Brown rock formations in Arizona

Average Salary in Arizona: Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Arizona?

Are you considering a move to Arizona? On an almost daily basis, hundreds of people move to Phoenix, Arizona, making it one of the most populous cities in America. Knowing the cost of living in Arizona, as well as the average salary in Arizona and a salary comparison by city, can help you effectively plan and maneuver your way in this state.  

The cost of living in Arizona shows how expensive it is to live there. Some factors to consider are the average rent in Arizona or the average housing cost, and the average cost of groceries and food, transportation, healthcare, and utilities. But also, what is a good salary in the Grand Canyon State? Here’s everything you need to know about living in Arizona.

What to Know Before Moving to Arizona

Other than hundreds of days of sunshine each year, Arizona is primarily known for its access to the great outdoors. Arizona is great for outdoor activities. There are national parks, forests, national monuments, national reservations, and of course, the Grand Canyon. The beautiful landscape and other attractions draw millions of residents to this state every year. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate its recreational opportunities, such as mountain biking and hiking. 

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But more importantly, Arizona is home to approximately 6.6 million people. The largest employing sectors in this state include trade, transport and utilities, education and health services, professional and business services, finance, tech, and the government. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the State of Arizona has an unemployment rate of approximately 3.3 percent, which is considerably low compared to most states in the US. The governor’s office also estimates that Arizona will generate more than 700,000 jobs by 2030, at a rate of 2.2 percent. This is significantly higher than the national average. However, this means that it is fairly hard to find a decent, high-paying job in this state. 

What Is the Cost of Living in Arizona? 

While the cost of living will vary based on the county, research from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the average Arizona resident spends approximately $38,684 on personal consumption expenditures. These expenditures include food, groceries, recreation services, housing, utilities, and healthcare. Therefore, it’s fair to say that $38,684 per year is the average cost of living in this state.

Arizona is a reasonably affordable place to live. According to a report published by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Arizona has an index rating of 103.2 compared to the US National average of 100. This places the Grand Canyon state 33rd among the 50 most expensive states to live in. 

How Is Cost of Living Calculated?

Cost of living calculations are based on the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI is a measure of the average changes in prices paid by consumers for specific items. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data on the prices of these goods and services for a specific base year. It then divides the net total by the cost of the basket of the base year to make a cost of living index. 

What Contributes to the Cost of Living in Arizona?

Average Rent in Arizona

According to RentData, the average rent in Arizona ranges between $567 and $1,204 for studios and four-bedroom houses, respectively. Compared to the national median, both the monthly rent and the monthly mortgage in Arizona range between $1,000 and $1,500, meaning that it’s cheaper to buy a house than rent one in this state. 

Housing costs here may be significantly cheaper than major cities like San Francisco, San Diego, and New York, but they are still higher than some places in Utah, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania. But overall, most people find housing prices affordable in Arizona, even in major cities like Phoenix, Tucson, and Mesa.

Average Transportation Costs in Arizona

According to a report published by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, it costs about $9,122 to own and operate a car in Arizona per year. This is inclusive of insurance premiums, gas prices, and maintenance costs. Moreover, gas prices are also higher than in most other states. Arizona’s average gas prices are about $4.08, about 15 cents over the national average.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that people living in Phoenix spend 20.5 percent of their income on transportation, most of which is related to the buying and maintenance of private vehicles. Combine such costs with the now popular trend of working from home, and it’s easy to see why public transportation, bikes, and trains are increasingly popular in Arizona. 

Average Food Costs in Arizona

Although information regarding how much all Arizonans spend on food is yet to be published, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) has estimates for residents living in Arizona’s most populous and expensive city, Phoenix. BLS estimates that consumers in the Phoenix area spend about $3,926 and $ 3,890 for food at home and food away from home, respectively. 

Average Healthcare Costs in Arizona

Individuals in Arizona enroll in health plans through the federal government. According to HealthcareInsider, the average health care premiums in Arizona were approximately $590 per month. However, the government and other stakeholders introduced premium subsidies, which saw the average healthcare premiums fall to $219 per month. Despite such efforts, healthcare costs in Arizona remain higher than the national average. 

Average Utility Costs in Arizona

Since Arizona experiences sunshine all year round, the electricity bill should be slightly lower than in most states. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average retail price for electricity in Arizona is 10.44 cents per kilowatt. This translates to roughly $116 per month and $1,395 per year. However, air conditioning is a heavy expense, as Arizona summers are  scorching.

Other Expenses to Consider in Arizona

Housing, transportation, and food are some of the biggest expenses to consider when moving to Arizona. If you’re moving with your family, higher education can become another major expense. Before you move, make it a point to scout out the top community colleges in Arizona and the best universities in Arizona so that you can settle on where in the state to live.

If you’re not moving with a family, taxes can become a surprisingly large expense. While the state income taxes for Arizona start at 2.59 percent, they become quite hefty in higher brackets. Personal insurance and pensions, however, contribute the most to the cost of living in this state. Fortunately, there are a lot of insurance companies that you’ll find in the city.

Should I Buy or Rent in Arizona?

There are many factors to consider when making the choice to buy or rent in Arizona. If you have a good credit score and can afford to buy a house, you should go for it. The average cost of rent in Arizona is approximately $1,101, while the median mortgage payment is $1,394 per month. This means that it’s cheaper to buy a house than rent one in Arizona. According to iPropertyManagement, 65.3 percent of Arizona’s residents are homeowners.

Also, Arizona has fairly low property taxes, which are well below the national average. This means owning property in Arizona could save you a lot, as property taxes in other states like California and New York are significantly higher. 

With that said, carefully assess your options and financial position. If you are relocating to Arizona for a short period, buying a house might not be the most viable option. If you are planning to stay in the Grand Canyon state, then it might be a good investment idea to buy property for the long run. But we recommend seeking sound advice from credible real estate agents to help you make a better and more informed decision.

What Is the Average Salary in Arizona? 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary in Arizona is approximately $52,644. This translates to roughly $25.31 per hour, $1,012 per week, and $4,387 per month. But the average salary varies by city. Below is an average salary comparison by city for Arizona’s residents. 

Salary Comparison by City in Arizona

City Average Salary
Phoenix $63,704
Tucson $49,422
Gilbert $48,652
Bullhead City $47,929
Mesa $44,322

What Is a Good Salary?

A good salary is one that adequately pays professionals based on their experience, skillset, geographical location, and education. A good salary is also supposed to motivate you to continue providing good value while enabling you to meet your basic and intermediate needs. 

In Arizona, any income above $38,684 would be considered a good salary, as this is the cost of living in Arizona, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Fortunately, the average salary in Arizona is $52,644, and the best jobs in Arizona pay much better than that.

Can You Afford the Average Cost of Living in Arizona?

If you make anything above $38,684 per year, you can afford the average cost of living in the Grand Canyon State. Fortunately, reports from ZipRecruiter suggest the majority of Arizona residents make between $38,000 and $68,000 per year. This means that if you have a decent tech job in this state, you should easily be able to cover the cost of living. 

Cost of Living in Arizona FAQ

Is Arizona expensive to live in?

No, Arizona is a reasonably affordable state to live in. Arizona residents spend approximately $38,684 per year on personal consumption expenditures, which falls well below the national average of $42,635, according to Statista. Moreover, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center ranks the Grand Canyon State 33rd-most expensive out of 50. 

How much does it cost to live comfortably in Arizona?

The cost of living in Arizona comfortably depends on where you’re living and how big of a family you have. Given that the US Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates an average personal consumption expenditure of about $38,684 per year, you’ll have to earn more than this figure to live comfortably as an individual. Sources suggest that a salary ranging between $38,000 and $68,000 is enough to live comfortably in Arizona.

Is Arizona cheaper than California?

Yes, Arizona is cheaper than California. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average Arizona resident spends about $38,684 per year while the average California resident spends $46,636 per year on personal consumption expenditures, which include food, rent, transportation, gas and electricity, recreation, and healthcare. The cost of living is way higher in California than it is in Arizona.

What is the minimum wage in Arizona?

According to the state’s official website, Arizona’s minimum wage is $12.80 per hour.  This figure was recently revised, went into effect at the start of 2022, and will be in effect until the end of 2022.

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