These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Arizona For 2018

We analyzed over 32 places in Arizona to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Arizona.

But where exactly in Arizona? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Arizona that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Florence don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Grand Canyon State to retire for 2018:

  1. Florence (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Somerton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Nogales (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Prescott (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Douglas (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Apache Junction (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Scottsdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Payson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Chino Valley (Homes For Sale)
  10. Camp Verde (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Why did Florence take the top spot? And where are Phoenix and Tucson?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Arizona.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Grand Canyon State

To create our list of the best places in Arizona to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Grand Canyon State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 37 places from across the state.

For these 37, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 37, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Florence, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Florence

Florence, Arizona

Population: 26,221
Median Rent: $782
Distance to Closest Airport: 42 miles
Crime Per 100k: 659
More on Florence: Homes For Sale | Data
The area where the current town of Florence is located was once inhabited by the members of the Athabascans, ancestors of the San Carlos Apache tribe. Prior to the establishment of the town, the Gila River served as a part of the border between the United States and Mexico. In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase extended American territory well south of the Gila.

2. Somerton

Somerton, Arizona

Population: 14,866
Median Rent: $620
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,385
More on Somerton: Homes For Sale | Data

3. Nogales

Nogales, Arizona

Source: Public domain’

Population: 20,355
Median Rent: $532
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,770
More on Nogales: Homes For Sale | Data
The name ‘Nogales’ is derived from the Spanish word for ‘walnut’ or ‘walnut tree.’ It refers to the large stands of walnut trees that once stood in the mountain pass where Nogales is located.

4. Prescott

Prescott, Arizona

Population: 41,090
Median Rent: $854
Distance to Closest Airport: 82 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,662
More on Prescott: Homes For Sale | Data
Arizona Territorial Governor John Noble Goodwin selected the original site of Prescott following his first tour of the new territory. Goodwin replaced Governor John A. Gurley, appointed by Abraham Lincoln, but died before taking office. Downtown streets in Prescott are named in honor of each of them. Goodwin selected a site 20 miles (32 km) south of the temporary capital on the east side of Granite Creek near a number of mining camps. The territorial capital was later moved to the new site along with Fort Whipple, with the new town named in honor of historian William H. Prescott during a public meeting on May 30, 1864. Robert W. Groom surveyed the new community, and an initial auction sold 73 lots on June 4, 1864. By July 4, 1864, a total of 232 lots had been sold within the new community. Prescott was officially incorporated in 1881.

5. Douglas

Douglas, Arizona

Population: 16,764
Median Rent: $558
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,934
More on Douglas: Homes For Sale | Data
The Douglas area was first settled by the Spanish in the 18th century. Presidio de San Bernardino was established in 1776 and abandoned in 1780. It was located a few miles east of present-day Douglas. The United States Army established Camp San Bernardino in the latter half of the 19th century near the presidio, and in 1910 Camp Douglas was built next to the town.

6. Apache Junction

Apache Junction, Arizona

Population: 37,775
Median Rent: $790
Distance to Closest Airport: 27 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,721
More on Apache Junction: Homes For Sale | Data

7. Scottsdale

Scottsdale, Arizona

Population: 234,495
Median Rent: $1,184
Distance to Closest Airport: 19 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,587
More on Scottsdale: Homes For Sale | Data
The area which would include what would become Scottsdale was originally inhabited by the Hohokam, from approximately 300 BC to 1450 AD. This ancient civilization farmed the area and developed a complex network of canals for irrigation which was unsurpassed in pre-Columbian North America. At its peak, the canals stretched over 250 miles, many of which built remains extant today, some having been renovated and put back into use in the 20th century. Under still-mysterious circumstances, the Hohokam disappeared around 1450 or 1500, the most likely theory having to do with a prolonged drought. The area’s later occupants, the Pima and O’odham (also known as the Papago), are thought to be the direct descendants of the Hohokam people.

Before European settlement, Scottsdale was a Pima village known as Vaai S-vaon, meaning ‘rotting hay.’ Some Pima remained in their original homes well into the 20th century. For example, until the late 1960s, there was a still-occupied traditional dwelling on the southeast corner of Indian Bend Road and Hayden Road. Currently, those Pima who live within Scottsdale reside in newer homes rather than traditional dwellings. Many Pima and Maricopa people continue to reside on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which borders Scottsdale directly to the south and east.

8. Payson

Payson, Arizona

Population: 15,297
Median Rent: $911
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,837
More on Payson: Homes For Sale | Data
Payson considers its founding year as 1882, at which time it was known as ‘Green Valley’. On March 3, 1884, a post office was established with the help of Illinois Representative Levi Joseph Payson. The first postmaster was Frank C. Hise. In honor of Representative Payson’s help, the town’s name was changed to ‘Payson’.

9. Chino Valley

Chino Valley, Arizona

Population: 11,015
Median Rent: $782
Distance to Closest Airport: 92 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,932
More on Chino Valley: Homes For Sale | Data
Chino Valley is the site of the first Territorial Capital of Arizona. The capital moved to Prescott, 15 miles (24 km) away, in 1864. U.S. Army Cavalry Lt. Amiel W. Whipple, while traveling through the area in 1854, gave the community its name. ‘Chino’ is the Spanish name for the abundant curly grama grass growing in the area.

10. Camp Verde

Camp Verde, Arizona

Population: 11,096
Median Rent: $826
Distance to Closest Airport: 78 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,433
More on Camp Verde: Homes For Sale | Data

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Arizona goes to Florence.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Flagstaff
  • El Mirage
  • Avondale

For more Arizona reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Arizona

City Rank Population Median Rent Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Florence 1 26,221 $782 42 659
Somerton 2 14,866 $620 6 1,385
Nogales 3 20,355 $532 6 2,770
Prescott 4 41,090 $854 82 2,662
Douglas 5 16,764 $558 6 2,934
Apache Junction 6 37,775 $790 27 2,721
Scottsdale 7 234,495 $1184 19 2,587
Payson 8 15,297 $911 68 2,837
Chino Valley 9 11,015 $782 92 2,932
Camp Verde 10 11,096 $826 78 3,433
Oro Valley 11 42,379 $1068 21 1,609
Kingman 12 28,586 $832 30 5,530
Tucson 13 527,586 $772 4 6,730
Paradise Valley 14 13,833 $1772 8 1,742
San Luis 15 31,118 $631 13 1,497
Show Low 16 10,875 $810 126 4,055
Coolidge 17 12,073 $733 43 5,259
Mesa 18 470,456 $907 17 2,819
Cottonwood 19 11,598 $815 218 4,647
Chandler 20 242,131 $1162 13 2,771
Prescott Valley 21 41,070 $891 82 2,610
Eloy 22 17,128 $576 53 3,047
Maricopa 23 45,473 $1281 26 1,638
Sahuarita 24 27,780 $1386 12 1,432
Peoria 25 158,677 $1137 29 2,558
Tempe 26 174,708 $985 5 5,177
Glendale 27 239,943 $880 12 5,838
Casa Grande 28 51,571 $887 39 3,932
Phoenix 29 1,555,324 $914 10 4,452
Surprise 30 127,492 $1199 30 2,058
Gilbert 31 226,832 $1315 17 1,572
Marana 32 40,221 $1215 26 2,697
Sierra Vista 33 44,381 $908 33 3,071
Goodyear 34 72,629 $1232 23 3,267
Avondale 35 80,631 $1065 20 4,334
El Mirage 36 33,937 $1094 21 3,317
Flagstaff 37 69,270 $1090 122 4,505

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