JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

JSU Study Shows Alabama Cities To Be Great Places To Retire

JACKSONVILLE -- June 14, 2002 -- According to recently completed community inventory assessments, Alabama has, at least, 25 cities which are great places to retire. Research and interviews with local officials in each city by staff members of the Center for Economic Development at Jacksonville State University focused upon the retirement amenities which migratory retirees look for when assessing a community as a permanent place to retire. When matched up with the amenities retirees want, each of the cities rated very highly.

The JSU studies, funded by a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, were designed to help communities determine how closely they match with what retirees are seeking and to determine what strategy they can use to attract retirees.

In searching for the ideal location, these retirees consider a number of amenities. These include low crime rates, good medical facilities nearby, low overall cost of living, mild climate, low overall taxes, low housing cost, convenient shopping, friendly neighbors, a major city nearby, and an active social/cultural environment. The JSU Center looked at how each city measured up to what migratory retirees want.

Surveys show that most retirees prefer small towns and rural areas as better places to make ends meet and to get in touch with more important values. These retirees see the overall quality of life as being better outside of larger cities, but want to be within a reasonable distance of one for the additional amenities it offers.

"There are cites and other areas all over Alabama which would be ideal for migratory retirees and would match up well to what retirees want. In this round of assessments we just scratched the surface of what Alabama has to offer," states Pat Shaddix, Director of the JSU Center.

Jacksonville State University initiated the pioneering research in retiree attraction as an economic development strategy providing an alternative to "smoke-stack chasing" for rural Alabama communities. One affluent retiree locating in a community is the equivalent to three factory workers as far as economic impact. Cited as one of the most powerful economic development tools, retirees create no burden on infrastructure and they bring outside funds directly into a community. In addition, they generally have a disposable income far greater than that of the average working member of the population and they spend it locally.

Cities included in the inventory assessments were Andalusia, Atmore, Auburn, Bayou LaBatre/Coden, Centre, Clanton, Cullman, Decatur, Dothan, Fairhope, Foley, Gadsden, Guntersville, Huntsville, Jasper, Madison, Monroeville, Montgomery, Pell City, Prattville, Russellville, Selma, Shoals Area, Troy and Wetumpka.


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