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Retire in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania?
Overview: Lovely Swarthmore, home to one of the country's most selective liberal arts colleges, Swarthmore College, is 10 miles southwest of Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania. It became a commuter suburb when Philadelphia passenger rail service reached it in the 1880s.
Although the college only has 1,600 students, it exerts its influence and gives Swarthmore a definite but understated collegiate vibe. The downtown is small with donut shops, hair salons, pizza places and more in buildings featuring Tudor architecture. The food co-op is especially popular, and the Saturday farmers' market every May through November receives rave reviews. The 300-acre Scott Arboretum is on college grounds and exhibits thousands of species of ornamental plants. Residents also enjoy the Lang Performing Arts Center, which houses the List Gallery and the Pearson-Hall Theatre and Cinema. The Players Club of Swarthmore stages six or more productions per season.
Swarthmore has six parks, the largest of which is Little Crum Creek. Its diverse habitat includes restored wetlands. Quiet residential streets are lined with mature trees and boast everything from ordinary raised ranch ramblers to majestic Georgians, Federals to Tutors. Many homes are made with brick or stone. The Ogden House, one of the oldest in town, was built in 1736.
Population: 6,400 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 35%
Cost of Living: 13% above the national average
Median Home Price: $290,000
Climate: Summers are usually hot (80s and 90s) and muggy, and winters are cold (teens and 20s). On average, the area receives 20 inches of snow and 40 inches of rain annually.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Taylor Hospital, three miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Taylor Hospital, three miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very liberal
Is Pennsylvania Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: Swarthmore is primarily a "dry" town so it is very quiet on weekends. The median household income is double the national median, and residents are well educated. Some people say that Swarthmore has a bit of an ego. Town leaders are working on a plan to revitalize the downtown and bring in housing units and more commercial space. Swarthmore's population has remained steady in the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Established by William Penn as a sanctuary for Quakers, the Keystone State was the site of two Continental Congresses. The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution became products of the second congress in 1775. Pennsylvania also played a decisive role in the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg gave General Meade with a key win and put an end to the South's Northern Invasion.
The Appalachian mountains are Pennsylvania's backbone. The state has 140 miles of shoreline along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary. Five regions - the Allegheny Plateau, the Ridge and Valley, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Erie Plain - help provide a diversity of landscape and climate. Although Philadelphia, the state's most populous city, may experience some subtropical temperatures, the rest of the state can experience cold winters.
Pennsylvania's economy is one of the largest in the country and the world. It's a leading coal producer and the only state to mine anthracite. Fortune 500 companies based in Pittsburgh include U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. Locomotives for GE Transportation Systems are assembled in Erie. Mushrooms, apples, and Christmas trees are a few of the state's agricultural products.
Although it was the second state to enter the Union on December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania has recorded a large list of firsts. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is also the birthplace of the nation's first zoo. Titusville claims the world's first oil well.
Population - 12,784,227
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+ - 89%
Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+ - 29%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent - 7%
White persons, not Hispanic, percent - 77%
Median household income - $53,599
Median home value- $166,000
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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