Andalusia earns Top 10 rating

Published 2:33 am Friday, March 4, 2016

Firm says city’s 5th best retirement town in state

A New York financial technology company recently named Andalusia one of the top 10 placed to retire in Alabama. The city was not ranked in last year’s study.

SmartAsset’s study rates cities by their tax friendliness, recreational and social opportunities for seniors, and availability of medical care. Andalusia ranked No. 5 in Alabama this year, after being unranked in last year’s study.

According to a press release on the topic, SmartAsset gathered data on three separate regional factors that affect the quality of life for retirees for the study.

“First, we looked at state and local tax rates, considering two types of taxes: income and sales,” a spokesman said. “We calculated effective rates based on a typical retiree, earning $35,000 annually (from retirement savings, social security or part-time employment), and spending their disposable income on taxable goods.

“Next, we determined the number of doctors’ offices, recreation centers and retirement centers per thousand residents in each area. Finally, we found the number of seniors in each area as a percentage of the total population.”

In the final analysis, the company ranked each county and city on these three factors, and calculated an average ranking for each area, weighting the three factors equally. The areas with the lowest average ranking are the best places to retire.

Wetumpka was the top Alabama location, followed by Guntersville, Jasper, Muscle Shoals, Andalusia, Birmingham, Clanton, Fairhope, Florence and Greenville.

The study confirms what Charles Anderson has been saying for years.

Anderson, a retired high school geography and civics teacher who spent more than 50 years researching small cities for his In Search of Eden list of top small cities in America, ranks Andalusia as No. 44 in the nation, and top in the state.