12 Surprisingly Great Places to Retire in the Midwest

America's Heartland has not been getting a lot of love lately. Among the 12 states that the U.S. Census Bureau groups together as the Midwest region, five (Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Iowa and Michigan) make up half of the top 10 states people moved out of in 2018, according to United Van Lines' annual national movers study. Most report leaving the area due to a job change, but many credit retirement for their relocation, too. In fact, only 2% of pre-retirees plan on moving to the Midwest, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a research firm focused on the aging population.

But we still think the Midwest has plenty to offer retirees. Many states in the region offer affordability, beautiful scenery, an abundance of activities and quality health care. Indeed, two midwestern states rank among the top four best states for retirement in 2018. If you're ready to go against the grain and head to the Midwest for your own retirement, we suggest you consider the following spots. We highlighted one great retirement destination in each state, taking into account living costs, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for retirement-age residents, as well as residents' sense of well-being and the availability of recreational and health care facilities. Here are our retirement picks in the 12 midwestern states. Some (if not all) are sure to surprise you.

Peoria, Ill.

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City population: 115,424

Share of population 65+: 14.3%

Cost of living for retirees: 5.9% below the national average

Average income for population 65+: $53,116

Community score: 58.6

State's tax rating for retirees: Mixed

A big draw for this relatively small city is its affordability. Housing costs for retirees are particularly low,

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