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19 Best Places in Florida for a Couple To Live Only on Social Security

·7 min read
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Florida has a reputation as being a haven for senior citizens, and why not? The state has plenty to offer, from beautiful beaches and amazing seafood to cities with a wide range of personalities and cultures. One of the biggest perks about living in the state, however, is its affordability. Although big cities like Miami can be more expensive, there are plenty of options where seniors can enjoy the magical combination of low costs and high livability.

See: 15 Worst States To Live on Just a Social Security Check
Find Out: 7 Things You Should Never Do When Planning for Retirement

To help determine which Florida cities are good picks for couples living on Social Security, GOBankingRates sourced data from a variety of sources to compare the costs of groceries, healthcare and rent to both the national averages and the average Social Security benefit paid to couples. For purposes of the study, the national average monthly costs for groceries and healthcare were $411.83 and $431.41, respectively, or double that amount for couples. In 2021, the average one-bedroom rent in Florida was $1,988. Meanwhile, the average Social Security benefit as of June 2021 was $1,623.10, or $3,246.20 for a couple.

In addition to these hard numbers, livability scores were also factored in to generate a ranking of the best places in Florida for a couple to live only on Social Security. Results are presented in reverse order, with the best overall city coming last.

Cooltapes / Wikimedia Commons
Cooltapes / Wikimedia Commons

19. Brandon

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,229.98

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,521.00

  • % population 65 and older: 13%

  • Livability: 79

Brandon's lower-than-average rents and healthcare costs coming in 1.5% below the national average help keep the city in the running for those living on Social Security. The city also boasts a healthy livability score.

Take Our Poll: Are You Concerned That Social Security Benefits Will Be Reduced During Your Lifetime?

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

18. Hollywood

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,217.97

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,508.83

  • % population 65 and older: 16%

  • Livability: 74

Grocery costs in Hollywood run hot, about 6% above the national average. But low rents, below-average healthcare costs and a good livability score still make it a good option for seniors living off Social Security.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

17. Sarasota

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,154.66

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,435.33

  • % population 65 and older: 32%

  • Livability: 71

If living with other seniors is high on your priority list, Sarasota might be worth checking out. Nearly one-third of residents are age 65 or older, more than double the national average, and healthcare costs run 2.4% below the national average.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

16. Deerfield Beach

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,133.86

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,443.67

  • % population 65 and older: 23%

  • Livability: 71

Healthcare costs in Deerfield Beach are among the lowest on the list, running 3.2% below average. However, grocery costs do run a bit high, at 3.8% above the national average.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

15. Fort Myers

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,132.96

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,270.83

  • % population 65 and older: 29%

  • Livability: 72

Depending on where your money goes, Fort Myers can actually be a bit pricey. Healthcare costs are a whopping 17.3% above the national average, and grocery costs are 3.2% above average as well. However, one-bedroom rents remain far below the national average.

csfotoimages / Getty Images
csfotoimages / Getty Images

14. Tampa

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,125.56

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,410.00

  • % population 65 and older: 20%

  • Livability: 74

Tampa is one of the larger cities on the list, but it still maintains a good livability score of 74. Grocery costs run hot, at 5.1% above the national average, but this is countered by healthcare costs running 1.5% below average.

Christopher Clark / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Christopher Clark / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. Casselberry

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,114.74

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,428.67

  • % population 65 and older: 15%

  • Livability: 84

Casselberry boasts one of the highest livability scores in all of Florida, at 84. Costs run about average, with groceries 1.1% above the national average and healthcare costs 1.1% below.

LennonsGhost / Getty Images/iStockphoto
LennonsGhost / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12. Plant City

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,103.05

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,400.67

  • % population 65 and older: 12%

  • Livability: 70

Plant City actually has a lower-than-average percentage of the population age 65 or older, but it still remains a highly livable, lower-cost city for retirees. Groceries run 3.5% above the national average but healthcare costs are lower, 1.5% below average.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

11. St. Petersburg

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,086.77

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,347.83

  • % population 65 and older: 20%

  • Livability: 70

Historic St. Petersburg is also a great place for couples to live off a Social Security check. Although both groceries and healthcare cost above the national average -- at 104.9% and 101.4%, respectively -- rent and total monthly expenditures remain relatively low.

Freer / Shutterstock.com
Freer / Shutterstock.com

10. Clearwater

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,055.92

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,315.33

  • % population 65 and older: 20%

  • Livability: 74

Clearwater has both a high livability score and low rents, but groceries cost 5.1% above the national average. Healthcare costs are above-average as well, but only slightly.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Orlando

  • Monthly expenditures: $3,048.61

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,380.50

  • % population 65 and older: 15%

  • Livability: 69

The home of Disney World and countless family-friendly entertainment options, Orlando also has low rents and healthcare costs 2.8% below the national average.

lunamarina / Shutterstock.com
lunamarina / Shutterstock.com

8. Port Orange

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,972.24

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,295.67

  • % population 65 and older: 25%

  • Livability: 87

If livability is your primary concern, Port Orange should be near the top of your list. With the highest livability score on the list, Port Orange is quite popular with seniors, who comprise 25% of the city's entire population.

Holly Caputo / Getty Images
Holly Caputo / Getty Images

7. Sanford

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,953.68

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,276.67

  • % population 65 and older: 15%

  • Livability: 75

Sanford's grocery costs are right at the national average, but healthcare costs come in 1.1% below. Rents are quite low as well.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

6. Lakeland

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,874.51

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,196.83

  • % population 65 and older: 20%

  • Livability: 82

Lakeland boasts a very high livability score to go with its below-average healthcare costs, at 3.6% below the national average. Only grocery costs are a bit high, running 2.7% above average.

Stephen Wood / Shutterstock.com
Stephen Wood / Shutterstock.com

5. Melbourne

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,839.84

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,200.83

  • % population 65 and older: 21%

  • Livability: 75

Melbourne is tied for the lead when it comes to low healthcare costs, which run 5.6% below the national average. Grocery costs are about average but rents are quite low, while livability remains high.

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. Jacksonville

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,837.22

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,182.33

  • % population 65 and older: 16%

  • Livability: 69

Jacksonville is a city full of amenities, but it also has quite low rents to go with its below-average grocery and healthcare costs.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

3. Palm Bay

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,820.10

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,189.33

  • % population 65 and older: 24%

  • Livability: 80

Palm Bay is blessed with the lowest healthcare costs on the list, at 5.6% below the national average, in addition to a strong livability score and low rents. Grocery costs are a tick below average.

JHVEPhoto / Getty Images
JHVEPhoto / Getty Images

2. Winter Garden

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,802.81

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,103.40

  • % population 65 and older: 14%

  • Livability: 85

Groceries cost about 4.5% above the national average in Winter Garden, but low rents and an extremely high livability score put this city in the bridesmaid's seat.

Photo Disclaimer: Photo is of nearby Ocoee, Florida.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

1. Gainesville

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,712.70

  • 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,014.67

  • % population 65 and older: 16%

  • Livability: 65

Gainesville tops all Florida cities as having the lowest monthly expenditures while still having a good livability score. Even though healthcare costs in Gainesville are about 2% above average, other expenses are so low -- particularly the cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment -- that the city still comes out on top.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best places in Florida for a couple to live on only their Social Security checks based on the (1) average monthly benefit for retired workers ($1,623.10), sourced from the Social Security Administration, and doubled; and (2) average 2022 rent for a one-bedroom apartment, as sourced from ApartmentList. GOBankingRates then used Sperling's Best to find the cost of living index for each listed city, looking at (3) grocery and (4) healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amount for both grocery ("food at home") and healthcare costs for people aged 65 and older in order to find how much a person 65 and over would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city on a monthly basis. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery, and healthcare costs together. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, its (5) population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and (6) have a livability score of 65 or above, sourced from AreaVibes. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 27, 2022.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 19 Best Places in Florida for a Couple To Live Only on Social Security