The city of Kaplan was one of two Louisiana communities announced by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Office of Tourism as a certified retirement community.

The Louisiana Certified Retirement Community program, enacted last year, evaluates towns, cities and parishes on criteria such as climate, demographics, tax structure, local housing availability, public safety, employment and volunteer opportunities, healthcare and public transportation to see if a locality will be a good fit where senior citizens could retire. 

“With nearly 76 million baby boomers nearing retirement in the coming years, many states are working to draw them to their areas,” Nungesser said in a release. “And we thought we should take advantage to not only grow tourism but help spur economic development.”

According to the Encore Louisiana Commission, which evaluates application for Certified Retirement Community status, each community that is chosen has demonstrated the qualities that make them premier locations for retirees. This designation could bring more people to the area.

“From an economic development perspective, we know that people electing to move to rural communities for retirement tend to cluster together based on community’s ability to become recognizable or meet the retirees’ needs,” said Anne Falgout, executive director of the Vermilion Economic Development Alliance. “But in addition to just increasing population, this kind of recruitment can improve the community’s overall affluence and buying power, attract desired services, improve the local workforce with skilled labor, and strengthen community involvement.”

Kaplan and Tangipahoa Parish were certified together. Others include Lafayette Parish, Lake Charles, Natchitoches, Shreveport-Bossier City, Houma and Terrebonne Parish and Thibodaux. 

Originally published in The Acadiana Advocate, March 15, 2019