MEDFORD, Ore. — Residents at the Royal Oak Retirement Community said they moved from out of state to come to the Rogue Valley and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
A new ranking, however, suggests Tennessee is the top spot to retire, while Oregon is the worst. Jerry and Shirley Pelpier retired and moved from Ontario, California to Medford about two and a half years ago. They said it was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made and was necessary due to some of Shirley’s health problems.
“We moved up here because of being able to find a good doctor up here,” said the Pelpiers.
However, a new ranking of best states to retire in has Oregon 51st, dead last in a report that includes the District of Columbia. This ranking surprised the Pelpiers as well as Rogue Valley Council of Government Director of Senior and Disability services Dave Toler.
“One of the leading states in the nation in attracting seniors. Southern Oregon, we project that within the next 10 years, 30 percent of our population will 60 or older. One of the highest percentages that you’ll find in the country,” said Toler.
The new rankings use criteria based on taxes, crime rate, health care, cost of living and average temperature. Toler says these are factors that retirees usually consider, however he questions the statistics used and legitimacy of the study.
“You see a lot of different studies come out. Some of them are based on some pretty good sound reasoning and good data, and some are kind of bogus. This one really does appear to be on the bogus side for sure,” said Toler.
Jerry and Shirley said they have met people who have moved to southern Oregon just to retire and that evidence speaks for itself.
“The people that come up here, they love it here. They’re not going back to where they came from! They like it here. I don’t see how you could move anywhere else once you’re here,” the Pelpier’s said.