Article Overview: Living in Arizona & Moving to Arizona
Thinking of moving to Arizona?
Home to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, panoramic desert landscapes and great people, there’s a lot to love about living in Arizona.
Bordering California, Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada, and the country of Mexico, this beautiful landscape of this landlocked state attracts visitors in droves. But as you already know, visiting the state isn’t the same as actually living in Arizona.
I’ve lived in Arizona for the past eight years and have learned a handful of helpful lessons along the way. Today I’d like to share my personal list of the pros and cons of living in Arizona for anyone considering a similar move.
If you’ve been thinking of moving to Arizona, we’re here to help. Keep on reading for our list of the top pros and cons of living in the Grand Canyon State.
Pros & Cons of Living in Arizona
Whether you’re considering moving to Arizona for retirement, a new job, or a simple change of pace, we’ve made a list of our favorite (and least favorite) things about life in Arizona.
Note: This post is part of the Local Living Series, wherein locals share honest insights of living in a specific city through comprehensive pros and cons lists. If you’d like to reach out to the author directly with questions, please do so in the comments below and our team will ensure it gets to the right person.
Table of Contents: Living in Arizona
Table of Contents: Living in Arizona
- Pros & Cons of Living in Arizona
- Pros of Living in Arizona
- #1. You can say goodbye to winter weather
- #2. Beautiful landscapes everywhere
- #3. The low cost of living in Arizona
- #4. Life in Arizona is easy on the lungs
- #5. Getting around by car is a breeze
- #6. There’s a lot of cultural diversity
- #7. Robust job market
- #8. Lack of insects (think mosquitoes!)
- #9. Low crime rate
- #10. Cultural opportunities
- #11. Location is king
- #12. Outdoor sports fanatics, rejoice
- Cons of Moving to Arizona
- Pros & Cons of Moving to Arizona (Post Summary)
- Pros of Living in Arizona
Pros of Living in Arizona
#1. You can say goodbye to winter weather
Okay, so listing lack of winter weather as the first pro of living in Arizona may come across as odd but hear me out.
I can’t stand bone-chilling winters and one of the things that surprised me most about moving to Arizona was honestly being able to say goodbye to them for good.
Winter highs typically get into the 70s and snow is seen only on the higher mountains in the northern part of the state. Most days are sunny and there’s no chill to worry over.
With the exception of a very short “monsoon season” the weather is dry year-round, which means none of the bone-chilling wet cold that you encounter in most other US states.
So long gone are the days of shoveling snow and bundling up in head-to-toe gear for a morning stroll — easy to love that!
All this to say, if you’re like me and hope to escape winter for good, moving to Arizona is a great place to start.
#2. Beautiful landscapes everywhere
You want to know what my favorite part of living in Arizona is? It’s not the mild winters or the thriving job market – it’s the stunning landscapes that make you feel like you’re living in a painting. Seriously, the first time you see the Grand Canyon, it’s like reality takes a step back and lets Mother Nature take center stage.
We’re talking layers upon layers of red rock that catch the light in ways that’ll make your heart skip a beat. Towering saguaro cacti that dot the landscape like sentinels standing watch. Petrified Forest National Park with its rainbow of fossilized trees. And my, oh my, the sunsets. I can’t even begin to describe the way the sky lights up, it’s like a kaleidoscope of colors every evening.
Then there are places like Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley that look so surreal, you’ll have to pinch yourself to remember you’re not dreaming. These landscapes aren’t just beautiful, they’re soul-stirring. Trust me, living in Arizona is like having a front-row seat to some of the most incredible natural performances you’ll ever see. It’s like Mother Nature decided to show off just a little bit more here. And let me tell you, she nailed it.
#3. The low cost of living in Arizona
Here’s a secret about Arizona that’s too good not to share. You know how some places seem to demand you fork over a small fortune just to live there? Well, Arizona’s got a way friendlier attitude towards your wallet.
What I mean is, in comparison to many parts of the country, living here can be surprisingly affordable. Housing? Often more reasonable than you’d expect, especially if you venture out from the major cities. And day-to-day expenses like groceries, utilities, and gas? Generally, they’ll make you cringe less here than in some other states.
Plus, you can save on things you might not expect. For instance, the cost of car insurance tends to be lower here than the national average. And let’s not forget about taxes – Arizona has some pretty competitive tax rates. All in all, it’s like living in Arizona comes with a bit of a discount. It’s one of those perks that doesn’t always make the headlines but makes a big difference to your bank account.
#4. Life in Arizona is easy on the lungs
Arizona has long been known as a refuge for those with lung, joint or other chronic health conditions. This is for good reason.
The air in Arizona is substantially cleaner, with lower levels of pollution than in most other areas of the United States. Additionally, the arid climate means less mold and allergens.
Because rain and snow can aggravate conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, Arizona’s climate provides relief for many different maladies. This is, of course, one of the reasons that it has become so popular with retirees, who move to the state permanently, or to visit for the winter.
#5. Getting around by car is a breeze
Arizona has well-maintained roads. With a higher speed limit and very little traffic, getting places in Arizona cities (except for Tucson) is a snap.
Unlike cities like Boston and Atlanta, where roundabouts and curving roads are the norm, the larger cities of Arizona – Tucson and Phoenix – are laid out in a grid, much like New York City.
You can learn your way around quickly shortly after moving to Arizona, and GPS will rarely lead you astray. Parking in metropolitan areas is also relatively easy.
#6. There’s a lot of cultural diversity
Arizona’s rich history and proximity to the country of Mexico contribute to a diverse population and the cultural richness that goes along with that. In fact, Arizona is home to 22 Native American tribes, including the Hopi, Apache, and Navajo.
Their influence can be felt in the art, architecture, food and traditions that you’ll find throughout Arizona. The state also has a strong mix of diversity in terms of ages. While retirees have been flocking to the state for years, young people are also making the move to Arizona’s cities.
#7. Robust job market
If there’s one thing you can say about moving to Arizona, it’s that this state is no slouch when it comes to job opportunities. Trust me, it’s like a vibrant, bustling bazaar where new doors seem to be opening all the time. We’ve got a job market that’s been described as ‘robust’ more times than a hearty stew.
Healthcare, finance, tech, you name it – there’s a veritable feast of industries that have set up shop here. Major companies have been moving in, bringing a wave of job openings with them. And it’s not just Phoenix and Tucson either – places like Chandler, Scottsdale, and Mesa have been getting in on the action too.
On top of that, the state’s been nurturing a healthy startup scene, so if you’re into that entrepreneurial spirit, you’re in good company. What I’m saying is, if you’re job hunting, Arizona’s like a smorgasbord of opportunities. Sure, there’s competition, but with so many options, it’s hard not to get excited about the possibilities.
#8. Lack of insects (think mosquitoes!)
One of the sweet surprises about life in Arizona? It’s a bit like living in a bug-free bubble. Don’t get me wrong, we have our share of creepy-crawlies (more on that below), but when it comes to the typical pesky insects, it’s a totally different story.
If you’ve lived somewhere with swarms of mosquitos, you’ll appreciate the near absence of these bloodsuckers in our arid climate. I mean, it’s kind of nice being able to enjoy a summer evening without becoming a mosquito’s all-you-can-eat buffet, right? And those pesky gnats that seem to invade every picnic in other places? Not here.
Plus, thanks to the dry climate, things like fleas and ticks aren’t much of an issue either. So, while we might spend a little more time than we’d like dealing with the occasional scorpion or spider, at least we’re not constantly swatting away at swarms of annoying insects. I’d call that a win in the bug department.
#9. Low crime rate
You know what’s one of the unsung perks of living in Arizona? It’s not the sunsets, or the hiking, or even the mild winters – though all those are fantastic. It’s the low crime rates. Now, not every corner of the state can claim to be a crime-free utopia, but on the whole, Arizona’s got a pretty good report card when it comes to safety.
While all cities and states have their crime problems, Arizona has a much lower rate for all crimes than many other areas of the nation. The average number of violent crimes per 1,000 people is just under 5 for the whole of the US. Arizona’s average (in cities) is less than half that, at 1.7 per thousand. This is a rate that is lower than even many rural or suburban areas of the US.
A bunch of our communities regularly make it onto those “Safest Cities” lists. You know the ones I’m talking about – places like Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale. Here, you can often find that small-town feel where neighbors know each other, and it’s not uncommon to see kids riding bikes or playing in parks without a worry.
Even in the larger cities like Phoenix or Tucson, you’ve got neighborhoods that boast crime rates well below the national average. Now, don’t get me wrong, like anywhere, you’ve got to be aware and take sensible precautions. But all in all, it’s nice to live somewhere where the evening news isn’t always full of doom and gloom, and you can leave your house without double-checking the locks three times. It’s one of those quality-of-life things that really makes a difference.
#10. Cultural opportunities
Arizona’s unique location (more on that below) means there’s a lot of cultural opportunities for all residents to enjoy. Cultural festivals and art shows are a year-round occurrence while living in Arizona.
You’ll find large numbers of native crafts, art galleries and museums. In fact, Arizona is home to the world-famous Heard Museum, which celebrates Indigenous cultures with an extensive collection of cultural artifacts, rotating exhibits and collaborations with current Native American historians and artists.
The melding of cultures also extends to the food in Arizona. You’ll find some of the best and most innovative Southwest cuisine in the nation here.
#11. Location is king
You know, living in Arizona you’ll find that the location may come with its share of quirks, but it’s got a lot going for it too. For one, it’s a literal stone’s throw from California, Nevada, and Mexico, making it a convenient base for all sorts of jaunts. You’re never more than a day’s drive from the beaches of SoCal or the bright lights of Vegas. Fancy a quick trip south of the border? No problem, Mexico’s right next door.
Another major plus is our proximity to a slew of natural wonders. I’m talking the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Painted Desert – all those postcard-perfect spots that make Arizona a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. And let’s not forget about the vibrant cultural experiences at our fingertips.
Between the rich Native American heritage, old mining towns, and historic missions, there’s plenty to immerse yourself in. Then there’s the bonus of Arizona’s location within the Pacific Time Zone for half the year and Mountain Time Zone the other half, giving us that little bit of extra daylight in the evenings.
So yes, while the summers might be hot and the landscape a little on the arid side, there’s no denying that Arizona’s location is pretty darn advantageous when you look at the big picture.
#12. Outdoor sports fanatics, rejoice
If you are outdoor recreation enthusiast, you’re in luck! In Arizona, you’ll find access to a wide variety of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed year round. From hiking and bike riding to climbing, there are abundant opportunities to enjoy the out of doors year round.
You might be surprised to learn that Arizona is also known for its golf courses and for some of the best fly-fishing spots in the nation. If you’re looking for friends to enjoy the outdoor activities with, you’ll find a large number of outdoor enthusiasts living in the state. It’s a great way to make new friends.
Cons of Moving to Arizona
Nothing is perfect and Arizona is no exception. Here are a few of the potential downsides you might want to consider if you’re thinking of moving to Arizona.
#1. The heat is a bear
While the idea of temperate and pleasant winters can sound incredibly inviting, the flip side is that summers in Arizona are brutally hot.
You can expect daily sunshine with temperature getting as high as 112 degrees.
The hottest month of the year is June, when average temperatures in Phoenix rarely fall below 100. During this hot month, most outdoor activities take place in the early morning or late evening when the temps are more bearable.
Just know that when you move to Arizona, you won’t be able to enjoy summer without making plans around water-centered activities.
#2. Moving to Arizona? Brace yourself for barren landscapes
This is another of those “one person’s pro is another person’s con” situations, in that deserts are both beautiful and, potentially, quite dangerous. When driving through the desert, it’s vital to be properly prepared as there are stretches of road where there are no roadside services available for many miles.
The intense heat can quickly become dangerous in such situations. If you’re not a fan of the desert landscape, you might quickly become bored with driving outside of the cities.
#3. Lack of public transportation
When it comes to public transportation, let me just say Arizona has some catching up to do. It’s almost as if our city planners assumed everyone rode a horse. You’ve got your major city centers like Phoenix or Tucson where you’ll find some buses and light rail, but stray too far from those spots and you might find yourself stranded in the desert without a horse, so to speak.
And speaking of those city centers, even within them, the public transportation system isn’t quite a well-oiled machine. Buses and light rails can be infrequent and routes often limited, especially off-peak hours or weekends. And if you’re out in the more rural parts of the state, it’s basically nonexistent.
Without your own car, getting from A to B can feel like an epic adventure from a bygone era. The state’s spread-out nature doesn’t help either. Distances between places can be long, making a car more of a necessity than a luxury. Living in Arizona you’ll catch on pretty quick – if you don’t have a car, you’re left playing a game of transportation roulette.
#4. The wildlife
Earlier, we mentioned the lack of most pest bugs as one of the advantages of living in Arizona. While there may not be much in the way of flies and mosquitoes, there is an abundance of wildlife, from insects to larger animals.
Take the snakes for instance. We’ve got more than our fair share of venomous varieties. Rattlesnakes? Check. Coral snakes? Yep. And they love to hide in the most unexpected places – under your porch, in your garden, you name it. Let’s not forget about the scorpions that sneak into homes, especially during the summer. Their sting? Not fun, I promise you.
And then there’s the big guys – coyotes and javelinas. You might think they’re more scared of you, and they often are, but you really don’t want them getting too comfortable around your place. They’ve been known to rummage through trash and, let’s just say, aren’t too picky about what constitutes food. Pets can become a target, unfortunately.
Plus, javelinas can be surprisingly aggressive if cornered. And the bird life! Don’t get me wrong, roadrunners and quails are cool to watch, but when a woodpecker decides your house siding is its new favorite pecking spot at 5 in the morning, you might start rethinking your appreciation of nature’s alarm clock.
#5. Dust storms are not uncommon
You know what they say, “It’s a dry heat,” and in Arizona, it’s not just the heat but the dust too. Oh, dust storms, or as we like to call them here, ‘haboobs’. Sounds fun, right? Like something you’d order at a beach bar. But let me tell you, they’re anything but.
Picture this: one minute you’re enjoying a beautiful sunny day, the next, it looks like the apocalypse with a mile-high wall of dust charging towards you. Trust me, it’s like living in a science fiction movie.
And when it hits? Forget about visibility. It’s like trying to navigate through thick fog, but it’s hot, gritty, and let’s not forget about the strong winds. It’s not just inconvenient – it can be downright dangerous. It’s not unusual for these storms to knock out power, uproot trees, and cause havoc on the roads.
If you’re caught driving in one, you might as well be trying to steer through a sandpaper blizzard. Not to mention the aftermath, everything, and I mean everything, is covered in a layer of dust. Your car, your home, your poor swimming pool, all of them get a heavy dusting. It’s like Mother Nature’s twisted version of spring cleaning, only you’re the one who’s left cleaning up.
#6. Same old, same old (lack of variety)
Now, don’t get me wrong, living in Arizona has its charms, but sometimes the endless panorama of browns and tans can wear on you. I mean, sure, there’s a rugged beauty to it – in the beginning.
Those flat expanses of desert stretching out under the vast sky, the tumbleweeds blowing by, the far-off buttes and mesas. It feels like you’ve stepped onto the set of an old Western movie. But after a while? It all starts to blend together in a sort of monotonous uniformity.
Variety is the spice of life, they say, but the Sonoran desert doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. It’s like the color palette here missed out on greens and blues. And the flora? Cacti, cacti, and let’s see, more cacti. Sure, there’s beauty in their resilience and the way the sunlight catches their prickly silhouettes at sunset, but there’s only so many saguaros one can admire before they all start looking the same.
Sometimes, you find yourself craving for a sight of lush, green woods, or a babbling brook, or, heck, even a rain cloud would do. The unending stream of sunny, cloudless days can be relentless. If you’re the four-seasons type of person, the temperate fall and winter might bore you. And forget about a “white Christmas” or regular skiing or other winter sport activities.
#7. The great snowbird migration
You know, there’s an annual event here in Arizona that doesn’t exactly involve the calendar. It’s the arrival of the snowbirds – no, not the feathery kind, but the folks fleeing colder states in the winter for our desert sun. When these flocks descend upon us, it feels like someone’s flipped a switch and the state just gets busier overnight.
Highways that were easy sailing (unless you live in Tucson) turn into slow-moving conga lines. And trying to get a dinner reservation or a tee time? Forget about it. You’re now competing with an influx of temporary residents, all eager to enjoy their slice of the warm, sunny pie.
Plus, finding affordable housing during snowbird season can be a real adventure. It’s like our population balloons overnight, and the available rentals just aren’t enough. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad – the boost to local businesses is great, and the newfound hustle and bustle can be fun. But if you’re a local, sometimes the snowbird season can feel like a long, drawn-out family reunion that you didn’t exactly sign up for.
#8. Job concentration
If you’re looking for job opportunities in Arizona, it might feel a little bit like all the goodies are piled up in one corner of the sandbox. Arizona has a few major hubs where most of the action happens.
You know, the big kids on the block – Phoenix, Tucson, and to a lesser extent, Scottsdale and Mesa. These cities attract all the major employers, especially in sectors like healthcare, finance, and tech. But outside of these spots? The pickings can get a little slim.
For folks living in rural areas or smaller towns, this can mean a pretty hefty commute if they want a slice of the job pie. Telecommuting has gained some traction, sure, but it’s not a universal solution. And then there’s the competition.
With so many folks eyeing the same opportunities, the job market can feel like a crowded game of musical chairs. It can be especially tough for recent grads or those trying to switch careers. So while Arizona has definitely got its share of jobs, just remember that they’re not exactly spread out evenly on the table. There’s a lot of elbowing and jostling to get at ’em.
FAQ – Living in Arizona
Arizona is a great place to live for those who love warm weather, breathtaking desert landscapes, and a variety of outdoor activities.
I’d say a salary of 50-60K per person is needed to live comfortably in Arizona.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Arizona (Post Summary)
Arizona is a large state that boasts a diverse landscape of cities and natural areas. Among the many advantages and disadvantages of living in Arizona are:
- Mild winters
- Low cost of living
- Healthy living
- Cultural diversity
- Robust economy
- Lack of pest insects
- Low crime rates
- Convenient location for travelers
- Cultural opportunities
- Sports culture
- Outdoor recreation
- Year-round hot weather
- Barren landscape
- Lack of public transportation
- Lack of variety
- Invasive wildlife
- Dust storms
- Concentrated job market
- Yearly influx of winter visitors
Whatever your reasons for moving to Arizona, you’ll want to take all of the pros and cons under consideration and spend time looking at different areas of the state, if you haven’t decided on a location. With a little bit of preparation and research, you’re sure to find the perfect spot that suits your lifestyle.
Its location contributes to the unique cultural landscape that make this state unique. While Arizona might best be known for its national parks, scenic vistas and postcard landscapes, it’s also home to several large cities. Truly, Arizona has something to offer for just about everyone.
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