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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Lakeland, Florida?

Overview:  Lakeland is located between Tampa and Orlando in the middle of Florida's coastal plain. It is the home of Florida Southern College (2,500 students) and has grown by 50% within the last decade.

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The city has 38 named lakes, and much of Lakeland life revolves around the water. The lakes are also home to large groups of swans, which are a Lakeland point of pride (and a marketing tool). The inviting downtown is pedestrian friendly, bicycle friendly and is nestled along two of the lakes. It has a restored promenade, and the Hollis Garden, a botanic garden set in a neo-classical architectural environment, is just one of the city's many public parks. Residents enjoy the Polk Museum of Art, the Imperial Symphony, the Florida Air Museum, and the Florida Dance Theatre. The college owns the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the country and is the place for the annual Fine Arts Festival. Shopping venues and eateries are in good supply.

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The Detroit Tigers spend their spring training months at Joker Marchant Stadium, and the city's professional indoor football team, the Florida Marine Raiders, play their games in Lakeland Center. Older, tree-canopied areas with modest concrete block homes mix with new neighborhoods that have sleek Mediterranean style homes and newly planted trees. Lake James is a comfortable 55+ community with a lake.

Population:  105,000 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  43%

Cost of Living:   8% below the national average

Median Home Price: $155,000

Climate:    Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s with high humidity levels and frequent rainstorms.  Winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?    Yes

At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission?   Yes

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average, although property crime is above the national average.

Public Library:  Yes

Political Leanings:  Conservative

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?    Yes

Cons:   Some neighborhoods have seen better days. 

Notes:  People seem to like Lakeland quite a bit or not like it at all.   The city is racially diverse.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes, although location matters.

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Florida:

Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.

International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.

Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.

The state has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.

Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, were struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.

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Stats:

Population - 20,612,439 

Persons 65 years old and over - 20%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 87% 

Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27% 

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 24% 

White persons, not Hispanic - 58% 

Median household income - $47,525 

Median home value - $159,900 

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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