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Galveston, Quirky, Friendly and Slightly Worn, Sits on Two Barrier Islands and Has a Miles of Beaches
Overview: Spread across two barrier islands on Texas' eastern Gulf Coast, Galveston is a quirky, slightly faded town with a history as a Mexican port and a gaming resort.
The city has a friendly reputation, and residents have plenty to do. The Strand is the historic downtown area and it has a wide variety of galleries, restaurants, and shops. It also is close to two major maritime museums and the city's wharves, which service both container and cruise ships. The 10 mile seawall is an excellent place to jog, walk, and bird watch, and sports fishing is popular. Seawolf Park is known for its excellent fishing pier and its WWII sub. The beaches are long and narrow with plenty of access points. The water sometimes has a brownish tint. The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and neighboring boardwalk are full of amusement rides, touristy eateries and kitschy souvenir shops.
City celebrations include Mardi Gras and the Wild Texas Shrimp Festival. Galveston supports an art center, a professional acting company and a symphony orchestra as well. The Offats Bayou neighborhood is the home of Moody Gardens, which contain plant and wildlife exhibits, as well as the city's public golf course. Housing comes in all shapes and sizes, from Gulfside stilt houses and condos to inland bungalows and cottages.
Population: 50,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 35%
Cost of Living: 12% below the national average
Median Home Price: $250,000
Climate: Galveston has a humid subtropical climate. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, an winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 41 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
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 28%
Is Texas Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: Galveston is the site of the deadliest natural catastrophe in U.S. history, a 1900 hurricane that wiped out the city and killed up to 8,000 people. Much more recently, the city was struck by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Both caused flooding. The poverty rate is above the national average, and parts of town have seen better days. The tornado rate is 105% greater than the national average.
Notes: Despite these issues, many people seem to like Galveston very much. It is racially diverse and has maintained its population during the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the neighborhood matters.
With a name based on a word used by Caddo Indians meaning "friends," Texas is the second biggest state by population in the country. It is estimated that 70% of residents live within 200 miles of Austin, the capital city.
Houston is the largest city, while Dallas-Fort Worth is the largest metropolitan area. Connecticut and Delaware could fit inside Texas' largest county - Brewster. The state is larger than all of New York, New England and Ohio combined.
In addition to the Caddo, the historical people of Texas include members of the Native American tribes of Apache, Choctaw, Tonkawa and Hasinai.
When Texas became the 28th state of the United States (1845), it adopted the official flag called the Lone Star Flag. Symbols include the Bluebonnet - the state flower.
Almost 10% of Texas is covered by forest. The state has nearly 24,000 farms, 90 mountains a mile or more high and is the nation's leading producer of natural gas, oil, wool, cotton, watermelons and rice. It also has the most airports of any state in the Union and is one of the most business-friendly states. Its culture has a blend of of Southern, Southwestern (Mexican) and Western influences.
Famous natives and residents include Mary Kay Ash, George W. Bush, Tommy Lee Jones and Joan Crawford.
Population - 27,862,596
Persons 65 years old and over - 12%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 82%
Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 40%
White persons, not Hispanic - 42%
Median household income - $43,470
Median home price - $132,000
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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