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Retire in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina?
Overview: Started in the mid-1600s and on a barrier island of the same name, wooded Hilton Head Island, or Hilton Head, is largely a confederation of 15 gated communities, most of them tucked in large stands of trees. One of these is Hilton Head Plantation, a beautiful development with a marina, golf courses, a beach and more.
With an understated vibe, the community has long been a resort destination but really saw development begin to boom in the 1950s. Although much of the island is in private hands and one beach is for town residents only, several public beaches and large resorts, such as Sea Pines and Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, attract huge numbers of tourists each summer. The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and its Choral Society have built strong regional reputations. The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is a showcase for professionals and a venue for festivals. It also offers workshops in theater and visual arts. The Coastal Discovery Museum sits on 68 acres of marshland.
Festivals are many, varied and include the WineFest, which is one of the largest such festivales on the East coast, and the annual Gullah Celebration, which remembers a part of the island's rich culture and long history. Boutiques, fun restaurants and national retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Belk, are all here. The town is bicycle friendly and has 20 world-class golf courses, seven marinas and twenty parks. Many of these parks have observation decks, boardwalks, and trails. The bordering Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge is a bird watchers' Paradise.
Population: 41,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 51%
Cost of Living: 33% above the national average
Median Home Price: $375,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Palmetto Breeze provides bus transportation to neighboring towns.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is South Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes can happen. HHI has grown by 70% in the last decade or two, and now many residents say that too many tourists and too many cars are ruining what was once a laid back island oasis.
Notes: There is only one road leading on and off of the island, and it becomes very congested during the summer season (as do most of the roads on the island). HHI is racially diverse. Tourist industry wages are low, and some housing reflects this fact (small, simple condos can be found for $50,000).
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although residents of HHI have to be tourist-tolerant since nearly all retailers, merchants and eateries cater to them.
South Carolina is nicknamed the Palmetto State and its motto is "Dum spiro spero," which is Latin for "While I Breath, I Hope." It is 40th in size in the United States and was the eighth state to be admitted to the Union on May 23, 1788. The largest city and state capital is Columbia.
Formerly known as the Province of South Carolina, the area was also one of the 13 Colonies that declared its independence during the American Revolution. The state was the first to secede from the Union and was the first and founding state of the Confederate States of America.
South Carolina is in what is considered the Deep South and is bordered by the states of Georgia on the south and North Carolina on the north.
The state does not host any major professional sport franchises. However, the Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes actually represent both North Carolina and South Carolina.
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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