States with the richest and poorest retirees

Retirement is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life. You've spent your entire career saving and preparing, and your golden years are for enjoying time with family and friends and living relatively care-free.

However, the type of lifestyle you can afford might depend on where you live. A new study from GOBankingRates looked at the income levels for retirees in each state, revealing that there are considerable disparities between the states.

Click through to see the states with the richest and poorest retirees, starting with the poorest.

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States with the richest and poorest retirees
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States with the richest and poorest retirees

50. Indiana

Mean retirement income: $18,119
Mean Social Security income: $16,081
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 12.83 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 12.24 percent

While Indiana's retirees have the lowest average income levels, the residents of Fort Wayne might not be struggling as much. It was the No. 3 city to retire on a budget of $1,000 a month in a previous GOBankingRates study. 

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49. West Virginia

Mean retirement income: $18,159
Mean Social Security income: $16,533
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 8.33 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 12.77 percent

The average retiree in West Virginia earns just over $18,000 a year. But if you're looking for some relief, try Parkersburg. It's the top place to live on a fixed income in the state. 

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48. Arkansas

Mean retirement income: $19,576
Mean Social Security income: $16,751
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 26.51 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 1.47 percent

Arkansas' senior citizens have a lower income level than seniors in most states, but their cost of living could help ease that sting. It's one of the states where $1 million will last the longest in retirement

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47. Iowa

Mean retirement income: $19,880
Mean Social Security income: $16,900
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 9.35 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 12.71 percent

An average retirement income of just under $20,000 is well short of the $46,256 needed for a comfortable retirement in the state

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46. Nebraska

Mean retirement income: $20,717
Mean Social Security income: $16,965
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 2.08 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 10.47 percent

Nebraska's among the states with the poorest retirees on average, but the state does have some affordable options: Lincoln is the No. 7 place to retire where rent is under $1,000 a month

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45. Mississippi

Mean retirement income: $20,762
Mean Social Security income: $17,022
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 18.46 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 12 percent

Income levels in retirement are low, on average, but the state's retirees may be well-suited to afford it as the state requires the smallest nest egg to survive retirement

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44. North Dakota

Mean retirement income: $20,764
Mean Social Security income: $17,124
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 0 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 23.53 percent

North Dakota has the lowest level of inbound migration by people aged 65 or older, contributing to the fact that it's the state with the second-highest rate of net outbound migration by retirees. 

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43. South Dakota

Mean retirement income: $20,835
Mean Social Security income: $17,333
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 14.71 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 7.41 percent

While North Dakota has retirement-aged residents streaming out, the state to its immediate south is doing much better with a net inflow of senior citizens. 

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42. Kansas

Mean retirement income: $20,840
Mean Social Security income: $17,391
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 9 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 10.81 percent

The cost of living in Kansas ranks among the 10 lowest in the country, which is good as retirees' income there is among the bottom 10 in the country. 

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41. Vermont

Mean retirement income: $21,098
Mean Social Security income: $17,402
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 28.57 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 0 percent

If you're looking for some rhyme or reason to the rates at which people over the age of 65 are moving based on the average income levels among retirees, you might be out of luck. Vermont is among the 10 poorest states for retirees, but it has the lowest level of outbound migration and the second-highest net inflows of retirees. 

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40. Tennessee

Mean retirement income: $21,119
Mean Social Security income: $17,463
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 17.73 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 11.31 percent

Tennessee's retirees may not be scraping by, despite just clearing $21,000 a year on average: Tennessee was in the top five states where residents are least likely to be living paycheck to paycheck

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39. Pennsylvania

Mean retirement income: $21,119
Mean Social Security income: $17,542
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 9.88 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 18.18 percent

Pennsylvania's retirees are moving out of state faster than they're moving in as the rate of outbound migration for those 65 or older is almost double the inbound rate. 

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38. Oklahoma

Mean retirement income: $21,161
Mean Social Security income: $17,544
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 8.51 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 5.63 percent

While Oklahoma is among the poorest states for average retiree income, Oklahoma City is the top city where your retirement nest egg will stretch the furthest

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37. Wisconsin

Mean retirement income: $21,438
Mean Social Security income: $17,579
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 11.79 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 16.56 percent

Wisconsin's median income for all age groups is right in the middle nationally, so it's notable that the state's retirees are among the poorest. 

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36. Missouri

Mean retirement income: $21,439
Mean Social Security income: $17,701
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 10.98 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 10 percent

Missouri's outbound and inbound migration among people older than the age of 65 is almost dead even, with the inbound level exceeding the outbound by just under 1 percent. 

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35. Kentucky

Mean retirement income: $21,471
Mean Social Security income: $17,741
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 9.49 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 19.21 percent

Kentucky's relatively low average income levels for senior citizens is only compounded by the fact that the state was among the five highest poverty rates in the country. 

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34. Idaho

Mean retirement income: $21,879
Mean Social Security income: $17,823
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 25.33 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 13.21 percent

Idaho's retirees aren't among the richest, but the state boasts a relatively strong economy: Its 3 percent unemployment is the ninth-lowest rate in the country. 

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33. Maine

Mean retirement income: $22,059
Mean Social Security income: $17,879
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 29.55 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 21.36 percent

Maine is interesting for the high rate of turnover among its retirees, with high rates of both inbound and outbound migration. The nearly 30 percent inbound rate is the fifth highest in the study, but the outbound rate over 20 percent also is among the 10 highest. 

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32. Louisiana

Mean retirement income: $22,143
Mean Social Security income: $17,899
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 7.77 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 7.96 percent

Louisiana is among the lower half of the states for average retirement incomes, but those 65 and older actually are doing better than the state as a whole: Louisiana is No. 43 when ranking median income in the country. 

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31. Michigan

Mean retirement income: $22,219
Mean Social Security income: $17,901
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 11.61 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 22.74 percent

It's interesting to note that the average retirement and Social Security incomes correlate perfectly, with all 50 states lining up exactly in how they rank. However, Michigan and Louisiana are the closest to breaking that trend, with Michigan's average Social Security income just $2 higher than Louisiana's. 

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30. North Carolina

Mean retirement income: $22,375
Mean Social Security income: $17,939
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 21.06 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 13.23 percent

The relatively low income level for retirees in North Carolina doesn't appear to be scaring away new residents, as the rate of inbound migration among seniors was more than 20 percent, one of just 13 states where that's the case. 

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29. Montana

Mean retirement income: $22,520
Mean Social Security income: $17,977 percent
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 21 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 14.71 percent

Montana is attracting a high number of people over the age of 65, and it could be due in part to the fact that the state has the second-lowest overall tax burden

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28. Alabama

Mean retirement income: $22,788
Mean Social Security income: $17,987
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 14.44 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 5.83 percent

Residents of Birmingham likely will make that $22,878 in average income stretch as Birmingham was the top-ranked cheapest place to retire

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27. Minnesota

Mean retirement income: $23,049
Mean Social Security income: $18,038
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 9.24 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 20.97 percent

Minnesota is one of 16 states where the outbound rate of migration for senior citizens is 20 percent or higher. That might be because the state is the second-least tax-friendly state in the country

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26. Ohio

Mean retirement income: $23,103
Mean Social Security income: $18,078
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 8.66 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 19.20 percent

Ohio is right in the middle of the pack for average retiree income levels, but that isn't keeping them in state. The 10.54 percent net outflow was the 11th-highest in the study. 

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25. Wyoming

Mean retirement income: $23,352
Mean Social Security income: $18,134
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 28.57 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 10.34 percent

Warm-weather states Florida, Arizona, Nevada and South Carolina lead the way when it comes to inbound migration, but Wyoming isn't far behind.

Did You Know? These Are the Best Neighborhoods to Retire in Across America 

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24. South Carolina

Mean retirement income: $23,438
Mean Social Security income: $18,313
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 33.42 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 9.33 percent

South Carolina has the third-highest portion of its households age 60 and older that are collecting Social Security benefits. 

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23. New Hampshire

Mean retirement income: $24,173
Mean Social Security income: $18,341
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 18.92 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 20 percent

The fact that New Hampshire's average income levels for retirees is on the higher side of the median level is a good thing as New Hampshire is the third-oldest state in the country by median age. 

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22. Texas

Mean retirement income: $24,396
Mean Social Security income: $18,381
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 10.57 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 12.67 percent

The Lone Star State has retirement-age inhabitants doing reasonably well, but that could be a surprise given that the state has the third-highest level of per capita debt in the country

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21. Georgia

Mean retirement income: $24,944
Mean Social Security income: $18,411
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 10.24 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 12.28 percent

Georgia's mean retirement income is just shy of $25,000, but there might be relatively few people taking advantage of that in a state where the median age is 36.2, among the lower levels in the country. 

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20. Arizona

Mean retirement income: $25,197
Mean Social Security income: $18,418
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 32.63 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 11.6 percent

Arizona is one of the more popular places to move to in retirement, as is evidenced by the fact that the state's inbound migration rate is the fourth-highest in the study. 

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19. Washington

Mean retirement income: $25,251
Mean Social Security income: $18,437
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 15.96 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 17.53 percent

Washington's $25,000-plus in average income over the age of 65 will come in handy in a state where the median home price is $345,200, the sixth-highest in the country. 

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18. Oregon

Mean retirement income: $25,457
Mean Social Security income: $18,501
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 15.09 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 20.12 percent

Oregon's relatively strong average income levels in retirement aren't keeping senior citizens at home as the state's outbound migration levels are more than 20 percent. 

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17. Rhode Island

Mean retirement income: $25,711
Mean Social Security income: $18,526
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 3.45 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 28.57 percent

Rhode Island is losing its retired citizens at the highest rate of any of the 50 states at 28.57 percent. 

Photo credit: AOL 

16. Utah

Mean retirement income: $25,790
Mean Social Security income: $18,528
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 18.18 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 8.87 percent

Utah, the youngest state in the country, has the second-lowest percentage of its total population collecting Social Security benefits. 

Photo credit: AOL 

15. Florida

Mean retirement income: $26,105
Mean Social Security income: $18,529
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 37.95 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 8.25 percent

The stereotypes about Florida being a popular destination for retirees don't come from nowhere. At nearly 40 percent, the rate of inbound migration for those over the age of 65 is the highest in the country. 

Photo credit: AOL 

14. Massachusetts

Mean retirement income: $26,481
Mean Social Security income: $18,649
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 12.44 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 20.62 percent

While Massachusetts retirees are pulling down the 14th-highest average income, that actually could be a bad sign given that the state has the fourth-highest median income overall. 

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13. New York

Mean retirement income: $26,543
Mean Social Security income: $18,731
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 7.1 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 25.29 percent

New Yorkers are likely doing their part to build up that average $18,731 in Social Security income. The state has the highest level of GDP per capita in the country. 

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12. Delaware

Mean retirement income: $26,617
Mean Social Security income: $18,737
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 26.79 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 11.11 percent

Delaware's high levels of average income for those over the age of 65 also come with the chance to hold on to significantly more of it: The state is the third-most tax-friendly for retirees. 

Photo credit: AOL 

11. New Mexico

Mean retirement income: $26,946
Mean Social Security income: $18,786
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 26.12 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 21.51 percent

Albuquerque holds the distinction of being one of the top places in the United States to live on only a Social Security check

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10. Illinois

Mean retirement income: $27,278
Mean Social Security income: $18,864
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 4.7 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 21.3 percent

While Illinois ranks among the top 10 states for average income among its retirees, that doesn't appear to be keeping them in state. The net outflow of retirees is the fifth-highest in this study. 

Photo credit: AOL 

9. New Jersey

Mean retirement income: $27,331
Mean Social Security income: $18,867
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 5.92 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 28.44 percent

New Jersey, like Illinois, doesn't appear to be keeping its senior citizens in state despite its high average income levels. Its net outflows rank as the third-highest overall.

 Photo credit: Getty

8. Nevada

Mean retirement income: $27,549
Mean Social Security income: $18,885
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 33.97 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 21.54 percent

Nevada had the highest total level of turnover among people 65 and over. The 33.97 inbound migration rate is the second-highest in the country, but the 21.54 percent outbound migration rate was the seventh-highest.

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7. Connecticut

Mean retirement income: $28,095
Mean Social Security income: $18,920
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 8.84 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 24.2 percent

Connecticut's high outbound migration despite its high average income could be because the state has the second-highest overall tax burden in the country per person. 

Photo credit: AOL 

6. Hawaii

Mean retirement income: $28,661
Mean Social Security income: $19,108
Inbound state migration of people 65+: Unavailable
Outbound state migration of people 65+: Unavailable

Hawaii's seniors are doing relatively well, which isn't surprising for the state with the sixth-lowest poverty rate and fifth-lowest level of income inequality. 

Photo credit: AOL 

5. Colorado

Mean retirement income: $28,748
Mean Social Security income: $19,240
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 12.43 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 14.7 percent

Colorado's top-five average income for its seniors is potentially important as the state's median home prices are the fifth-highest in the country. 

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4. Alaska

Mean retirement income: $28,895
Mean Social Security income: $19,301
Inbound state migration of people 65+: Unavailable
Outbound state migration of people 65+: Unavailable

Alaska's retirees are earning just shy of $29,000 a year on average, but there aren't a lot of them to take advantage: Alaska has the second-lowest median age in the country. 

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3. Virginia 

Mean retirement income: $29,972
Mean Social Security income: $19,483
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 10.9 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 18.15 percent

Virginia has the second-highest difference between the average total income in retirement and the average Social Security income in retirement, with average income levels in retirement coming in over $10,000 highest than the average Social Security income they receive.

Photo credit: AOL 

2. California

Mean retirement income: $30,242
Mean Social Security income: $19,783
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 9.55 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 20.68 percent

California's seniors are collecting close to $20,000 each in Social Security benefits alone, which is more than the average overall income for the three poorest states in this study. What's more, there are a lot of people taking advantage of that: California has the most total people collecting Social Security. 

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1. Maryland

Mean retirement income: $32,199
Mean Social Security income: $19,849
Inbound state migration of people 65+: 7.8 percent
Outbound state migration of people 65+: 21.43 percent

Maryland's a good state to finish first in this study; it was the No. 3 best state to retire rich

Photo credit: AOL

Large Disparities for Country’s Richest and Poorest Retirees

Depending on where he or she lives, the average retiree potentially is working with significantly more or less income than the rest of the country. The disparity between the lowest average income, Indiana's $18,119, and the highest, Maryland's $32,199, was a whopping $14,000, meaning that Maryland's average retiree is approaching double the income of Indiana's.

Want to leave the big city? Keep reading to see the best suburbs for retirement.

Methodology: The study took the average income and the average Social Security income for citizens 65 or older in all 50 states, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau. After scoring the results, the scores were combined to determine the final ranking. Inbound and outbound migration rates for people over the age of 65 (sourced from the 2017 United Movers Study) were included for informational purposes only and did not factor into the final rankings. 

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: States With the Richest and Poorest Retirees

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