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News / Northwest

Study puts Gig Harbor in top 10 places to retire

By Chase Hutchinson, The Peninsula Gateway
Published: June 18, 2021, 7:30pm

GIG HARBOR — It’s not a surprise to the people who live there, but the city of Gig Harbor was recently named one of the top 10 places to retire in the country.

According to a recent study, Gig Harbor was named the fourth best place to retire in the country. It came in behind Cumming, Ga., Naples, Fla., and Beverly Hills, Calif.

The study, by the financial planning website SmartAsset, looked at the tax burden, number of doctors’ offices per 1,000 people and the number of retirement centers per 1,000 people.

In Gig Harbor, the tax burden is 15.3 percent, there are 11.8 doctors’ offices per 1,000 people, and 3.2 recreation centers per 1,000 people. For the 24.6 percent of the population who are seniors living in the city, these factors were identified as making the area one of the best places to live.

This isn’t the first time Gig Harbor has been recognized as a good place to retire. In 2019, the Pierce County city was named the No. 1 spot to retire in Washington in front of Sequim, Snohomish, and Olympia. In recent years, the city has seen more retirement homes show up in the area, including the $145 million community Heron’s Key, which consists of apartment and cottage-style living units.

Laura Pettitt, tourism and communications director for the city, said making Gig Harbor a good place to live is by design.

“That goes further to quality of life and what we consistently try to do as a city. We try to make reasons for it to be wonderful to live here, wonderful to retire here, and wonderful to have leisure time here,” Pettitt said. “That speaks to a lot of the infrastructure we do on making the city a walkable destination and connecting neighborhoods, specifically that’s benefited the Heron’s Key area, which is one of our larger retirement communities.”

Pettitt said those large numbers of retirement communities is part of the city’s identity.

“We do have one of the largest densities of retirement communities in the U.S., and that specifically also speaks to our quality of life,” Pettitt said. “Whether it be outdoor activities or civic events, there is always something to do in Gig Harbor, and there is a real focus on quality of life, whether it be elementary school or retirees. I think that speaks specifically to why this is a great place to retire.”