new AARP list of 9 best U.S. cities for retirees

Fort Worth skyline with Trinity River
Access to nature and recreation was an important factor. Getty Images

As Fort Worth's population continues to grow, the city is pulsing with fresh energy — not all of it from young residents moving here after college or relocating mid-career. Fort Worth is also one of the best towns in the U.S. for retirees, according to a new list published by AARP The Magazine.

The magazine relied on 14 pieces of data to come up with its unranked list of the country’s nine best places for retirees. The publication’s rating system favored places with a comparatively low cost of living, great access to nature and recreation, relative ease of getting around, top-quality health care systems, and a strong sense of community — all draws even for those not nearing retirement.

"We know that older adults and younger generations want similar things in the places they live,” says Mike Watson, director of AARP Livable Communities, in the magazine.

With a population of nearly 920,000 Fort Worth is one of the biggest cities on the list (outsized only by Philadelphia). The magazine highlights Fort Worth’s relatively low median housing costs ($1,364 per month), access to exercise (97 percent of residents live near parks and recreational facilities), and “cool” community vibe.

The magazine says Fort Worth offers “a small-town feel in a major metro area.” Among other things, the magazine notes, Fort Worth is known for its:

  • Slow pace.
  • Safe and lively downtown.
  • 89 miles of paved bike trails.
  • Year-round golf and tennis.

The write-up about Fort Worth, by local author Barry Shlachter, notes that in 2017, the city launched an "Age-Friendly Fort Worth Action Plan," which has resulted in improvements to parks; expansion of the TexRail public transportation service and new bus routes; new agreements with developers for affordable housing; websites to connect older residents with social activities, and more.

“We’re continually building Fort Worth into a stronger community where people can thrive in every phase of life,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker tells the magazine.

AARP is a nonprofit membership organization for Americans ages 50 and over.

It's not the first time Fort Worth has made a "best places to retire list" in recent years. Travel + Leisure included Dallas-Fort Worth in its list earlier this year, and U.S. News & World Report cited the area in its 2019 list. One big difference here: AARP leaves off Dallas.

Aside from Fort Worth, communities that made AARP The Magazine's list are:

  • Anderson, South Carolina
  • Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Jackson, Tennessee
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Philadelphia
  • Provo, Utah
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota