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The recently published sixth edition of Retirement Places Rated detailed the latest trends among retirees, including a noticeable shift toward full-time RVing.
According to an article in USA Today, the statistical study, first conducted in 1983, showed that about 1 million people are full-time RV enthusiasts.
Topping the list for favorite retirement spots was Florence, Ore., a coastal community 180 miles southwest of Portland. The study also revealed that there is a continuing shift from Florida as a retirement haven to the Northwest, the Rocky Mountains and the desert Southwest.
The report reviewed 203 locations compiling data in six categories: cost of living, climate, crime, economy, ambience (historic preservation, performing arts, restaurants) and services (hospitals, libraries, continuing education).
Florence and surrounding Lane County (pop. 338,000) rose from No. 30 in the last study, conducted in 1999, thanks to a better ambience and local economy. Its only drawback: a higher-than-average crime rate.
Florida retains two spots in the top 10: No. 4 Melbourne-Palm Bay and No. 9 Daytona Beach. But editor David Savageau sees “a slow but perceptible slide (in) retirement appeal because of population growth, crime, hurricanes, politics and because boomers view it as their gray-haired parents’ retirement spot.”
Among surprises he found:
* California is back as a retirement destination, retaining its older adults and attracting older newcomers, especially in Coachella Valley. During the 1990s, it exported more older adults than it attracted.
* Tucson, No. 6 overall, is No. 1 in ambience for its historic neighborhoods, good restaurants, performing arts and the great outdoors.
* Las Vegas is becoming too expensive. Suburban Henderson County dropped from No. 3 in 1999 to No. 53 partly because of rising housing costs.
Other retirement trends:
* Seasonal residences: For example, living in Las Vegas in winter and upper Michigan in summer.
* Serial relocation: Retirees who keep moving, spending perhaps two years in each location, rehabbing a home and selling it at a profit.
* Small-group time-sharing: Households buy a variety of properties and rotate between them.