American retirees tend to flock to states like Arizona for a number of reasons, the warm climate being one of the most important. Many Arizona cities also cater to the retirement lifestyle, with plenty of leisure activities available. However, one of the most important considerations for retirees is cost, and Arizona boasts a number of attractive cities that you can live in comfortably for $5,000 or less per month.
GOBankingRates used data from a number of sources, including the U.S. Census American Consumer Survey, AreaVibes, Sperlings BestPlaces, the Zillow Home Value Index, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, and Federal Reserve Economic Research to generate profiles of Arizona cities with populations of at least 5,000. Livability, population and total monthly costs were then analyzed to determine the best cities in Arizona to retire on with $5,000 per month. Results are presented here in reverse order.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $3,573.40
If you hate winter and rainy days, Yuma might be the place you want to retire. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Yuma is the sunniest place on earth. If you’re earning $5,000 per month, you’ll also be able to keep some money in your pocket, as costs in Yuma are very low.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $3,902.76
Maricopa is a relatively small city of just 57,075 but it has a good livability score of 73 and below-average grocery and miscellaneous costs. Housing costs are a bit above average nationally but are still quite affordable compared to other Arizona cities, with the median home value at $370,500.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $3,118.53
Benson’s livability score of 68 isn’t all that impressive, but it cracks the top 10 list due to its affordability. With expenses and mortgage combined coming in just a tick over $3,100 per month, you won’t find a more inexpensive city with a population of at least 5,000 to live in across Arizona.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $4,190.37
Glendale is known to sports fans as the home of baseball spring training for a number of teams. But it’s also a great, affordable place to retire, with a livability score of 77 and below-average costs for groceries and healthcare.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $5,118.74
Gilbert is the most expensive city in the top 10, but there are plenty of cities in Arizona that are pricier. Meanwhile, Gilbert sports by far the best livability score in the state, coming in at 88. Grocery and healthcare expenses actually come in lower than the national average, but overall, those retiring on $5,000 per month will have to watch their budgets a bit to make them last in this very desirable city.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $4,346.28
Mesa’s high livability score of 80 makes it a great place to live, and its population of nearly 500,000 means residents can enjoy a wide variety of services and amenities. The cost for groceries and healthcare also run below the national averages.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $3,584.39
Tucson has a healthy population of over 500,000 and below-average costs across the board, from groceries and healthcare to housing, utilities, transportation and miscellaneous. Healthcare is particularly cheap, at 14.6% below the national average, making it a good place to retire.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $3,372.14
Kingman is famous for the burros in the landscape surrounding the city, but it’s also an incredibly cheap place to live. Although healthcare is quite pricey, running 31.1% above the national average, housing, transportation and miscellaneous costs are very inexpensive, at 20-25% below the national average each.
2. Sierra Vista
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $3,388.49
Housing and transportation are dirt-cheap in this city of about 45,000 residents, running 21.1% and 22.8% below the national average, respectively. The city also sports a good livability score of 79.
- Expenses & Mortgage Combined: $4,281.21
Phoenix is the most expensive city in the top 10, but it’s far from the priciest one in the state as a whole. In fact, expenses and mortgage combined are less in the capital city than the average across America. Meanwhile, the city does sport the largest population in Arizona, offering residents a wide variety of services and amenities to go along with its livability score of 76.
Methodology: To find the best Arizona Cities to retire on $5,000 a month, GOBankingRates analyzed  all the cities in Arizona, sourced from the US Census American Consumer Survey, across various factors including;  Population,  Households both sourced from the US Census American Consumer Survey,  Livability Index sourced from AreaVibes,      Cost of Living across: groceries, healthcare, utilities, transportation, miscellaneous indexes sourced from Sperlings BestPlaces,  average July 2023 home value sourced from Zillow Home Value Index,  national average expenditure costs for someone aged 65 and over sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, and the  30 year fixed rate mortgage sourced from the Federal Reserve Economic Research. For the city to qualify it had to have 5,000 or more population and have all data points available. For each city the livability index was found as supplemental information. For each city the cost of living was calculated using the national average expenditure costs from the BLS. The average mortgage, assuming a 10% down payment, can be calculated using the national average mortgage rate from the FRED. The monthly expenditure costs are added to the monthly mortgage cost to find a total monthly cost to live in the city. All cities over $5,000 were removed as they did not qualify for the study. For the remaining cities the livability index, total population, and total monthly costs were scored and combined with the livability index weighted at 1.25, total population weighted at 0.75, and total monthly costs weighted at 1.50. The final score can be sorted to show the best cities to retire in Arizona on $5,000 a month. All data was collected and is up-to-date as-of September 7th, 2023.
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