The decision to move to a new city, especially one in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It is important for prospective expats to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of relocating to Phoenix so they can make an informed choice as to whether the move is right for themselves and their family.
Below are a few of our main pros and cons of life in Phoenix, which may assist anyone considering a move to the Valley of the Sun.
Accommodation in Phoenix
+ Pro: Diverse range of options
Whether new arrivals are looking for a swanky city-centre apartment, a craftsman bungalow full of character, or a comfortable family home with a pool in the suburbs, there is sure to be a home to suit any individual's needs and preferences. What’s more, despite rising property prices, Phoenix remains more affordable than many other big US cities.
Working in Phoenix
+ Pro: A strong local economy
Not only is the cost of living in Phoenix reasonable, the economy is strong which means there are plenty of great job opportunities for newcomers. Phoenix has one of the largest emerging industrial markets in the US, and new arrivals will find job opportunities in areas such as tourism, technology, healthcare and manufacturing. Phoenix also has great entrepreneurial spirit and there's a lot of support for people who want to run a small business here.
- Con: Salaries are low
Compared to other US cities, the salaries in Phoenix are relatively low. This doesn’t mean that residents can’t live well. Most people report having a better work-life balance in Arizona, and the fact that living expenses here are manageable means that even a small salary can go further.
Lifestyle in Phoenix
+ Pro: A dream for outdoor enthusiasts
Active residents will find no shortage of leisure activities in and around Phoenix. The good weather also encourages residents to spend time outdoors making the most of nature. Whether it's clambering up to the peak of Camelback Mountain or taking a leisurely stroll through one of the city’s parks or green spaces, it’ll feel like time well spent.
+ Pro: Arts and culture is flourishing
Newcomers will find that there is plenty of opportunities to get a dose of culture in Phoenix. Museums and art galleries are plentiful. From the Phoenix Art Museum to the Center for Creative Photography and the Pueblo Grande Museum, there is a lot to keep residents busy. Those who prefer the performing arts should catch the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, the Arizona Opera or Ballet Arizona in action at Symphony Hall. The Orpheum Theater, the Herberger Center and Talking Stick Arena also host an array of live performances.
- Con: Phoenix can be quite conservative
On the whole, Arizona tends to have quite conservative political leanings. When it comes to spending, immigration and law enforcement, the state is certainly on the conservative end of the spectrum. Gun ownership is pretty prevalent in this part of the country too. Those with liberal leanings might need to make some adjustments to deal with these views.
- Con: There are no easy weekend getaways
San Diego is 6 hours away, and so is Vegas, and there's not much in between. So those moving from places like California, or Europe, where there's entertainment in every direction, may well find Phoenix too remote.
Weather in Phoenix
+ Pro: 300 days of sunshine a year
For many, the weather is a major draw for Phoenix. With 300 days of sunshine a year, this is a great place to spend time outdoors exploring the city. The great weather lends itself to fun-packed days spent on one of the many hiking trails or bicycle routes in and around the city. For those who want to enjoy the weather at a more relaxed pace, a day by the pool is always on the cards here.
- Con: The desert heat and allergies can be intense
While the warm weather is a plus for many, it is important to remember that Phoenix is a city in the Sonoran Desert. The heat can get intense at times, which is not for everyone. For those with allergies, springtime in Phoenix can also be tough.
- Con: Dust storms
Dust storms, or haboobs, are a common feature during the summer months in Phoenix. In fact, they are almost a daily occurrence
Getting around in Phoenix
+ Pro: Phoenix is easy to navigate
Newcomers to Phoenix will soon realise that having a car affords them greater freedom to explore the city. Thanks to its straightforward grid layout, new arrivals really shouldn’t struggle to get their bearings. There really is no need for GPS with a layout that is so intuitive.
- Con: Public transport is limited
New arrivals moving to Phoenix from cities with extensive public transportation networks might struggle with the limited system in place here. While there are plans to expand Phoenix’s light rail network, these are still a long way off.
►To learn more about the Valley of the Sun's top attractions check out our Lifestyle page.
Are you an expat living in Phoenix?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Phoenix. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
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