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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 10 Best Places To Live In Arizona For 2020:
- Paradise Valley (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Gilbert (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Scottsdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Oro Valley (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sahuarita (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Chandler (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Marana (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Thatcher (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Peoria (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Prescott (Photos | Homes For Sale)
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.
For more Arizona reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Arizona
- Cheapest Places To Live In Arizona
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Arizona
The 10 Best Places To Live In Arizona For 2020
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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'.
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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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
- Rio Verde (Pop. 1,946)
- Carefree (Pop. 3,580)
- Citrus Park (Pop. 4,832)
- Pinetop Country Club (Pop. 1,792)
- St. David (Pop. 1,709)
- Fort Valley (Pop. 1,157)
- Linden (Pop. 2,525)
- Eagar (Pop. 4,943)
- Tubac (Pop. 1,471)
- Clarkdale (Pop. 4,159)
Best Small Towns To Live In Arizona
- Parker Strip (Pop. 624)
- Round Valley (Pop. 580)
- Littletown (Pop. 645)
- Lazy Y U (Pop. 618)
- Sonoita (Pop. 851)
- Elgin (Pop. 148)
- Washington Park (Pop. 169)
- East Verde Estates (Pop. 284)
- Solomon (Pop. 285)
- Six Shooter Canyon (Pop. 902)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Arizona according to the data:
- Eloy (Pop. 18,083)
- Guadalupe (Pop. 6,405)
- South Tucson (Pop. 5,666)
For more Arizona reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Arizona
- Richest Cities In Arizona
- Safest Places In Arizona
- Worst Places To Live In Arizona