To my surprise, Forbes, in a newly released study, named Columbus, Ohio as the best place to spend my golden years. Surprise, because I already live there, and such strokes of good fortune are not often graced upon me. Dallas, Minneapolis, and Houston finished just behind Columbus on the list.
Why would our city gain such esteem? Certainly, we have relentless cloud cover nine months of the year that guards us from UV and skin cancer, and the OSU football team to keep us humble. But we must have something else going for us. Forbes looked at a number of stats, including housing cost (we have beau coup empty houses for sale), inflation, access to health care, cost of living, and job prospects.
We Columbusites benefit hugely from being the Buckeye State capital, the linch pin that helps keep our downtown thriving. The Ohio State University, the largest school in the country, provides a second core for jobs and culture. Unlike most of our Midwestern cities, Columbus, a late bloomer, was never overly dependent on heavy industry, so the loss of manufacturing jobs that has bedeviled Cleveland, Detroit and others has not impacted our city as much.
Other companies such as Nationwide Insurance and The Limited that have their home here also help support a healthy job market.
The city is large enough to bring in top entertainers and professional soccer and hockey, to have a well-served airport, but small enough that rush hour traffic still flows. It has a very diverse culture, with a large Somalian population, as well as many immigrants from around the world drawn by OSU, Honda of America and other companies. It also seems to provide a welcoming climate for the GLBT community.
For we blue-hairs, a couple of shortcomings temper our enthusiasm. Our mass transit system sucks, with buses infrequent except for the main thoroughfares. Funding for programs to serve the elderly are constantly under assault.
And the kids all drive too darn fast!