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Reader Requested Short Review of Surprise, Arizona
Surprise (population 130,000) sits next to the White Tank Mountains on the northwestern outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona and is home to a significant number of retirees. In fact, 40% of residents are age 45 or better.
Originally started in 1938 as a one mile square of farmland, Surprise later become a development for agricultural workers. Today it is a boom town, growing by a whopping 1,700% in the last 10 to 20 years. Expectations are that Surprise's population may rival that of Phoenix's within 10 to 15 years.
The cost of living is 12% above the national average. The crime rate is below the national average. Politics lean to the right, and 29% of locals hold at least a four year college degree. The city has some racial diversity. According to some surveys, nine out of 10 residents enjoy living here.
Eighty-five percent of Surprise's housing has been built since 1995, and the median home price is $245,000. Del Webb's 55+ Sun City Grand is here, too.
Surprise is building new infrastructure to accommodate the increasing population and boasts a new-ish 10,000 sq. ft. aquatics center, a state-of-the-art library, museums, movie theaters and a city center with new government offices. Prasada is a large retail, dining and housing development in the works. Chain restaurants are in good supply. Residents talk about how well-maintained the city is.
There are eight golf courses, four recreation centers and a small lake (Lake Surprise). A particularly popular activity is watching the Texas Rangers' and Kansas City Royals' spring training camp in Surprise Stadium each year.
Public transportation is provided by Valley Metro, but it is limited. A dial-a-ride service is available Monday through Friday.
The Surprise Senior Center, open Monday through Friday, is operated by the city and is the hub of activities for citizens age 60 and better and for disabled adults. A fitness center, hot meals, classes and more are available.
Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, a 335-bed facility, is just five minutes away. Nationally recognized, it has won awards for patient safety, clinical excellence, emergency medicine and more. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, and Medicare patients are accepted. The city also has a VA outpatient clinic, and Phoenix has a VA hospital.
Summer daytime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees. Winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Humidity is practically non-existent, and there is very little rain or wind. Just lots of heat, sunny blue skies and some amazing sunsets.
While new infrastructure construction is mostly keeping up with growth, this is not the case with roads. There are not many of them from Surprise to Phoenix, and commuting is often a headache. Luke Air Force Base is not too far away, and noise from military jets rattles some neighborhoods. Some locals complain about the Sonoran Desert dust.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Arizona Tax-Friendly for Retirement? Yes
A low crime rate, well maintained surroundings, new homes and new amenities make Surprise a potential spot for retirement.
The Grand Canyon State was originally part of New Mexico. After the land was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, it became a separate territory. It did not enter the union until February 14, 1912. Copper was discovered in the area in 1848, and metals mining continues to be an important part of the economy. Cattle and tourism are two of the states other vital industries.
Although Arizona can be one of the hottest states in the union, air conditioning continues to bring more and more people to the urban areas. The Colorado Plateau spreads through Arizona from the north and is interspersed with remnants of the Rocky Mountains. The land flattens into desert near Phoenix. The Colorado River forms the state's western borders and snakes through the Grand Canyon.
Arizona is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.
Population - 6,931,030
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 31%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $50,225
Median home value - $167,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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