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Retire in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina?
Overview: This casual, affluent Outer Banks town was established in the 18th-century and incorporated in 1981. Although the Wright Brothers made Kitty Hawk famous, their point of flight was actually four miles south in Kill Devil Hills. That is where the Wright Brothers National Memorial, visitors' center, and hangar are located.
Kitty Hawk consists of a traditional village and a newer beachfront community. The village boasts an eclectic blend of tourist-oriented restaurants and retail venues, including kayak, kite, and bike shops. The beachfront has hotels, cottages, the Kittyhawk pier and a long strip of sand. Marinas are on the bay on the western side of the island. The town also owns a portion of the large Kitty Hawk Woods Preserve, an area with swamps, marshes and forests that nurture egrets, geese, ducks, swans, nutria, muskrat, and river otters. Its waters are favorite canoeing and kayaking spots. The village is bike friendly with paths and bike lanes throughout, and horseback riding is permitted west of US 158. Food retailers include Harris Teeter and a gourmet market. Service providers are adequate for most needs.
Homes come in a variety of styles, including Cape Cod, plantation, stilt and even alpine chalet. The beach is lined with houses but has a dozen or so public access points. Tourists descend in summer.
Population: 3,500 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 42%
Cost of Living: 15% above the national average
Median Home Price: $340,000
Climate: This area has hot, humid summers with temperatures in 80s and 90s and mild winters with temperatures in 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, it receives 52 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Outer Banks Hospital is 12 miles away in Nags Head and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Outer Banks Hospital is 12 miles away in Nags Head and is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: No
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: The town is grappling with beach erosion, particularly after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Notes: Kitty Hawk is very, very quiet in the winter (shops close), and the population swells with vacationers in the summer. Class lines are evident. One group has money and the other does not (and the one with money usually leaves during the winter). Kitty Hawk has grown by 5% within the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although perhaps not as a year round choice.
The Tar Heel State was one of the first to instruct its Continental Congress delegates to vote for independence from British rule. After the Revolutionary War, it entered the Union on November 21, 1789 and started developing an extensive slave plantation system. It became a major exporter of cotton and tobacco. North Carolina was one of 11 states to secede from the Union and to spark the American Civil War.
Bordered by South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Atlantic ocean, North Carolina's geographic regions range from the barrier islands and low plains of the eastern Atlantic coast to the mountainous regions of the west. The rolling hills and waterfalls of the Piedmont lie in between. Because of a wide variance in altitudes, North Carolina's climate can be hard to predict. Winters, especially on the coast, can be warm and mild.
The state has 17 major river basins and is rich in hydroelectric power. Tobacco, sweet potatoes, hogs, trout, and turkeys are a few of its agricultural products. The arts and culture industry has become an economic driver. It supports more than 43,000 jobs and generates almost $120 million in state and local revenue.
North Carolina is the home of several firsts. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville. The Wright brothers launched the first manned, self-propelled airplane from a cliff near Kitty Hawk. Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern. Vernon Rudolph first sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Winston-Salem.
Population - 10,147,788
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 25%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10%
White persons, not Hispanic - 63%
Median household income - $46,868
Median home value - $162,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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