When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Arkansas.
But where exactly in Arkansas? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Arkansas that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Batesville don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Natural State to retire for 2018:
- Batesville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mountain Home (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Camden (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Harrison (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Blytheville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Malvern (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Paragould (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Van Buren (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bentonville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Siloam Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Natural State
To create our list of the best places in Arkansas to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Natural State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 34 places from across the state.
For these 34, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 34, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Batesville, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
Population: 10,579Median Rent: $580
Distance to Closest Airport: 94 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,157
More on Batesville: Homes For Sale | Data
Batesville is the second oldest municipality in the state of Arkansas, after Georgetown. It was named for the first territorial delegate from Arkansas to the Congress of the United States, James Woodson Bates, who settled in the town. The town has also gone by the names of Napoleon and Poke Bayou.
2. Mountain Home
Population: 11,515Median Rent: $523
Distance to Closest Airport: 155 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,524
More on Camden: Homes For Sale | Data
Indigenous peoples of various cultures lived along the rivers of Arkansas for thousands of years and created complex societies. Mississippian culture peoples built massive earthwork mounds along the Ouachita River, beginning circa 1000.
Population: 13,168Median Rent: $586
Distance to Closest Airport: 154 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,434
More on Harrison: Homes For Sale | Data
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area, the first probably being cliff dwellers who lived in caves in the bluffs along the rivers. In later times, the Osage, a branch of the Sioux, was the main tribe in the Ozarks, and one of their larger villages is thought to have been to the east of the present site of Harrison. The Shawnee, Quapaw, and Caddo people were also familiar to the area.
Population: 14,849Median Rent: $647
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 7,273
More on Blytheville: Homes For Sale | Data
Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office in 1879, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.
Population: 10,937Median Rent: $649
Distance to Closest Airport: 167 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,032
More on Malvern: Homes For Sale | Data
Named after Malvern Hill, Virginia, Malvern was founded in 1870 by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad as a city site 21 miles (34 km) southeast of Hot Springs. On October 15, 1878, Malvern officially became the county seat of Hot Spring County. The original inhabitants of the county were Native Americans, trappers, hunters, and farmers.
Population: 27,521Median Rent: $691
Distance to Closest Airport: 32 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,599
More on Paragould: Homes For Sale | Data
The city’s name is a blend combining the last names of competing railroad magnates J. W. Paramore and Jay Gould. Paramore’s Texas & St. Louis Railway (later the Cotton Belt) and Gould’s St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (later the Missouri Pacific) intersected here in 1882. A group of citizens chose the name, and it is believed to be the only city in the world with this name. Gould objected to his name’s being second and refused to list the new town on his schedules.
8. Van Buren
Population: 23,155Median Rent: $657
Distance to Closest Airport: 100 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,314
More on Van Buren: Homes For Sale | Data
The area was settled by David Boyd and Thomas Martin in 1818. After Arkansas became a territory in 1819 Daniel and Thomas Phillips constructed a lumber yard in the community to serve as a fuel depot for traffic along the Arkansas River. In 1831 a post office was constructed for the community, at the time known as Phillips Landing. This post office was named after the newly appointed Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren.
Population: 42,499Median Rent: $831
Distance to Closest Airport: 92 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,762
More on Bentonville: Homes For Sale | Data
The area now known as Bentonville’s first known use by humans was as hunting grounds by the Osage Nation who lived in Missouri. The Osage would leave their settlements to hunt in present-day Benton County for months at a time before returning to their families. White settlers first inhabited the area around 1837 and named their settlement ‘Osage’. By this time, the Osage had ceased using the area for hunting, and the white settlers began to establish farms. Upon establishment of Benton County on September 30, 1836, Osage was deemed a suitable site for the county seat, and the town square was established as the home of county government the following year. Osage was renamed Bentonville in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri who strongly supported Arkansas statehood. The Osage post office was established on December 31, 1836, and renamed Bentonville on January 3, 1906.
10. Siloam Springs
Population: 16,095Median Rent: $713
Distance to Closest Airport: 75 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,957
More on Siloam Springs: Homes For Sale | Data
Osage Indians were the known first inhabitants of the area. Siloam Springs’ first white settlers were of German and Scots-Irish origin. Simon Sager is considered the founder of the town, then known as Hico.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Arkansas goes to Batesville.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
- North Little Rock
For more Arkansas reading , check out:
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Arkansas
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Arkansas
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Arkansas
|North Little Rock||32|