Colder cities among top U.S. retirement places

CHICAGO Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:46pm EDT

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Warm weather and sunshine aren't the only criteria for picking a place to retire. Fargo, North Dakota is among the top 16 cities for seniors in the United States, according to Forbes magazine.

The list, which is based on factors such as living costs, taxes, crime rates, driving conditions, availability of doctors and outdoor activities, includes other cities with cold winters such as Omaha, Neb., Pittsburgh, Pa. and Indianapolis, Ind.

Several storied retirement destinations people dream about -- Miami, Fla., Honolulu, Hawaii and San Diego, Calif. -- failed to make the cut.

"If money was no object, would this be your list?" asked Janet Novack, the executive editor who oversaw the research. "Maybe not. But these are places that we think are convivial around the country because they do well on all our factors or because they only have one or two negatives."

Only five cities in the list -- Tucson, Arizona, Albuquerque, North Mexico, Charleston, South Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas are in the southern-most part of the country.

And several, including Salt Lake City, Utah, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Fargo are notorious for their long, snowy winters.

"I wouldn't go to Fargo personally," Novack said. "But there are people who like the cold weather and it's terrific for other things."

The latest edition of the magazine, which can be found at www.forbes.com, also includes a list of the five best cities for ethnic entrepreneurs, including Atlanta, Georgia, Baltimore, Maryland, Houston, Texas and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Only one city -- the country music capital Nashville, Tenn.-- makes both lists.

The so-called "booby prize" in the ethnic enclave contest went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, because of its low level of self-employment and its job-creation record over the past decade, which the magazine said was the worst of any big city in the United States.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Greg McCune and Patricia Reaney)

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