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Texas is a huge state of over 268,000 square miles and 1,800 cities and towns. Even so, there are less than a handful of places where retirees can live on $2,000 a month — none of which are major cities you normally hear about, like Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
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To find these top cities, GOBankingRates obtained the cost of living index from Sperling’s Best Places and applied it to customers’ top expenses, including groceries and health care from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to determine the average cost of living in each city. He also obtained monthly estimates of the median rent paid for new leases from Apartment List, all of which are between $700 and $800. Finally, he used AreaVibes to find cities that had a livability score of at least 67 and where at least 10% of the population was 65 or older.
If you’re considering the Lone Star State as a place to move to during your golden years, take a look at the three best places to retire in Texas on $2,000 a month.
- Room rental: $786.89
- Monthly expenses: $1,647.72
Killeen, Texas is located in east central Texas and has a population of approximately 156,000, according to the latest US census. It has a population of 65 and over 11% and is also home to the Fort Hood military base. Thousands of active military and veterans live in the area. The city is only an hour and 10 minutes from Austin and about 2.5 hours from Dallas. It’s much more affordable than both, though.
Killeen has a livability score of 67, which is considered average. Factors that play into the city’s livability score include a crime rate 20% lower than the Texas average. Its cost of living and rental prices are also 4% lower than the Texas average. Monthly grocery costs in Killeen are only $399.68, while monthly health costs are $461.15.
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- Room rental: $736.89
- Monthly expenses: $1,660.82
Midland, Texas is located in West Texas, halfway between El Paso and Fort Worth. It has 168,000 inhabitants, according to the last American census. Midland is home to many attractions, including the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Marion Blakemore Planetarium, George W. Bush Family Home, 1-20 Wildlife Preserve, Haley Library and History Center, and the Midland Rockhounds baseball team. It is also a three-hour drive from Big Bend National Park.
The percentage of the population aged 65 and over in Midland is 10%. Midland’s livability score is 72, which is considered excellent. Contributing factors include the crime rate, which is 9% lower than the Texas average, and city amenities, which include grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, libraries, and parks. The monthly grocery fee in Midland is $427.98 and the monthly healthcare fee is $497.95.
- Room rental: $759.78
- Monthly expenses: $1692.28
Abilene, Texas is located in west central Texas and approximately 150 miles west of Fort Worth. It has a population of around 125,000, according to the latest census.
The city is packed with attractions for Texas history buffs, including Frontier, Texas!, an interactive museum focused on the early days of Abilene and the Old West. There is also Fort Phantom Hill, the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, the Grace Museum, the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene, and the Abilene Zoo.
Abilene has a livability score of 75, which is considered exceptional. Crime rates in Abilene are 5% lower than the Texas average, and the cost of living is 5% lower than the Texas average. Rental prices are also 10% lower than the Texas average. Monthly grocery costs are $402.75 in Midland and $529.75 for health costs.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined where to retire in Texas on $2,000 a month based on (1) ApartmentList data to find (2) the average 2022 room rent in Texas cities. GOBankingRates then searched Sperling’s Best to find the cost of living index for each city listed, looking at (3) the index scores for grocery stores and (4) the health care index. GOBankingRates also used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the amount of annual expenses for groceries (“food at home”) and healthcare costs for people aged 65 years and older to determine how much a person aged 65 and older would spend on groceries and health care in each city on a monthly basis. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery, and health care costs. For a city to qualify for the study, its (5) population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65, according to the US Census Bureau; and (6) have a livability score of 65 or higher, from AreaVibes. All data was collected and updated as of September 30, 2022.