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Retire in Ellijay, Georgia?
Overview: About 80 miles from Atlanta, where the Cartecay River and the Ellijay River meet in the lush Appalachian foothills of northern Georgia, quiet Ellijay makes its home. This is a rural but growing town, and it is known as the "Apple Capital of Georgia."
In fact, Ellijay is the leading producer of apples and apple related products in the entire state. Every year the town hosts October's Apple Festival, a celebration of all things apple that draws people from around the region. Along with apples, Ellijay has a couple of wineries, one with a "tasting barn," several antique shops and a simple, historic downtown. Restaurants, box stores and other retailers are located on State Route 515, which runs through town and heads south to Atlanta. The surrounding hills lend themselves to hiking, biking and camping, drawing locals and tourists alike. In the spring, whippoorwills whistle, and in the fall, the leaves burst with breathtaking color.
Population:1,800 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 42%
Cost of Living: 4% below the national average
Median Home Price: $170,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 60 inches of rain and 3 inches of snow per year. The elevation is 1,357 feet above sea level.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but North Georgia Medical Center is accredited by DNV Healthcare.
Public Transit: None
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Is Georgia Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The poverty rate is above the national average, and manifestations of this are visible in town. The tornado risk is 105% above the national average.
Notes: Atlantans come to rent cabins for the weekend, and former President Jimmy Carter has a second home here. The town is racially diverse, attracting migrants who work in the apple fields. Residents seem to like Ellijay and remark on its friendly atmosphere and peaceful setting.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the poverty rate is a concern.
The Peach State ratified the Constitution on January 2, 1788, becoming the fourth state to enter the Union. By the mid-19th century, Georgia was rich in plantations and deeply dependent on the slave economy. During the Civil War, General Sherman captured Atlanta and set about destroying much of the state's plantation culture.
The largest state east of the Mississippi River, Georgia has five major geographical regions that descend from the Appalachian Mountains in the north down to the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeast. The climate is surprisingly uniform. Most of the state experiences a mild winter and a hot summer.
Although Georgia is the nation's number one producer of peaches, peanuts, and pecans, agriculture is not its major employer. Trade, service industries, textile manufacturing, and federal organizations like the CDC and Fort Benning supply a larger number of jobs.
Georgia was the first state to lower the voting age to 18. Its Wesleyan College was the first chartered college in the world to grant degrees to women.
Population - 10,310,371
Persons 65 years old and over - 13%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 85%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 29%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 9%
White persons, not Hispanic - 53%
Median household income - $49,620
Median home value - $148,100
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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