If you live in the Valley and are thinking about finding a place to retire, as Dorothy suggested in The Wizard of Oz, don’t look any further than your own backyard.

U.S. News and World Reports' latest rankings place Youngstown as the ninth-best spot for retirement, and the most affordable community for retirees.

Youngstown beat out communities like Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Daytona Beach, Florida.

Other “best place to retire” communities aren’t far from the Valley, with seven of the top ten in Pennsylvania.

Top Ten Best Places to Retire 2024 – U.S. News and World Report.

  1. Harrisburg, PA
  2. Reading, PA
  3. Lancaster, PA
  4. Scranton, PA
  5. Allentown, PA
  6. New York, NY
  7. York, PA
  8. Daytona Beach, FL
  9. Youngstown, OH
  10. Pittsburgh, PA

The 10 Best Affordable Places to Retire in the U.S. in 2024:

  1. Youngstown, Ohio.
  2. Hickory, North Carolina.
  3. Springfield, Missouri.
  4. Brownsville, Texas.
  5. Huntington, West Virginia & Ashland, Kentucky-Ohio.
  6. Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  7. Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  8. Mobile, Alabama.
  9. Toledo, Ohio.
  10. South Bend, Indiana.

The U.S. News analysis compared the 150 largest metropolitan areas analyzing data on the job market, retiree taxes, desirability, availability of quality health care, affordability, and happiness.

New to the rankings this year are scores for weather temperateness; risk of and resilience to extreme weather; price parity, which is how the cost of goods and services compares across metro areas; and an establishments-to-population ratio.

U.S. News says the attributes were weighted based on the factors people consider most important and determined by a survey of 3,500 people aged 45 and older throughout the U.S., asking what matters most to them when choosing their retirement destination.

Why Youngstown?

Pointing out that Youngstown is halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the report discusses the area’s industrial past:

“…this Rust Belt city is in the midst of a cultural and economic renaissance that combines rich historical tradition with the zeal of a new generation,”

The report cites a resurgence of downtown restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops, crediting a strong work ethic to help revive urban neighborhoods.

The report also includes information on median home prices, rents, and salaries.

In addition to Mill Creek MetroParks more than 5,000 acres of lakes, hiking trails, bike trails, historical sites, and golf courses, the report also mentions The Butler Institute of American Art Museum’s 20,000-plus works.

The DeYor Performing Arts Center, home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, gets a mention for the recitals, ballets, musical performances, and comedy acts throughout the year.

Other entertainment venues include Stambaugh Auditorium, home to the Opera Western Reserve, and the Covelli Centre, which in addition to being a destination of national recording artists and major acts is home to the Youngstown Phantoms hockey team.

The Valley is also home to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers minor league baseball team.

According to U.S. News, compared to other metro areas of similar size, the cost of living in Youngstown is much lower. Home costs, utilities, food expenses, and medical costs all fall well below the national average.

On a less than attractive aspect, the report says Youngstown’s winters can be brutal, with temperatures frequently dipping below freezing and lake-effect snow rolling in from Lake Erie. However, spring, summer, and fall are generally pleasant, according to U.S. News.

Even with Youngstown State University’s annual enrollment of about 11,000 students, which brings an influx of youth to the area, the report says the community skews older. About a fifth of the population is 65 or older.

Citing what it describes as “respectable” school systems and low cost of living, the report says the Valley has a good number of families with children.