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Retire in Ruskin, Florida?
Overview: Unincorporated Ruskin is in a rural part of southwestern Florida, along Tampa Bay and the Little Manatee River. About half way between Tampa and Bradenton, it was an agricultural center for most of its 108 years.
In the last decade, however, new housing has sprung up, and Ruskin has grown by 50%. The primary draw is a mellow, "country" way of life near the water where crickets chirp and frogs sing at night. With inlets, islets and the rarely crowded river meandering on the south side of town, Ruskin is a good spot for fishing, kayaking and canoeing. The Cockroach Aquatic Bay Preserve, 4,800 acres of protected wetlands, has just recently been restored and is a particular point of pride. Two more protected natural areas are to the northeast and southeast. The Shellpoint Marina, situated at the mouth of the river, is not fancy but gets the job done.
Ruskin is not known for its beaches - the small strip of sand belongs to the very nice Resort and Club at Little Harbor - so beach lovers travel 20 miles south to Bradenton or six miles north to Apollo Beach. Residents enjoy views of St. Pete across the bay, an organic market, the Ruskin Seafood and Arts Festival and the Ruskin Tomato Festival. Hillsborough Community College has classes for all ages. Ruskin backs to Sun City Center, a large 55+ community, giving the area a mature, calm feeling.
Population: 23,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 37%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $225,000
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 Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital is Accredited by the Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 28%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: Ruskin tried to incorporate but failed to do so in 2007. Residents felt that the community was growing too fast without proper infrastructure and protection for the delicate marine ecosystem. Shopping and services are limited. Residences on the west side are older, and eastside neighborhoods attract young families. Suburbs on the south have homes along the shore of Little Manatee River. The area is also home to a large migrant farm worker population.
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.
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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