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Retire in Columbia, Pennsylvania?
Overview: Columbia sits along the banks of the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania and started out as a Quaker settlement in 1726. For years it was an important river crossing and today is known for its well-preserved Victorian buildings.
The National Watch and Clock Museum is located here, and its collection of 12,000 timepieces attracts visitors from around the region. The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors is headquartered here, too. Columbia's attractive downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes 833 structures that now house art studios, restaurants, clothiers and antique stores. The town celebrates the arts and food with its Fourth Fridays. Residents also enjoy the annual Feet in the Street Art Show, Thunder on the River Car Show and 5K River Run. The farmer's market is held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Market House, a historic market structure from 1869.
The four-acre River Park has river access and picnic tables and is a stop on the popular Northwest Susquehanna River Trail. Neighborhoods are compact, neatly laid out and include clapboard rowhouses, foursquares, bungalows, ranch ramblers, Victorians, Cape Cods and others.
Population: 18,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 38%
Cost of Living: 3% below the national average
Median Home Price: $145,000
Climate: This area has hot, humid summers and cold winters. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 20s, 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 40 inches of rain and 26 inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Lancaster General Hospital, 10 miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Lancaster General Hospital, 10 miles away, is accredited.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Public Transit: Yes. It is limited in town but travels to Lancaster (population 60,000), about 10 miles away.
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is Pennsylvania Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The tornado risk is 78% greater than the national average.
Notes: Racial diversity is minimal. Columbia's population has stayed steady the last 10 years.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Established by William Penn as a sanctuary for Quakers, the Keystone State was the site of two Continental Congresses. The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution became products of the second congress in 1775. Pennsylvania also played a decisive role in the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg gave General Meade with a key win and put an end to the South's Northern Invasion.
The Appalachian mountains are Pennsylvania's backbone. The state has 140 miles of shoreline along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary. Five regions - the Allegheny Plateau, the Ridge and Valley, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Erie Plain - help provide a diversity of landscape and climate. Although Philadelphia, the state's most populous city, may experience some subtropical temperatures, the rest of the state can experience cold winters.
Pennsylvania's economy is one of the largest in the country and the world. It's a leading coal producer and the only state to mine anthracite. Fortune 500 companies based in Pittsburgh include U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. Locomotives for GE Transportation Systems are assembled in Erie. Mushrooms, apples, and Christmas trees are a few of the state's agricultural products.
Although it was the second state to enter the Union on December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania has recorded a large list of firsts. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is also the birthplace of the nation's first zoo. Titusville claims the world's first oil well.
Population - 12,784,227
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+ - 89%
Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+ - 29%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent - 7%
White persons, not Hispanic, percent - 77%
Median household income - $53,599
Median home value- $166,000
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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