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Home | Texas | Above Average Costs | December 16, 2017

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Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Reader Requested Short Review of The Woodlands, Texas

Founded in 1974, The Woodlands (population 103,000) is an upscale, master-planned community and census designated place 28 miles north of Houston, Texas. It is comprised of nine separate villages, and each village is really a distinct neighborhood with its own recreation facilities, restaurants, homeowners' association, schools and more.

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This booming development started out as a sleepy bedroom community, but it has grown by 250% in the last decade or two and is now home to major corporations, including Chevron Phillips and Anadarko Petroleum. In fact, The Woodlands' population swells to nearly 200,000 during the day when commuting employees from other towns are counted.

Of the residents, 34% are age 45 or better, and 60% of all locals hold at least a four year college degree. Politics lean very much to the right, and the community has some racial diversity. The crime rate is below the national average, and the cost of living is 17% above the national average.

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The median home price is $305,000. Most residences are made from brick and include everything from ordinary raised ranch ramblers to extraordinary custom estates. There are some apartments, town homes and at least two 55+ developments, the Conservatory at Alden Bridge (apartments) and Windsor Lakes (town homes and single family homes).

The Woodlands also has its own police force and full time fire department with eight fire stations. For a time the city of Houston had the power to annex the development, but a deal was reached in 2007 to prevent that from happening for 50 years as long as The Woodlands financially contributes to regional projects.

Residents seem to love this place, which boasts plenty of trees and green spaces, lakes and more than 160 miles of walking and bicycling paths. There are pedestrian-friendly shopping malls, two libraries (one with a seniors' book club), two recycling centers, hundreds of restaurants, nine golf courses and an events calendar that includes bird watching outings, garage sales, story telling at bookstores, a farmers' market, an annual wine fest, political fundraisers and more.

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The town center is thriving, and Market Street is full of shops, retailers, offices and restaurants. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, the summer home of the Houston Symphony, is a community highlight that hosts music and theater acts. The Woodlands Waterway snakes through downtown and connects the Pavilion with hotels, eateries and The Woodlands Mall.

Health care is provided by St. Luke's Lakeside Hospital. It is accredited by the Joint Commission and accepts Medicare patients. Several other accredited hospitals are within a 10 mile radius. For military retirees, nearby Houston has a VA medical center.

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Woodlands residents who are age 60 or better enjoy services tailored just to them through the Friendship Center, an established non-profit organization that provides social interaction, classes, help with household chores, congregate meals, scheduled transportation and more.

In addition to the water taxis that travel the Waterway, there are two free trolleys with limited routes, a shared ride, curb to curb service Monday through Friday and a limited, fixed bus service into Houston. The nearest international airport is in Houston.

This area of Texas has a humid, subtropical climate, with summer temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winter temperatures are in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 45 inches of rain per year. On the comfort index, a combination of temperature and humidity, the community ranks well below the national average. The chance of a tornado striking is 153% above the national average, and hurricanes are not unknown (Hurricane Irma caused some damage in 2017). In May of both 2015 and 2016, the community sustained storm damage as rain and high winds battered the area.

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

The Woodlands is a lush, well-maintained community that offers its residents a high quality of life outside of a major city. It is a place to consider for retirement.

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Texas:

With a name based on a word used by Caddo Indians meaning "friends," Texas is the second biggest state in the United States. It is estimated that 70% of population lives within 200 miles of Austin- the capital of Texas.

Houston is the largest city in Texas, while Dallas-Fort Worth is the largest metropolitan area in the state. Connecticut and Delaware could fit inside Texas' largest county - Brewster.

The historical people of Texas include members of the Native American tribes of Apache, Choctaw, Tonkawa and Hasinai. When Texas became the 28th state of the United States (1845), it adopted the official flag called the Lone Star Flag. Texas has a number of symbols, including the Bluebonnet - the state flower.

The land of Texas is larger than all of New York, New England and Ohio combined. Almost 10% of these lands are covered by forest. Two-thirds of the population lives in a major metropolitan area. This state had famous natives and residents such as Mary Kay Ash, George W. Bush, Tommy Lee Jones and Joan Crawford.

Texas has nearly 24,000 farms and 90 mountains a mile or more high. This state is the nation's leading producer of natural gas, oil, wool, cotton, watermelons and rice. It also has the most airports of any state in the nation and is one of the most business-friendly states. Its culture comes from a blend of Southern, Southwestern (Mexican) and Western influences.

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Stats:

Population - 27,862,596

Persons 65 years old and over - 12%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 82%

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 27%

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 40%

White persons, not Hispanic - 42%

Median household income - $43,470

Median home price - $132,000

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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