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Fallon: Best city to grow old in Nevada

Rebecca Lake
For Credit Donkey
An article calls Fallon the best retirement city in Nevada based on five specific cagtegories.
STEVE RANSON / SRANSON@LAHONTANVALLEYNEWS.COM |

If gorgeous landscapes, lower taxes and an all-around excellent qualify of life are your retirement must-haves, take a look at the Nevada cities the CreditDonkey team recommends.

If you’re looking for someplace new to settle down when you retire, why not roll the dice on Nevada? The Silver State welcomes thousands of new residents each year and many of them are baby boomers who come in search of warm weather and a more affordable cost of living.

STUDY METHODOLOGY

We started by gathering U.S. Census data on Nevada. From there, we assigned each city a ranking in five specific categories, explained in more detail below. The cities we selected for our top 10 spots are the ones that earned the best overall ranking across all five categories combined: Senior population, housing, income, recreation and healthcare/social assistance.

When you live in a city that already has an established community of retirees, it’s much easier to meet new people and find age-appropriate social activities. The first criteria we used to rank each city is the percentage of the population that’s 65 or older.

Some seniors prefer to buy a new home when they retire while others choose to rent. If you don’t think you’ll require as much space or you’re working with a smaller budget, a condo, townhome or apartment may be your best bet. For our study, we considered what percentage of multi-unit housing structures there are in each city so you’ll know which places offer the most variety.

As you downshift into retirement, one of the things you may have to get used to is a change in your income. Many retirees rely on things like Social Security, personal retirement savings or pension benefits while others may work part-time or start their own business. We measured the median household income for adults 65 and over in each city as a measure of economic prosperity.

Most retirees prefer to slow down a little in their golden years but we know that it’s important to keep your mind and body active. Each of the cities on our list is ranked based on the number of people to art, entertainment and recreation establishments so you’ll have an idea of which cities are best for keeping busy.

The last thing we focused on is something that’s especially important to the over-65 crowd. We considered the ratio of residents in each city to healthcare and social assistance establishments to find those that offered the widest range of services to seniors.

THE TOP 10

10. Fernley

Population Over 65: 12.6 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 13.2 [ercent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $42,283

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,272.9

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 1,468.7

Fernley began as a small ranching community and has since become a thriving city of nearly 20,000 people. Almost 13 percent of the population is 65 or older and there’s a fair amount of multi-unit housing in the area. Fernley doesn’t have the best ratio of residents to healthcare and social assistance establishments but you should have no trouble getting the services you need in Reno, 35 miles away.

9. Winnemucca

Population Over 65: 11 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 13.4 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $42,500

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 772.9

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 276

Winnemucca is the smallest city to make our list at just over 7,700 residents, but its size doesn’t detract from what makes it so appealing to retirees. The median income for seniors is $42,500 and housing prices are relatively modest for both renters and buyers. Despite its rather remote location in Nevada’s northern mountain region,

8. Las Vegas

Population Over 65: 12.4 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 34.2 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $40,066

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 2,404.9

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 346.4

Las Vegas is Nevada’s largest city, with nearly 600,000 residents, and while it’s got a reputation for catering to a younger crowd, we think it’s got a lot to offer retirees. There are more than 1,700 healthcare and social assistance providers in the city.

7. Reno

Population Over 65: 11.8 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 39.9 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $38,233

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,833.5

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 271.5

The Biggest Little City in the World comes in at number seven on our list, based on its high percentage of multi-unit housing and fairly low healthcare ratio. A little over 231,000 people live in Reno and nearly 12 percent of those are 65 or older. Some of the things that make the city particularly livable for retirees include its thriving cultural scene and the number of community programs geared towards seniors.

6. Henderson

Population Over 65: 14.8 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 22.4 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $47,793

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,997.6

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 426.5

Henderson is located less than 20 miles to the southeast of Las Vegas, and 17 miles to Lake Mead. With nearly 266,000 residents, it’s actually the second largest city on our list and Sin City’s biggest suburb. Nearly 15 percent of Henderson’s residents are over 65 and they earn one of the higher median incomes on our list, at close to $48,000.

5. Elko

Population Over 65: 8.1 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 24.1 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $48,281

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,211.6

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 204.1

Elko is tucked away in northeast Nevada, close to the Ruby Mountains. It’s home to just over 19,000 residents and although it has one of the lower senior populations on our list, it’s still worthy of consideration as a retirement destination. The median income is one of the best in our study and housing prices aren’t outrageous.

4. Mesquite

Population Over 65: 26.2 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 31.7 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $39,637

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,235.5

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 535.4

Mesquite is clearly a favorite of retirees, with more than 26 percent of the city’s 16,000 residents over the age of 65. Multi-unit structures account for over a third of the city’s housing and it won’t cost a fortune to rent or buy. Mesquite enjoys an abundance of sunshine year-round so you won’t have to worry about getting rained out when you’re on the golf course.

3. Boulder City

Population Over 65: 25.8 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 13.9 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $49,755

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,011.2

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 433.4

A substantial retiree population and the highest median income among residents over 65 combine to land Boulder City in our number three spot. More than a quarter of the 15,000 people who live here are 65 or older and they earn a median household income that’s just shy of $50,000.

2. Carson City

Population Over 65: 16.7 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 25.4 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $42,385

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 1,034.7

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 249.3

Nevada’s capital is perfect for adventurous seniors who enjoy things like horseback riding, hiking, kayaking and skiing. This city of close to 55,000 is close to both Lake Tahoe and Washoe Lake so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your feet wet. Nearly 17 percent of residents are over 65 and the ratio of people to healthcare and social assistance programs is the third best overall. Apartments, townhomes and condos make up one-fourth of the city’s housing structures and there are several communities that offer a unique senior living experience.

1. Fallon

Population Over 65: 14.5 percent

Multi-unit Housing Structures: 34.1 percent

Median Household Income 65 and Over: $40,909

People per Art, Entertainment and Recreation Establishment: 650.2

People per Healthcare and Social Assistance Establishment: 222.4

Nicknamed the “Oasis of Nevada,” Fallon takes the number one spot based on how it ranked across each of our five categories. With only 8,500 inhabitants, Fallon is small in size but big on charm, especially for the nearly 15 percent of residents who are over 65. There’s a generous amount of multi-unit housing to be found and a median household income of nearly $41,000 isn’t exactly chump change. Fallon has the second best ratio for healthcare and the best overall for entertainment. In addition to attractions like Grimes Point, you’ll find art galleries, antique and gift shops and a few casinos.

Did You Know: Fallon is home to Naval Air Station Fallon and the premier training facility, Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center. This makes Fallon attractive to miltiry retirees.

THE WRAP UP

While much of Nevada is composed of rugged wilderness and seemingly endless stretches of desert, we think we’ve uncovered some hidden gems for retirees. Whether you’re after the small town experience or you’re attracted to the bright lights of one of the state’s larger cities, our guide can help you find the best place to make your home sweet home in retirement.