If you are considering moving to Arizona, there are a lot of things you should know. The state is known for its beautiful desert sites, with the Grand Canyon being the most famous (it draws 5.9 million visitors every year from all over the world).
But Arizona is much more than a single canyon. This beautiful state is home to a diverse cultural population and some of the most unique wildlife you will find anywhere in the country. Of course, you will also find some of the most extreme weather patterns here, including monsoons, dust storms, lightning storms, and temperatures that can reach above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
All these things are worth considering when you’re thinking about moving to Arizona. Living there is a unique experience. Love it or hate it, there is no denying that this midpoint of the Southwest has a climate and culture like no other.
1. The Landscape Is Incredible
Arizona is known for the Grand Canyon. While that is a trip that is not to be missed, it is far from the only beautiful sight in the state. Arizona is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with tons of natural wonders like Picacho Peak, Havasu Canyon, Verde Hot Springs, and much more.
You can find amazing things to do around the local canyons, rivers, and hiking trails. The state is a popular place for hiking, kayaking, climbing, and even more extreme sports like hot air ballooning. Of course, if you’re not into sports, you can still enjoy the beautiful sights of the desert. There is a reason that the American Southwest is referred to as “painted,” with its vibrant colors and unique vistas.
2. The Sun Is Always Out
Arizona averages 300 days of sunshine every year, only making up for it during its monsoon season. While this does mean that you might have to start carrying sunblock in your bag or car, it also means that seasonal depression isn’t really a thing there. If the winter blues get you down every year, Arizona could do wonders for you.
Of course, moving to a place of eternal sun might mean some lifestyle changes. Make sure you always have sunblock and ideally a hat, too — and of course, make sure you stay hydrated as well. Those desert rays can get extremely hot.
3. The Cost Of Living Is Affordable
Believe it or not, the cost of living in Arizona is surprisingly affordable. It is roughly on par with the national average. The exception is the housing market, which is slightly more expensive. A one-bedroom apartment in Phoenix rents for $880 a month on average. However, there is also a lot of variation between cities, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a place where you can reasonably afford to live in Arizona.
In Phoenix, the average cost of living for a family of four sits at about $2,700 a month. For a single person, it is as low as $800 a month if you exclude housing costs. At 5 percent lower than the national average, this is pretty impressive. A house usually costs around $285,000.
With uber-expensive markets like Nevada and southern California not too far away, this pocket of the Southwest is a comparatively affordable place to live.
4. There Is a Good Job Market
With high unemployment rates around the country, it is important to find a place to live where you can get a job. Not only are there plenty of jobs to be had, but they also vary widely across different industries. The strong economy is bolstered by jobs in healthcare, construction, IT, and even aerospace. What is more, the Arizona economy is strong. Plenty of innovation means that new jobs and industries are being developed, which add thousands of jobs to the state.
In cities like Phoenix, the average salary is $50,000 a year. The state is also home to a growing tourism industry, catering to the regular influx of snowbirds and other visitors.
5. The Cities Are Built On a Grid
If you have ever made your way around some of the cities on the East Coast, you know firsthand how confusing and difficult to navigate they can be. However, in Arizona, you are much more likely to find cities that are built on a grid.
This newer system makes it much easier to find your way around a busy metropolitan area, which is a huge relief. Although this varies across Arizona metropolitan hubs, you’ll find it’s the case in Phoenix as well as other cities. It also means that you will spend less time caught in traffic if you do make a wrong turn.
6. There Are Lots Of Cultural Activities
It should come as no surprise that a state that is home to many diverse communities also has many fascinating cultural activities. You will find a huge number of cultural festivals, art exhibits, and other events throughout the year.
You can access many of these in metropolitan areas like Phoenix, helping you access many cultures and experiences that you can’t find anywhere else in the country. These include everything from museum displays to modern cultural activities put on by communities still practicing those beliefs and rituals to this day.
7. Humidity is Low
Arizona temperatures can climb into the 110s, but as the saying goes: it’s a dry heat. That means that, while the air outside feels like an oven, you can find plenty of cool spots in the shade and probably won’t find yourself getting sweaty. Desert temperatures are unique, and the lack of moisture means that there aren’t a lot of insects.
Bear in mind that living in the desert also means that temperatures can vary significantly between day and night. Depending on where you are in the state, you might find the temperature dropping 50 to 60 degrees lower once the sun sets.
8. The Insects Aren’t Bad
In most parts of the country, heat equals humidity and humidity means the mosquitos are out in full force. But because Arizona has an arid desert climate, humidity stays low even while temperatures climb. You won’t see a huge number of mosquitos, flies, or other insects here, as they are attracted to wet environments.
The exception might be during the monsoon season when the state gets the majority of its annual rainfall. During this time, Arizona is muggier than it is the rest of the year. But as a rule of thumb, the dry air means heat without moisture and much fewer insects than the rest of the country.
9. There’s Lots of Access To Other States
Arizona is the central point of access between some of the greatest locations of the American Southwest. From there, you can hop on the interstate to get to California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. This state is the road tripper’s ultimate fantasy, offering access to amazing cultural and natural destinations. That is not even to mention its proximity to the Mexican border!
Suffice it to say that Arizona is a crossing point as well as a destination. You’ll experience a lot of out-of-staters traveling through on their way to other attractions. It’s not hard to see why.
10. The Demographics Are Young<
Despite the annual influx of snowbirds desperate to escape the winter temperatures, Arizona’s population skews young. Depending on where you are in the state, the median age falls between 29 and 42, making it a fairly youthful place.
As time goes on, Arizona continues to attract young people, not retirees looking to settle there permanently. This makes it a great place for young professionals, especially in cities like Phoenix and Tucson. The state is staying young, not growing older, unlike places like Florida.
11. There’s Lots of Diversity
Arizona is a highly diverse state. As much as 25 percent of residents are Native American and the Apache and Navajo languages are still widely spoken. There is also a large Hispanic population and you will hear Spanish spoken on the street regularly.
This is an important factor for many people in choosing a place to live. It ensures that you will experience a variety of backgrounds, opinions, and attitudes that impact both your community and society at large. Considering the unique position that Arizona is in across Native American territory and close to the Mexican border, it’s not surprising that the population is so diverse.
12. There Is Amazing Wildlife
Living on the edge of the desert means that wildlife is a part of your everyday routine. It is common to run into snakes of all kinds, both venomous and non-venomous. While this can be unnerving, it is also amazing.
Roadrunners are a common sight, often darting in front of cars as their name implies. In addition, you will see Gila monsters, scorpions, tarantulas, javelinas, prairie dogs, coyotes, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep. Some of this depends on where in the state you are. Regardless, living alongside desert animals is a fascinating adventure as habitats collide.
13. The Crime Rate Is Lower Than Average
The crime rate in the Southwestern United States is higher than average, and the entire region has become known for that — especially when it comes to violent crime and drug-related offenses. However, Arizona itself has a crime rate that is lower than the average not just in the Southwest, but in the entire United States. Recent surveys show that in cities in Arizona, violent crime occurs at a rate of 1.7 per 1,000 people (the national average is 4.64 per 1,000).