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Retire in Mesa, Arizona
Overview: This sprawling Phoenix bedroom community is Arizona's third largest city. It was settled by Mormon pioneers in the late-1800s and until the mid-1900s was an agricultural center, thanks to an expansive canal system.
Today, Mesa is primarily residential but also home to ASU's Polytechnic Campus and Maricopa County's biggest community college. Neighborhoods vary greatly, from very modest areas with simple ranch ramblers to expensive sections with large Mediterranean-style homes. Verde Groves is a quiet 55+ patio home community. The Mesa Arts Center has a comprehensive arts education facility, a five-gallery visual arts complex, four theaters, and a museum. The Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Mesa Historical Museum are among the city's other cultural institutions. HoHoKam ruins are part of Mesa's Park of the Canals. Celebrations in the city's walkable downtown include Mesa Live and Second Friday Night Out.
There are 40 golf courses within a 30-minute drive, and Mesa is the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs. The city manages 2,280 acres of parkland, 10 aquatic centers, and four major recreation centers. Its largest park has a lake and playgrounds. The neighboring Tonto National Forest offers tubing and fishing along the Salt River. Hiking in the Superstition Mountains is a popular pastime.
Population: 480,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 33%
Cost of Living: 2% above the national average
Median Home Price: $210,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 90s and low-100s, and winter temperatures are in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 7 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes, but buses do not run on Sunday.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is Arizona Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The air quality is poor.
Notes: Mesa is popular with "snowbirds" and has a lot of RV parks. The downtown is not as active as city leaders would like, and they are hoping that a relatively new light rail system will jump start new retail and residential construction in the city's center. Many Mesa workers commute to Phoenix. The city has grown by 65% within the last decade or two.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although not for people with respiratory issues.
The Grand Canyon State was originally part of New Mexico. After the land was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, it became a separate territory. It did not enter the union until February 14, 1912. Copper was discovered in the area in 1848, and metals mining continues to be an important part of the economy. Cattle and tourism are two of the states other vital industries.
Although Arizona can be one of the hottest states in the union, air conditioning continues to bring more and more people to the urban areas. The Colorado Plateau spreads through Arizona from the north and is interspersed with remnants of the Rocky Mountains. The land flattens into desert near Phoenix. The Colorado River forms the state's western borders and snakes through the Grand Canyon.
Arizona is home to places with names like Nothing, a ghost town in western Arizona, and the Horspitality Resort.
The state is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.
Population - 6,931,030
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 31%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $50,225
Median home value - $167,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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