How will the Cost of Living in Arizona Affect My Standard of Living?

For all the allure of the Grand Canyon State, the cost of living in Arizona is no doubt on your mind if you’re considering moving here. Depending on where you live currently, it may be an enticement. But of course, you can’t discuss the cost of living in Arizona in isolation. There’s also wage growth, economic opportunity, climate, local lifestyle and culture, and other valid considerations.

Fortunately, the market isn’t always rational. If it were, a higher quality of life would always mean a higher cost of living. But many communities in the U.S. are affordable to live in yet offer a vibrant, opportunity-rich lifestyle.

Arizona offers economic opportunity, a high quality of life, and is comparatively affordable. In this article, we’ll provide data and insights on the cost of living in Arizona, tools to help you compare your options, and information on the Tucson/Sahuarita market. Plus, we’ll offer some quality-of-life insights to put everything in context.

If you want some more perspective when you’re done reading, think about waking up every morning to the scent of the Sonoran Desert.

A quick, surprisingly fun tool for cost-of-living comps

You can find several tools and online resources to compare the cost of living in Arizona with different places in the U.S. If you need to make a quick assessment of how a move will influence your standard of living and salary requirements, Forbes Advisor’s Cost of Living Calculator is a good one. 

While it doesn’t have data for our sweet home in Sahuarita, you can use nearby Tucson as a point of reference. 

The Forbes Cost of Living Calculator allows you to compare how much more (or less) you’ll need to earn when moving from one city to another to maintain your standard of living. It also breaks down data for transportation, housing, healthcare, and goods & services.

Here are a few data points we pulled to give you an idea of how valuable and easy it is to use:

Cost of Living in Tucson

  • 2 percent lower than Phoenix
  • 9 percent lower than Denver
  • 7 percent higher than Kansas City
  • 4 percent lower than Albany, NY
  • 16 percent lower than Sacramento
  • 3 percent higher than Minneapolis
  • 5 percent higher than the greater Nashville area
  • 47 percent lower than Oakland

This is a fun tool to play around with.

State and National Data

The cost of living in Arizona ranks 16th nationally, but AZ is 7th nationally for health and happiness. 

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a think tank, Arizona scores 108.0 on the Cost of Living Index. That’s a bit higher than the national average. But the cost of living in Arizona isn’t the whole story. According to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), personal income in Arizona has been growing at an annual rate of 6.5 percent, compared to a national average of 5.3 percent. 

Here’s another point where value comes into play. TIME rates Arizona as the 7th Happiest and Healthiest state, beating sunny and relatively affluent contenders like California (ranked #13), Florida (#11), Texas (#10), and South Carolina (#27).

The Tucson and Sahuarita Markets

Tucson and Sahuarita provide quality-of-life premiums that exceed the cost of living.

Whether you’re starting a family or approaching retirement, you’ll be interested in some of the recent recognition the Tucson area, and Sahuarita in particular, has received.

The Associated Press, writing last month for WRDW, named Tucson as the most affordable (desirable) U.S. city to retire in. They also gave Sahuarita a shout-out: “If you’re also looking to escape city life, check out Green Valley and Sahuarita, two of Tucson’s southern suburbs with affordable housing about 20 minutes outside the city.”

Just this month, AZ Big Media reported on a study evaluating the affordability, liveability, and job situation of nearly 500 U.S. suburbs. Unsurprisingly (to us), Sahuarita was one of three Arizona suburbs named among the best in the country.

Hey, we’re not telling them how to do their jobs! We’re just trying to create a better life for the people who live here.

The cost of living in Arizona allows you to live your best life

Of course, the cost of living in Arizona has to be considered alongside economic growth and opportunities, quality of life, and other things. Communities like ours at Rancho Sahuarita offer a vibrant lifestyle with lots of entertainment and event options, plus a sense of belonging – and minus the hustle and bustle of large cities. 

We hope the information we’ve provided is useful to you. After all, you have to make the right decision for you – not just your bank account.  

But if you can do both, all the better.

Thinking about a move to one of Arizona’s most amenity-rich communities? We have three new neighborhoods nearing completion and we’d love to hear from you!