Is Arkansas a Good Place to Live? (12 Pros and Cons)

Pinterest Hidden Image

Good Things To Know Before Moving To Arkansas

Today, I will address this question: is Arkansas a good place to live? And examine the pros and cons of living in Arkansas. When we are done, you can decide if Arkansas is the right place for you.

Is Arkansas A Good Place To Live?

Located in the south-central United States, Arkansas offers a variety of lifestyle options at an affordable price. Residents enjoy beautiful natural landscapes, pleasant weather, and plenty of outdoor recreational choices, making Arkansas an excellent place to live. However, the state’s poor school system, lack of quality healthcare services, and high sales taxes take away from the state’s many good qualities.

Next, let’s see how the pros and cons align with the answer to today’s question.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Arkansas: Side-By-Side Comparison

Living in Arkansas ProsLiving in Arkansas Cons
1. Low cost of living7. Costly sales taxes
2. Decreasing income taxes8. High crime rate
3. Top-notch universities9. Sub-par public schools
4. Nice weather10. Inadequate healthcare
5. Outdoor recreation11. Pesky bugs & critters
6. Lifestyle choices12. Social issues
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas

For a deeper perspective, let’s go through each of the pros and cons of living in Arkansas one at a time. Before concluding, I will offer additional perspectives from a lifelong Arkansas local.

living in ArkanasasPin

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros Of Living In Arkansas

1. The Cost of Living In Arkansas Is Low

Arkansas is one of the cheapest states, consistently ranking in the top 10 least expensive.

First, the median value of an Arkansas house is nearly 40% less than the comparable nationwide figure (Source: Redfin and the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis).

Second, the state has a low real estate tax rate (Source: WalletHub). Combining the tax rate with inexpensive property values means Arkansas residents benefit by paying less in property taxes.

Third, grocery items, utilities, transportation, and healthcare costs run between 5% and 15% less than national averages (Source: MERIC cost of living survey).

Finally, to save more money, try the cash rebate app from Rakuten. We use it for all of our online purchases. You can learn more about Rakuten here.

2. Arkansas Is Thriving Economically, And Politicians Are Reducing Taxes

cost of living in ArkansasPin

Arkansas has recently decreased both individual and corporate tax rates. These changes are intended to improve the state’s competitiveness in attracting businesses, workers, and anyone considering moving to Arkansas.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) says:

“In less than eight years, we have taken the income tax rate from the highest it has ever been to the lowest it has ever been. In addition, we have grown our state reserves from nothing to $2 billion during this time.”

3. Arkansas Has Top-Notch State Universities

After moving to Arkansas, keep the kids close to home for college. You and your family will benefit from in-state tuition and excellent educational opportunities.

The University of Arkansas is one option.

U of A’s flagship campus is in the Arkansas city of Fayetteville, located in the northwest corner of the state. The university has nearly 100 undergraduate fields of study, almost as many master’s degree programs, and more than 30 doctoral programs.

Arkansas State University (A-State) is the second-largest university in Arkansas.

A-State is based out of Jonesboro in the state’s northeast corner. The school’s campus population is smaller than the University of Arkansas. However, the school is known for its robust online offerings.

moving to Jonesboro, ARPin

4. After Moving To Arkansas, You Will Enjoy The Pleasant Weather

Arkansas has nice weather.

January is the coldest month. However, low temperatures rarely fall much below 30 degrees. Light snow can fall in the Northern parts of the state. Conversely, snow is rare in the southern regions.

July and August are the hottest months of the year. Temperatures frequently climb into the 90s. Warm temperatures can be accompanied by high humidity, too.

Thus, you will enjoy a temperate climate with distinct seasons if you can handle a couple of hot months. For example, pleasant high temperatures in the 70s with lows in the 50s are typical for much of the year.

To sum up, Southern living in Arkansas has advantages because of the weather.

5. Arkansas Offers Plenty Of Fun Outdoor Activities

outdoor activitiesPin

Arkansas is known for its beautiful landscape and natural scenery, like its neighboring state to the north, Missouri. After all, Arkansas’s nickname is the “Natural State.”

The state’s Arkansas and Mississippi River valleys offer fertile lands surrounded by mountains, bluffs, forests, and lakes. The landscape is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts because of its diversity and temperate weather.

The state has plenty for outdoor lovers, including:

  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Water skiing, canoeing & tubing

Related reading: Living in Tennessee

6. Arkansas Residents Enjoy The Small Town Charm And The Bigger City Vibe

exploring Fayetteville, AR livingPin

Before moving to Arkansas, selecting your location in this state is important. The choice boils down to your interests, lifestyle, and workplace.

First, the state has many smaller towns with their unique charm. You can enjoy walking down streets full of small businesses and friendly cafes. Be sure to pause and soak in the Southern hospitality.

Second, consider Arkansas’s larger cities for their excellent dining experiences and cultural activities. Examples include:

  • Little Rock
  • Bentonville
  • Fayetteville
  • Jonesboro
  • Springdale
  • Fort Smith
  • Rogers

Okay, that concludes the pros. So, it’s time to balance out this conversation and cover the cons of living in Arkansas.

Cons Of Living In Arkansas

pros and cons of moving to ArkansasPin

7. Prepare To Pay High Sales Taxes After Moving To Arkansas

Arkansas levies some of the highest state and local sales tax rates in the United States. They will amount to nearly 10% of your purchases (Source: AARP).

Let’s say you need to replace the kitchen appliances in your new home. Assuming they cost $3,000, sales tax will add another $300 to the bill.

Related reading: Living in Oklahoma

8. Arkansas Has A Higher Than Average Crime Rate

Higher crime in the Natural StatePin

Arkansas’s violent crime and property crime rates are higher than the national average. Gun ownership is also extreme, with nearly six out of every ten residents owning a firearm.

Choose your location wisely and move to a low-crime area. For example, some places are very safe, like Bentonville in northwest Arkansas. Other regions, specifically parts of Little Rock and West Memphis, have very high crime rates.

9. Arkansas Has A Sub-Par Public School System

Arkansas’s elementary and high school education systems are poorly rated. For example, US News ranks the state in the lowest quartile of its state-by-state rankings.

The schools are underfunded. Teachers earn less than in other states. Thus, attracting top-notch educators here is problematic.

As a result, if you are considering moving to Arkansas with school-age children, you may need to consider a higher-cost private school.

10. There Is Less Than The Best Healthcare In Arkansas

Arkansas is one of the worst states in the nation for the quality of its health care (source: WalletHub). Access to care and positive health outcomes are the primary issues.

On a positive note, the state ranks well for the price of healthcare services, contributing to this state’s low cost of living in Arkansas.

11. Wildlife And Mosquitoes Like Living In Arkansas

pros and cons of living in ArkansasPin

Arkansas has a robust mosquito population. Abundant water supplies and warm, humid summer weather create the perfect breeding grounds.

A few summer bites are probably not a concern. But those pesky bugs can carry the West Nile virus and less common mosquito-borne diseases.

Arkansas has vast amounts of natural land home to some dangerous critters. The most concerning are venomous snakes, including copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths.

Hmmm. Mosquitos and snakes. They remind me of the disadvantages of living in Florida.

Finally, black bears and bobcats are also known to roam the countryside. But they probably won’t bother you. However, accidentally stepping on the wrong snake when enjoying a hike in the forest can mean trouble.

12. Many People Living In Arkansas Struggle With Social Issues

Arkansas is known for very high poverty. The state’s poverty rate clocks in as one of the worst in the country at more than 15%.

Arkansas is also known for an excessive obesity rate. More than one-third of the state’s population is considered overweight.

Arkansas has limited racial diversity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 80% of the population is white. African Americans make up the majority of the rest at 15%.

Okay. It’s time to wrap this article up with some parting thoughts. My friend Steve is a long-time local and wanted to share his views on why Arkansas is an excellent place to live.

Living In Arkansas: Wrapping Up With Thoughts From A Life-Long Local

move to ArkansasPin

I have lived in Arkansas my entire life.

We were fortunate to earn a high salary while working in this low-cost-of-living region. So yes, I agree with your first pro. The cost of living in Arkansas, including housing, is very affordable.

My entire family and I went to the University of Arkansas. Between the five of us, we have earned four engineering degrees, a teaching degree, a business degree, and a medical doctorate.

Even though we had an above-average income then, our three kids got free four-year degrees at the state’s universities. Tuition, fees, books, room, and board from merit-based scholarships are available to Arkansas Universities without income limitations. One city I’m aware of provides five years of free college to every student who graduates from their public school system.

If you like the outdoors, this is a place where you can hike every day for a week and not see another person on the trail. That’s priceless for me. We’ve hiked hundreds, probably thousands of miles in rugged, remote areas.

A snake will bite you if you try to pick it up. However, they are scared of people. Rarely do they attack anything they can’t swallow, except in self-defense. You are far more likely to be killed by lightning or a tornado than by a snake.

Of course, there are bears, but they are even less dangerous. On the other hand, mosquitos are an issue outdoor enthusiasts must deal with here in Arkansas.

Okay. That’s a wrap. Thanks for sticking with me to the end! You can read more from Steve here.

More Articles About Living In Arkansas And Beyond

Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

pros and cons of living in Arkansas pinnable imagePin

The Pros And Cons Of Living In Arkansas Fully Explained

2 thoughts on “Is Arkansas a Good Place to Live? (12 Pros and Cons)”

  1. I’ve lived in Arkansas my entire life and was lucky to earn a high salary in this low cost of living area. We’ve hiked hundreds, probably thousands of miles in rugged remote parts of the state and the only way you’ll ever get bit by a snake is if you try to pick it up. They are scared of people and never attack anything they can’t swallow except in self defense. You are far more likely to be killed by lightning or a tornado than by a snake. My wife and I and all three of our kids went to the University of Arkansas and received four engineering degrees, a teaching degree, a business degree and a medical doctorate among the five of us. Our three kids also got completely free four year degrees including tuition, fees, books, room and board even though we were high earners. There are tons of merit based scholarships available to Arkansas Universities that are not means tested in any way. One city even provides five years of free college to every student that graduates from their public school system. Housing costs are very low and if you like the outdoors this is one place where you can hike every day for a week and not see another person on the trail. That’s priceless. Yes there are bears but they are even less dangerous than the snakes. The mosquitos however are a thing.

    • Thanks. Awesome insights about living in Arkansas. My wife and I have taken some of our favorite hiking vacations there. It’s hard to beat the Smokey Mountains and the Rocky Mountains for their grandeur. But Arkansas makes up for it in as you say “rugged and remote.” Without the crowds that come with those more popular areas. We never saw a snake. But, I still worry about accidentally stepping on one. Tom

Comments are closed.