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:
- Florence (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Somerton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Nogales (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Prescott (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Douglas (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Apache Junction (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Scottsdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Payson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Chino Valley (Homes For Sale)
- Camp Verde (Photos | Homes For Sale)
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.
Population: 26,221Median 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.
Population: 20,355Median 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.
Population: 41,090Median 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.
Population: 16,764Median 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
Population: 234,495Median 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.
Population: 15,297Median 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
Population: 11,015Median 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
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:
- El Mirage
For more Arizona reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Arizona For 2018
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Arizona
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Arizona
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Arizona