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Retire in Greer, South Carolina?
Overview: Greer has long been known for transportation. It sits along busy Interstate 85 just south of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern South Carolina, and it grew up as a railroad town, with its trains transporting peaches and cotton throughout the Southeast. Today, both Michelin North America and Mitsubishi corporate offices are here.
The town has grown by 175% in the last couple of decades. Much of this growth has come thanks to a nearby BMW manufacturing plant, the only one in North America. It has brought in 5,000 employees, and its 28,000 square foot visitors' center and Performance Driving School are popular with BMW enthusiasts from around the world. After years of decline, the Greer's downtown began a revitalization in 1998 and today is known as Greer Station. It sports a high concentration of attractive, early 20th-century commercial architecture, antique street lamps, shops, banks and eateries. Wade Hampton Boulevard is the site of many more shopping venues, service providers and chain restaurants.
The parks and recreation department is award-winning and recently built a large, downtown park with fountains, an amphitheater and walking trails. The center of the city has historic neighborhoods, while the north end in particular has newer subdivisions. Thornblade is a beautiful country club community, and the more affordable Blue Ridge Plantation sits along 800-acre Lake Robinson.
Population: 29,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 32%
Cost of Living: 2% below the national average
Median Home Price: $175,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s. Winter temperatures are in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 50 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: No, although the Greenlink Transit System, based in neighboring Greenville, operates a route along Wade Hampton Boulevard, a busy road that runs between Greer and Greenville.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Is South Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The air quality is poor.
Notes: Greer has a highly-rated public school system and is racially diverse. People seem to really enjoy living here.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
The Palmetto State was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and a major player in the American Revolution. It was the eighth state to enter the Union on May 23, 1788.
South Carolina's early agriculture economy was dependent on slave labor. The first state to secede from the union in 1861, South Carolina was also where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired.
The state is comprised of three geographic regions. Its Lowcountry (the Atlantic Coastal Plain) includes the Sea Islands, salt marshes, estuaries, bays, and the Sandhills. Up Country begins with the Piedmont. Rivers here helped encourage the growth of Columbia, the capital city. The Blue Ridge Mountains contain Caesar's Head State Park and Sassafras Mountain, the state's highest point. Weather across all areas can be humid. Winters can be mild, summers hot. Snowfall is rare. Tropical cyclones can be a problem.
South Carolina continues to be an agricultural powerhouse. Peaches, pecans, broilers, turkeys, and cattle are leading products. Shrimp, clams, crabs, oysters, and snapper contribute to the economy. Thanks to the state's tourism business, service industries have become important. Myrtle Beach is one of the nation's primary resort destinations and hosts more than 100 golf courses.
Musicians James Brown, Chubby Checker, and Dizzy Gillespie are native South Carolinians. Visual artist Jasper Johns studied at the University of South Carolina. The Columbia Ballet, founded in 1961, has grown from a small community troupe into a national force. It reaches more than 51,000 people
Population - 4,961,018
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 85%
Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 25%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 5%
White persons, not Hispanic - 64%
Median household income - $45,483
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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