From the Grand Canyon to the Hoover Dam, Arizona is home to some of America’s most iconic views and creations. You’ll find southwestern charm and beauty from corner to corner. With its low humidity and year-round stable climate, Arizona is a magnet to those who appreciate a desert lifestyle. If you’re not sure where to settle down in Arizona, NewHomeSource has compiled a list of the six best places to live.
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.67%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.02%
Violent crime index: 37.5
Nonviolent crime index: 83.2
Cost of living index: 91.6
This southern Arizona city is the second largest in the state. Tucson is the gateway to beautiful southwestern scenery like the Saguaro National Park and Santa Catalina Natural Area. Further in the city, explore attractions like Reid Park Zoo, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and Pima Air & Space Museum. The presence of the University of Arizona, which has a student population of around 45,000, gives the city a youthful, lively culture. Expect warm and dry weather here; Tucson receives an average annual rainfall of 12 inches and 286 sunny days. Tucson leans somewhat politically liberal and is home to nine hospitals and 89 schools. Dog lovers will be thrilled to know that a whopping 250+ restaurants welcome dogs with their owners while they dine! If big city life isn’t for you, check out nearby suburbs like Oro Valley, Corona de Tucson, and Catalina Foothills.
Housing cost to income ratio: 4.38%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.56%
Violent crime index: 32.3
Nonviolent crime index: 46.7
Cost of living index: 88.2
Yuma is situated along the Colorado River in southwest Arizona, near the US-Mexico border. With 308 sunny days and a mere four inches of rainfall per year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sunnier, drier city than Yuma. Take advantage of the sunshine and cool down by tubing along the Colorado River or bring your dog along for kayaking at West Wetlands Park. Step back in time at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, where you can visit a 19th-century prison built like a maze. Golf fans can practice their swing at multiple golf courses scattered throughout the city. For all your shopping needs, check out the Yuma Palms Mall. Yuma leans politically liberal, and residents have access to three area hospitals and 18 schools. Popular nearby suburbs include Fortuna Foothills and Somerton.
3. Kingman-Lake Havasu City
Housing cost to income ratio: 5.17%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.35%
Violent crime index: 59.45
Nonviolent crime index: 50.99
Cost of living index: 85
The Kingman-Lake Havasu City metropolitan area is in western Arizona. Like other areas in Arizona, you’ll find dry and hot weather; folks can expect to experience approximately eight inches of rain and 290 sunny days per year. Beat the heat at Lake Havasu, where you can boat and swim to your heart’s content, or simply sprawl out on the sandy beach and soak in the sun. For indoor activities, swing up to Kingman and visit attractions like Arizona Route 66 Museum and Kingman Railroad Museum. Dog lovers will be pleased to know that there are over 30 restaurants between the two cities that welcome Fido. The metropolitan area is moderately conservative, and folks have access to 10 hospitals and 11 schools. If you’re looking to move to the suburbs, check out Fort Mohave, Golden Valley, and New Kingman-Butler.
Housing cost to income ratio: 7.33%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.48%
Violent crime index: 19.3
Nonviolent crime index: 37.6
Cost of living index: 104.2
The Phoenix-Mesa metropolitan area offers something for everyone. Embrace the southwestern natural beauty at locations like Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, and Desert Botanical Garden, where you can see beautiful cacti and red rock buttes. Many of these parks and hiking trails allow you to bring your dog along with you. See over 1,400 animals at the Phoenix Zoo or learn something new at the Arizona Museum of Natural History; no matter what you decide, you’re in for a good time! Be sure to prepare for the weather before you explore all the cities have to offer: With 300 days of sunshine and only nine inches of rain annually, you’ll want to stay hydrated in this hot climate. There are 95 hospitals in the area, so you’ll never have to worry about where to find medical care, and 82 schools for growing families to select from. Phoenix-Mesa leans politically liberal, and popular suburbs include Gilbert, Fountain Hills, and Chandler.
Housing cost to income ratio: 7.96%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.00%
Violent crime index: 17.9
Nonviolent crime index: 56.9
Cost of living index: 117
Surrounded by mountains, Flagstaff is truly a sight to behold. The north and northwestern areas of the city encompass great hiking trails, including Picture Canyon Trailhead and Fatmans Loop Trail, and provide easy access to the mountains. Further in the city, explore more Arizona beauty at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park and other local parks. Bring your furry pal to the trails or to one of the many craft breweries that welcome dogs. Need a day trip? The Grand Canyon is only 80 miles from the city! Another perk of Flagstaff is the diverse climate; it receives 26 inches of rain and a whopping 81 inches of snow per year! Flagstaff leans politically liberal and contains two hospitals and 16 schools. Popular suburbs include Doney Park, Village of Oak Creek, and Sedona.
Housing cost to income ratio: 11.28%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.48%
Violent crime index: 20.7
Nonviolent crime index: 37.2
Cost of living index: 115.7
With a population of approximately 44,000 residents, Prescott is the smallest city on our list, making it ideal for those who are looking for a quieter lifestyle. Admire Prescott’s historic architecture and houses, which give the city a classic western feel. Visit attractions like the Museum of Indigenous People, Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, and the Phippen Museum. Prescott is a dog-friendly city, and 45 restaurants welcome Fido. Residents can expect 16 inches of rain and 13 inches of snow per year; for the other 277 days, soak in the sun or dip your toes in Watson Lake to cool down. Prescott leans politically conservative, and the city encompasses five hospitals and eight schools. Popular nearby communities include Village of Oak Creek, Williamson, and Sedona.
This list was compiled using statistics for cost of living, average housing costs, average childcare costs, and crime indices.
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.