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Retire in Tarpon Springs, Florida?
Overview: Tarpon Springs started out as a winter resort in the late 1870s and was named after the fish that haunts its waters. It sits along a series of bayous and the Gulf of Mexico, about 25 miles northwest of Tampa, and it grew up around Greek culture. In fact, this waterfront city has the largest concentration of Greek Americans in the United States.
During much of its early history, Tarpon Springs was known for sponge harvesting, and Greek divers came across the Atlantic to do much of the work. When a red tide algae wiped out the sponges in the mid-20th century, shrimping became the economic underpinning, and it remains so today. The city's Sponge Docks remain as a testament to the old traditions and are now a charming tourist area with an eclectic collection of sponge shops, galleries, Greek eateries and the general feel of Greece. The Greek Orthodox Epiphany, a large religious celebration each January, triples the town's population for one day. There are also smaller festivals such as a beach concert series and a food truck rally. The Tarpon Sunday Market is a relatively new farmers' market.
Four golf courses, an aquarium, a public marina, a performing arts center, a cultural center and a recreation department keep residents busy. Barrier islands are just off the coast, and the city's Fred Howard Park has a mile-long causeway. Ospreys, eagles, and dolphins can be seen from its beach.
Neighborhoods include town homes, concrete block ranch ramblers and one and two story Mediterraneans.
Population: 25,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population 45 or Better: 50%
Cost of Living: 10% above the national average
Median Home Price: $255,000
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
At Least One Hospital Accredited By Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The tornado risk is 85% above the national average.
Notes: The city has grown by 20% within the last 10 to 15 years.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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 more golf courses 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.
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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