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Retire in Lander, Wyoming?
Overview: In the wide open spaces of western Wyoming, just south of the Wind River Indian Reservation, Lander started out as an army outpost in the 1860s. The railroad arrived in the early-20th century but left 37 years later, making Lander the place where "the rails end and the trails begin."
These trails are mostly through the nearby Wind River Mountain Range, which has three designated wilderness areas, two national forests and more than 40 peaks that reach more than 13,000 feet above sea level. Outdoor adventure tourism is key to Lander's economy, with rock climbers, campers, backpackers, mountain bikers and others spending money here before heading into the high country. The town is home to NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and numerous federal government offices, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. The downtown stretches along wide, four lane Main Street and has short red and blond brick buildings that house banks, clothiers and hardware stores.
Nearly all cafes and steak houses have a Western theme, with many displaying dead animals' heads on the walls. Festivals include the 4th of July celebration, which has a rodeo, and the Lander Brew Fest. Neighborhoods are quiet and modest with wood frame ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers.
Population: 7,800 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 44%
Cost of Living: 8% below the national average
Median Home Price: $140,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the single digits, teens, 20s and 30s. On average, the area receives 100 inches of snow and 13 inches of rain each year. The elevation is 5,385 feet above sea level. The wind often blows.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes, and for people with mobility issues, it makes stops outside of the fixed route.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Cons: The air quality is below the national average (Lander is in a valley).
Is Wyoming Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: Lander is a remote place, with only three two-lane roads in and out of town.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, if looking for an authentic Western town and outdoor recreation.
Wyoming's territorial legislature granted women the right to vote in 1869. It was the first government entity in the world to recognize "female sufferage." The Equality State entered the Union about 21 years later on July 10, 1890.
The 10th largest state by area, Wyoming is one of the country's smallest by population. The mean elevation is 6,700 feet above above sea level. The state can be divided by three distinct land areas. The Great Plains to the east are characterized by short grass, cottonwoods, and shrubs. Devils Tower National Monument rises out of this prairie. Ranges within Wyomings include the Big Horns and the Tetons. Ranges are separated by high plateaus known as the Intermontane Basins.
Depending on elevation, Wyoming can have cold winters and warm summers. Rain is rare. Snowfall in some mountain areas piles up to 200 inches or more per year. The southeastern portion of the state sees late spring thunderstorms and early summer tornados.
Tourism, energy, and agriculture contribute to the state's coffers. More than six million people visit Wyoming's national parks and monuments per year. Half of those visitors come to see stunning Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
An important part of Wyoming's cowboy culture, farms and ranches are leading producers of beef, hay, sugar beets, and wool. A major source of coal, coalbed methane, and crude oil, the state also has rich reserves of trona and natural gas.
Nellie Tayloe Ross became the country's first female governor in 1925. No other woman has served as Wyoming governor since.
Population - 585,501
Persons 65 years old and over - 15%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 92%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 26%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10%
White persons, not Hispanic - 86%
Median household income - $59,113
Median home value - $199,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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