By Anya Martin
Dubbed by locals as “The Hub City,” Hattiesburg sits roughly an hour and a half from Jackson, the state capital, and the Gulf Coast, and just under two hours away from New Orleans. “Retirees love it here because they can easily travel to diverse places,” says Valencia Williamson, the vice president of the area development partnership for the Chamber of Commerce.
But Hattiesburg has plenty happening in town, too. Three local colleges— University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey and Pearl River Community College—offer lifelong learning opportunities and sponsor frequent events such as concerts and speakers. Hattiesburg has a small, but thriving, historic downtown area anchored by the Saenger Theater for performances. Newly redeveloped Town Square Park hosts concerts in spring and fall, as well as Hubfest, an annual music and food festival in March which attracts more than 15,000 attendees. FestivalSouth, a two-week annual city event in June, features music, art, dance, food and educational activities. The Hattiesburg Cultural Center hosts an art gallery and historic museum. Plus, The Hattiesburg Area Historical Society, the city’s parks and recreation department and other local organizations welcome senior volunteers.
Hattiesburg has plenty of health care providers include Forest General Hospital, a 512-bed regional referral center; Hattiesburg Clinic, the largest specialty clinic in the state; and Merit Health Wesley hospital. Hattiesburg Laurel Regional Airport offers direct flights to Dallas-Forth Worth, with an international airport 90 minutes away in Jackson. The weather is mild much of the year, with lots of sunshine, but while summers can be hot, there’s significantly less humidity than on the Gulf Coast or in New Orleans, Ms. Williamson says. The cost of living is 10.6% lower than the national average, but retirees looking to work during their golden years may wish to consider that the unemployment rate is high at 11.5%, compared to the national rate of 8.3%, according to Sperling’s Best Places.
By the numbers
Median home cost: $103,900
Cost of living: 10.6% lower than average
Source: Sperling’s Best Places