These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Tennessee For 2018

We analyzed over 88 places in Tennessee to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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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 Tennessee.

But where exactly in Tennessee? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Tennessee 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 Greeneville don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Volunteer State to retire for 2018:

  1. Greeneville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Lawrenceburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Tullahoma (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Germantown (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Brentwood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Elizabethton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Lewisburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Columbia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Paris (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Gallatin (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Why did Greeneville take the top spot? And where are Memphis and Knoxville?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Tennessee.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Volunteer State

To create our list of the best places in Tennessee to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Volunteer State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 49 places from across the state.

For these 49, 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 49, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Greeneville, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Greeneville

Greeneville, Tennessee

Population: 15,035
Median Rent: $508
Distance to Closest Airport: 124 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,023
More on Greeneville: Homes For Sale | Data
Native Americans were hunting and camping in the Nolichucky Valley as early as the Paleo-Indian period (c. 10,000 B.C.). A substantial Woodland period (1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D.) village existed at the Nolichucky’s confluence with Big Limestone Creek (now part of Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park). By the time the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the area in the late 18th century, the Cherokee claimed the valley as part of their hunting grounds. The Great Indian Warpath passed just northwest of modern Greeneville, and the townsite is believed to have once been the juncture of two lesser Native American trails.

2. Lawrenceburg

Lawrenceburg, Tennessee

Population: 10,573
Median Rent: $577
Distance to Closest Airport: 70 miles
Crime Per 100k: 6,062
More on Lawrenceburg: Homes For Sale | Data
According to a recent theory, the Lawrenceburg area is the likely site of ‘Chicasa’ ? the place where Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his men wintered in 1540-41 (earlier theories have suggested this campsite to have been in northern Mississippi). The Cherokee sold the area to the USA in 1806.[citation needed]

3. Tullahoma

Tullahoma, Tennessee

Population: 19,185
Median Rent: $664
Distance to Closest Airport: 57 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,206
More on Tullahoma: Homes For Sale | Data
Tullahoma was founded in 1852 as a work camp along the new Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Its name is derived from the Choctaw language, and means ‘red rock’. An alternative explanation (see Sam Davis Elliott’s Soldier of Tennessee and sources cited therein) of the name is that Peter Decherd, who donated the land for the railroad right-of-way (and was therefore given the right to name two stations along the line), named one station Decherd, and the other Tulkahoma (later changed to Tullahoma). Tulkahoma was the name of Decherd’s favorite horse, which was itself named for an Indian chief who had been captured by Decherd’s grandfather. Tullahoma originally shared its name with Tullahoma, Mississippi; that settlement later changed its name to Grenada.

4. Germantown

Germantown, Tennessee

Source: Public domain’

Population: 39,213
Median Rent: $1,398
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,400
More on Germantown: Homes For Sale | Data
Germantown was founded along the Cherokee Trace on a ridge between the Wolf River and Nonconnah Creek, about 16 miles east of the Mississippi River.

5. Brentwood

Brentwood, Tennessee

Source: Public domain’

Population: 40,873
Median Rent: $1,922
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,032
More on Brentwood: Homes For Sale | Data
The first known residents of Brentwood were prehistoric Native Americans. Known as Mound Indians or Stone Box Indians, these Mississippian-period people built mounds with ceremonial buildings. Such early villages have been found in the Meadowlake subdivision, at the library site on Concord Road and at Primm Historic Park where the largest of the mounds is still visible today. By 1300 the groups had seemingly disappeared. No one knows if it was due to disease or to their choosing to leave because of threat of warfare.

6. Elizabethton

Elizabethton, Tennessee

Source: Public domain’

Population: 14,012
Median Rent: $557
Distance to Closest Airport: 105 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,974
More on Elizabethton: Homes For Sale | Data
The area that is now Tennessee was first settled by Paleo-Indians nearly 11,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian, whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river’s headwaters.

7. Lewisburg

Lewisburg, Tennessee

Population: 11,376
Median Rent: $607
Distance to Closest Airport: 47 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,988
More on Lewisburg: Homes For Sale | Data
The area in which Lewisburg and Marshall County is located was first settled by Native Americans. Revolutionary War veterans given land grants by the State of North Carolina for services rendered during the war followed in the 1780s.

8. Columbia

Columbia, Tennessee

Population: 36,130
Median Rent: $693
Distance to Closest Airport: 40 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,689
More on Columbia: Homes For Sale | Data
A year after the organization of Maury County in 1807 by European Americans, Columbia was laid out in 1808 and lots were sold. The original town, on the south bank of the Duck River, consisted of four blocks. The town was incorporated in 1817. For decades during the antebellum years, it was the county seat when Maury County was the richest county in the state, based on its agricultural wealth in plantations, which cultivated commodity crops of tobacco and hemp, and high-quality livestock. There were many farms for breeding thoroughbred race horses. To support these industries, the county slaveholders held a significant proportion of slave workers. Although Tennessee had competitive voting during Reconstruction, in the late 19th century, the state legislature passed laws to disenfranchise African Americans, a political exclusion that continued deep into the 20th century. This adversely affected racial relations for decades in Columbia and Maury County.

9. Paris

Paris, Tennessee

Source: Public domain’

Population: 10,168
Median Rent: $592
Distance to Closest Airport: 91 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,950
More on Paris: Homes For Sale | Data
The present site of Paris was selected by five European-American commissioners appointed to the task of choosing a county seat at the December 1822 session of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Henry County. Their choice was fifty acres, 37 and one half of which were owned by Joseph Blythe and 12 and one half owned by Peter Ruff; both men donated the land to the county to have the seat there. A public square, streets, alleys and 104 lots were laid off, and the lots were sold at auction over a two-day period in either March or April 1823.

10. Gallatin

Gallatin, Tennessee

Population: 33,426
Median Rent: $849
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,768
More on Gallatin: Homes For Sale | Data
Gallatin was established in 1802 as the permanent county seat of Sumner County, Tennessee, in what is called the Middle Tennessee region. The town was named after Albert Gallatin, Secretary of Treasury to presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Andrew Jackson became one of the first to purchase a lot when the town was surveyed and platted in 1803. The town was built around a traditional plan of an open square.[citation needed] Jackson founded the first general store in Gallatin.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Tennessee goes to Greeneville.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Knoxville
  • Cleveland
  • Memphis

For more Tennessee reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Tennessee

City Rank Population Median Rent Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Greeneville 1 15,035 $508 124 4,023
Lawrenceburg 2 10,573 $577 70 6,062
Tullahoma 3 19,185 $664 57 4,206
Germantown 4 39,213 $1398 11 1,400
Brentwood 5 40,873 $1922 10 1,032
Elizabethton 6 14,012 $557 105 4,974
Lewisburg 7 11,376 $607 47 2,988
Columbia 8 36,130 $693 40 3,689
Paris 9 10,168 $592 91 5,950
Gallatin 10 33,426 $849 21 1,768
Franklin 11 70,625 $1221 17 1,754
Martin 12 10,989 $556 66 2,711
Hendersonville 13 55,073 $1040 13 1,723
Dickson 14 15,098 $724 10 7,100
Collegedale 15 10,438 $831 103 1,389
Collierville 16 48,005 $1153 15 1,708
Dyersburg 17 16,867 $602 32 8,057
Mcminnville 18 13,664 $581 58 4,815
Oak Ridge 19 29,285 $737 133 3,616
Goodlettsville 20 16,848 $938 14 3,395
Soddy-Daisy 21 13,162 $719 103 2,530
Crossville 22 11,308 $607 92 6,004
Bartlett 23 58,318 $1248 15 1,963
Athens 24 13,651 $606 124 8,827
Bristol 25 26,734 $653 117 3,957
Kingsport 26 52,871 $606 127 5,428
Springfield 27 16,650 $795 27 4,048
Lebanon 28 29,439 $820 19 3,909
Millington 29 11,069 $816 20 4,462
Maryville 30 28,151 $808 147 2,610
Cookeville 31 32,256 $641 65 4,836
White House 32 10,944 $879 23 2,165
Shelbyville 33 20,916 $696 45 4,068
Portland 34 12,125 $796 33 2,663
Sevierville 35 16,213 $708 155 6,130
Mount Juliet 36 29,853 $1135 11 1,822
Manchester 37 10,387 $724 56 5,333
La Vergne 38 34,451 $1074 9 2,574
Spring Hill 39 34,364 $1200 29 1,120
Red Bank 40 11,794 $719 104 3,433
Jackson 41 67,162 $798 65 5,322
Smyrna 42 45,369 $868 13 3,328
Murfreesboro 43 122,007 $925 23 3,816
Chattanooga 44 175,462 $765 108 6,594
East Ridge 45 21,311 $768 104 5,522
Clarksville 46 146,281 $895 48 3,273
Memphis 47 655,857 $842 4 7,461
Cleveland 48 43,276 $707 109 7,135
Knoxville 49 183,927 $766 152 6,522

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