So, have you heard?
Charlottesville has won another first.
This time, it’s No. 1 among the Happiest Places to Retire in the U.S., using data compiled by the Gallup polling people and the digital health company Sharecare, and expanded and ranked by Kiplinger.
The ranking looks at cost of living, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for retirement-age residents, and the availability of recreational and health care facilities, and when possible adds survey respondents’ own evaluations of the state of their health and the pleasantness of their community.
And, by the way, the ranking specifically refers to Charlottesville city. Many times, Charlottesville and Albemarle County are just lumped together as “Charlottesville,” but this time the listing cites the city proper.
Charlottesville scored the highest of any city in the “well-being category” among the top 10 cities.
The cost of living here is favorable as well: 0.2% below the national average for retirees.
The story didn’t try to ignore the violence on Aug. 12, 2017, but rightly noted that this was an aberration: The crime rate in Charlottesville is “175.4 reported incidents per 100,000 residents, compared with a 297.8 rate for all U.S. cities of similar size, according to the FBI.”
Kiplinger also looked beyond Charlottesville to the surrounding area, noting the proximity of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park.
And then it looked even further afield — to Virginia’s tax treatment. The commonwealth is listed as a “tax friendly” state for retirees, giving an additional boost to Charlottesville’s attractiveness.
Not a retiree?
Not to worry.
Charlottesville also has landed on other “happiest places” lists over the years. Just one example: Two years ago, National Geographic placed it third overall in a listing developed by “The Blue Zones of Happiness” author Dan Buettner and Dan Witters, a senior scientist at Gallup.