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.
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 landscape everywhere
While most famous for the epic Grand Canyon, the state of Arizona actually has diverse topography and landscapes.
You’ll have access to everything from gorges and deserts to flatlands, hills and beautiful striped rocks around every corner. In fact, the state is host to an impressive 22 state parks.
#3. The low cost of living in Arizona
One of the biggest perks of living in Arizona is that the cost of living is still reasonable.
In many parts of the U.S., the cost of housing is rising exponentially. Happily, that is not the case in Arizona, where the cost of living – even in major cities like Phoenix – remains close to the US average.
The average monthly rent or cost of home ownership is more than 30 percent lower than that of living in New York City, and the cost of groceries, utilities and other essentials is likewise, much more reasonable.
All this to say, if you’re moving to Arizona with an expectation of buying a home then you’re in luck.
#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 many 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 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 you’re moving to Arizona in search of a new job, you’re in luck! Arizona has a strong economy that is bolstered by the tech industries and tourism.
With more than 10 million visitors a year coming in to visit the Grand Canyon, as well as the influx of part-time residents that come to Arizona for the winter, the economy will only continue to grow.
You’ll also notice after moving to Arizona that the healthcare and tech markets are particularly strong.
#8. Lack of flying bugs (flies and mosquitoes)
That’s right. The dry weather in Arizona is inhospitable to insects, meaning that you will see almost no flies or mosquitoes after moving to Arizona.
While it may sound like a small thing, anyone who has lived in a swampy, humid state and dealt with being attacked by swarms of mosquitoes can tell you otherwise. It’s one less thing to deal with, and a great bonus when you enjoy your outdoor recreation time.
#9. Low crime rate
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.
#10. Cultural opportunities
Arizona’s unique location, as mentioned above, 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
Arizona is bordered by several states – California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah – and one other country, Mexico; which makes it the perfect jumping-off point for a road trip to just about anywhere in the Southwest.
Depending upon which direction one goes, it’s easy to find an entirely new landscape and culture within a short few hours’ drive from home!
#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
There are no two ways about it. Arizona is a difficult place to get by without a car. The major cities have limited public transportation, and the distance between cities, neighborhoods, or homes can make it hard to get around.
Additionally, because of the heat, commuting by bike or walking may be an option only at certain times of year or during the cooler parts of the day, depending on the distance.
#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.
While some of these creepy-crawlies are merely irritating, or a little startling, others – such as rattlesnakes – can pose genuine danger. If you enjoy being outdoors, you should be prepared to keep an eye out for – and occasionally see – snakes and large insects, such as scorpions.
#5. Dust storms are not uncommon
They may not come through town particularly often and do not last long, but most people are quite shocked the first time they see a dust storm.
These large storms send heavy winds across dry areas of land, bringing giant clouds of dust and dirt with them. Being outside in one is uncomfortable, getting in the eyes or mouth. They leave a layer of grit and dirt in their wake.
#6. Same old, same old (lack of variety)
For some, an endless summer sounds great, but for others, the lack of change in seasons in Arizona leaves a lot to be desired.
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
Arizona gets a huge influx of snowbirds – retirees and others who leave their cold locales for the warm Arizona winter – each year. This can affect everything from traffic to the ability to get a restaurant table or get to work on time.
Of course, the number of visitors vary greatly by region. Phoenix gets an influx of more than 300,000 of these visitors per year. That’s the size of a smaller city all its own!
If you’re looking for a small-town atmosphere in Arizona, it’d behoove you to look at the tourist/visitation statistics before making a decision. Congestion around major attractions, such as the Grand Canyon, can be bad at any time of year.
#8. Job concentration
While Arizona does, indeed, have a strong economy, the majority of that economy – at least in high-tech and high-paying sectors – is concentrated largely in the two metropolitan areas of Tucson and Phoenix.
In fact, almost 25% of the state’s jobs are located in one of the two great metropolitan areas. It can be difficult to find higher-level employment outside of the cities.
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.