There are countless reasons to love the Northland. Whether you're a "lifer" or moved here at some point along the way, I think each of us recognizes the benefits and advantages that Duluth, Superior, and the surrounding area of the Twin Ports has to offer.

And while the benefits of the area are largely promoted for what it has to offer younger families, there is an upside to the Northland for older demographics as well.

It's a fact that many people move somewhere else when they retire. And even if they haven't "retired" by definition (i.e. left the workforce following a lengthy career), some people look to downsize their lives to another part of the country that provides the goods and services that they need as life advances.

Recently, a national survey was released that showcases "2023's Best States to Retire". The list was compiled using a variety of different factors - including affordability, health care, and quality of life. Using these metrics, a total score was compiled, which led to the ranking.

I noticed that Minnesota performed quite well on the list. In fact, our state ranked at number eight overall with a composite score of 53.5. However, Minnesota collected huge points for health care and quality of life; the state came in second place for quality of life, but ranked at number one in the country for health care. Digging a little deeper into that survey, it appears that only the cost of living and services dragged Minnesota's overall score down; in fact, Minnesota ranked as being the worst for "annual cost of in-home services".

Source: WalletHub

So if Minnesota is a good place for people to retire to, it got me wondering about our local area; what are the top reasons that someone looking to retire - or downsize - here? My list might not be as scientific as the one that presented the rankings for the states, but here are some definite benefits that the Duluth (and surrounding Northland) area have to offer someone retiring or downsizing:

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Healthcare

The state survey singled out Minnesota for both quality of and access to healthcare. I would say that Duluth offers similar credentials. With two health care systems headquartering in the Twin Ports (Essentia and St. Luke's) - not to mention a variety of regional clinics and hospitals in the area - this is a plus. Look at it this way: Duluth is a draw destination for health care for the area, so living here has its advantages.


 

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Cost of Living

While it's true that rents and home prices have risen recently, the Duluth area is still a relatively inexpensive area to live. Resources are such that energy costs are low, transportation is affordable, and there are a variety of stores and businesses available so that goods and services are accessible.


 

Aerial Lift Bridge on Lake Superior in Duluth, MN
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Public Transportation

For many people who are retiring, access to public transportation is a must - especially if they've lost (or given up) the ability to drive. Duluth boasts a public bus system  - as the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) has routes that criss-cross the city - including Superior. The Twin Ports is also home to numerous private taxi services (that serve the public), not to mention many medical transportation companies - that can arrange rides to and from the doctors office.


 

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Walkable Community

As important as transportation can be, it's also useful for a community you're retiring to to be "walkable" - that is one in which there are a good number of vital businesses and services close "within walking distance" of housing. Duluth has developed the downtown area to be just this. In addition, a number of other neighborhoods have worked to create a "walkable"-model.


 

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Outdoor Activities and Recreation Opportunities

It doesn't take an expert to realize that the Duluth area excels in this category. Summer, winter, fall - every season brings a reason to get outside and explore and enjoy. From fishing to boating, skiing to skating, walking, bike riding, snowmobile and ATV activities, and so much more.


 

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Vibrant Arts and Music Scene

While some might argue that this isn't a vital necessity, it definitely is something that helps create a more balanced life. Over the last twenty years or so, Duluth has done a great job of cultivating the arts - offering numerous venues, festivals, and opportunities to both "see" and "get" creative.


 

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Tourist Attractions and Opportunities

Even if you moved to Duluth and never left your house (probably not plausible), those people coming to visit you might want to. Said differently: If you retired to a community and wanted friends and family to come and visit you, even if you're company was world class, the opportunity to "see the sights" while they're in town has its upside. From the North Shore to Canal Park, the Iron Range to the Great Lake, Duluth would be destination for your friends and family even if you didn't live here; when you combine the two - why wouldn't someone want to come and visit again and again?


 

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Airport Access

Okay, so you can't fly direct from the Duluth International Airport to - say - Europe. But a connecting flight (or two) will get you there. For any community, having an airport - one that's large enough to land something bigger than a small aircraft - is a huge plus.  Duluth checks this qualification on the list.


 

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Part Time Job Opportunities

Okay, stay with me on this one. It might seem overkill to point out the opportunities that exist for part time work - the kind that's perfect for a retiree - in Duluth. But think about it: with tourism playing such a large role in the economy in the Twin Ports, job opportunities abound. This is especially true of part time and seasonal work.


Whatever reason you choose to relocate to Duluth, let us be the first to say "welcome".  We think you'll like it here.

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