Pros and cons of moving from California to Arizona

Local and Long distance. Professional moving assistance


It is difficult to believe but living in one country, there is a great difference in the cost of living and possibilities from state to state. A bright example of this fact is two neighboring states: California and Arizona. Many people have to leave a Pacific coast and move to the wild-west state to get a higher standard of living for the same money earned. Of course, it is not the only reason for relocation as a difference in cost of living could not make so many people leave California and create a moving to Arizona checklist to start residing there on a permanent basis. However, the statistics are undoubtedly impressive.

California remains one of the top states left by locals for several years already. You may wonder how it can happen if the population in the state grows each year. The truth is the following: undoubtedly, a huge number of people arrive in California annually, but most of them are from other countries. In 2016, foreign migration brought about 332,000 people residents to the state. Native Americans have to look for a better life elsewhere: in 2017, the report from the U.S. Census Bureau mentioned that CA had 142,932 more locals to leave the state than arrive. Such a negative saldo has grown by 11% since 2015, and, unfortunately, this number continues to grow. Consequently, looking at these data it is easy to make a conclusion that California has the lowest attraction rate for Americans in the country and it is equal to 1.33% only.

Where do all the people go? The answer is simple: to the neighboring states. The first state to relocate to is taken by Texas that is followed by Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. Arizona takes the silver medal for a popularity among people who escape from the sunniest state. Census Bureau reports that Arizona increased the number of residents by over 107,000 in 2017, and its gain is one of the highest in the country. Also, the state took the first prize for inbound moves in 2017 have attracted 60% of moving people. Another unbelievable statistics says that over 30,000 people every year have moved from California to Arizona for the past 3 years. In 2017 only, this number has reached 64,756 people. What is also interesting, the biggest number of Californians who moved to Arizona between 2007 and 2017 was aged between 18 and 25.

Such overwhelming statistics makes it possible to suppose that Arizona is more like a heaven for people who left the hell of California. Is it really worth moving to Arizona from California? Let’s consider.


Why do so many people feel like moving from California to Arizona? You will be surprised to learn some of the benefits of such relocation.

1. Cost of living

If to compare the average cost of living in Phoenix, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, you can surely say that it is thrice cheaper to live in Arizona. Housing as the main component of the cost of living is three times cheaper there. Consumer prices are higher by 20%. Rent prices are twice higher while buying groceries and a visit to the restaurant are 10% and 27% higher respectively. The main advantage for the Arizonans is a relatively small difference in the average monthly salary: $3,093 in Phoenix and $3,590 in LA.

2. Taxes

Tax Rates in both these states differ greatly. Residents of the coastal state have to pay almost twice more of the state income tax. Arizona individual income tax rate is 4.54%, while Californians need to pay 9.3%. State sale tax is also lower in Arizona being 6.60% in comparison with 7.25% in California. The same goes for property tax too: $1,043 vs $1,449.

3. Median home price

The median home cost in the capital city of Arizona Phoenix is $279,650. A home of the same size in Los Angeles, California will cost $670,200. There is also a significant difference in the price per square meter if you want to buy an apartment. A square meter of the flat in the center will cost you $2,145 in Phoenix and $6,966 in LA.

Median home listing price – November 2018 

4. A variety of outdoor activities

A diverse landscape of the state including plains, deserts, canyons, and mountains allows enjoying a variety of outdoor activities in Arizona. The most popular leisure activity among local residents is hiking. However, you can also enjoy mountain biking, rafting, off-riding, floating, hot-air ballooning, horse riding, and even skydiving. Phoenix is a home to multiple golf courses and 4 major professional sports too.

5. Lower insurance and drivers license cost

If you arrive in AZ with a driver’s license obtained in another state, you should get the local document and obtain a car registration for the vehicle. If you want to get a new driver’s license, it will not cost you much. The most expensive one costs $25 and is given to people aged between 16 and 39. The older you are, the cheaper it will be – up to $10. Car insurance is also much cheaper in Arizona than in California. The same car and driver insurance in CA costs $1,500 and in AZ – $475.

6. Excellent education

Public schools of Arizona are located in 666 school districts. In comparison with the state neighbors, there is the biggest number of students – more than 1 million. At the same time, parents spend here the smallest amount of money on their school kids as well – about $7,200.
There are many regular schools, but you can also send your child to prestigious magnet and charter schools.

Higher education is represented by 85 colleges and universities. The quality of higher education is ever high. It is confirmed by the fact that Arizona took the 2nd place in the test scores on the ACT college entrance exam and number of bachelor’s degrees in natural sciences and engineering.

7. Tasty food

There is a vibrant restaurant scene in Arizona as well. It differs greatly from a standard US one and has a Spanish and Mexican influence. Who does not like burritos, chimichangas, margaritas, and tacos? There is a popular street food including Sonoran hot dog, green corn tamales, pico de gallo etc.

8. Non-congested roads in metro area

You may be surprised but a larger area of Phoenix including downtown in comparison with LA can be covered within one hour from the most distant parts of the city and it is in rush hour. Unbelievable result for a big city! There are enough parking places too.

9. Thriving arts

Not only Phoenix is an art-and-culture environment of Arizona, in fact, but arts are also highly developed all around the whole state. There many annual events organized as well as a variety of organizations, groups, and cultural centers working in this sphere.


Despite multiple benefits that undoubtedly outweigh drawbacks, there are things to know before moving to Arizona neighborhood.

1. Unbearable summer heat and haboob

It is natural that residents of California have got used to heat and sunny weather, but it is not felt so much as in Arizona. The absence of sea breeze and heated desert ground make this heat really unbearable, while a constant sunshine makes aging faster. The temperature in summer is about 111°F and sometimes it is possible to feel how asphalt melts under your feet. Apart from the heat, Arizona is also famous for its sudden winds, rainstorms, and haboob (dust storm). Moreover, it is almost impossible to predict how the weather can change in several minutes only.

2. Small cross-cultural event alternative

AZ is a multicultural state with the domination of the Hispanic population. More than 30% of the local population are Latinos and Hispanics, so it influences all the spheres of life including culture and traditions.

3. Wildlife

As a huge area of the state is covered with a desert in the south, mountains and forests in the north, flora and fauna are rather diverse. However, there are animals and plants which you wouldn’t like to meet face-to-face too. Be ready to come across scorpions, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, gila monsters, centipedes, killer bees, and different plants with thorns or spines.

4. The crime rate is similar to the US average one

The crime rate in Arizona is close to the average crime rate around the state. In 2017, for example, there were 100 burglaries, 9 rapes, 1 murder, 395 thefts, and other crimes. Unfortunately, gun laws in the state are at the least restrictive level around the country, so open carry weapon is not a surprise here.

5. Lack of water

Unfortunately, a very hot climate and a lack of rivers make this state unsuitable for growing anything. Lack of water leads to the inability to take up gardening, as the biggest part of water is cleaned for drinking.

Tips for moving to California from Arizona

Californians moving to Arizona always feel nervous about this experience. Changing your home, job, school can be a challenge for every family member, especially if you get into an absolutely different culture. However, you can minimize the stresses and make moving an effortless process if you follow several simple tips.

1. Move in summer to save money

You may wonder how summer move can save you money, as it is a top season in California. In fact, in AZ, things are absolutely different as summer is an off-season there. The reason for that is the unbearable heat that may reach 120°F. Many people refuse even to leave their home in such weather, so local moving companies will be less loaded with work and offer discounts. Winter is often more expensive time to move because of the arrival of seasonal workers.

2. Choose highways to get there

Arizona has an extensive range of public transport, but if you plan to move from California, it will be more comfortable to travel by bus or car. Lightrail is a popular means of transportation for commuting within the state, so you will need to drive the vehicle along the highway. Interstate 8 starts in San Diego, CA and is connected with a highway called Interstate 10 that connects Phoenix and Tucson. Another highway you can choose is Interstate 40 that connects CA and New Mexico, but runs through Arizona.

3. Be careful with parking

Despite the fact that there are many parking places around the state, parking rules are very strict. Always look at signs and avoid parking on days and times with some restrictions. In another case, your trip will begin with a new fine.

4. Make a visit to the city or town you want to move to

Arizona is a rather diverse state with a huge difference between north and south. Never choose a city or town to live looking only at the revises of locals and photos. It is very important to arrive in the city and feel its atmosphere. Only such a visit will help you to understand if you feel like at home here and it must be your final destination.

5. Find a trustworthy moving company

Of course, it is important to be professional assistance planning an interstate moving. Organizing everything yourself you will have to overpay, as usually, full-service companies include several necessary services into the list for a rather reasonable cost. Prefer companies that specialize in moving between these states and have already gained trust and recognition of other clients.

6. Take only necessary things by sorting them out in advance

content1Before you start packing all the items for a relocation, sort them out carefully. You might have to pay for the delivery of things that will be absolutely useless in the new place of living. That is why a thorough analysis of the things will help you to save on moving as well.

Where to move to in Arizona

AZ is a large state with many interesting places, so it is important to choose a city or town where you will feel like at home. Of course, the decision is not easy, as you can find many good things about Arizona and its cities, but still, there are some reasons not to move to Arizona too. That is why you should look through the list of the very popular places to live in AZ and their basic features to make the only right choice.

  1. Phoenix With the population of 1.3 million people, Phoenix is an important transportation, financial and communications hub. Being similar to LA, there is a huge metropolitan area and the city economy is based on services, tourism, and technology. It is a capital of manufacturing jobs and telecommunication industry.
  2. Flagstaff With the population over 70 thousand people, Flagstaff is known as “City of seven wonders” and famous for its proximity to the canyon. The main spheres local residents are employed in are tourism, government, transportation, and education.
  3. Prescott The current population of Prescot does not exceed 41 thousand people. The cost of living is Lower here in comparison with US average one, but the town is located at the elevation of over 5,000. The most common industries are a retail trade, health care, accommodation and food services etc.
  4. Tucson Another large city in Arizona is Tucson as there are over 500 thousand people living there. It is a rather cheap place to live that is 12% lower than an average one around the US. The most popular industries are aircraft building, copper mining, arts and tourism, manufacturing, and high-tech.
  5. Scottsdale Scottsdale is a home to almost 250 thousand people today. This location is called “The West’s Most Western Town” and its economy is mostly based on tourism – almost 40% of population work in this field. You can also find many high-technology firms and highly developed aviation sphere there. Moreover, the city is known for its shops and art districts too.
  6. Sedona A small town of Sedona has become a home to over 10 thousand people. The second name of the town is Red Rock Country, maybe because of the rather high elevation level. The most developed industries here are construction, administrative and waste management services, a retail trade and manufacturing.
  7. Yuma With the population number of over 94 thousand people, the city offers a more affordable cost of living that is 13% lower than all over the US. The most popular industries of the town are retail trade, healthcare, public administration, and construction.

Moving costs

If you have made a final decision that AZ is the destination where you would like to live in, it is time to forget about anxiety and find a reliable and trustworthy assistant. We would be happy to organize and coordinate your relocation at the professional level to eliminate any stresses connected with moving and make the process smooth and exciting.Being a long-distance and local moving company we offer residential and commercial movers for a rather affordable cost.

From To Moving Average Price, $
Sacramento Phoenix 6 000
San Francisco Phoenix 6 000
Los Angeles Phoenix 4 000
San Diego Phoenix 3 000

*Moving costs for 1bdrm apartment. Includes: Truck + gas, mileage, etc. 2 professional movers + tools. Blankets. Wardrobe Boxes. Assembly/Reassembly. Tax&Insurance.

Helpful resources for your relocation

  • Learn about Arizona government, tips on moving and find other helpful links at AZ.gov.
  • Information on taxes is available at IRS.gov.
  • Get information on how to change your existing driver’s license or get a new one at DMV.org.
  • Find what places to visit in Arizona at Go-Arizona.com.
  • Read about Arizona cities at VisitArizona.com.
  • Book moving services if needed.
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