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Surrounded by the Sprawling Tonto National Forest in North Central Arizona, Payson is a Peaceful Place and a Jumping Off Point for Outdoor Adventure
Overview: Payson is a quiet town surrounded by the sprawling Tonto National Forest at 5,000 feet above sea level in north central Arizona. It sits between Phoenix and the Mogollon Rim, a long stretch of rugged cliffs loved by outdoor adventurers. The town is accessible by two state highways.
Payson started as a post office in 1882 and was for many years just a place to stop buy gas, lunch or outdoor gear before heading into the Tonto National Forest backcountry to do some fishing, boating, hiking, jeeping or camping. Over the last 20 years, though, more folks have moved in and new homes have popped up. Many are nestled in the forest, and some are found in a fly-in neighborhood next to the airport. The old Main Street has shops, gas stations, hardware stores, restaurants, motels and the like. Payson plays up its Western heritage for tourists and has rodeos, a fiddle contest, a Pony Express reenactment, a mud run, a summer concert series and much more. Residents enjoy two private golf courses and some pretty parks (Green Valley Park has a lake).
The Mazatzal Hotel and Casino is on the Tonto Apache Reservation outside of town and has gambling, dining and live entertainment.
Population: 16,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 62%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $305,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and low-90s. Winter temperatures are in the 20s, 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives approximately 20 inches of rain and 20 inches of snow each year. Humidity is very low.
Public Transit: No
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 27%
Is Arizona Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The roads in and out of town are often congested in summer and sometimes closed in winter. This area can feel a little lonely from October to April.
Notes: Payson is sometimes described as "mountain redneck." The water supply is dependent on an aquifer that is drought sensitive, so water restrictions are in place. Many residents live in Payson part-time. The town has grown by 2% in the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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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