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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Largo, Florida?

Overview:  Sandwiched betweeen Tampa Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway on Florida's west central coast, Largo spent much of its history as a farming community. New residents and houses started arriving in large numbers after WWII, and today the city continues to grow.

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The downtown stretches along busy West Bay Drive, which is lined with sidewalk sandwich shops, furniture stores, hair salons and more. The city is dotted with lakes, and its Central Park Nature Preserve has a five-mile kayak and canoe route. Bonner Park overlooks the waterway, and Largo's Highland Recreation Center has both aquatic and fitness elements. The community center offers writing, music and dance classes, and its public golf course has adult lessons, tournaments, and a cafe. Largo Cultural Center sponsors more than 100 performing arts events per year. Its resident theater company, Eight O'Clock Theater, produces Broadway shows. The local historical society has undertaken several preservation projects, including saving a feed store and a smokehouse.

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Neighborhoods are generally tidy and primarily peppered with ranch ramblers. Nearby beaches include Maderia Beach and Redington Beach.

Population:  81,000 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  54%

Cost of Living:   7% below the national average

Median Home Price: $155,000

Climate:   Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and rainstorms are frequent.   Winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.  On average, the area receives 51 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?    Yes, and it is award-winning.

Public Transit:  Yes

Crime Rate:    Meets the national average

Public Library:   Yes, it is known for its genealogy collection and lecture series.

Political Leanings:   Liberal

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:  Traffic congestion is an issue.

Notes:   Largo seems pleasant but without a strong identity. Some areas are a little sketchy. The city has grown by 25% within the last decade or two.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes

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Florida:

Sticking out into Hurricane Alley, Florida was a land no nation seemed to want. Ruled successively by Spain, France, England, and the Confederate States of America, the state had a backwater reputation. Other than St. Augustine and Pensacola, there were few cities. The area was rural and populated by frontier farmers.

In the late-1800s, changes came when railroads began chugging down both coasts. Industrialist Henry Flagler's Florida Easy Coast Railway even made it all the way to Key West. The Great Florida Land Boom, the build-up to World War II, and the space industry also helped turn Florida into one of the nation's most populous states. In 1900, there were about 500,000 residents. Today, there are more than 20 million, almost 351 people per square mile.

Why do people keep coming? Tourism marketing is one reason. Annually, millions visit Orlando's theme parks and the state's 663 miles of white sand beaches. Taxes generated by the billion dollar vacation industry allow Florida to prosper without a personal income tax. Budget-sensitive retirees have flocked to its cities and shorelines.

If you can ignore the hurricanes, the state's climate is relatively mild. Only five other states are sunnier. Florida's system of state universities and community colleges is sizable, and its big cities are meccas for culture and the arts. Sarasota is a good example. Its Ringling Museum Complex contains internationally known art museum, a circus museum, an historic theater, and a 66-acre garden. Museums near Orlando range from a Zora Neale Hurston gallery to a Madame Tussauds.

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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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