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Cheapest Places to Live in Arizona, 2021

By: Emily Kho
July 8, 2021

If you are looking to make a big move, there are a few things to know before moving to Arizona. For starters, it’s essential to get a good idea of what the cost of living in Arizona is going to be.

When you combine the scenic mountain backdrops, booming metropolitan cities, and jaw-dropping desert landscape, it’s no wonder the 6th largest state in the US is so wildly popular. Thankfully, Arizona remains relatively affordable. But, if you’re looking for the best deal, here’s a look at ten of the cheapest places to live in Arizona.

Note: The data provided below comes from our rent estimates. These numbers expand beyond what’s listed on our platform. For further information, learn about our methodology.

Tucson

  • Population: 548,073
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,129
  • Median Household Income: $43,425
  • Walk Score: 42
  • Transit Score: 35
  • Bike Score: 67

Known for its artsy, laid-back vibe, Tucson has something to offer visitors and locals of all backgrounds. From eclectic boutiques to bustling restaurants, Tucson is a melting pot of a city with bike-friendly roads. Yet, despite over half of a million people, Tucson still offers residents a quaint, small-town feel.

Students of the University of Arizona and graduates alike have made a home of Tucson, with rental price points spanning varying budgets. Not surprisingly, the downtown area has slightly higher rent prices but is still considerably affordable compared to other popular cities in Arizona.

You can head to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, or the Saguaro National Park. If museums are more your style, you can also check out the Mission San Xavier del Bac, the Pima Air, and Space Museum, or the Franklin Auto Museum.

There is entertainment and activities galore throughout Tucson that includes family-friendly options. The outer boroughs and Northeast areas of Tucson tend to be the area’s families prefer, providing families in the area with an old west feel.

Learn all about the best neighborhoods in Tucson before deciding on what area is best suited for you. Also check out the average rent prices in Tuscon!

Much of Tucson is covered by the Sonoran Desert, known for the giant saguaro cactus. However, despite the desert, Tucson also has mountain ranges which even provide skiing in the winters.

Yuma

  • Population: 98,285
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $964
  • Median Household Income: $47,998
  • Walk Score: 31
  • Transit Score: 19
  • Bike Score: 55

Yuma is another rarity in Arizona, as it offers close proximity to a large body of water. This city overlooks the Colorado River and is home to the Marine Corps Air Station. Not surprisingly, Yuma is home to countless Marines and their loving families.

With warmer weather, much like many Arizona cities, Yuma attracts snowbirds who flock to this town during the year’s colder months. As a result, the population of Yuma doubles in the first few cold months each year before trickling back to normal as temperatures rise again throughout the US.

Yuma is close to San Diego and Mexico, providing locals multiple options for quick weekend getaways. But, for those who prefer to stay in town and enjoy the history of Yuma, you should take a look at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, the Castle Dome Mines Museum, and Ghost Town, or the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center.

Or, for the wildlife enthusiasts, Mittry Lake Wildlife Area, the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, or the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area are great spots to enjoy. And of course, you can’t forget all of the fun outdoor activities you can take part in on the Colorado River. Enjoy boating, canoeing, tubing, or any other water sports you can think of.

Casa Grande

  • Population: 58,632
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,125
  • Median Household Income: $52,841
  • Walk Score: 26
  • Bike Score: 45

Nestled directly between the most commonly known cities in Arizona, Phoenix, and Tucson, Casa Grande is a hidden gem for anyone looking to have a quieter lifestyle. Unlike the big neighboring cities, you can enjoy a more relaxing environment all year round in Casa Grande.

With a historic downtown area and endless local community events, Casa Grande is a city that offers a more intimate and neighborly vibe. There are also tons of outdoor activities in Casa Grande, including walking, biking, and hiking. Some of the more popular spots to check out include Claywood Farms, The Museum of Casa Grande, or The Domes of Casa Grande.

Boasting a relatively low cost of living with the convenience of metropolitan areas a quick drive away, Casa Grande might be an excellent option for anyone looking to live just outside the busier cities of Arizona.

You can also spend the day in one of the several parks scattered throughout Casa Grande. Many see Villagio Parkas as the best park in town, but others such as Carr McNatt Park or Casa Grande Dog Park are also popular favorites.

Casa Grande is most notably known for its agricultural industries, which primarily included dairy farms and cotton. Today, many residents of Casa Grande work in neighboring metropolitan cities.

Phoenix

  • Population: 1,680,992
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,210
  • Median Household Income: $57,459
  • Walk Score: 41
  • Transit Score: 36
  • Bike Score: 56

Phoenix is not only the state capital of Arizona but is also one of the best and most popular places to live within the state. The city is broken into dozens of distinct neighborhoods, including Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Central Avenue Corridor, Downtown Phoenix, Mountain Park Ranch.

Learn all about the best neighborhoods in Phoenix before deciding on your final landing spot.

Located in central Arizona in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix offers residents a premier destination to call home. The weather is warm in Phoenix, making its nickname appropriate. Many retirees and snowbirds flock here to escape the cold winters throughout the rest of the country.

As weather permits, Phoenix has a wide variety of ways to explore the beautiful outdoors. Enjoy the Desert Botanical Garden, Camelback Mountain, or the Phoenix Zoo. Otherwise, you can check out the Musical Instrument Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, or Heard Museum if you’re looking to escape the heat.

Phoenix has something for everyone with the perfect blend of low-key cultural offerings, seasonal outdoor activities, and bustling metropolitan areas. The job market is also great in Phoenix. The top industries are health care and social assistance, administrative and support, waste management and remediation services, and accommodation and food services.

Get a better understanding of the cost of living in Phoenix and average rent prices) before moving to Phoenix.

Glendale

  • Population: 252,381
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,221
  • Median Household Income: $55,020
  • Walk Score: 40
  • Transit Score: 34
  • Bike Score: 59

Not only is Glendale one of the cheapest places to live in Arizona, but it is also one of the best cities in the state to call home. Broken into six different districts, each offering its unique spirit, you’ll never run short of fun things to do in Glendale.

Choose from a wide range of nightlife, shopping, or historic adventure activities. Despite not having a professional sports team of its own, Glendale hosts countless NFL games at the State Farm Stadium, known for its roll-out grass turf. In 2008, this stadium also hosted Super Bowl XLII.

The six districts within Glendale include Barrel, Cactus, Cholla, Sahuaro, Ocotillo, and Yucca. Regardless of which area you decide on, you’ll want to be sure to live somewhere with a pool to help survive the brutal heat of the summers.

Go check out the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve, the Thunderbird Conservation Park, or the Sahuaro Ranch Park to get outside and enjoy nature. For concerts and live sports entertainment, visit the Westgate Entertainment District, the Gila River Area, or Camelback Ranch.

Glendale is known as Arizona’s Antique Capital thanks to unique shops all over the city. With plenty of opportunities to spend your money, it’s good to know that the job market in Glendale is strong. The city’s top employers include Luke Air Force Base, Banner Health, and Arrowhead Town Center.

Mesa

  • Population: 518,012
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,287
  • Median Household Income: $58,181
  • Walk Score: 37
  • Transit Score: 27
  • Bike Score: 61

Mesa is a popular location for young professionals and families alike. With affordable rent prices, this growing city keeps attention thanks to its well-known low property taxes. So even if you don’t plan on purchasing, low property taxes mean landlords don’t have to hike up rent prices to keep up with their payments.

Unique to Mesa, you’ll find multiple rivers and lakes. Saguaro Lake is a short 20-minute drive from Mesa. Otherwise, check out other bodies of water, including Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Roosevelt Lake, or Salt River, all relatively close by to Mesa.

If you prefer to stay indoors during the hot summers, you can check out the Commemorative Air Force Museum, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, or the Mesa Arts Center, all located in the city.

Mesa is known for its Cactus League little league, which has hosted numerous local heroes through the years. Namely, players Joe DiMaggio and Ty Cobb are known for playing in Mesa. But for the avid MLB fans every year, allowing locals to get up close and personal with some of the league’s big stars.

Although the summertimes can usually bring insufferable heat, thankfully, having water nearby makes surviving much more bearable. Otherwise, the third-largest city in Arizona is known for its spectacular views of the Superstition Mountains.

Tempe

  • Population: 195,805
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,385
  • Median Household Income: $57,994
  • Walk Score: 53
  • Transit Score: 47
  • Bike Score: 74

In Tempe, you can find booming nightlife filled with Arizona State University students and graduates alike. Between the Casino Arizona, live music, nightclubs, and sports bars, there is always plenty to do in Tempe.

While there is a good nightlife scene, Tempe knows how to hunker down and is home to many recent grads and career climbers seeking to grow professionally. Tempe was once ranked one of the best places for remote workers.

Tempe is home to some beautiful views as well. Regardless of what area you reside in in the city, you can easily see the scenic Camelback Mountains. If you’re looking to get off your feet, you can rent a Segway and follow Tempe Town Lake.

If you’d rather get indoors, you can check out the fountains at the Tempe Center for the Arts, catch a game at the Arizona State University Wells Fargo Arena, or see the underwater creatures at Sea Life Arizona. There are indoor and outdoor activities available for everyone.

Some of the most popular rentals in the city are found in North Tempe around the Mill Avenue District. Apartment rentals range in all prices, with even some more luxurious and upscale rentals available in this region.

Learn more about average rent prices in Tempe.

Avondale

  • Population: 87,931
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,615
  • Median Household Income: $61,825
  • Walk Score: 28
  • Transit Score: --
  • Bike Score: 52

Avondale is recognized as one of the more popular suburbs of Phoenix and is growing at rapid rates. Avondale is a highly affordable region within Arizona, known for its open space, employment opportunities, and recreational amenities.

In addition to its vast landscape, Avondale is known for having beautiful scenic views. The city is located where the Sierra Estrella Mountains meet the Agua Fria and Gila rivers. Get outside and enjoy the Estrella Mountains, Tres Rios Wetlands, or Corral West Horse.

For the thrill-seekers, Avondale is also home to the Phoenix International Raceway. Any NASCAR or Formula One enthusiast is bound to have a grand old time at the raceway.

Gilbert

  • Population: 254,114
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,634
  • Median Household Income: $96,857
  • Walk Score: 28
  • Transit Score: 15
  • Bike Score: 54

Gilbert is one city in Arizona that seems to attract tons of young professionals. Located in Maricopa County, Gilbert is just southeast of the popular Phoenix. Historically, Gilbert was known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World,” but today is the sixth-largest municipality in the state.

Gilbert offers residents over 300 days of sunshine year-round with countless leisure activities, both indoor and outdoor. If you’re looking to enjoy some of the beautiful weather, take a walk along the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, the Freestone District Park, or Discovery Park. Check out the latest showing at the Hale Centre Theatre, the Gilbert Historical Museum, or the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory to get out of the hot summer days.

If you’re looking to get together with a few friends, Gilbert has the World of Beer which offers over 500 domestic and international beer choices and oversized pretzels.

Aside from the early to mid-30-year-old professionals that call Gilbert home, there are also plenty of families. Gilbert is an excellent option for families offering a tight-knit community feels with low crime rates and highly-rated schools.

Anyone would be lucky enough to call Gilbert home with everything from hot air balloon displays, annual holiday events, and a vibrant downtown atmosphere.

Learn about the average rent in Gilbert.

Goodyear

  • Population: 86,840
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,722
  • Median Household Income: $83,866
  • Walk Score: 18
  • Bike Score: 42

Goodyear is an excellent option for anyone who loves the outdoors. Plus, it is one of the cheapest places to live in Arizona. Goodyear boasts an impressive 20,000+ acres of recreational park, nearly 50 miles of trails, and over 100 miles of paved bike paths. If you like to maintain an active lifestyle, you can easily accomplish that in Goodyear.

It’s hard to believe this town is just 20 minutes away from the bustling state capital of Phoenix. Goodyear offers so many different types of parks and outdoor activities. Check out Estrella Mountain Regional Park or North Lake. Or, during the hotter months, cool down indoors at the Bible Museum or the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall.

If you love to watch professional sports, you’ll love Goodyear. Every year for spring training, the Goodyear Ballpark welcomes the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds. Otherwise, take a few swings at the Golf Club of Estrella, Palm Valley Golf Club, or Tuscany Falls Golf Course.

Goodyear got its name from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, which has extensive cotton farmland in the area for tire-making.

Learn about the average rent in Goodyear.

Final Thoughts - Where Should I Move to in Arizona?

No matter what it is you are looking for in Arizona, whether it be lakes and rivers in Mesa or the hustle of a metropolitan area like Phoenix, there’s something there for everyone. Thankfully, some of the best places to live in Arizona are also the cheapest places to live in Arizona.

So, if you are interested in moving to Arizona, the Grand Canyon State now might be a good time to start your research. First, find out more information about the cost of living in Arizona. Next, register with Apartment List today and start checking out the thousands of available apartments to rent in Arizona!

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained SEO writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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