Arizona vs. California: The Great Migration

Arizona’s population is experiencing growth and the reasons, behind it are quite apparent. The state offers weather, a cost of living ample job opportunities, breathtaking landscapes, and much more. As more and more people from across the country choose to make Arizona their new home it’s interesting to note that a significant number of them are leaving California behind for the desert state. This raises some questions.

At a glance, one might think that Arizona and California are quite similar in terms of weather and stunning natural beauty. While Arizona might not have the views that California is famous for it compensates with its own remarkable features such as Lake Havasu and the Colorado River. So what exactly draws Californians away from their Golden Coast and towards the desert? Let’s delve into the five reasons why people are choosing Arizona over California.


Cost of Living

One of the factors to consider when deciding between California and Arizona is the cost of living. While housing prices in Phoenix are on a trend they still pale in comparison to California’s sky costs.

It’s worth noting that California’s coastal regions, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County hold the title for being some of the places to reside in. These areas are also populated hubs which makes them a prime focus when comparing living expenses.

When comparing the areas to the Phoenix metro area Arizona offers value for your money. You can find homes and yards at a price more convenient parking options, lower transportation costs, and affordable groceries and dining. Although housing costs, in Arizona are increasing they remain more reasonable than in California in Southern California and the Bay Area.

Even expenses related to vehicles which should be similar everywhere are higher in California. Registering and insuring a vehicle in Arizona is more cost-effective compared to California. Even obtaining a driver’s license is cheaper in Arizona with a fee of $25 as opposed to California’s $41 charge. Furthermore, the substantial sales tax on vehicle purchases in California can be overwhelming. With vehicle costs and an inefficient public transportation system in California affordable transportation options are limited.



Traffic congestion is a sight for Californians despite the image of cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway in convertibles. Californians spend hours stuck in traffic on highways with seven to nine lanes. This problem is rarely seen in Arizona.


As traffic conditions continue to worsen in California it becomes a factor, for Californians considering relocation.

Longer travel times do not inconvenience residents. Also contributes to an increase, in the number of traffic accidents and related fatalities. California’s major cities have been grappling with air quality caused by exhaust emissions for many years. To encourage environmental transportation options, the state has implemented registration fees for eco-friendly vehicles. By the year 2035, it will become mandatory for all new cars sold in California to be electric.

Parking is also a concern in California. Not only is it costly to park in designated lots at festivals, events, theme parks, malls, and other places but many residential areas lack parking spaces altogether. If you’re fortunate enough to find an apartment that offers parking facilities you’ll have to pay extra for it. In contrast, Arizona provides parking space along with congested roads shorter commutes, and less time spent traveling.


Natural Disasters

When comparing Arizona and California in terms of natural disaster safety Arizona clearly holds an advantage. Recent news from California paints a picture of recurring disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, droughts, and minimal rainfall.

While Arizona is not completely immune to disasters they occur frequently and are generally less severe compared to other parts of the United States. Blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis are occurrences in Arizona unlike elsewhere, in the country.

The occasional occurrence of dust storms is significantly different, from the forces that residents of California have to deal with.


Taxes & Regulations by the Government

California has a reputation for having taxes, which particularly burdens business owners struggling with the state’s regulations and policies. These challenges make it tough for medium-sized businesses to establish and sustain themselves leading many to relocate to states that are more supportive of business growth, such as Arizona.

When companies move to Arizona they bring along their employees, products, and services. Contribute to the growth of the state. Arizona benefits from tax rates compared to California. This benefits both businesses and residents as property taxes, income taxes, and sales taxes are all lower in Arizona. Consequently, residents can retain more of their earned money.



The homelessness crisis in California has reached levels without any solution in sight. Rising living costs coupled with wages contribute significantly to the difficulties faced by Californians in maintaining stable housing. The state’s efforts to address homelessness often fall short due to the number of people in need.



In contrast, Arizona seems to have a grasp, on the situation and provides resources for its homeless population.

Although it’s important to consider the population, in Arizona cities the state still has a lower number of homeless individuals compared to California.

Today we have discussed five factors. There are numerous reasons why people are drawn to the Phoenix metro area. As California’s population continues to increase more and more Californians are choosing to move and make Arizona their new residence. Regardless of why you decided to move to Arizona we sincerely hope that you have a time here and consider staying for the long term.