A Head To Head Comparison Of Florida And Arizona Living
If you have been considering the pros and cons of living in Florida vs Arizona. Then you have come to the right place.
Perhaps you are trying to choose between Arizona or Florida for retirement. On the other hand, maybe you are just looking for a new job and a fresh start in life.
Whatever your situation. We have it covered.
As we take a close look at living in Florida. Versus living in Arizona right now!
Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Florida Vs Arizona
Choosing where to live is one of the biggest decisions we make in life. But, trying to balance money, family, recreation, and quality of life is a challenge.
To me, it comes down to 10 important factors. And that’s how we are going to compare life in Florida vs living the Arizona lifestyle.
So, allow me to begin with a summary highlighting our findings:
1. Economy and job market
- Florida: Big economy
- Arizona: Fast growing economy
2. Cost of living
- Florida and Arizona: Locations range from very costly to inexpensive
3. Individual income taxes
- Florida: None
- Arizona: Low
4. Political Environment
- Florida: Diverse views
- Arizona: Leans conservative
5. Landscape and scenery
- Florida: Ocean and miles of shorelines
- Arizona: Desert, mountains, and canyons
6. Fun things to do
- Florida: Water sports and theme parks
- Arizona: Mountain hiking and biking
7. Weather and climate
- Florida: Humid
- Arizona: Arid
8. Dangers and pests
- Florida: Hurricanes, insects, and alligators
- Arizona: Dust storms, rattlesnakes, and spiders
9. Places to live
- Florida and Arizona: Wide variety of options
10. Crime and safety
- Florida and Arizona: Generally safe but location-specific
We will discuss each of these areas of comparison one at a time. And in much greater detail in just a moment.
Florida, Arizona, Or Someplace Else
I want to point out we have a robust archive of articles about the best places to live in the United States.
Just in case you decide neither Florida (The Sunshine State) nor Arizona (The Grand Canyon State) is your best place to live.
Otherwise, stick with me right here. Then you can get the information required to answer the big question:
Should I move to Florida or Arizona?
Let’s carry on…
1. Economy And Job Market
Based on economic output, Florida’s state economy is one of the 5 largest in the country.
In comparison, Arizona’s economy is one-third the size of Florida’s. On the other hand, Arizona’s economy is growing more rapidly.
Both states have a good diversification across industries. With many jobs from these sectors:
- Aerospace and aviation
- Health care
Furthermore, as of this writing, each state’s unemployment rate is similar.
But, here’s the big difference between the Florida and Arizona job markets…
Most of Arizona’s jobs are concentrated in the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas.
So, if you choose to live in Arizona and will be looking for a job. Then think hard about moving to Phoenix or Tucson.
Finding certain jobs in a popular place like Prescott or even Flagstaff and Sedona is much more challenging.
On the other hand, job opportunities are much more dispersed throughout the state of Florida.
For example, look for the most jobs in these regional areas of Florida…
First, central Florida. Specifically, in and around Orlando. Where tourists flock to the theme parks and other recreational activities.
Second, consider the state capital of Tallahassee. Also, Jacksonville and its surrounding areas. Both are located in the northern part of the state.
Third, central-west Florida. Start your search in and around Tampa.
This city is the economic engine for the area. And a good option for corporate and professional jobs.
When you include St. Petersburg located on the Pinellas peninsula. Plus the surrounding communities including Clearwater. This Florida region hosts nearly 3 million residents.
And finally, Miami to the South.
Where you won’t find a lot of jobs in Florida is the rural north area. In addition to the south-central part of the state.
These areas are comprised mostly of small towns. Without a lot of industry or economic development going on.
Next up, whether you are working or retired. The Florida vs Arizona cost of living is a meaningful factor in deciding where to live.
2. Cost Of Living
Both states can provide what I would call a reasonable cost of living. I say this since BestPlaces.net shows each state has a cost-of-living index about 2% higher than the national average.
Above all, your living costs are going to revolve around where you choose to live. Here is what I mean…
In Florida, if you desire oceanfront living in Miami.
You will find it to be one of the most expensive areas in the United States to live in.
And same goes for coastal living in and around Naples. Or, Marco Island.
On the other hand, do your homework on exactly where you can afford to live. It’s well worth the time.
Because you can find many affordable places in Florida to live. Some are downright cheap.
And the same goes for Arizona…
Choose to live in a town like Scottsdale; you must pay for the privilege.
Look for a small town in more remote parts of Arizona. You may discover it’s not so expensive.
However, be selective because choosing a small resort town like Sedona can be quite costly too.
To sum up, in either Florida or Arizona…
Real estate prices, property taxes, and the cost of living will be heavily influenced by where you choose to live.
From the outrageously expensive. To the super affordable. And everything in between.
On a related note, we shave a few bucks out of our budget by using the best cash-back app from Rakuten. Sign up with Rakuten and get money back on all of your online purchases.
3. Individual Income Taxes
When comparing Florida and Arizona there is a clear-cut winner when it comes to taxes. Assuming the criteria is paying less tax is better.
And the winner is? Florida.
First of all, Florida is one of only a handful of states that has no individual income tax.
Furthermore, Florida repealed estate taxes in 2004. And investment taxes on intangible assets like stocks and bonds in 2007.
But there is some good news when it comes to taxes and living in Arizona vs Florida. Specifically, income taxes rates have been reduced in Arizona. Thanks to new tax laws that have been put in place.
On the other hand, it is still probable that many Arizona residents will pay taxes on their income. Be it from a job or certain forms of retirement income.
It depends on how much you make. In addition to other considerations, the state has made law.
So, it is likely you will pay more income tax in Arizona vs Florida. I suggest you consult with your tax advisor if this is an important consideration for you.
As long as we are on the topic of money…
It’s also a good idea to tighten up your budget before you move since relocating is a big financial decision.
I like the online app from Empower. To pull all of our spending, budget, and investments together in one place.
Empower is free to sign up for and use. And makes managing your money much less of a chore.
We are just getting warmed up. So, let’s keep moving…
4. Political Environment
Politics is another area where Florida and Arizona are different.
First, Arizona residents tend to be more conservative than liberal. And that may cause issues for those who lean to the left side of the political spectrum.
Important topics include government taxes and spending, immigration, law enforcement, and gun control. To name just a few.
So, being conservative, it makes sense to me that Arizona legislatures reduced income taxes recently. Since those of the Republican party tend to favor lower income taxes.
On the other hand, Florida is much more politically diverse. It is a battleground state.
Often having a significant influence on the presidential election. And the ongoing power struggle in congress.
Okay. That’s enough about money, taxes, and politics.
Because there is much more about life in Florida. Versus living in Arizona than those topics do justice.
5. Landscape And Scenery
Here is another factor where it’s easy to split the difference between these 2 states. And that is the landscape and scenery.
Because Florida is full of water features.
With about 1,200 miles of coastline. Including the Emerald Coast, world-class beaches, and exotic inland marshes, lakes, and waterways.
On the western shore, the state has the Gulf of Mexico.
On the Eastern side of Florida, you have the Atlantic Ocean.
And don’t forget about the shores along the Florida Panhandle. That stretch just over the Georgia state line, Alabama, and almost to Mississippi.
On the other hand, Arizona has a dramatic desert landscape, mountains, rivers, lakes, and canyons. Lake Mead, Havasu Falls, and the Grand Canyon are some of the most well-known features.
So, to sum up, the landscape and scenery between these two states is a toss-up. Both are beautiful in their unique way. But, completely different.
6. Fun Things To Do
Each state offers plenty of recreational options.
Of course, Florida gets the nod for water sports.
But Arizona wins for hiking and biking in and around the mountains and canyons.
For golfers, Florida boasts the most golf courses of any state in the country.
But, how many golf courses do you need? Because Arizona has plenty of courses to satisfy even the avid golfer.
Looking for family fun at amusement and theme parks? Then Florida is the hands-down winner here. Since the state boasts so many of these fun places to visit.
Finally, no matter where you live. It’s always good to get away for a change of scenery.
And Arizona has some excellent road trip options…
Whether it is to Nevada for a Las Vegas show. Enjoying some world-class skiing in Utah or Colorado. Visiting historic Santa Fe, New Mexico. Or heading to the amazing state of California for all it has to offer visitors.
All of these destinations. Are within a reasonable reach. When living the Arizona lifestyle.
We are heading down the home stretch. Let’s hit on the last 3 factors…
7. Weather And Climate
When it comes to Florida vs Arizona weather. There are a lot of similarities and also some differences between Florida and Arizona.
First, both states are known for their mild winter climates and abundant sunshine.
The climate is a big reason why Florida vs Arizona for snowbirds has always been up for debate.
On the other hand, you may be surprised at being able to find significant snowfall in Arizona. Specifically, around Flagstaff in northern Arizona, near the Grand Canyon, and in the higher elevations.
This is great for anyone needing a taste of winter. Or, at least a feeling of changing seasons in the area.
But you won’t see much of any snow in the major population centers of Phoenix and Tucson.
As for Florida, leave your snow blower and snow shovels at the state line. Because you won’t need them!
Most of all, the biggest difference in climate between these two regions. That’s easy…
Florida gets plenty of rain. And has lots of humidity.
On the other hand, Arizona is arid.
So if you are like me and don’t like the summer air so thick like you can taste it. Nor breaking into a sweat as soon as you walk outside.
Then, Arizona may be a better choice.
8. Dangers And Pests
In the extreme weather department, Arizona is susceptible to dust storms and flash floods.
While Florida, like the great state of Texas, is known for hurricanes. These violent storms give the nod to Arizona. That is if you want to reduce the risk of extreme and dangerous weather conditions.
When it comes to insects, critters, and other dangers. These two states couldn’t be more different.
In Florida, because of the humidity. It is prone to mosquitos and other pesky, biting insects. Since ants, bees, wasps, and biting midges are plentiful in the state.
Plus, there are alligators in Florida. With a population that is believed to be a million or more.
Then Arizona. Because of the dry heat.
You will find rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, and black widow spiders. Some of these little creatures can be quite dangerous.
Furthermore, it is a good rule of thumb to not touch plants in the desert. Since many are toxic.
So, pick your poison here. Each state has its share of extreme weather. Also, bugs, plants, and creatures to look out for.
After all, they like living there too!
9. Places To Live
When it comes to your desired living environment. You can find your favorite place to live in Florida or Arizona.
Florida has several more urban options and major metropolitan areas to choose from. Versus just Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona.
On the other hand, Florida is much more densely populated. And is plagued with bad traffic congestion in its urban areas. Plus a robust influx of seasonal tourists only adds to the overcrowding.
Arizona has more wide-open spaces. If that is what you are looking for.
And both states have plenty of active adult retirement communities, small towns, villages, and farms. If a smaller community or open land is what you desire.
10. Crime And Safety
Crime and safety are always a function of your exact location. Suffice it to say that there are plenty of safe places to live in each state. And many dangerous places you will want to avoid.
So, after you choose a state. Do your homework on specific locations.
What I found, after reviewing several national surveys and statistics, Arizona typically grades out as more dangerous than Florida. With a higher state crime rate per capita.
Okay. That completes our review of 10 key factors when deciding between life in Florida. Versus an Arizona lifestyle.
So, allow me to wrap up with a few concluding thoughts…
The Pros And Cons Of Living In Florida Vs Arizona
Both Florida and Arizona have a lot to offer new residents.
It comes down to personal choice. And whatever it is you are looking for.
Is Arizona better than Florida? The answer depends on who you ask.
Now you have the information. So you can decide.
Finding Your Best Place To Live
Before you go, be sure to check out our archives. For helping you find your best place to live.
Most of all, happy home hunting!
Author Bio, Disclosure, & Disclaimer: Please join me (Tom) as I try to achieve my goals, find my next place to live, and make the most of my money. However, I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial counselor, real estate agent, or tax professional. Instead, I’m a 50-something-year-old, early retired CPA, finance professional, and business school teacher with 40+ years of DIY dividend investing experience. I’m here only to share my thoughts about essential topics for success. As a result, nothing published on this site should be considered individual investment, financial, tax, or real estate advice. This site’s only purpose is general information & entertainment. Thus, neither I nor Dividends Diversify can be held liable for losses suffered by any party because of the information published on this website. Finally, all written content is the property of Dividends Diversify LLC. Unauthorized publication elsewhere is strictly prohibited.