Older Population Grows as Columbia Ranked in Top Places to Retire

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COLUMBIA - Rollie and Marty Hausman are retired and spend their days gardening, baking and enjoying each other's company. A growing trend shows they are not alone: updated numbers show a rise in residents 65 and older in Boone County. 

Latest numbers from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services show the number of 65+ residents in Boone County in 2011 was 15,500. In 2001, there were 11,976 residents aged 65 and older. This is an increase of almost 30 percent over 10 years.

And this trend could be indicative of a positive viewpoint on retired life in Columbia. According to Forbes annual "Best Places to Retire," Columbia is one of the top 15 places to retire in the United States.

Mike Brooks, president of Regional Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), said the value of a dollar in Columbia is appealing to retirees. 

"I hate to say it's a cost-effective place," he said. "But housing here is reasonable, the cost of food, the cost of medical services is attractive so from a cost standpoint we're an attractive location."

Hausman said the college students who live near his house can be rowdy occasionally, but that is not enough to deter him and his wife from enjoying retirement in Columbia.

"Kids come running through every once in a while," he said. "But it's neat to be around the university because it's young and a lot of young people and young people keep you young, keep you on the go." 

Brooks said he believes the university culture adds to Columbia's appeal for retirees.

"There is so much that happens in a college town that wont happen in a community of our size without the university," Brooks said. "Cultural events, art fairs, and the opportunity to go out dining in locally owned restaurants."