16 Pros and Cons of Living in Phoenix, AZ

Updated On October 9, 2023
Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona, is a one-of-a-kind city.

It is widely known for being one of the hottest locations in the entire United States.

But the city is much more than just its climate.

It is also a haven of Southwestern culture, food, and scenery, and is home to close to 200 parks!

If you are thinking about making the move to Phoenix, here is everything you need to know about this dynamic city.

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

Pros of Living in Phoenix

1. Winters are Mild

It should come as no surprise that in a place with such hot summers, winters are also warmer than average.

Phoenix gets more than 300 sunny days on average, even throughout the winter.

Its coldest month is January, with an average low of 46 degrees and an average high of 67.

The winter also only has, on average, an inch of precipitation, so you can expect sunny, mild weather throughout the year.

2. The Scenery is Beautiful

The American Southwest is widely considered one of the most beautiful and unique regions in the country.

Phoenix is in a particularly beautiful spot, located in the heart of the Valley of the Sun.

You can go from a bustling metropolis to canyons and breathtaking plateaus in less than an hour.

It is not hard to see why outdoor sports such as hiking and rock climbing are so popular in the region. 

3. There is a Dynamic Culture

Southwestern culture is one of the most vibrant and fascinating in the United States.

There is a mashup of cultures of all kinds, with strong influences from Mexican culture (in fact, 30 percent of Phoenix residents are native Spanish speakers).

This reflects in the unique architecture, decor, music, food, and much more.

When it comes to fine culture, Phoenix is also a great place to be, with plenty of concerts, museums, theaters, and art galleries.

4. Cost of Living is Lower Than Average

The cost of living in Phoenix is approximately five percent lower than the national average.

This is particularly impressive when you consider that it is the sixth-largest city in the country.

Most people have low expenses, especially when it comes to food and housing.

Though Phoenix is more expensive than living in a rural area, it is stunningly affordable in comparison to other metropolitan areas.

If you want to live in an affordable city, Phoenix could be a great choice.

5. The Food is Fantastic

Phoenix offers the chance to try some truly unique food.

Southwestern cuisine brings a mishmash of American, Mexican, and indigenous foods, and they are all available in the city.

You will also find a great variety of other special eateries, with everything from barbecue to vegan restaurants, Caribbean cuisine, and much more.

Phoenix is widely considered a foodie destination, so be prepared to eat well while you’re here. 

6. Getting Around the City is Easy

Phoenix was famously built on a grid that runs east to west and north to south.

Drivers rarely need a map or GPS to get where they need to go, and you will find it wonderfully efficient for traffic.

Of course, you might not even need to hit the highway, as Phoenix also has excellent public transportation.

The city is also a popular place for cycling. 

7. There are Tons of Places to Enjoy the Outdoors 

Outdoor sports enthusiasts are right at home in Phoenix.

Just outside the city are countless spots for rock climbing, breathtaking nature hikes, cycling, and more.

There are more than 33,000 acres of desert and 200 miles of hiking trails, as well as 189 parks.

You will find people fishing and tubing in the nearby Salt River and horseback riding through Phoenix’s South Mountain Park and Preserve, the biggest city park in the country.

8. The Economy is Growing

Though the job market can be hit or miss for the average person, Phoenix’s economy is growing.

The city is home to several Fortune 500 companies, which are drawing jobs in a few specific industries.

The biggest growing industries include agricultural manufacturing, internet of things technology, renewable energy, and custom software development.

Official projections also forecast growth in the auto industry, especially electric vehicles. 

Cons of Living in Phoenix

1. Summer is Extremely Hot

This con earns first place because it is one of the most obvious.

Phoenix is one of the hottest cities in the United States, thanks to its desert climate.

Summers are particularly brutal, with temperatures rising up to 105 degrees on average — and sometimes much hotter.

Because the city is in the desert, humidity is nonexistent, which means that the summer air is the famous “dry heat” we’ve all heard so much about.

2. Dust Storms are Common

Because of Phoenix’s climate and location in the desert, dust storms — known as haboobs — happen fairly regularly.

When they hit, visibility drops to zero.

They also carry pollutants and dirt.

But they can be particularly bad for people with respiratory problems and have been known to trigger asthma attacks.

An average year brings between one and three haboobs, and Phoenix natives have learned to take safety measures.

3. The Education System is Less Than Stellar

The education system in Arizona is severely dragging, with a lack of funding and teacher shortages contributing to the problem.

In 2020, Arizona ranked last out of all 50 states in terms of education quality.

Unsurprisingly, test scores across the state are lower than average as well.

Many local and state initiatives are underway to improve education funding and resources. 

4. There is a Drug Problem

Because of Phoenix’s location close to the United States-Mexico border, the city is a hub for drug trafficking.

Drug use and drug-related crime occur at a significantly higher rate than in many other cities around the country.

Methamphetamine, marijuana, Mexican black tar heroin, and cocaine are widely trafficked in Phoenix.

In certain parts of the city, your chances of being involved in a drug-related crime are as high as one in 44.

5. Crime is Above Average

Drugs significantly affect the crime rate in Phoenix, but they are not the only factor.

Nevertheless, crime in Phoenix is markedly higher than in many other places in the United States.

Different areas around the city are safer than others, but overall both Phoenix and Arizona have higher than average crime.

Phoenix’s rate of violent crime is 37.5 (in contrast to the US average of 22.7) and property crime is 52.8 (in contrast to the national 35.4).

6. The Job Market is a Mixed Bag

In general, Phoenix has a slightly worse than the average job market, especially in contrast to other large metropolitan areas.

However, some industries are experiencing a significant amount of growth, including aircraft part manufacturing, electronics, and air conditioning production.

If you do not work in one of the major industries, however, you might have a hard time finding a job. 

7. There is Dangerous Wildlife

Living in the desert means that desert animals are a part of life.

Some of these are dangerous.

Coyotes, rattlesnakes, scorpions, bobcats, black widows, cougars, and black bears make their home in the desert, and may occasionally encroach on human territory.

These can pose a significant danger to people hiking or rock climbing in the desert or canyons. 

8. Snowbirds can Make Life Irritating

Arizona is a hotspot (pun not intended) for tourists, particularly snowbirds.

These retired vacationers flock to Phoenix and the surrounding area during the winter when the weather is mild and sunny.

This means that the city can be crowded when the weather is nicest, causing traffic jams and other irritations.

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

Pros and Cons of Living in Phoenix, AZ – Summary Table

Pros of Living in PhoenixCons of Living in Phoenix
1. Winters are Mild1. Summer is Extremely Hot
2. The Scenery is Beautiful2. Dust Storms are Common
3. There is a Dynamic Culture3. The Education System is Less Than Stellar
4. Cost of Living is Lower Than Average4. There is a Drug Problem
5. The Food is Fantastic5. Crime is Above Average
6. Getting Around the City is Easy6. The Job Market is a Mixed Bag
7. There are Tons of Places to Enjoy the Outdoors 7. There is Dangerous Wildlife
8. The Economy is Growing8. Snowbirds can Make Life Irritating

Deciding to Move to Phoenix

If you are thinking about moving to Phoenix, prepare for a unique and dynamic culture.

From the climate to the people, this one-of-a-kind city is a whole experience on its own.

While the summers are hot and dust storms are not out of the ordinary, the low cost of living and beautiful scenery may be worth it!

Phoenix Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Phoenix Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Average Salary in Phoenix?

The median income in Phoenix is $42,000, with an average salary of $63,695.

While these are lower than many other cities around the United States, it is worth considering that the cost of living in Phoenix is also lower, which means that most people do very well as long as they earn at least the median salary amount.

Does Phoenix Have Bad Air Quality?

In 2021, Phoenix ranked #8 in the country for poor air quality, which persists year-round.

This may be due in part to the proximity of the desert and the sandstorms which blow through the city several times a year, carrying dust and other pollutants.

People with respiratory problems such as asthma may have their symptoms worsen while in Phoenix.

What is There to do in Phoenix? 

There is something to do in Phoenix for everyone, no matter what interests they have.

The city is home to many museums, theaters, and art galleries, a city symphony and ballet, and other fine entertainment.

The Ak-Chin Pavilion is one of the largest outdoor performance spaces in the country and features regular shows and other events.

That is not even to mention the 189 parks in and around the city.

What is Phoenix Known For? 

Phoenix is famous for its vibrant culture and beautiful scenery.

It is also known for being one of the hottest cities in the United States, especially during the summer, when temperatures routinely get well over 100 degrees.

The city is totally unique from its climate to its Southwestern culture, food, and entertainment.

When is the Best Weather in Phoenix? 

Winter and early spring are extremely pleasant times of year in Phoenix.

Between November and April, temperatures are generally between the upper 60s and the low 80s.

Precipitation is low in Phoenix throughout the year, so you can expect to continue to find sunny skies even during the winter.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest