KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rivals at heart, two Midwest cities have been named some of the best areas to retire in the country.

Forbes crunched the numbers and compared more than 800 cities. It narrowed the options and just released its list of the top 25 cities for retirees.

The magazine looked at everything from housing costs and taxes to healthcare and crime.

While many people dream of heading to warmer climates for their sunset years, the new ranking shows there may be much smarter options closer to home.

Forbes also found a lot of common ground between two area cities who make it a business to avoid getting along.

Columbia, Missouri

Columbia is a college town, home to the University of Missouri Tigers, Stephens College, and Columbia College.

It is located between St. Louis and Kansas City, and is home to 132,000 people, which is slightly larger than Lawrence, Kansas.


Forbes gives Columbia credit for a cost of living that is 10% below the national average. The median price of a home is $270,000, which is 26% below the national median, and slightly cheaper than Lawrence.

Columbia is recognized for having no state estate tax, a high ratio of doctors, and good air quality.


Columbia’s crime rate is above the national average, which could cause concern for retirees. Forbes also points out Missouri taxes income on Social Security and other retirement income.

Lawrence, Kansas

Home to the University of Kansas and the Jayhawks, Lawrence is smack dab in the middle of the country.

The city is home to live music, local brews, and liberal views that are not always shared in the rest of the state.

The city has a population of just under 100,000 people, which swells to a much higher count during the school year.

Lawrence is also under an hour drive to the much larger Kansas City metro.


The Forbes ranking shows the median home price in Lawrence is $248,000, which is 25% below the national median, and is good news for retirees.

Also positive for people who call Lawrence home is the high ratio of doctors per capita, a lack of a state estate tax and good air quality.


Lawrence loses points for its crime rate which is above the national average, according to Forbes.

The ranking also points out the state of Kansas taxes Social Security benefits if the federal adjusted gross income is above $75,000.

Other options

There are 23 other cities on the list that are often overlooked by people planning for retirement.

Find the list, as well as pros and cons for each community online at Forbes.com.