"Every part of the country has something different to offer pensioners, but the counties with the most attractive attributes tend to be along the southern and eastern coasts of England."
West Sussex is the county where pensioners have the highest quality of life, according to analysis carried out by Prudential.
West Sussex is followed by Dorset and East Sussex to make up the top three most attractive retirement counties for pensioners.
Prudential’s rankings are based on eight sets of recently published data which it has identified as indicators of a happy and comfortable retirement.
These include pensioners as a proportion of county’s population – an indicator that the county has previously been an attractive location for pensioners, disability-free life expectancy, access to healthcare, crime levels, pension income, weather and healthy lifestyle data.
In terms of the individual indicators, pensioners looking to live with people of a similar age could do a lot worse than relocate to the Isle of Wight, where nearly 38,000 people, or more than one in four of the population there, is aged 65 or over.
Older people in Herefordshire can look forward to their retirement in the knowledge that they have the highest disability-free life expectancy, while pensioners in Wales have reasons to be cheerful, with Gwynedd enjoying the highest number of healthcare workers per capita and Dyfed and Powys having the lowest crime rates in England and Wales.
According to official figures, Devon is the most attractive county for pensioners moving house, with the highest net influx of over 65s last year. Surrey remains the county with the highest mean pension income, with an average income of £21,400, nearly a third higher than the average in England and Wales.
The final category, covering a range of health and lifestyle factors including diet, smoking, obesity, physical activity and alcohol-related hospital admissions, found Rutland to be the county with the healthiest lifestyle habits.
Stan Russell, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “There are now 10.6 million people aged 65 or over in England and Wales, a million more than five years ago, and accounting for nearly one in five of the total population. So deciding on the right place to retire to is a challenge faced by a huge number of people each year.
“Our analysis shows that every part of the country has something different to offer pensioners, but the counties with the most attractive attributes tend to be along the southern and eastern coasts of England. Counties like West Sussex and Dorset may be attractive because of their low crime rates or the quality of their health care. However finding the right spot to live in such popular locations can be tricky."