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Home | Georgia | Above Average Costs | November 4, 2017

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Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Reader Requested Short Review of Suwanee, Georgia

Wholesome, affluent Suwanee (population 19,000) is about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta in northern Georgia. For much of its history, it was a quiet railroad and agricultural hub. During the last two decades, though, it has been booming, growing by 650%, and it has landed on several "best places to live" lists.

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Thirty percent of locals are age 45 or better, and the majority of people call themselves Republican. Half of residents hold at least a four year college degree. The crime rate is below the national average, and the city has some racial diversity. The cost of living is 26% above the national average.

The median home price is $355,000. The city has a lot of well-manicured, gated communities.

Residents enjoy more than 270 acres of green spaces, and the park system is award-winning. Several years ago locals voted to double their property taxes so that the city could invest in more parks, public art and a new Town Center. The public schools are some of the best in the state, and the city's organic community garden is the largest in Georgia.

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Suwanee's inviting downtown, which has a good mix of retailers and restaurants, has not only the lovely Town Center but also Old Town Suwanee. Parts of this historic district date from the late-1800s and early-1900s and continue to undergo revitalization efforts. The city is also ARC-certified "green," meaning that it is working to reduce its environmental footprint by promoting bicycling, instituting a recycling program, establishing a farmers' market, using hybrid vehicles and more.

Recreation options are numerous. The Town Center Park is a 10-acre urban park with an amphitheater that hosts free concerts throughout the year. The Parks and Recreation Department has adult athletic leagues, and the Suwanee Creek Greenway is a bicycling and walking path that meanders through town. Golfers enjoy four different courses. Especially appealing is 38,000-acre Lake Lanier, just 15 miles north of town. This body of water draws people from around the region for its boating, fishing and camping opportunities.

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When not outside at a concert or on the lake, residents may be found at the Arena at the Gwinnett Center, a large space that attracts musical acts, sporting events and touring exhibits. The Gwinnett County Public Library, located in Old Town, is another inviting indoor space and has 23 public access computers, book discussion groups and author talks.

Good Timers is a social group for people age 55+ and meets once a month. It has 150 members, and get-togethers usually include lunch and entertainment. A second group, Seniors and Lawmen Together (SALT), works with the police department to ensure the safety of older adults in Suwanee. Gwinnett County has a senior center in neighboring Buford, about 10 miles away. It serves congregate meals and has transportation to the center, medical appointments and shopping.

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Gwinnett County provides public bus service around Suwanee and into Atlanta. A curb to curb, para-transit service is available, too. Atlanta is served by Amtrak and Hartsfield International Airport.

Suwanee does not have a hospital of its own, but Gwinnett Medical Center is just seven miles away in Lawrenceville and is accredited by the Joint Commission. It is also a Primary Stroke Center and an Adult Level II trauma center.

This area of the country is humid and has summer temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Historically, on average, the area receives 53 inches of rain and a dusting of snow each year. The tornado risk is 125% higher than the national average.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Georgia Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes

Suwanee is is a well-managed city with safe neighborhoods, a good nearby hospital, a dedication to older adult safety and a commitment to creating a high quality of life for its residents. It is a place to consider for retirement.

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Georgia:

The Peach State ratified the Constitution on January 2, 1788, becoming the fourth state to enter the Union. By the mid-19th century, Georgia was rich in plantations and deeply dependent on the slave economy. During the Civil War, General Sherman captured Atlanta and set about destroying much of the state's plantation culture.

The largest state east of the Mississippi River, Georgia has five major geographical regions that descend from the Appalachian Mountains in the north down to the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeast. The climate is surprisingly uniform. Most of the state experiences a mild winter and a hot summer.

Although Georgia is the nation's number one producer of peaches, peanuts, and pecans, agriculture is not its major employer. Trade, service industries, textile manufacturing, and federal organizations like the CDC and Fort Benning supply a larger number of jobs.

Georgia was the first state to lower the voting age to 18. Its Wesleyan College was the first chartered college in the world to grant degrees to women.

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Stats:

Population - 10,310,371 

Persons 65 years old and over - 13%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 85% 

Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 29% 

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 9% 

White persons, not Hispanic - 53% 

Median household income - $49,620 

Median home value - $148,100 

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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