17 Pros and Cons of Living in Arizona

The Grand Canyon State was granted statehood on February 14, 1912. It would become the final state of the continental 48 to be admitted into the union for the United States. Arizona was originally part of New Mexico, becoming a separate territory about 15 years after the land was ceded to the U.S. from Mexico. Wealth came from copper, discovered in 1854, and it would be the premier industry for the state for almost a century.

Many come to visit Arizona because of the impressive Grand Canyon. Up to 18 miles wide in some areas, one mile deep, and almost 280 miles long, almost 5 million people come to see this natural spectacle each year. The state also has the largest percentage of land designated as tribal areas in the country. Some of the cultures living in the state today have been there almost 1,000 years.

There are plenty of reasons to consider living in Arizona. You will have access to numerous recreational activities, be able to live a modern metropolis like Phoenix, or enjoy a mountainous way of life by settling in Flagstaff. You can enjoy the heat of the desert, the cool weather of higher elevations, or be in close proximity to Las Vegas if you prefer.

Here are all the pros and cons of living in Arizona to think about before you decide to make the move.

List of the Pros of Living in Arizona

1. There is a reasonable cost of living to expect when Arizona is your home.
The cost of living for a four-person family in Phoenix, excluding their housing costs, is $2,700 per month. If you’re on your own, then the cost of living is about $800. Many families move to Arizona and rent for the first year, so expect to pay around $1,000 per month if you need a two-bedroom apartment. Buying a house with about 2,000 square feet will put you at a price range near $300,000.

With good jobs available throughout the state and rural options available too, most households find a living arrangement which meets their needs when they decide to move to this state.

2. The job market is strong in Arizona, especially in Phoenix.
If you decide to make Phoenix your home when moving to Arizona, then the cost of living averages 5% less than it does throughout the United States on average. The average worker in the city earns more than $50,000 per year. When those two factors combine, there’s a good chance that you can increase your living standards by moving to the state.

Phoenix is also one of the largest emerging industrial markets in the country, creating blue-collar jobs that often need filling. There are plenty of tourism-related positions in the city with its warm weather, defense and tech companies, along with healthcare, manufacturing, and aerospace sectors that continue growing.

3. You will have numerous opportunities to go golfing in Arizona.
Phoenix is known for its high summer temperatures. It’s also famous because of the golf courses there. You can go golfing at more than 200 different locations, ranging from small neighborhood locations to world championship destinations. Two of the best courses on the planet are there for you to enjoy this sport: Chiricahua in Scottsdale and Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree.

4. There are plenty of cultural activities to enjoy when you live in Arizona.
Arizona is home to several professional sports teams, including the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Suns for football, baseball, and basketball respectively. There is a growing soccer culture in Phoenix as well, with their team consistently bidding for MLS inclusion. You’ll also find several museums available to tour, including the Center for Creative Photography, the Heard Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum.

Because of the weather found in the desert, several open-air performing venues are available to enjoy in the state. You will also have access to an opera company, a symphony orchestra, and Ballet Arizona. Several theaters and resorts provide similar entertainment options for you to enjoy. You can also tour the restaurant and bar scene to enjoy local dishes in every community.

5. Driving is very easy in Arizona, especially in Phoenix.
Visitors to Phoenix are surprised to see the planned grid when they take a look at the map. No matter where you happen to be in the city, you can figure out how to get to where you are going without GPS or a map. The layout is simple and intuitive, even as you make your way out to the suburbs. The same is true for the rest of the state, with highways providing you a straight shot to your intended destination.

Just remember to fill up on gas before taking a road trip. Because much of the state is desert, you will go for extended periods before finding a place to refuel.

6. There is plenty of sunshine to be found in Arizona.
You’ll have access to seven months of nice weather throughout the year when you move to this state. Instead of dealing with cold temperatures for the other four months, you’ll be managing hot temperatures. There are over 320 days of sunshine to be found here, with only a handful of days supplying rain for the entire year. That means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get outside, enjoy the outdoors, and go exploring either the mountains or the large valley where you’ll find Phoenix.

7. There are fewer insect problems in Arizona compared to other states.
When you live in Arizona, you’ll discover that there aren’t too many annoying insects buzzing around your head as you go about your day. The flies, chiggers, and gnats are almost non-existent. The state is clean, with new construction building up many areas, and you can learn about tribal cultures in ways that don’t happen outside of the state. If you don’t mind living in the desert or in a house and lot that is smaller than average, then you’ll find that there is a lot of potential to enjoy when living here.

8. Road trips are always possible in Arizona.
When you live in Arizona, then you have close access to California and Nevada for a fun road trip adventure. Las Vegas is a day’s drive away, while California is only a couple of hours from Phoenix if you hit the interstate at the right time. If you take I-10 west toward California, then you’ll be able to explore the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Go a little further and you’ll make it to Joshua Tree National Park. Hoover Dam and Death Valley are close enough to be a day’s drive away too.

9. Arizona is a young state.
If you look at state forums evaluating the pros and cons of living in Arizona, you’ll find several complaints about how retirees skew the demographics. The statistics tell a different story. According to Data USA, the median age of people living in Phoenix was 33 in 2016. For people born in the state, their average age was just 29.5. Even for foreign-born citizens and transplants, the average age is just 41. The state is actually getting younger, not older, as time goes by.

List of the Cons of Living in Arizona

1. You must use some form of transportation if you live in Arizona.
Whether you choose Flagstaff, Phoenix, or one of the other cities in Arizona, then you’re almost forced to use public transportation or purchase your own vehicle. Phoenix was ranked as one of the least walkable cities in the United States, coming in at 29th out of the 30 largest metro areas in the country.

Just 3% of the firms operating in Phoenix were deemed to be friendly for employees who want to walk to work. Although conditions for walking are improving throughout the state, there is still the issue of summer heat to consider, especially in the southern part of the state.

2. Much of Arizona is barren, especially in the southern part of the state.
If you love looking at tall, green trees, lush lawns, and plenty of forests, then southern Arizona is not the place for you. Even in the north, the structure of the state’s forests is different than what you’d see in a state like Oregon or Washington. Much of the state is low desert, so expect plenty of cacti, lots of sand, and palm trees if you decide to purchase a residence in one of the cities. Most days, you will not see anything green outside the cities for as far as you can see.

3. The heat can be oppressive when you live in Arizona.
If you live in Phoenix throughout the year, then the summer months are brutal. Average temperatures in July and August are about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t reach the 70s until you get to November most years. By the time you reach April, you’re already averaging temperatures in the 80s once again. Four months average temps above 100 each year.

Living in the north provides some relief, but Arizona is hotter than your average state in the U.S. if you plan to move there. You’ll eventually acclimate to the temperatures, though you do need to get in the habit of bringing a significant amount of water to drink wherever you go.

4. Arizona’s economy is heavily reliant on real estate and construction.
Although you’ll find several business opportunities available in Phoenix, you’ll discover that the economy often struggles when there aren’t real estate and construction activities happening. If you head up north, the traffic issues disappear, but there are fewer shopping opportunities and less variety in restaurants. Most people can find a nice place to settle down since Arizona is a large state with diverse communities. The disadvantage here is that competitive jobs can sometimes be difficult to find, and salaries may not meet your expectations for the place where you want to live.

5. Lots of sunshine does get monotonous over time.
You’ll find that cloudy days often bring excitement to the residents of the Valley because they’re sick of dealing with the sunshine all the time. A little rain makes for an interruption in the usual routine. There tends to be a lot of movement with the population to deal with the weather changes experienced in the state. When it snows in the north, many people go south into the Valley to escape the cold. When it gets too hot in Tucson of Phoenix, then they make their way back into the mountains.

6. Politics can make you or break you when living in Arizona.
Arizona tends to lean toward conservative values from a political standpoint. It’s somewhat moderate when dealing with labor unions and spirituality, but moves toward the conservative spectrum for spending, immigration, and law enforcement. Gun ownership is strong within the state. Some will find the setup here to be an advantage. Others will determine it to be a severe disadvantage. Although polarization isn’t the same in the state as it is in other locations, you will find a growing lack of diversity in each neighborhood as people shift toward like-minded family and friends.

7. Many households decide to winter in Arizona for the weather.
Sunshine and warmth draw northerners to the state, with many retirees choosing to make it their second home. These folks are referred to as “snowbirds,” who rent or buy condos, apartments, or homes for a portion of the year. When the winter transplants are in town, the restaurants are more difficult to access during winter hours, traffic gets worse, and shopping centers become crowded. If you’re not used to tourism population surges, this issue could be problematic for some who choose to live in Arizona.

8. You don’t get winter in the southern part of the state.
Some residents refer to themselves as “zombies” because of the ever-present heat of the summer months. When temperatures reach the 70s in Phoenix or Tucson, then most people consider that to be cold weather. For the average person not living in the state, temps in the 70s are either late spring or early Autumn temperatures instead. You can still get snow in Flagstaff and other northerly locations, but it is a culture change too, and that doesn’t sit well with everyone either.

The pros and cons of living in Arizona involve the weather, the jobs market, and the overall economy for the average person. You’ll have access to plenty of cultural and entertainment opportunities if you don’t expect to walk to reach them. Natural wonders are close to you, as are ongoing political and immigration issues. Most people enjoy living in the state, and those who don’t take road trips to visit other locations frequently.

Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.