Pennsylvania has its fair share of retirees. Perhaps you are newly-retired to the state, lived and worked here all or most of your life and now are kicking back— or you’re a seasoned retiree. Wherever you fit into the puzzle, you are one of the 2,056,241 retired workers who account for 71.5% of all the Social Security beneficiaries in the state.
According to the newly released facts on Social Security by the Public Policy Institute of AARP, more than one in five Pennsylvania residents receives Social Security benefits.
Of all those recipients, those who collect disability benefits make up 13.2% of the state’s beneficiaries and those who receive spousal or survivor benefits account for 9.5%. Children who receive Social Security benefits make up another 5.9%.
There were some interesting bits of information in that report. Among the facts of interest was that the average benefit paid to a retired worker in Pennsylvania is $1,601 a month, while the national average is $1,544. Those who collect disability benefits are slightly above the national average of $1,277 and receive $1,282 per month.
If you have ever wondered about how important Social Security is to our retired population, here is your answer: Forty-two percent of those 65 and older rely on this funding as at least half of their income. And of those, 17% in the same age group live in families that rely on the program for at least 90% of their income.
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Now all this being said, there are many reasons that Pennsylvania is an attractive retirement location. Being close to metropolitan areas, while enjoying the beauty of the state is of course one of the most often mentioned by those who migrate here.
However, and the following information is something you can amaze your visiting relatives with at that backyard BBQ. It is a little-known fact that Pennsylvania produces the largest quantities of craft beer in the country, with its 354 breweries producing nearly 4 million barrels of craft beer each year.
The state also makes 80% of the pretzels in the country, led by big names like Snyders (Hanover), Auntie Anne’s (Lancaster), and Philadelphia Pretzel Factory (Philly). Pennsylvania has the highest number of potato chip companies in the country, such as Bickel’s, Herr’s, Martin’s, Snyder’s, Utz, and more. Finally, Pennsylvania is the second-largest ice cream producer in the country, and has 31 independent creameries.
I told you that was important information to add to your deep knowledge of the state. Pennsylvania ranks as the fifth most populous state with about half of the population found in urban areas that are densely populated, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The other 50% is scattered around the state and make up the rural and suburban areas.
There are other reasons retirees consider moving to the state: Tax breaks, lower cost of living than some of our neighboring states, access to the outdoors, the number of sports teams representing all major sports, generally lower crime rates (outside of cities), and higher rated healthcare.
To be fair, there are some cons to the state. Traffic, bad roads, inheritance tax, air quality in some locations, and that winter weather. All that aside, you’ll have plenty of pretzel, chips, ice cream and craft beer!
Debbie Kulick writes a weekly column for the Pocono Record and Tri-County Independent. She serves on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as an EMT.
This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: Opinion: Pennsylvania has its fair share of retirees