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Life in Arizona: 11 Things to Know Before Moving 2024

Life in Arizona

Are you contemplating a move to the stunning state of Arizona? Here are 11 essential facts you need to be aware of about life in Arizona!

Arizona, a state of awe-inspiring beauty, is nestled in the southwestern region of the United States and is home to over 7.279 million inhabitants. Fondly referred to as The Grand Canyon State, Arizona is a fantastic place to reside and is frequently ranked among the top spots in the nation to begin a fresh chapter of life.

Arizona is celebrated for its spectacular natural splendor, reasonable cost of living, stable housing market, plentiful job prospects, and top-tier healthcare and education systems. It’s no surprise that a diverse mix of young professionals, families, and retirees are choosing to make Arizona their home.

With a variety of amazing cities that offer boundless opportunities to their residents and delightful weather throughout the year, there’s a lot to be excited about when contemplating a move to Arizona.

If you’re pondering whether relocating to Arizona is a worthwhile decision or are keen to understand what life in Arizona entails before making any definitive choices, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect guide. Fortunately, with this comprehensive guide to relocating to Arizona, our team has compiled a list of things you should be aware of about Arizona, including the advantages and disadvantages of living there.

Here are the top things to know about life in Arizona!

1. Diverse Climate

Arizona climate

Arizona’s climate is as varied as its landscape, owing to the state’s vast land area. Approximately half of the state is characterized by a semi-arid climate, a third is arid, and the remaining third is humid.

This means that Arizona’s summers are typically hot and dry, while winters are cool and clear. With temperatures ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, weather variations are to be expected depending on the season and location within the state.

Arizona is most renowned for its intense summer heat and arid climate, often ranking it among the hottest states in America. The highest temperature recorded in Phoenix, AZ, was a scorching 122 degrees Fahrenheit in 1990.

Although the state tends to be hot and dry for most of the year, especially closer to the Mexican border, some cities like Flagstaff can receive more than 75 inches of snow annually.

2. Affordable Living Expenses

One of the most appealing aspects of Arizona is its reputation for a cost-effective lifestyle. With living expenses that are 5% below the national average, coupled with reasonable real estate prices, it’s safe to say that Arizona offers a more economical lifestyle compared to other regions in the United States.

Living in Arizona is 77% less expensive than San Francisco, 34% less than New York City, 50% less than San Diego, 15.8% less than Miami, and 3.5% less than Florida.

Given that your dollar stretches further in Arizona, it’s suggested that residents should have a pre-tax annual income of at least $63,520 or at least $5,293 per month to cover rent and other necessities.

While some cities in Arizona may be more affordable than others, overall, Arizona is an excellent choice if you’re looking to economize or are managing a budget. Additionally, with a housing market that continues to expand while maintaining affordability, residents can anticipate securing a fantastic home without breaking the bank.

3. Rich Native American Heritage

Arizona, home to 22 federally recognized tribes, is a hub of rich history and traditions that have been part of indigenous peoples’ lives for over 12,000 years. Native communities significantly influence the state through art and culture, with about a quarter of Arizona’s land located on a protected reservation.

The Navajo Nation, the country’s largest reservation, is situated here, as are the Hopi and Apache communities. Most reservations welcome visitors, encouraging residents to engage in cultural experiences and attractions.

4. Ideal Retirement Destination

While Arizona attracts many young professionals, couples, and families, it’s also a popular choice for retirees. The state’s warm, dry climate offers an exciting living environment close to stunning natural landscapes.

The absence of seasonal allergies further enhances Arizona’s appeal for retirees. The state is also tax-friendly for retirees, with social security income not being taxed, adding another perk. Moreover, with over 300 top-tier golf courses scattered across Arizona, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy leisure time after years of hard work.

5. More Than Just Sand 

Ponderosa Pine Forest

If you’re considering relocating to Arizona, you’re likely picturing a landscape filled with cacti and rolling sand dunes.

With portions of all four North American deserts, including the Sonoran, Mojave, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin desert, it’s hard not to marvel at the captivating scenery. However, the desert, while a significant feature of this landlocked state, is not all that Arizona has to offer.

From the crimson rocks of Sedona and the mountains and Ponderosa Pines of Flagstaff to the vast canyons in the state’s northwest corner, Arizona boasts a plethora of natural wonders and stunning landscapes that make it one of the most incredible places to live and visit in the country. With 433 dynamic cities, ranging from bustling metropolises to quaint towns, Arizona’s varied geographical landscape captivates many around the globe.

6. Outdoor Adventures Galore

Colorado River

From desert hikes to rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River, an adventure always awaits you in Arizona. As one of the most outdoor-friendly states in the nation, Arizona encourages its residents to explore and try something new, be it horseback riding or mountain biking.

Here are some unique outdoor adventures you can only find in Arizona:

The Grand Canyon: Spanning 277 miles, this natural formation of layered red rock offers a host of activities, including hiking, rafting, biking, and more.

  • Horseshoe Bend: This horseshoe-shaped curve on the Colorado River in Page, Arizona, is a must-see.
  • Havasu Falls: Nestled in the Grand Canyon, the hike to this waterfall may be 10 miles long, but the views are absolutely worth it.
  • Antelope Canyon: This sandstone slot canyon is located in Page, Arizona, with sections in the Navajo Reservation.
  • Monument Valley: Situated on the Arizona and Utah border within the Navajo Reservation, this 30,000-acre park is famous for its collection of sandstone buttes.

7. Elevated Crime Rate

Crime Rate

Regrettably, Arizona has a notably high crime rate compared to other states of similar size. It has the third-highest violent crime rate in the western United States, trailing only New Mexico and Nevada, and the ninth-highest violent crime rate nationwide.

Violent crime in Arizona has been on an upward trend year after year, significantly outpacing the national increase. In 2020, Arizona recorded a total of 513 murders, ranking it 20th in terms of the highest murder rate in the United States. Incidents of rape, aggravated assault, and robbery have also seen a rise.

While there are numerous cities and areas deemed safer than others, some cities with the highest crime rates as of December 2021 include Page, Winslow, Holbrook, Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson. Given Arizona’s high crime rate, it’s especially important to stay alert to your surroundings, secure your doors, and stick to well-lit areas. For those moving alone, it’s advisable to refer to the Living Alone: Home Safety Checklist for additional safety information before proceeding.

8. Burgeoning Job Market

Arizona is a magnet for many newcomers due to its impressive job growth and employment opportunities, making it an excellent place to live if you’re job hunting or seeking to advance your career.

The state has recently been dubbed the “Silicon Desert” for its affordability and the influx of high-tech companies, including Apple and Uber, rivaling California’s Silicon Valley.

Key employment sectors in Arizona include aerospace, semiconductor manufacturing, agriculture, mining, healthcare, and tourism, contributing to the state’s thriving job market. This is reflected in the low unemployment rate and consistent projected job growth. Some of the top employers in Arizona include Petsmart, Kyocera Solar, Banner Health, Circle K, and Wells Fargo.

9. Delicious Southwestern Cuisine

Southwestern Cuisine

Arizona is a treasure trove of southwestern cuisine, blending Hispanic and Native American influences. With a plethora of award-winning restaurants, charming cafes, and innovative food joints, Arizona offers a rich array of culinary delights, including chimichangas, prickly pear margaritas, fry bread, and Sonoran hot dogs.

Here are some top-rated restaurants in Arizona that locals can’t stop talking about:

  • Atlas Bistro: This spot serves exquisite American cuisine and features an attached wine shop.
  • Cafe Monarch: Experience New American cuisine in a cozy, intimate setting at this Scottsdale restaurant.
  • Reserve: An upscale fine dining restaurant offering an exceptional set-priced menu.
  • Kai Restaurant: Located in the Wild Horse Pass Resort in Phoenix, this luxurious restaurant serves delectable Native American fare with world-class service.
  • Beckett’s Table: Situated in Phoenix’s Gaslight Square, this restaurant offers seasonal American dishes, cocktails, and an extensive wine and beer list.

10. Beware of Desert Wildlife

The desert is home to a unique array of wildlife and insects not found in other parts of the country, so it’s crucial to be aware of any potentially dangerous and venomous creatures in the Arizona wilderness.

Whether you’re hiking or simply stepping into your backyard, you’ll want to steer clear of certain hazardous animals. Arizona’s most dangerous wildlife includes Rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Scorpions, Africanized Bees, Tarantulas, Black Widow Spiders, and the Sonoran Desert Toad. Also if u own a dog, there are some great parks to take them out.

11. Consider Bringing Your Car

Downtown Arizona

While larger Arizona cities may offer reliable and convenient public transportation, most residents prefer to use their own vehicles for safe and efficient commuting. Unlike in New York City, walking to and from work isn’t always the most practical option given Arizona’s expansive layout. While owning a car may be an additional expense, the convenience of efficient transportation is worth the investment.

FAQ

What are the best schools in Arizona?

While the text mentions that Arizona has a top-tier education system, it doesn’t provide specifics. Arizona is home to many excellent schools, both public and private. Some of the top-rated schools include Basis Scottsdale, Basis Chandler, and Gilbert Classical Academy High School. For higher education, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University are well-regarded institutions.

What is the healthcare system like in Arizona?

Arizona offers high-quality healthcare services with renowned hospitals like the Mayo Clinic, Banner University Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The state also has a good number of medical practitioners and specialists.

What is the tax situation?

Arizona has a relatively low tax burden compared to other states. The state sales tax is 5.6%, but localities can add their own sales taxes. Property taxes are also relatively low. While the text mentions that social security income is not taxed, it’s worth noting that other forms of retirement income, such as pensions and withdrawals from retirement savings accounts, are partially taxed.

What are the most popular outdoor activities?

The text mentions a few outdoor adventures, but Arizona offers much more. Popular activities include rock climbing, fishing, bird watching, and off-roading. The state’s many parks and recreation areas provide ample opportunities for camping and picnicking.

What are the unique festivals or events in Arizona?

Arizona hosts several unique events throughout the year. These include the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, the Sedona International Film Festival, and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

What are the business opportunities?

The text mentions a burgeoning job market, but it’s also worth noting that Arizona is a great place to start a business. The state offers a favorable business climate with low corporate taxes, a skilled workforce, and a strategic location for access to major markets.

What are the environmental concerns?

Arizona faces several environmental challenges, including water scarcity, forest fires, and air quality issues. The state is taking steps to address these issues, but they are important considerations for anyone thinking of moving to Arizona.

Final Thoughts

Attracting thousands of newcomers each year with its appealing weather, economical cost of living, absence of income tax, and burgeoning job market, it’s no wonder that so many individuals aspire to make Arizona their home. With its top-tier amenities and affordable housing market, once you’ve made the decision to relocate to Arizona, choosing the city to call home becomes an exciting next step.

Whether you’re moving to Arizona from the east coast or another western state, our team is ready to assist you in finding the perfect home and property type in your dream city.

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