Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best States to Live in the Southwest

The southwest is known as an upper-class paradise. From the big cities of southern California to the high deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, the southwest is filled with culture, arts and high profile entertainment. The warm, arid climate makes this region extremely popular with retirees and those with health problems, while the eclectic culture and artsy inhabitants make this an amazing place for creative-minded people and families alike. Spanish and native American influences are strong here, and the vibrant colors of a desert sunset create a palette unique to this region. While each state here has similar features, it is truly amazing just how different they can be. The southwest is one of the best places to live in the United States. Come with me as we explore the region on a quest to discover the best states to live in and the reasons they are paramount.

The Best State to Live in the Southwest

New Mexico takes the top honor when considering the best states to live in the southwest. With its inherent art culture, beautiful flora and fauna and storied history, New Mexico exists in a world of its own. From Albuquerque, its biggest city, to Carlsbad, small and romantic, the state itself is a contradiction. Although the median income of $31,474 is lower than the national average, the job market is strong and boasts an unemployment rate of only 6.6%. New Mexico is ranked number three in crude oil and natural gas production, and personal income tax rates do not exceed 4.9%. New Mexico is a pioneer in research and development and boasts the highest amount of PhD recipients per capita of any other state in the nation. Santa Fe is the cultural hub, offering many art galleries as well as the Santa Fe Opera. New Mexico has a wealth of old west architecture and style, making it a visual paradise as well as an amazing place to live.

Cheapest State to Live in the Southwest

Utah is among the cheapest places to live in the southwest with a cost of living index 14 points below the national average. Utah holds the number one spot on Forbes Magazine’s “Best States for Business” list, and Newsweek has called Utah in general and Salt Lake City in particular “the new economic Zion.” Unemployment is holding steady at 6.8%, much lower than the national average, and high-tech companies are being lured to the region daily. State sales tax is below 6.5% and Utah charges a flat 5% personal income tax. The low cost of living coupled with the high likelihood of additional business coming to Utah makes this the cheapest southwestern state in which to live.

Best Southwest States to Retire to

Our “best of” article would be remiss if we failed to mention California. Although the most expensive state in the region in which to live, California is nonetheless the most popular southwestern state for retirees. Southern California’s climate, entertainment and high senior citizen density attracts many retirees to its Pacific shores. Arizona is also an incredibly popular retirement destination. The cities of Flagstaff, Tucson and Scottsdale are especially popular with the 55+ set due to their climate, natural beauty and senior benefits.

The southwestern United States encompass many of the best places to live in the country. Singles, families and retirees alike will appreciate the climate, beauty, entertainment and attractions offered by this region. There truly is “something for everyone” here, from outdoor activities to high-tech jobs. The southwest is a region of progress and creative thinking, and anyone can feel right at home within its boundaries.

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