Swapping the Golden State for the Grand Canyon State comes with a long list of benefits. Other than trading in smog-filled skies for clear blue stretches, what other perks does moving to Arizona from California bring? Read on to find out!
Got a job lined up in Arizona or thinking about starting a new life in the desert? Both California and Arizona are close-knit neighbors, but there’s a ton that differentiates the two western states. Famous for its expansive desert landscapes, colorful sunsets, yearlong sunshine, and explosive growth — which managed to hold steady even amidst the pandemic — Arizona continues to attract new residents and business opportunities from all over the country.
If you’re contemplating moving from California to Arizona, this guide will help you decide why AZ is the place to be.
Benefits of Moving To Arizona From California In 2022
Why will moving from California to Arizona be the best decision you can make for yourself and your family? We list six reasons below.
Cost of Living
Since receiving statehood in 1912, Arizona’s population ballooned from around 217,000 to over 7.2 million in 2021. In fact, between 1990 and 2000, it was the second fastest-growing state, rising by 40%.
A large part of this growth is due to domestic migration as people from saturated states, like California and other more high-cost areas, seek more affordable housing and living conditions in general. Many of those who decided on moving to Arizona from California cited both as key reasons for migrating, apart from seeking a sunshiny environment where they can nurture a family or retire.
Compared to California, average rent and daily costs in Arizona are a steal. In fact, CNN’s Cost of Living Calculator estimates that a salary of $100,000 in San Francisco will buy you the same as $52,100 in Phoenix. The same $100,000 paycheck in San Diego amounts to $71,318 in Phoenix. If you are from the Los Angeles-Long Beach area with the said salary, you’ll get the equivalent at around $69,090.
This is because the Arizona vs. California cost of living rates are significantly lower in AZ. The cost of groceries is about 24% lower in Phoenix, housing is 69% down, utilities are 20% cheaper, transportation is 29% less, and healthcare is 28% cheaper. The percentages vary, but the fact that living in AZ is less costly vs. CA applies to all cities in the state.
Income Tax Rates
In 2022, single taxpayers with incomes of up to $27,272 in Arizona will see a 2.55% income tax rate, while those earning more than that will have to pay 2.98%.
In California, single tax filers earning up to $9,326 will pay 1%, those earning between $9,326 and $22,107 pay $93.25 plus 2% of the amount over the minimum, and those earning between $22,108 and $34,892 pay $348.89 plus 4%. The taxes go higher as the salary tiers rise.
Aside from having more favorable financial conditions compared to California, the arrival of tech companies and multinational firms setting up headquarters and branches in Arizona helped fuel its steady expansion. There were some 93,000 jobs lost in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the state recovered quickly with 105,700 new jobs in 2021 and an expected 127,200 more in 2022.
Those considering moving to Arizona from California will be doing so at an opportune time, particularly as the state is forecast to add over 700,000 new jobs by 2030, mostly in the education, financial services, health services, technology, and construction industries.
Moving to Arizona from California? Get Ready with Our Ultimate Phoenix Relocation Guide!
California is famous for its warm southern beaches, celebrity culture, and diverse metropolises. However, it also takes best in show for crazy long commutes and traffic congestion.
The latest TomTom Traffic Index of cities in the U.S. lists Los Angeles at the number one spot with a 27% congestion level. San Francisco is at number four with 21%, while San Jose is at number six with 19%. The first Arizona city, Tucson, does not appear until number 18, with 16%. Phoenix, the most populous city in AZ enjoys freed up highways and short drives, ranking 42nd with only 13% traffic congestion.
If you dream of affordable housing that’s only a few blocks from work, then moving from California to Arizona is definitely a smart move.
Less Prone to Natural Disasters
From north to south, California is known as a magnet for natural disasters. Moving to Arizona from California, you can rest assured that you won’t be struck by damaging earthquakes or forest fires.
Arizona is buffered from the Pacific coast by both Mexico and California. The state is also firmly situated on bedrock, making it safe from earthquakes you can actually feel. Most of the population lives in the Phoenix valley, where there isn’t much vegetation to burn in wildfires.
All these safeguards mean Arizona rarely attracts disasters, having only had 103 since 1953. In comparison, California has had 355 in the same period, making it the most disaster-prone state in the U.S.
One of the biggest reasons people have in moving to Arizona from California is its breathtaking sights. The Grand Canyon aside, Arizona is home to a stunning landscape with plenty of opportunities to go camping, mountain hiking, swimming, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and all sorts of other adventures. The Arizona wilderness’ size is about twice the area of the entire Midwest combined, making it the ultimate location for people who love the outdoors.
Moving From California To Arizona: Tips To Keep In Mind
Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure a successful transition.
- Visit the city you want to move into before deciding. Whether you’re moving to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Yuma, Flagstaff, or anywhere else, get a feel of the local community first, especially if you’re looking to relocate for the long term.
- Leave the logistics to the professionals. The stress of moving your things isn’t worth doing yourself. You want to relax and enjoy what AZ has to offer from day one.
- Browse the market for the best and cheapest housing. Houses and rental prices are lower in Arizona compared to California, but that doesn’t mean you should jump on the first offer that comes.
- Set aside a few days to focus on the move. Relocating to Arizona isn’t as stressful as doing it in CA, but you’ll definitely need to take some days off to do this seamlessly.
- Check out the job landscape in AZ beforehand, so you’ll have interviews lined up upon arrival. That’s assuming you don’t have a job offer yet, though this part should come easy. There are plenty of opportunities in the state to work for some of the biggest firms in the country.
If you can bear a few months of heat in favor of low living costs, short drives, robust job opportunities, and photogenic scenery, Arizona has so much to offer. You’ll also be just a quick drive or flight from California, so you can still enjoy the beautiful state, minus the notorious I-5 traffic every day.