That's because "out west" is more expensive from a taxation standpoint-
"AARP’s Livable Communities team — which provides support to local leaders to help make cities and towns best-suited for people of all ages — and the AARP Public Policy Institute — which publishes the popular Livability Index used by real estate agents and home shoppers nationwide — worked with our editors to come up with 14 objective points of data by which to assess American communities in this new reality. From them, a set of communities emerged."
The first thing that always causes my jaw to drop when I see those lists is the monthly housing costs. I could not afford to live in any of those places! But even so, most of them don't appeal to me whatsoever, because I prefer a rural setting where no one hassles me about my big C-band dishes!
3 years ago I bought a 2600 square foot home in SC. Two story cape Cod style with a finished basement built in 2000 for 80K. Granted put 20K into making it nice and included that in my mortgage. My payments including taxes and insurance are $751 a month! My taxes in Florida were 4K a year and insurance was pushing 5K a year on a muck smaller home.