If you’re planning a move to the Grand Canyon State, there’s a few things you’ll need to know (other than the heat index!). Located in the southwest region of the country, Arizona is the 6th largest and 14th most populous state in the country.
Things to Know Before Moving to Arizona
Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. For thousands of years, Native American tribes called Arizona home and their stone paintings and prehistoric treasures remain well preserved. Thousands of tourists visiting each year are sure to find a unique piece of American history in Arizona.
About a quarter of the state is made up of Indian Reservations for 27 federally recognized tribes. The Navajo Nation is the largest tribe in the nation, with over 300,000 citizens. While some tribes formed in Arizona a few centuries before Spanish explorers arrived, many of the tribes today are direct descendants of the original inhabitants.
The largest city in Arizona is Phoenix with a population of 1,445,632. Next up is Tucson with 520,116 people, and Mesa follows with 439,041 people.
Arizona has an estimated population of 6.931 million people. From 1990 to 2000, Arizona was named the second fastest growing state after a population increase of almost 40 percent.
Arizona Weather & Climate
Arizona is known for its hot summers and mild winters. The range in climate is due to the varying elevation across the state. Areas with lower elevation typically have the hot, desert-like climates we associate with Arizona.
The weather between fall and early spring averages about 60 degrees fahrenheit. During the winter months of November through February, temperatures are between 40 and 75 degrees. The summers bring a dry heat, with temperatures averaging 90 degrees to 120 degrees fahrenheit.
There have been reports of temperatures rising to 125 degrees in the desert areas. The all-time high in Arizona was recorded at 128 degrees fahrenheit in Lake Havasu City on June 29,1994 and again on July 5, 2007. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was an all-time low of -40 degrees fahrenheit recorded in Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.
Arizona receives around 12.7 inches of rain annually. The state experiences rainy seasons in the winter, and monsoons in late summer. During July and August, the hot moisture in the air brings severe thunderstorms, wind and torrential downpours. These heavy rains often cause flash floods, which can be dangerous for residents.
Due to their larger population sizes, Phoenix and Tucson residents will benefit from the public bus system. In addition, the Valley Metro Rail was developed in December of 2008. This light rail system connects Central Phoenix to Mesa and Tempe.
The Sun Link streetcar system extends through the downtown Tucson area and connects the main University of Arizona campus to the Mercado San Agustin in Tucson. This is especially helpful for college students without a car on campus.
If you’re hoping to drive most places, traveling by car is a breeze in the state. Commute times in Arizona are about the same as most places in the country. For example, if you’re traveling from the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area, the average commute is about 26 minutes. Not bad!
Arizona Housing Market
The Arizona housing market is one of the healthiest in the country. As for individual cities, Phoenix is predicted to have a big year in 2017. According to Realtor.com, the Valley (metro area) home prices will increase to 5.9 percent, and sales will grow to 7.2 percent.
Real estate groups also ranked the Tucson area as the 9th best housing market in 2017.
According to Zillow.com, the average price for a one bedroom home in Arizona is around $100,000. If you’re looking for a two bedroom home, the average price is around $156,000. Three bedrooms will cost around $191,000, and $246,000 for a four bedroom home. Overall, the median price for property in Arizona is around $205,000.
If you aren’t looking to purchase a home in Arizona, renting is a great option. The average rent for a studio apartment will run you about $725. This is $346 less than the average cost for a studio in the country.
Renting a one bedroom apartment will cost around $809, and a two bedroom rental property will be about $1,258. Overall, Arizona is an extremely affordable place to call home.
In 2015, the median household income in Arizona was $51,942. This is around $4,283 less than the average household income in the U.S.
Cost of Living
The average cost of living in the U.S. is assigned a value of “100”. States with a cost of living index below 100 means that it is cheaper than the U.S. average. A state with a cost of living index above 100 means it is more expensive.
With this, the Arizona cost of living is 102.50. This means that when compared to the rest of the country, it is less expensive to live in Arizona than the average U.S. state.
Due to the Arizona landscape, one of their top industries is tourism. Around 42 million people fly into the airport each year, eager to start their Arizonian vacation. This opens up many job opportunities for hospitality sectors.
The state is home to many tech-based companies, including GoDaddy. Phoenix is also considered a developing technology hub.
The unemployment rate in Arizona is pretty consistent with the national average. Forbes Magazine named Arizona the best state for future job growth. Their report showed a projected job growth of 3.1 percent though the year 2019.
Arizona has become an ideal place for companies to expand due to a high population of skilled workers, ample amounts of available real estate and having a diverse economy.
The income tax in Arizona ranges from 2.59 percent to 4.54 percent, depending on the tax bracket. This is considered low when compared to other states.
However, the sales tax here is fairly high, with rates ranging from 5.85 percent to 10.7 percent. The base tax is 5.6 percent, but counties can add their own taxes on top of this amount.
Fortunately the property tax is manageable at just 0.84 percent, which is much lower than the national average.
Safety and Crime
The Grand Canyon state is ranked the 10th least peaceful state in the nation. This is because of the above average crime rate, property crime and motor vehicle theft in Arizona.
Arizona Culture & Attractions
Arizona offers a ton of cultural influences from its surrounding states. It’s best known having desert-like landscapes, prominent natural landmarks and Native American and Hispanic influences.
Mother nature created some amazing sites in Arizona, making it the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. Arizona bears some of the most gorgeous natural landmarks that the country has to offer.
The Grand Canyon
By now you probably know the Grand Canyon is housed in Arizona. One of the most visited natural attractions in the country, the Canyon was shaped by the Colorado River many years ago.
Lookout spots have been carved into the Canyon to make viewing easier. A helicopter ride over the Canyon is the best way to truly appreciate its beauty and size.
The man-made Hoover Dam is sure to keep you mesmerized by its sheer size alone. The Dam was constructed in 1935 and it controls the Colorado River, as well as connecting Arizona to Nevada. It is over 700 feet high and 1,200 feet long. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the beauty of this attraction all year round.
Breathtaking scenery and unique weather patterns make Arizona the perfect place for fun outdoor activities.
Hiking and mountain biking are very popular in this state. Getting some exercise while taking in the sites is popular among locals and tourists. Off-road Jeep tours are also available for those who prefer to explore on four wheels.
Universities and Sports
Arizona State University
Located in Tempe is Arizona State University. This college boasts close to 52,000 students and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The university is ranked number one in the nation for Fulbright Scholars, placing Arizona State University above many other Ivy League schools.
University of Arizona-Tucson
The University of Arizona-Tucson is one of the oldest colleges in the state. After opening its doors in 1885, the school has primarily focused on research and receives around $606 million in investments. This puts the university at 21st place for funding among all of the public universities in the country.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott
Also in Arizona is the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott. This is one of the best aviation colleges in the state where you can learn from leaders in the field with real life experience. This campus also has the only College of Security and Intelligence program in the nation.
Sports fans relocating to Arizona are in luck. Arizona has a professional team for almost every sport imaginable, including football (Arizona Cardinals), basketball (Phoenix Suns), hockey (Arizona Coyotes) and baseball (Arizona Diamondbacks).
In addition, college sports teams bring their own type of competition. The University of Arizona and Arizona State University are the state’s biggest college football rivals, and it is the oldest in the NCAA.
State Politics & Religion
Arizona has traditionally been labeled a Republican state during presidential elections. With the exception of President Bill Clinton, the state has voted in favor of a Republican candidate since 1952.
Churches/Places of Worship
The Associate of Religion Data Archives found multiple religious denominations in Arizona.
As of 2010, the three largest religious affiliations were the Catholic Church (930,000 members), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (410,263 members) and non-denominational Evangelical Protestants (281,105 members).
History of Arizona
In 2007, Arizona was the leading producer of copper with over 750 metric tons (worth around $5.54 billion!) coming from the state.
Copper was originally discovered in Arizona by early Spanish explorers, but the metal was put aside to search for valuable gold and silver. However, after completing the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1876, explorers finally realized the value of copper. It was then mined and shipped to market. Today, the amount of copper used on the Capitol building is equivalent to 4,800,000 pennies!
Here are some other fun facts about Arizona:
- Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that don’t observe Daylight Savings time. No need to change your clocks here!
- The state has eleven species of rattlesnakes
- Arizona has the largest percentage of land inhabited by Native Americans
- The world’s largest telescope is located in Kitt Peak, Arizona
- Arizona is home to 18 national monuments, which is more than any other state in the country
- Lake Mead and Lake Powell are the two largest man-made lakes in the United States
- It is considered unlawful to refuse someone a glass of water in Arizona, so be sure to share your H2O!
So, how are you getting to Arizona?
Like any move, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row before taking off to Arizona. When planning your list, be sure to pack light and cool clothes. As mentioned before, the temperature can get incredibly hot. You’ll want to be prepared to take on the AZ heat.
Hiring a moving company to get you there can be a breeze, but make sure you shop around on prices to get the best bang for your buck. If possible, you may want to consider moving during the fall or winter months. This will help you avoid lifting heavy boxes and furniture in 125 degree weather. If this isn’t a possibility, at least you’ll get an authentic Arizona experience on your first day!