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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Gainesville, Florida?

Overview:   Gainesville is in northcentral Florida and is the largest city in Alachua County. It is the home of the University of Florida (52,000 students), Santa Fe College and City College. In recent years, Gainesville has landed on several "best places to live" lists, and it has a youthful energy.

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The city has a history of boom and bust and has been home to KKK activity, secessionist fever and college activism. Over the years, urban renewal, some of it upscale, has paved over many of Gainesville's landmark buildings. Still, some old jewels remain. Built in 1926, the Seagle Building remains downtown's tallest structure, and the Hippodrome Theatre is a stop for major musicals. Thanks to the college crowd, the city has an active music scene, but residents also enjoy a chamber orchestra, a civic chorus, a ballet company, community theaters and numerous art galleries. There are two large, annual art fairs and a teaching zoo. The University of Florida's School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance have public performances. The Theatre Strike Force is Florida's premier improv troupe.

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The city maintains seven recreation centers and three swimming pools. The boardwalk system at Devil's Millhopper descends 120 feet into a miniature rain forest, and the substantial Payne Prairie State Park south of Gainesville has an observation tower and trails for hiking and biking. University of Florida athletics are nearly a religion, with Gator football games particularly rowdy. Homes come in all shapes and sizes, from modest ranch ramblers to lovingly restored Queen Annes.

Population:  130,000 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  30%

Cost of Living:  6% below the national average

Median Home Price: $157,000  

Climate:  Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?   Yes

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Very liberal

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:   The University of Florida is one of the top-rated party schools in the country.   The city's poverty rate is above the national average.  Much of this, but not all, is attributed to the large student population. Urban sprawl is an issue, and homelessness is a problem. Gainesville is segregated, with whites and blacks living on opposite sides of the city.

Notes:   Most students live east of I-75 (the west side of town is nicer than the east side). The city has grown by 50% within the last decade.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes. Gainesville is definitely a college town with some lively student neighborhoods, but non-students seem to enjoy the city.

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Florida:

Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.

International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.

Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.

The state has 1,250 more golf courses than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.

Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, was struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.

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Stats:

Population - 20,612,439 

Persons 65 years old and over - 20%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 87% 

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

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 24% 

White persons, not Hispanic - 58% 

Median household income - $47,525 

Median home value - $159,900 

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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