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Short Review of Ann Arbor, Michigan
Leafy Ann Arbor, Michigan (population 120,000) is nicknamed "Tree City" and is probably best known as the home of the University of Michigan (44,000 students). The University has a huge influence on the city, from shaping its economy to creating its stimulating ambiance. Only 26% of the population is age 45 or better, but most retirees here find Ann Arbor an energizing place.
The cost of living is 22% above the national average. A whopping 70% of residents hold at least a four college degree, and politics tilt decidedly to the left. The city is racially diverse, and the crime rate is below the national average. Ann Arbor has grown by 6% within the last couple of decades.
The median home price is $330,000, and housing is a smorgasboard of ranch ramblers, bungalows, contemporaries and more.
The city sits along the Huron River in southeastern Michigan and is surrounded by hills and valleys. One of the most densely forested metropolises in the U.S., Ann Arbor has 50,000 trees and nearly 150 public parks.
This is an active city with something always happening. Boisterous University of Michigan Wolverine football games, which 100,000 fans attend, are always great fun (although tickets can be hard to obtain). Museums, art galleries, an arboretum, a large farmers' market and much more ensure that no one is bored. One of the best events is the annual art fair, which is really four fairs that feature all sorts of fine art talent packed into several downtown city blocks.
Locals also enjoy an opera company, a ballet troupe and a symphony orchestra. The Ann Arbor Film Festival is nationally known and is an Academy Award qualifying festival. The library system has a main location and four branches. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is also located here.
The attractive downtown, with its short and tall buildings, is comprised of several districts, including historic Kerrytown, which has shops, markets, delis, restaurants and brick streets, and Main Street, which is home to festivals, car shows, restaurant crawls and more. Briarwood Mall has Sears, Macy's, a J.C. Penney, Apple and many specialty stores.
The center of town has homes from the 19th century, while further out, brick ranch ramblers, raised ramblers, bungalows, cottages and Cape Cods populate tidy neighborhoods with mature landscaping. Residences on the perimeter of campus are mostly student-occupied.
The University of Michigan Health System is award-winning for its heart transplant program and has 993 beds. It is also a Primary Stroke Center, a Level I adult trauma center and is accredited by the Joint Commission. Medicare patients are accepted. Two more award-winning hospitals are within 10 miles, and for military retirees, the city is home to a VA hospital.
The city operates the Ann Arbor Senior Center, and it has a good menu of services and programs, including noon congregate meals, afternoon movies, various classes, referral services and more. Many classes are free but others have a small participation fee.
Efficient public transportation is provided by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA). People age 65 or better ride for free. For seniors not inclined to take the bus, the city has a share ride service in which people are transported to their destination in sedans. TheRide takes residents of senior housing communities to local grocery stores once per week. Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 25 miles away, is an international airport with many daily flights.
Summers are cool with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and winters are cold, with temperatures dipping into the teens, 20s and 30s. On average, the area receives 30 inches of rain and 39 inches of snow annually. On the comfort index, a combination of temperature and humidity, Ann Arbor is above the national average.
Ann Arbor has a lot going for it, but it has drawbacks, too. College kids are in every nook and cranny, and many businesses cater to them. The city has a reputation for being somewhat snobby (and a few neighborhoods are undergoing gentrification, which does not sit well with some long-time residents). The poverty rate is just above the national average, but this is attributed to the large student population.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Michigan Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Somewhat
Cold winters and tens of thousands of college students might be drawbacks for some, but Ann Arbor is lush, green and dynamic, with excellent medical facilities, a youthful flavor, solid senior services, a variety of housing, great cultural amenities, sporting venues and a low crime rate. It is worth considering at retirement time.
Michigan has borders on four of the Great Lakes and is divided into two parts - Upper and Lower. The Mackinac Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges, connects these two halves. Up North, the Sault St. Marie canals connect Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Native Americans lived in the area when the first Europeans arrived in 1618. Sault St. Marie was the first immigrant settlement in 1668. After the Indian and French Wars, Britain claimed the land from the French. The region became part of the U.S. after the Revolutionary War, but constant conflict occured between the British, Americans and Native Americans until the end of the War of 1812.
The name Michigan came from the Ojibwa Indian words Mishi-gama (meaning "large lake").
The world's first air-conditioned automobile was built by Detroit's Packard Motor Car Company in 1939.
No point in Michigan is farther than six miles from a body of water.
Michigan is the only U.S. state to have two peninsulas.
The state produces 70% of the tart cherries grown in the United States.
Michigan has about 150 lighthouses, more than any other state.
Although Michigan's nickname is the "Wolverine State," no wolverines live in the state.
Population - 9,928,300
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 89%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 5%
White persons, not Hispanic - 75%
Median household income - $50,803
Median home value - $127,800
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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