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Why Pennsylvania, and especially Western Pennsylvania, are rapidly becoming top destinations  for retirees? - - - - - - - - - -

"beauty - prices - low taxes - superior health care - history"

This    page    is    produced    as    a    service    for    Seniors    by  www.SeniorARK.com.            We are   in   no   way   connected       with        any        official  Pennsylvania         site        or         promotion.    SeniorARK    is  headquartered   in   Pennsylvania.     We   live   here,   and   believe    in     the    incredible    value    of    our    state,    especially     for    retirees.


    The evidence demonstrated on this page is compelling:

    - - - Pennsylvania State Flower

- - - Kiplinger,   5 Smartest Cities for Retirees

- - - Kiplinger,   50 Smart Places to Live

- - - Places Rated Almanac, Most Livable US Cities

- - - National Geographic   Pittsburgh; Top Adventure City in America

- - - Forbes,   The World's Cleanest Cities

- - - TopRetirements.com     America's Top Ten Value Cities: #7 Pittsburgh

- - - Forbes    10 Most Stable Housing Markets in 2007

- - - Smart Money    Pittsburgh rated 4th highest recession-proof city for retirees, 2-25-08

- - - Low cost of living   Pittsburgh No. 2 on a list of the top 10 "values" for big-city retirement

- - - Pennsylvania    Retirement Housing on LESS Than a Shoestring

- - - All About Pennsylvania Taxes     Taxes for Retirees

- - - PACE - A unique Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Program For Retirees

- - - Where are the most courteous drivers in the US?

- - - 53 Great Pennsylvania Towns for Retirees


Don't miss our internal Seniorark article: Retirement Housing on LESS than a shoestring.

You may also like to read: Fun in Pennsylvania, and America's Best Kept Vacation Secret.

Quote on August 4, 2011: Chris Matthews on the MSNBC show Hardball, when discussing awful American airports  said: "Now Pittsburgh, THAT'S a great airport" Could we be more proud?

    Pennsylvania State Flower

Mountain Laurel
Kalmia latiflolia

The State Flower is the Mountain Laurel, as enacted by the General Assembly on May 5, 1933. The mountain laurel is in full bloom in mid-June, when Pennsylvania's woodlands are filled with its distinctive pink flower.




Five Smartest Cities For Retirees


Three rivers run through Pittsburgh's green, orderly downtown, but retirees will find even greater charm in the city's outlying,tree-lined neighborhoods, such as Shadyside (median house value: $199,000) and Squirrel Hill ($184,000). "If you'd like to retire in a place where you wouldn't think twice about borrowing your neighbor's hairdryer in a pinch, Pittsburgh's small neighborhoods are for you," says Abby Mendelson, an author of books on the Pittsburgh Steelers and local culture.   see all 5

October 14, 2014 -

U.S. News & World Report. Pittsburgh named as one of top.

 10  Best Places to Retire on Social Security.


                                                           Interior of Historic Banks Bridge (more photos)


50 Smart Places to Live 

retirees OR non-retirees

"You told us your ideal city is fun, vibrant and affordable. We found dozens that fit the bill." 

 article #9 Pittsburgh, Pa.

Currently undergoing a renaissance, this hidden gem has distinctive neighborhoods, tree-lined streets, glittering skyscrapers, upscale shops and a diversified economy. See Top 10.



Pittsburgh Ranked

#1 "Most Livable City" in America

"Places Rated Almanac"

1. Pittsburgh, PA
2. San Francisco, CA
3. Seattle, WA
4. Portland, OR
5. Philadelphia, PA
6. Rochester, NY
7. Washington, DC
8. San Jose - Sunnyvale, CA
                                   9. Boston, MA
                                  10. Madison, WI

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH "There's a good news bombshell for civic pride here in Pittsburgh. Our city is returning to the top spot in a new ranking of the nation's most livable cities."

How was this top ranking determined?


Pittsburgh Recognized as America's Most Livable City, Again


Yahoo! News

February 23, 2011‎

The 2011 Global Livability Rankings are in, and the most livable city in America is Pittsburgh, Pa. The study was completed by London-based Economist Intelligence Unit. While top cities in the world were: Vancouver, British Columbia; Melbourne,

Australia; and Vienna, Austria respectively, Pittsburgh was the top ranking American city...

Forbes ‎- September 8, 2014

Pittsburgh's renaissance saved the city and turned it into a hotbed for young startup talent. ... From a place once named the nation's “Smoky City” to earning the title of “Most Livable City in America” by publications including Forbes and ... overnight phenomenon, but rather one three decades in the making.

Pittsburgh Most Livable City in Continental US  (The Economist)

CBS Local-Aug 26, 2014

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Once again, Pittsburgh has been named the most livable city in the continental United States. For the second time ...


Pittsburgh has been named the Top Adventure City in America by nationalgeographic.com logo in their article: Top Adventure City in America

"Where to Live and Play: 31 Adventure Towns"

Pittsburgh Among Cleanest Cities in the World

Forbes ranked Pittsburgh 10th among thousands in its review of all the world's cleanest cities.


Read the recommendation for Pittsburgh as the #7 Retirement Value Destination in the US.

         Forbes: 10 Most Stable Housing Mkts

Pittsburgh #2    

Median home price: $123,500

Annual price change from 2006: 2.7%

Projected price change to 2008: 3.37%

July 31, 2008 Update


Smart Money.com  Pittsburgh rated 4th highest recession-proof city for retirees

After all those decades of stashing money away for retirement, retirees should look for a place that will not only make them happy, but also keep their nest egg intact. Areas with a track record of slow, steady economic growth and home price appreciation are ones that will hold onto their value best, notes Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. These same places are also more likely to rebound quickly when nationwide economic conditions improve.


Pittsburgh tops list of the best housing markets

Forbes - February 26, 2010  The best place to buy right now: Pittsburgh. For a housing market to be attractive it should have appreciating prices that show homeowners are making wise investments; an affordability rating that gives middle-class families with good credit entry into the market; and a relatively low number of foreclosures, which keeps prices stable and indicates there isn't an excess of inventory.

Pittsburgh has all three. In the metro area, 85 percent of homes are affordable to those making the median family income of $62,500. At the same time, foreclosures are low: Only one home is in foreclosure for every 120 housing units — the second-best record of all the cities we ranked; and home prices are expected to increase 2.67 percent by the end of the year.



The Pittsburgh region offers retirees the active lifestyle of a major city at a relatively low cost, earning it the No. 2 spot on a list of the top 10 "values" for big-city retirement, compiled by Warren Bland, author of "Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places across the USA and Canada."






PITTSBURGH: From  "Voice of America", July 13, 2009

  • Sixty years ago, Pittsburgh was known mainly for one thing. It was the capital of the American steel industry, then the world's mightiest. But then, one by one, the steel works closed as the industry shrank. Today two steel factories remain in Allegheny County; both are outside the city. Pittsburgh has worked hard to rebuild itself -- and the world is taking notice.

  • Last October, BusinessWeek magazine named Pittsburgh one of best places to live during a recession.

  • And, last month, the Brookings Institution in Washington listed the city among the twenty economically strongest in America. Pittsburgh earned eighteenth place as researchers pointed to a relatively stable economy based on higher education and health care.

  • Researchers from the Pew Charitable Trusts recently looked at how thirteen American cities are trying to balance budgets in a time of recession. Pittsburgh was the only one not predicting a deficit for two thousand nine or ten. In fact, the city has a surplus.

  • Over the years, when its sports teams have done well, Pittsburgh has been called the "City of Champions." Two of its major teams are the current champions of their leagues. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in the National Football League. And the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League.

  • The city is also known for its arts tradition. Veronica Corpuz is public relations director for Pittsburgh's Cultural District. She says the arts in Pittsburgh have generally done well even in the recession. The Cultural District is a fourteen block area of downtown that includes public spaces, art galleries and six major theaters.



Pittsburgh reinvented by GREEN TECHNOLOGY

August 9, 2009 Plextronics is one of more than 2,600 environmentally friendly companies that have settled in Pittsburgh and revitalized the local economy through good-paying jobs

Do you notice that Pittsburgh and surrounding area keep appearing on  nearly every "best-retirement-destination" , and "best places to live" list?


Need to Cut Those Housing Costs to the Bone? Check Out THIS Great Pennsylvania Town

Great Pennsylvania Retirement Housing on Less than a Shoestring Are you entering retirement fearing that you may not be able to make ends meet? You have a "little" equity in a home, or "some" savings but are paying rent. Or no savings and are paying rent. You know that you can't afford to stay in the high-cost area where you have been, but don't know where to go?

One of our volunteers  faced the exact same situation, and has created a special SeniorArk feature to show you what he and his wife did about housing as they entered retirement..  This section is probably not for those with lots of options. It is about going back to basics in housing in order to survive in retirement. No, he doesn't live in a van---down by the river. He lives in a nice home in a wonderful community. This article shows us that there are affordable places for retirees to live.



All About Pennsylvania Taxes

Pennsylvania retirees really benefit here

Pennsylvania Named in 2007   as one of the  Five Best Retirement Tax Havens  by 

Overall, in 2007 Pennsylvania is ranked at #32 in terms of state and local taxes. (50 is lowest) We would fare much better if the ranking were done for Seniors. SeniorArk recently saw an MSN article quoting a Kiplinger survey of property taxes on a selected property in each state capital. They used a house in Harrisburg (actually in the most expensive suburb of Harrisburg) that had very high taxes, and used that to say that Pennsylvania was not a tax-friendly state for Seniors. Not so folks. First, how can you select one property, and paint the entire city, or state with its statistics? Property tax varies wildly within the state, and even within every city. So when shopping, seniors, buy carefully. You can choose a property with low taxes. Also, the Kiplinger study did not take into consideration the statewide homestead exemption, and further Senior rebates on property taxes. Governor Rendell in 2008 is working on a plan to eliminate state real estate taxes altogether. This is the problem with simplistic surveys. Pennsylvania is a VERY Senior-Friendly tax state. The evidence:

Sales Taxes
State Sales Tax:
6% (Exempted from tax are: food; clothing, text books, heating fuels,  prescription and non-prescription drugs)  Other taxing entities may add up to 1%. 
Gasoline Tax:  32.2 cents/gallon
Diesel Fuel Tax: 39.2 cents/gallon
Cigarette Tax: $1.35/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes
Tax Rate Range: Flat rate of 3.07%

Retirement Income Taxes: At 59˝, Social Security, civil service, state/local government, and private pensions are exempt.  IRAs are exempt as are out-of-state government pensions. 
Retired Military Pay: Not taxed after age 59 1/2.
Military Disability Retired Pay:

Disability Portion - Length of Service Pay: Member on September 24, 1975 -- No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 -- Taxed, unless combat incurred.  Retired Pay -- Based solely on Disability.  Member on September 24, 1975 -- No tax.  Not Member.

VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes
Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax.  Check with state department of revenue office.

Property Taxes 
Property taxes are levied by local governments (counties, municipalities and school districts).  The tax cannot exceed 30 mills on the assessed valuation of the property without special permission from the courts.  Households with claimants or spouses 65 years of age or older, widows or widowers 50 years of age or older and the permanently disabled 18 years of age or older meeting income eligibility requirements may qualify for this program.  Rebates of paid property tax or rent, up to a maximum of $500 per year, are available.  To qualify, annual household eligibility income must not exceed $35,000.  The
Property Tax/Rent Rebate program allows residents to exclude  50% of Social Security payments and 50% of Railroad Retirement benefit payments from eligibility income.  The maximum rebate is $650. Counties may levy an intangible personal property tax, which taxes stocks, bonds and other personal property taxpayers may own.  Not all counties levy this tax.

            YOU may qualify for a Property Tax/Rent Rebate  (Would significantly boost the PA tax-rank-by-state for

                                                                                                Seniors in Pennsylvania)  

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been expanded as part of a broad tax relief initiative.

You are eligible if you are:


  • 65 or older, or

  • A widow or widower 50 or older, or

  • Permanently disabled and 18 or older

                                          New annual income guidelines:

                                          ** Remember to count only half of your Social Security as income. 




$0 - $8,000



$8,001- $15,000



$15,001 - $18,000



$18,001 - $35,000 $250 ---

click to see if you qualify

Note: Senior citizens - who are the hardest hit by rising property taxes - will get the extra help they need by a major expansion of the state Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program. An additional 420,000 senior citizens will receive help paying their property taxes or rent, and an estimated 146,000 senior citizens will have their school property taxes completely eliminated.

More information on the "Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program"

Note: SeniorARK adds: We have observed that real estate taxes can be considerably higher in larger cities than in the  smaller towns in Pennsylvania. Buy carefully to avoid having a big yearly bite removed from your available funds.  A home in a smaller town might be taxed at $500 -$1,300, while a similar property in a larger city might have a $3,000-$4,000 annual tag.

Retirement funds are generally not taxed, food and clothing are not taxed, and there are many perks specifically designed for Senior survival. Buy where real estate taxes are low, and you have it made in Pennsylvania.


        Neshannock Creek
Inheritance and Estate Taxes
The Pennsylvania inheritance tax is calculated at a percentage of the value of the assets transferred which is determined by the relationship of the heir to the decedent and the decedent's date of death.  The tax rate is 4.5% for transfers to direct descendants (lineal heirs), 12% for transfers to siblings, and 15% for transfers to other heirs (except charitable organizations, exempt institutions, and government entities). Property owned jointly between husband and wife is exempt from the tax, while property inherited from a spouse, or from a child 21 or younger by a parent is exempt.  The estate tax is related to federal estate tax collection.


For further information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue site or call 717-787-8201.


*2007 Tax Ranking By State    Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census Bureau and Tax Foundation

*Property Taxes  (State and Local) State Ranking    The Tax Foundation




  A unique Pennsylvania Drug Program For Retirees


PACE Plus Medicare - click here for information and qualifications   


PACE and PACENET offer comprehensive prescription coverage to older Pennsylvanians and cover most medications that require prescriptions, including insulin, syringes and insulin needles.  These programs are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery. 


There are no premiums or monthly fees charged to people who enroll.  These programs do not cover over-the-counter medicines, medical equipment or doctor, hospital, dental or vision services. 


For information or assistance with the application process, call PACE/PACENET cardholder Services toll free at 1-800-225-7223


Choose any of the following links for more information:


Do I qualify for PACE or PACENET?


For consumers who do not qualify for PACE/PACENET click here to find the Medicare Part D plan that is best for you.


How do I enroll in PACE or PACENET?


Frequently Asked Questions about PACE & PACENET


Other Pharmaceutical Programs 


PACE/PACENET Reports & Publications


Note: (This is not a PACE item) A 96-page bill containing Gov. Ed Rendell's universal health care plan covering all Pennsylvanians was introduced in the state House on March 18, 2007. More



One more thing to put into the equation when deciding where to retire. Survey of top 25 US cities. Least to Most Courteous drivers.




   52 Great Pennsylvania Towns for Retirees


<<< Banks Bridge ( more photos),

      Between New Castle

      and New Wilmington, PA



SeniorArk was presenting 52 links to great Pennsylvania towns. CNN no longer offers the information that was offered here. For the time being, click this link:  http://www.pavisnet.com/cgi-bin/towndata.cgi.

Then enter a Pennsylvania town, and you should be taken to its web site. Our thanks to reader,  Bill O'Brien, for calling our attention to the bad links.


Here is a list of the towns that were on the list:


Town Population Town Population
Allentown 155,593 Lansdale 53,816
Allison Park 23,681 Macungie 15,681
Ambler 32,076 Malvern 24,836
Bethlehem 119,910 Marcus Hook 28,247
Blue Bell 19,676 Mechanicsburg 60,602
Bridgeville 16,172 Media 39,082
Broomall 20,832 Morrisville 54,943
Chalfont 18,366 New Castle * 23,334
Clarks Summit 23,152 New Hope 15,524
Collegeville 34,402 Newtown 28,025
Cranberry Twp 25,156 Newtown Square 17,414
Downingtown 43,274 North Wales 26,676
Doylestown 50,135 Philadelphia 1,467,326
Elkins Park 19,923 Phoenixville 35,521
Erie 184,345 Pittsburgh 717,939
Exton 15,616 Plymouth Meeting 15,000
Gibsonia 23,962 Reading 195,003
Harleysville 22,830 Royersford 23,638
Harrisburg 156,777 Schwenksville 14,215
Havertown 36,711 Sewickley 17,274
Horsham 16,707 Southampton 38,206
Hummelstown 19,568 Warrington 17,914
Jenkintown 19,327 Wayne 31,662
Kennett Square 20,416 West Chester 103,409
King Of Prussia 22,493 Wexford 18,311
Lancaster 152,428 York 157,444
Langhorne 34,473    


    *New Castle is the home town of  www.SeniorArk.com

     Map these towns at Google Maps

     You can get additional, and more detailed information on these towns at: City-Data.com


Also see:

*"Retirement Housing on Less than a Shoestring" is a special SeniorARK first-hand experience!

You may also be interested in: Taxes, By State,          Housing Tips,      Housing Links

Pennsylvania towns with populations over 6,000       Who knew this gem was out there?

Top American Cities for Seniors---Study, Bankers Life and Casualty Company 

Where can I find -- a great home -- in a great town --  for less than $50,000?



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www.SeniorARK.com                                        email: SeniorARK@aol.com