THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Arizona For 2020


We used science and data to determine the best places to call home in Arizona for 2018.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Arizona.

To truly know what it means to live where it's the best in the West, one must experience the super safe, super beautiful, super awesome, best state of Arizona.

Arizona is known for its beautiful deserts, gigantic canyons, and majestic mountains. And folks, it doesn't end there.

The good people Arizona are always looking out for each other. They have placed sprinklers all over the state to help with the 'dry heat'. They've taken the rattle out of their pesky rattlesnakes. And don't get us started on how they've trained the scorpions and tarantulas to steer clear of humans.

Whether you're a Northern Arizona Lumberjack fan or a University of Arizona Wildcats fan, or just a fan of great cities, great weather, and great people, there's a city in Arizona for you.

Arizona has every type of city for every type of person. Hip millennial cities like Phoenix, cowboy and cowgirl cities like Winslow, and college cities like Tucson are great places to find work, raise families, and just plain enjoy life.

How did we determine the best places to live in Arizona for 2020?

Grab a carne asada burrito and a cold Corona and read on.

The cities in Arizona are known for their quirky "How the West Was Won,' western vibe with amazing local flare, and out-of-this-world Mexican restaurants.

And don't get us started on Arizona skies that go forever and sunshine that pulls even the grumpiest out of their slump.

Needless to say, it was very difficult to narrow down 55 of Arizona's best places to live to just ten.

What city is the best place to live in Arizona for 2020? Well according to the UC Census and FBI data we crunched, Paradise Valley is the best place to live in Arizona if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Arizona reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

Paradise Valley, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 14,215
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,505,300 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.4% (1st best)
More on Paradise Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Paradise Valley, everyone loves to call Paradise Valley home! The median home value is the highest in Arizona.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Grand Canyon State.

Paradise Valley should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

Gilbert, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 237,484
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $310,400 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (14th best)
More on Gilbert: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gilbert comes in at a close 2nd. They have the 14th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 3rd highest median income as well, which means the people in Gilbert are working and getting paid well.

Additionally, the median home value is the 9th best in the state.

Scottsdale, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 246,026
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $455,900 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (6th best)
More on Scottsdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Perhaps what makes Scottsdale so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.

However, quality education isn't all that makes Scottsdale great. They also have the 5th highest median income and the 24th shortest commute time.

Oro Valley, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 43,815
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $297,500 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (22nd best)
More on Oro Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Oro Valley is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 4th best place in Arizona?

Homes are priced around $297,500 and residents have the 40th shortest commute in Arizona.

Sahuarita, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 28,949
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $200,700 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (7th best)
More on Sahuarita: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sahuarita takes 5th place on our list of best places in Arizona for 2020 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (7th overall) and things to do.

Sahuarita is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years. And that tends to happen when home prices hit $200,700 at the median.

Chandler, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 248,631
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $285,000 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (9th best)
More on Chandler: Real Estate | Data | Photos

When you're looking at the best places you could live in Arizona, Chandler came in 6th. Let's see why.

It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.

Plus, Chandler has an impressive history for a place of just over 248,631 people. The median home costs a cool $285,000 and households make $80,716 which is good for 9th in Arizona.

Marana, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 43,606
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $242,300 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (13th best)
More on Marana: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Marana makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Arizona mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 4.3% of folks are jobless, you can bet Marana residents are glad to live where they do.

Thatcher, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,030
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $149,400 (36th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (4th best)
More on Thatcher: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Thatcher has a really low crime rate (4th lowest) and only 3.1% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($55,833). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Thatcher.

Peoria, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 164,572
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $248,700 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (20th best)
More on Peoria: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Arizona, as there were only 388 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 20th lowest in Arizona (5.5%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.

Additionally, homes are the 15th most expensive in Peoria ($248,700), meaning a lot of people want to live there.

Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $73,039 a year.

Prescott, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 42,068
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $328,000 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (34th best)
More on Prescott: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Prescott is another gem in the Grand Canyon State. The unemployment rate here is 34th lowest in the entire state at 7.1%. Other factors that make Prescott so desirable is the solid education and home prices.

Homes are valued at $328,000, and parents earn a combined $54,037 a year

There's nothing like the American dream.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Arizona

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Phoenix with a population of 1,610,071 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 55 cities, 107 towns, and 126 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Arizona have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Arizona

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Arizona across a number of criteria from one to 55, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Arizona".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Arizona? That would be Paradise Valley.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Arizona.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Paradise Valley at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Arizona

If you're looking at areas in Arizona with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Paradise Valley made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Arizona for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Arizona

  1. Rio Verde (Pop. 1,946)
  2. Carefree (Pop. 3,580)
  3. Citrus Park (Pop. 4,832)
  4. Pinetop Country Club (Pop. 1,792)
  5. St. David (Pop. 1,709)
  6. Fort Valley (Pop. 1,157)
  7. Linden (Pop. 2,525)
  8. Eagar (Pop. 4,943)
  9. Tubac (Pop. 1,471)
  10. Clarkdale (Pop. 4,159)

Best Small Towns To Live In Arizona

  1. Parker Strip (Pop. 624)
  2. Round Valley (Pop. 580)
  3. Littletown (Pop. 645)
  4. Lazy Y U (Pop. 618)
  5. Sonoita (Pop. 851)
  6. Elgin (Pop. 148)
  7. Washington Park (Pop. 169)
  8. East Verde Estates (Pop. 284)
  9. Solomon (Pop. 285)
  10. Six Shooter Canyon (Pop. 902)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Arizona according to the data:

  1. Eloy (Pop. 18,083)
  2. Guadalupe (Pop. 6,405)
  3. South Tucson (Pop. 5,666)

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Arizona?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Paradise Valley 14,215 1.4% $1,505,300
2 Gilbert 237,484 4.4% $310,400
3 Scottsdale 246,026 3.7% $455,900
4 Oro Valley 43,815 5.7% $297,500
5 Sahuarita 28,949 3.7% $200,700
6 Chandler 248,631 4.1% $285,000
7 Marana 43,606 4.3% $242,300
8 Thatcher 5,030 3.1% $149,400
9 Peoria 164,572 5.5% $248,700
10 Prescott 42,068 7.1% $328,000

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

2 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

  1. Forgot Carefree! Perfect place. No commercial developments, no apartments, no noise….. all large single family lots and homes, and perfect laid back living of high standard. Definitely not cheap, but one has to pay for high living standards. McDowell Preserve is within 3 min walk. Want noise of high grade entertainment? Scottsdale is next door!!!! Want low grade entertainment? Drive few miles to Cave Creek.

  2. Hello! I’m sure this would skew most of your results, and with respect, curious how (if) the rankings would change if you added another deciding criteria to the list: pollution. Being in a vally probably doesn’t help.

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