Navigating the Cost of Living in Arizona

Each quarter, the Council for Community and Economic Research takes the spotlight with its cost-of-living index, a tool designed to reveal “regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services.” This comprehensive index offers a holistic view of economic landscapes, covering housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. As a valuable snapshot in time, it aids individuals, businesses, and policymakers in comparing relative costs across cities based on evolving economic dynamics.

The recent Axios report on the Council’s index sheds light on living expenses in the United States, and across Arizona. Phoenix’s cost of living, ranking 81st out of 269 urban areas, is slightly above the national average. Exploring the contributing factors reveals that housing is the primary driver, with costs 12 points above the national average. A limited housing supply challenges the city’s traditionally low housing costs amid rapid growth. Groceries and transportation in Phoenix also impact residents’ budgets, albeit slightly above average. Notably, Phoenix boasts below-average costs for health care and utilities, offering relief in these essential areas.

Beyond Phoenix, the report unveils intriguing dynamics among other Arizona cities. Lake Havasu City leads as the most expensive, surpassing the national average by 23 points, while Bullhead City claims the title of the least expensive, with costs 6.5 points below the national average. Surprise, Gilbert, Prescott, and Flagstaff present unique cost scenarios, each rating as more expensive than Phoenix. This regional breakdown emphasizes the diversity in living expenses within the state, urging residents to consider not only the national average but also the specific conditions of their city when planning budgets and financial strategies.


Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Arizona Advocacy.