Living in a low-cost state could backfire as a long-term retirement strategy, says a report by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

A young worker who moves to a low-cost state could end up harming him- or herself later on since wages also tend to be low, the think tank said.

For example, North Dakota has one of the lowest costs of living in the country, the institute said, but on average, residents of the state have defined contribution account assets of only $27,000.

In the release of a scorecard for each of the states on retirement affordability, NIRS Executive Director Diane Oakley said all fail to provide a large majority of residents with workplace savings plans. She noted that Iowa has the highest rate at 54%.

For other categories, Illinois was highest in retirement income and Wyoming lowest in living costs.

Wyoming, Alaska, Minnesota and North Dakota were rated as the best states for retirement security for their strong labor markets and low housing and health care costs, while California, Florida and South Carolina brought up the rear.

The scorecard gives each state a two-page narrative looking at anticipated retirement income, major retirement costs and labor market conditions for older workers.

To view each state’s report, go to