If you are thinking about relocating to the Grand Canyon State and you can’t decide between Tucson or Phoenix, then you’ve stumbled upon the best place for making that decision. We will break it down for you, explain the good and the bad so that your decision making will go smoothly. The last thing that anyone wants is for someone to transport their whole lives into a new city and be unsatisfied with the decision in a matter of months, weeks or even days. We will try to make sure that you have all the facts so that this giant step won’t be a set back for you and your family.
There are some things that these two cities have in common and the most obvious ones are that stunning Sonoran Desert and the weather. Still, they are not completely alike. We will go over some of their pros and cons so that you can see which one suits your lifestyle more.
One thing you should know about Arizona as a whole is that the state has a very laid-back atmosphere. This is brought by a combination of factors, however, the most obvious one is the weather. When you live in an area that makes you feel like you’re on vacation, with an average of 300 sunny days in a year and temperatures that dance around 90 degrees for over 8 months of the year, it might be difficult to not be laid-back or in a good mood. Both of our cities are affected by this, but Tucson seems to be more laid-back than Phoenix and it has to do with the fact that Tucson still feels like a “university town” with its chic cafe and trending restaurants. The city of Tucson is more liberal and it doesn’t get caught up in judgement or prejudice as much. The residents are more content with their lives and care less about what happens in their neighbor’s yard.
Things to do
Whether you like climbing, hiking, going for a ride on your bike with the family or running alone with your thoughts, both cities can offer any kind of activity that you could imagine to do outdoors. The amount and variety of outdoor activities in Tucson might baffle you but with slight differences, you will find variations in Phoenix as well. What’s even more amazing is the fact that you have all-year-round to do it too. It sure can be nice to know that you can plan a weekend trip two weeks from now because the weather rarely changes, and when it does, you know it. Both cities are surrounded by mountains and those mountains are filled with trees and hikes and even snow in winter. So yes, in each city you have options to literally ski in the desert on snow, not sand. Actually, sand skiing might not be an option because of all the cacti. But the cacti. Whether you grew up with the Saguaro cactus from those old westerns or like the colorful flowers on the Prickly Pear (it’s not an actual pear) the Sonoran Desert has it all and we’re talking forests of cacti. If you’re not very outdoorsy you don’t have to miss the natural beauty as both cities have zoos and museums dedicated to the amazing habitat that surrounds them.
As we already opened the subject, let’s see if there are any differences in regard to the weather. Firstly, Arizona is the second most sunny state in the U.S. after Texas. One thing that you should know, however, is that unlike the other sunny states in the nation, Arizona doesn’t have Texas’ floods, Florida’s hurricane season or California’s wildfire season. There are no natural disasters in Arizona what-so-ever. There is a monsoon season but as monsoons go, Arizona doesn’t have to go through what India faces. However, an average of 13 inches of rainfall during the monsoon season is quite a lot if you think about the dry desert soil that covers large portions of the state. It is difficult for the soil to absorb 40% of the annual rainfall in the span of two months. The difference between the two cities when it comes to weather is in temperature. Both cities deal with that Arizona dry heat most of the year, however, in Tucson the temperature is slightly cooler because of its higher elevation. Even if it’s just by a few degrees, from 112°F to 107°F, those few degrees matter.
Both cities are homes to the two best universities in the state. While the University of Arizona is located in downtown Tucson, Arizona State University is technically in Tempe, AZ but that’s just a 17-minute drive from downtown Phoenix. The two universities are actually tied at number one in the US News list of Best Colleges in Arizona. Some of the most selected majors at the University of Arizona are Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Health Professions and Related Programs; and Engineering. At the same time at Arizona State University the majors that are applied to are Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Visual and Performing Arts; Social Sciences; and Engineering.
Overall, when it comes to education, Tucson invests more in its students and has a higher number of graduates when it comes to high school, college, Masters and Doctorate degrees.
Cost of living
Deciding where you move to is heavily influenced by the actual cost of living. It is why this information is very important and something to pay close attention to. There are several sites that can help with this comparison but we rely on Numbeo for the accuracy of their data which constantly changes at the same rate as the prices and expenses. If we take a look at Numbeo in order to compare Tucson cost of living to that of Phoenix, we can see that the data speaks volumes. First off, according to Numbeo, you will spend an average of $4,130 in Tucson in order to be able to have the same standard of living that $4,300 will get you in Phoenix.
Breaking it down shows where the differences come from. Rent is more affordable in Tucson than it is in Phoenix by 24.06%. Also, restaurant prices are 5.26% less expensive in Tucson than in Phoenix. However, utilities are more expensive in Tucson by 25.98%. Things seem relatively balanced between the two cities, but let's take a look at housing costs. Home values in Tucson are 25% more affordable than Phoenix. That makes for a difference of $54,000. When looking at the median income however its 66K in Phoenix, while in Tucson it stops at 62K. Deciding whether Tucson is better than Phoenix or not isn’t particularly easy.
Once you decide which city fits better with your lifestyle you are halfway there. For a chance at the big city life with a booming economy and enthusiastic athletic competitions, you can get in touch with the top realtors in Phoenix, AZ for great housing opportunities. Those that want a more peaceful small city life with great amenities for children and a sense of belonging should contact the local real estate agents in Tucson, AZ, and start browsing through the real estate listings available. Whichever your choice is The Official Real Estate Agent Directory® can assist you in finding a great home for you and your family.
Safety is a big concern when scouting out places where you would want to move to, especially if you have children, which happens to embody both cities from our article. South Arizona has many visitors and is a destination for many families with small children that choose either Tucson or Phoenix for their attributes. Both cities have extensive outdoor options and many entertainment facilities designed for families. In each city, you’ll find museums, zoos, historic villages and many other places to entertain your children. But are these families with children safe in either of these cities?
When it comes to crime rates, Tucson and Phoenix are almost identical in numbers when it comes to violent crimes. In regards to property crime, Phoenix has lower crime rates than Tucson by around 41%. Unfortunately, both cities get higher crime rates than the national average. For your own personal safety or that of your family, some areas to avoid are South Tucson for Tucson and the area between Roosevelt Street to Phoenix International Airport For Phoenix.
One thing to keep in mind as we go over these things is that, despite anything that will follow, the most important thing to remember is that it's your decision. If you like something in particular about Tucson or Phoenix, something that you don’t want to let go of, then all the cons on that city may become insignificant. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should jump in, blindfolded, without knowing what to expect. So here are a few things that could shed some light on your decision-making process.
Let us know in the comments section if there’s anything we missed and, for curiosity’s sake, let us know which one you’ll choose. Like & Share with family and friends to see if they can help you decide between the two cities of the Sonoran Desert.