With warm weather and relatively affordable living costs, Arizona has long been a popular destination for retirees. While the average monthly costs of the necessities (rent, groceries, healthcare and utilities) total $2,626 across the U.S., there are several cities in Arizona where you can live on even less.
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GOBankingRates has identified the Arizona cities where not only could you live on $2,500 a month in retirement, but where you could also live well. Only cities with livability scores of 65 or higher (on a scale of 1 to 100) were considered. These are the best Arizona cities for retirees to live on $2,500 a month.
Total monthly expenditures: $2,397
Livability score: 65
Although Phoenix is the most expensive city on this ranking, it's still relatively affordable compared to other places in the U.S. At $341, the average monthly cost of groceries for a person age 65 or older is less than the national average of $350. And healthcare is also more affordable -- the average monthly cost for this age group is $512 in Phoenix, while the national average is $556.
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Total monthly expenditures: $2,369
Livability score: 73
Affordable housing and groceries make Glendale a smart choice for retirees on budgets. The average rent for a one-bedroom is $1,196, while the average monthly cost of groceries for those age 65 and older is $339.
Total monthly expenditures: $2,063
Livability score: 65
Tucson is the most affordable city on this list: The average rent for a one-bedroom is $962, the average monthly cost for groceries is $335, the average monthly cost for healthcare is $453 and the average monthly cost for utilities is $313. However, the No. 1 city has Tucson beat in terms of livability, as well as the percentage of the population that's 65 and older, which is 14.8% here.
Total monthly expenditures: $2,456
Livability score: 77
Although Mesa is not the cheapest city on this list, it has the highest percentage of people age 65 and older at 16.6% and the highest livability score. There's no shortage of things to do in Mesa, with Wild West towns for history lovers, mountains and lakes for those seeking outdoor adventure, museums, restaurants, shopping, golf courses and more.
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Methodology: For this study, GOBankingRates found the best cities in Arizona to retire on $2,500 or less. GOBankingRates used ApartmentList's June 2022 data to find the cheapest cities in Arizona in terms of (1) average 2022 monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment. GOBankingRates then used Sperling's Best to find the cost of living index for every city on the list, looking at (2) grocery, (3) utilities and (4) healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amount for both grocery ("food at home") and healthcare costs for people ages 65 and older in order to find how much a person 65 and over would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city on a monthly basis. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery and healthcare costs together to find where a person 65 and older could survive on $2,500 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it had to have a livability score of 65 or higher, as sourced from AreaVibes. For final rankings, all qualified cities were ranked by (5) total monthly expenditures, (6) percentage of the population over 65 and (7) livability, with the lowest score being best. Factor (7) was weighted 1.5x. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 27, 2022.