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Is Arizona a Good Place To Live? (The Pros & Cons)

Featured Images of Is Arizona a Good Place To Live

From the cool mountain ranges to the breathtaking deserts, Arizona offers a range of scenery and activities that make it an exciting place to live. It’s no wonder that people eagerly move from across the United States to discover how living in Arizona can transform their ability to be in charge of their own happiness and make friends with the rich natural environment around them.

Those who are thinking about moving to Arizona are probably asking themselves, “Is Arizona a good place to live?” If you’re looking for sunny skies and desert landscapes, Arizona can offer you a new lifestyle that’s full of adventure, new opportunities, and self-development. Whether you want a lower cost of living, are looking for job opportunities, or want a beautiful place to retire, Arizona can offer all that and more.

If Arizona sounds intriguing to you, read on to explore how moving to Arizona may be the right choice and what facets of Arizona life might be a sign that the state is not the right fit for you.

Arizona at a Glance

As the sixth biggest state based on land area and the fourteenth biggest state based on population, Arizona continues to develop itself to make use of its natural beauty and enthusiastic communities. Arizona was built upon the ancestral lands of Native Peoples, such as the Apache, Cocopah, Mohave, and Hopis. In fact, Arizona was named after a Tohono – O’odham language word that means “little spring,” showing the deep presence of indigenous people in the state’s history.

Although Arizona was the last of the 48 continental states to become a state on February 14, 1912, it has rapidly developed in those years and has been embraced for its many dualities, such as having both high and low elevations all in one state.

There are plenty of rural communities in the state, but the majority of the population are urban dwellers, and these areas, such as the capital Phoenix, continue to develop their urban centers. Being the 5th most populous U.S. city, Arizona combines urban amenities while offering rural adventures.

View of Phoenix Arizona from Top

Pros of Moving to Arizona

With natural wonders, sports teams, and vibrant cultures, the atmosphere of Arizona is incomparable. It is this atmosphere that makes people so curious about the state, but it is other features such as economic opportunity, retirement benefits, and lots of sunshine that make people decide to make Arizona their home.

1. Cultural Diversity

Many cultures live within the boundaries of Arizona. Being close to the Mexican border, the state has a lot of Mexican influences. It also benefits from the 22 recognized Native American tribes. These influences can be felt in the state’s architecture, art, food, and overall culture.

2. Embrace the Outdoors

Being home to the Grand Canyon, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, there’s no doubt that Arizona rivals all other states when it comes to natural beauty. The Grand Canyon may be a highlight of the state’s natural wonder, but it is far from the only great outdoor experience.

Sunny on most days, Arizona makes it easy to hike, bike, fish, boat, rock climb, and more. From the height of the mountains to the depths of the canyons, Arizona’s outdoors is a huge, magnificent playground. As a bonus, you’re not going to get a lot of mosquitoes when you spend time outside in Arizona.

3. Low Taxes

Chances are that you’ll like the relatively low tax rates. The tax rate for sales tax is 8.37%, which isn’t too overwhelming for most people. The individual income tax rate starts at 2.5%. As an added bonus, Arizona doesn’t have death taxes, which may seem grim to talk about, but it reflects Arizona’s priority of keeping taxes low.

4. Economical Opportunity

With one of the most promising economies in the United States, the U.S. News & World Report ranks Arizona’s economy overall as #5. Job growth is one of the main reasons people choose to live in Arizona. It is ranked #4 for growth because compared to the national average job growth of 0.2%, Arizona has an impressive job growth of 2.1%.

Arizona also offers a reasonable cost of living, and the average cost of living is $44,875. The typical home cost in the state is just over $400,000. Arizona’s cost of living is not among the very lowest in the nation, but it represents an example of a state that offers a reasonable cost of living to match the job opportunities and other advantages Arizona offers.

5. Sunshine to the Max

They call Florida the “Sunshine State,” but with an average of 85% sun, 193 clear days, and 3806 total hours of sunshine each year, Arizona comes out on top as the sunniest state. Not only does all this sunshine make it easier to do daily activities, but it can be great for people with conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder, who experience mood changes in the winter due to getting less daily sunlight.

6. Day Trips

Another thing about Arizona to love is that you can easily take trips to nearby states, such as California, New Mexico, or Nevada. You can even go on an international trip and head into Mexico with relative ease. While you don’t need to go on out-of-state trips to get a range of experiences in Arizona, it’s nice to have the option to easily visit new and exciting places.

7. Drive with Ease

If you’re looking to escape the congestion of areas like New York or Los Angeles, driving in Arizona’s urban areas is about as easy as it gets. Of course, there is always some level of city traffic no matter what state you go to, but Phoenix’s planned grid and relatively low traffic make it a lot easier to get around the city compared to other major U.S. cities.

8. Sports Teams Galore

For some families, sports events are a great way to unwind and connect. Arizona has plenty of opportunities for watching and even participating in sports. Golf is a huge sport in Arizona, and Phoenix has hundreds of golf courses and is home to the Phoenix Open. Phoenix also has teams in all four of the major sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Football League, and Major League Baseball.

9. California Isn’t the U.S.’s Only Wine Destination

When people think of American wine, they often think of California wine, but Arizona also produces some of the finest wine in the United States. The state has long made wine in its three main wine regions, the Verde Valley, Willcox, and Sonoita. With more than a hundred vineyards, wineries, and cellars in the state, wine lovers will fit right in when they move to Arizona.

10. Can Improve Health Conditions

Not only does the weather in Arizona tend to be pleasant year-round, but the dry and hot climate can actually do wonders for certain conditions. The climate may especially help people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, or chronic bronchitis. 

With so little rain, it can also be good for osteoporosis or arthritis, which can be influenced by precipitation. With all this in mind, Arizona is a popular location for people looking to improve their health, especially those looking for a retirement destination.

Cons of Moving to Arizona

There’s no denying the beauty of Arizona, and while many people choose to come to the state for the lifestyle it provides, Arizona certainly isn’t for everyone. There are many downsides to living in Arizona that make people realize that while Arizona may be a nice place to visit, it may not be a place where they want to love.

1. Things Get Congested Come Winter

People from colder states love to spend the winters in Arizona, so you may notice, seemingly overnight, that certain places get more busy. You’ll experience increased traffic in the winter and restaurant reservations and other venues may become more booked. You’ll want to ensure your housing and arrangements are made before the snowbirds come rushing in to make your life easier.

2. Dust Storms

Look out for haboobs! Haboobs are dust storms that happen often enough that you should be prepared for them if you move to Arizona. While they are scary at first, locals have gotten used to them and can more or less go about their daily lives. However, these storms, especially with strong winds, can cause damage or cause health or allergy issues if you don’t take the proper precautions.

3. Educational Concerns

Arizona has lower than desirable ranks for education. Overall, Arizona is ranked #45 across the United States. It is ranked towards the bottom of all states for higher education at #33, and it is very close to the bottom for pre-k to 12 at #48. Thus, education outcomes in Arizona can seem bleak, but there are many schools that overcome the average and families can find communities to promote better educational outcomes.

4. Crime and Corrections Worries

In the U.S. World News & World Report ranking, Arizona falls towards the bottom of crime and corrections at #38. Arizona’s corrections outcomes are better, ranking at #21. However, public safety is even lower at #40. The higher-than-average violent crime rate in Arizona is especially concerning for people looking to move. While these numbers can seem severe, it’s important to remember that crime rates will vary greatly based on the area where you are, so choosing your location wisely can remedy this issue.

5. Job Hubs Still Developing

The economy of Arizona offers a lot of promise, and there are hubs in cities like Phoenix and Tucson where major employers reside. These areas especially focus on industries like tech, finance, and healthcare, but in other areas of the state, it may be harder to find a job in your field. Living in rural areas may mean long commutes or getting creative with your employment.

6. Undesirable Creatures

When you move to Arizona, you may run into some undesirable residents. You’ll get a break from mosquitoes, but you will find snakes, including venomous kinds like coral snakes or rattlesnakes. Scorpions may also find their way into your home. Big animals like javelinas or coyotes are beautiful species, but they can go through your trash or even hurt your pets if you aren’t careful. You’ll also want to be careful around plants, some of which might be poisonous.

7. Too Much Heat? Maybe

There’s pleasant, warm weather, and there’s the feeling like you’re in an oven. Some people don’t mind the heat, but although Arizona winters offer mild temperatures, in the hottest month, June, it’s common for temperatures to stay above 100 degrees. Highs can go as higher (sometimes higher) than 112 degrees. Because of this heat, it’s common for locals to do more activities either early in the morning or in the evening when things have cooled off a bit.

8. Lots of Barren Space

The desert landscape can be very alluring when you first see it, but although beautiful, you may experience stretches where there’s pretty much nothing—no roadside services or civilization— which can be scary because if something goes wrong, the heat can be dangerous and you may find rural driving to be a burden.

9. Poor Public Transportation

If you are a lover of public transportation, you will likely be disappointed by what Arizona offers. There are some public transportation options in big cities, Phoenix and Tucson, but the transportation in these areas can have limited or infrequent routes that make it hard to get where you need to go. Beyond the cities, you’re unlikely to get any reliable public transit at all. Having your own car is often a must in Arizona.

How to Decide if Arizona is a Good Place to Live for You?

When deciding if moving to Arizona is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of living in Arizona, but it’s also crucial to understand what matters most for your unique circumstances. While Arizona has a lot to offer, you want to make sure you don’t glamorize the beauty of the state without fully addressing features that may make the move a wrong choice for your circumstances.

Where Are You Now? Where Do You Want to Be?

When you think about your current circumstances, you can get a pretty good idea of what you like and what you don’t. Think about what you dislike about where you are and what you love about where you are. 

Can moving to Arizona allow you to have what you love while helping you solve what you dislike? Arizona may not be able to give you everything you want, but you want to make sure that it checks more boxes than your current location and reflects the future you dream of having.

Imagine the Future You Want

Take some time to imagine your ideal future. What does that future look like? When you’re imagining, don’t start putting limitations on your dream, such as saying something is unrealistic. 

You want to let your imagination go wild so that you are fully in tune with what you want, not what you think you should want. If you need a tool to help you visualize the future you want, a mood board can help bring your vision to life. Not everything in your imagined future will come true, but try to stay true to the spirit of that vision and you’ll make better choices.

List Your Priorities

Now that you know the future you want, think about what your priorities are. Make a list and rank the most important things you want from a location. There are some things that you may want but aren’t that important to you, while other features will be must-haves. 

Remember that not all pros and cons are equal. You may have more cons on your list, but if most of those cons aren’t that important to you, the pros could win. Compare the most important features on your list to Arizona. How does it line up? If you are also considering other locations, add those to your comparison to see what place checks off most of the most important boxes.

What Weather Appeals to You?

Weather is one of the biggest factors you have to consider when you’re moving to Arizona. The sunny skies and mild winters are tempting, but you have to decide if you can handle the heat. Many people aren’t prepared for the intensity of the summers in Arizona. You can get used to them, but if you aren’t a huge fan of heat to begin with, you might regret moving to Arizona.

Look at Your Budget

Unfortunately, budget is a big part of any move. You not only have to consider the potential cost of living changes, but you’ll also have to make sure that you have enough money to actually make the move. Moving expenses can quickly add up and usually cost several thousand dollars. Go over all the anticipated expenses and determine what those expenses may look like in your desired area.

Tips for Moving to Arizona

Moving to Arizona can be a huge change, but moving doesn’t have to be as burdensome as you may believe. The following tips will give you some insight into how to make a move as easy as possible.

  • Avoid moving in the winter if possible. Arizona is more crowded in the winter, so it will be easier to go through the process when the snowbirds aren’t flooding into Arizona.
  • Determine what location is best for you based on factors such as career ambitions, retirement goals, or family educational needs. Additionally, think of the kinds of activities that would most appeal to you.
  • Visit areas you might want to live in before deciding to move there so that you can get a feel for what it might be like to settle down in that area. Each neighborhood and area feels quite different, so even if you’ve been to Arizona before, remember the diversity of the state.
  • If possible, visit for an extended stay so that you move with confidence and have a better idea of what to expect. It’s good to try this experiment in the summer when the weather is hardest for most people to endure.
  • Make sure you research career options before you move. Some areas may have limited opportunities in certain fields, so you want to make sure that you don’t move without knowing you can work in the field you want.
  • Organize all your information about the move in one place so that nothing gets lost and you can work as efficiently as possible.
  • Budget around $5,000 dollars (or more if you’re move will be especially big or far). You may need less if your move is smaller, but this figure will help you lessen the risk of running up unexpected moving costs.
  • Make a list of what you want most from your moving experience and what you may be concerned about— this list can help you clarify your priorities so that you act in your own best interests.

FAQs

When considering a big move to Arizona, it’s normal for people to have a lot of questions. For most people, Arizona marks a huge change in what they’re used to. The following questions will help you better understand if Arizona is the right place for you.

What is it like to live in Arizona?

Living in Arizona means embracing a beautiful desert landscape as well as embracing the diverse cultures that make Arizona what it is. With mild weather in the winter and hot weather in the summer, you can look forward to many sunny days in Arizona. Even on the hottest days, the heat is dry, so for many, it is more bearable.

What is the downside to living in Arizona?

With its deserts, Arizona can get pretty hot, and weather over 100 degrees in the summer is pretty normal. Being out in this weather can be detrimental to your health. Fortunately, many areas use air conditioning to remedy the temperatures. However, your outdoor activities may be limited on extra hot days.

Is Arizona expensive to live in?

Some areas of Arizona are more expensive than others, but overall, Arizona has an affordable cost of living, and with around an average of $44,000, people can generally handle their basic needs.  Arizona is markedly much more affordable than the nearby state of California.

What is Arizona’s minimum wage?

Arizona has a state-wide minimum wage of $13.85, which is higher than the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour. This minimum wage is much closer than the inflation-adjusted wage of $15.00 per hour. Many employers pay more than this minimum, but all Arizona employees are guaranteed at least the minimum wage.

Is Arizona weather better than Florida?

Arizona’s weather is quite different from Florida’s weather, but it is not inherently better. Florida and Arizona both have hot weather, but Florida is more humid and less sunny, while Arizona has dry heat and has more sunny days.

Is it safer to live in Arizona or Florida?

Arizona tends to have slightly higher crime rates than Florida, but each state has safer and more dangerous areas. Arizona can experience harmful extreme weather like dust storms, while Florida experiences major storms like hurricanes. Arizona is home to toxic plants and dangerous creatures like black widow spiders and rattlesnakes. Florida has its own creatures like alligators.

Is it better to live in Arizona or Texas?

Arizona and Texas have many similarities in ethnic populations, weather, and cultural influences, but they also have many differences. Both states tend to have mild winters and hot summers, but Texas tends to have more weather variations and will have slightly less hot summers and cooler winters. Arizona tends to be more urbanized, while Texas blends highly urban areas with rural areas. Each state is beloved for its unique environment and blend of pros and cons.

Is it a good idea to move to Arizona?

Many think that Arizona’s sunny days offer ideal living conditions. Arizona continues to attract new residents from across the United States and the world because it offers stunning sights and a unique and diverse lifestyle. The state also offers a reasonable cost of living, job growth, and plenty to do.

Explore Our More Articles on Arizona

    Liz Flynn

    Written by Liz Flynn

    Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

    Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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