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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Laupahoehoe, Hawaii?

Overview:  Located on the Big Island's Hamakua Coast, little Laupahoehoe (Lava Leaf) started out in the 1800s as a fishing and taro farming village. Later on it became a thriving sugar plantation town, and even when the sugar industry declined, Laupahoehoe found a way to survive. In fact, it has grown by 9% within the last decade.

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This is partly because this area is now home to the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest (HETF), a USDA Forest Service project designed to "provide landscapes...to support research and education activities." It attracts college classes, elementary school groups and tourists. As a result, more people are now aware of Laupahoehoe and have decided to put down roots here. Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park is the area's highlight and boasts jaw-dropping views of incredibly blue water and waves breaking against craggy lava rocks (swimming is not advised). The Laupahoehoe Train Museum also receives rave reviews. One gas station and one diner (the fun Back to the 50's Cafe) are here, but other services and shopping are in Waimea (32 miles away) or in Hilo (22 miles away).

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Some neighborhoods have modest ranch ramblers with tiny front yards and others have larger residences on bigger lots. There are no sidewalks. Homes are "off the grid," utilizing water tanks and septic tanks.

Population:  550 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:   50%

Cost of Living:  43% above the national average

Median Home Price: $440,000

Climate:  Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 120 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?   No, but Honokaa, 15 miles away, has a hospital that accepts Medicare patients.

At Least One Hospital Accredited by the Joint Commission?   No. The nearest accredited hospital is in Hilo, 20 miles away.

Public Transit:   Yes, the Hele-On bus runs to Hilo and to towns to the north of Laupahoehoe.

Crime Rate:   Well below the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Very, very liberal

College Educated:  27%

Is Hawaii Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:     The earthquake risk is 580% higher than the national average.

Notes:   Laupahoehoe was the site of a 1946 tsunami disaster in which 21 schoolchildren and 3 teachers were killed. The foundation of the school where they perished is still visible. The town was moved to higher ground following the tragedy. Laupahoehoe is racially diverse, as are most Hawaiian towns.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, if looking for a misty, rural, self-sufficient retirement. The distance to an accredited hospital should be kept in mind.

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Hawaii:

The Aloha State is an isolated volcanic archipelago 2,397 miles east of San Francisco. Although it was annexed by the United States in 1900, Hawaii did not become a state until August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands, and it is the northernmost island group in Polynesia.

Hawaii's islands are known for their lush foliage, rugged geography, as well as their gold, red, black, and green sand beaches. Its Kilauea volcano is one of the world's most active. NASA astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa's hardened lava fields.

Of the six major islands, Oahu has the only major city - Honolulu. Climate and rainfall can vary depending on altitude and location. Thanks to trade winds, the north and east side receive higher amounts of moisture than the south and west. The islands experience some tropical storms, but the incidence of a true hurricane is rare. The rainiest city, Hilo, in the United States is in Hawaii.

Tourism and defense are a large part of the Hawaii's economy. The state is the only one in the union to grow coffee. It also produces most of the nation's pineapple and sugar cane. Nearly eight million tourists come to visit each year.

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Stats:

Population - 1,428,557

Persons 65 years old and over - 14%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 91% 

Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 31% 

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10% 

White persons, not Hispanic - 22% 

Median household income - $71,977 

Median home value - $538,499 

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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