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Is Arkansas a Good Place to Live? Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas


Is Arkansas a Good Place to Live Pros and Cons of Living in Arkansas


Arkansas is a state in the southern part of the United States. The state has the 33rd highest population among states in the country with a population of 3million as of 2018. Arkansas is nicknamed ‘The Natural State’ because of its mountainous geography that is covered by dense forests. Arkansas is the 29th largest state when categorized by land size. It’s a capital city is Little Rock which also the most populated city in the state. There also densely populated metropolitan in all corners of the state. Arkansas is a viable living option for an expat moving to the United States.

Is Arkansas a good place to live? Arkansas has an amazingly mild climate across all seasons. It is also one of the most affordable states in which to live. The economy is strong and diverse with numerous job opportunities. The schools are good and the state truly promotes the arts.

Arkansas has received credit for being one of the top 5 most affordable states in which to live in the United States. Furthermore, it is also one of the highest-ranked states when it comes to the ease of doing business. The state is characterized by big cities with the rest of the state living in varying degrees of civilization. There are many rural communities with close ties in Arkansas. Do not be surprised if you do not receive a warm welcome from the locals. The weather is great and you will love it especially the outdoor experience.

Is Arkansas a good place to live?

Arkansas is a good place to live especially if you prefer to live close to the vast American wilderness. Given the natural beauty of the state and that the cost of living is low across most of the state; there are scores of great areas to live in Arkansas.

When judging the neighborhoods of Arkansas, factors such as the crime rate, the cost of living, ease of transport, quality of public schools and diversity of the population are all taken into account. Judged on the above metrics, the best neighborhoods in Arkansas are Bentonville, Cammack Village, Fayetteville, Centerton, Little Flock, Johnson, Cave Springs, Rogers, Conway, Bella Vista, Maumelle, Lowell, Siloam Springs, Little Rock, and Bryant. The worst neighborhoods in Arkansas are Camden, Osceola, West Memphis, Warren, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Blytheville, Hope, El Dorado, and Alma.
With these stats in mind, you should think about home insurance.

Arkansas has a higher degree of crime in general than the rest of the country. Violent crime is common in Arkansas and has been steadily increasing in the recent past. The violent crime rate in Arkansas stands at about 6 crimes per 1,000 residents. The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Arkansas is 1 in 180. Property crimes are the most prevalent forms of crime in Arkansas. The property crime rate in Arkansas is 31 crimes per 1,000 residents which is well above the national average. The chances of falling victim to a property crime are 1 in 32.

The educational system in Arkansas has a poor track record and has been plagued by issues such as underfunding, teachers’ strikes as a result of the inability to pay their salaries and political interference in the school system. The Arkansas school system comprises of 1,064 public kindergartens, elementary, junior- and senior high schools. The state is also home to several universities and colleges. The two most prominent institutions of higher learning in the state are Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas. The latter has received credit for being one of the top 100 schools in the country. Other notable tertiary education institutions include Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, and the University of Central Arkansas.

The Arkansas transportation system is regulated by the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The road transport network is extensive and Arkansas has the 13th largest state highway system in the United States. The state is served by several major highways including I-30, I-40, I-5, and I-540. Arkansas has almost 3,000 miles of railroad tracks owned by 26 companies.

Freight railroads are mostly present in Southern Arkansas. The national Amtrak line also operates in Arkansas through the Texas Eagle line. There are four airports offering commercial flights in the state namely: Clinton National Airport, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Fort Smith Regional Airport, and Texarkana Regional Airport.

The social life of Arkansas varies from restaurants offering fine cuisine to performing arts in theatres and arenas. Sports are a major part of Arkansas’s social life including hunting and fishing. Native music festivals, art museums, and parks are part of Arkansas’s social life.

Living in Arkansas: Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. The weather in Arkansas is heavenly. The weather is mild across the seasons. The summers are mildly hot and the winters only cool.
  2. Due to the excellent weather, you have your pick of outdoor activities.
  3. Traditional sports that involve being out in nature while feeding you like hunting and fishing are still alive in Arkansas.
  4. The cost of living in Arkansas is relatively low. This is especially true in the rural parts of the state.
  5. The cities in the state are great for art enthusiasts. The museums and art galleries are usually full during the weekends.
  6. The state’s laws are very conducive to starting and operating a business.
  7. With the ease of doing business in Arkansas, you will find plenty of employment opportunities in the state as an expat.
  8. The state has great natural beauty. You do not have to rent an expensive apartment for a great natural view.
  9. The mountainous parts of the state offer opportunities to engage in winter sports when it is snowing.
  10. Arkansas is a great state to start raising a family. There are many factors that make it a family-friendly state.

Cons

  1. The vast wilderness of Arkansas makes it very dangerous. You can get attacked by wild animals if you live in the wild and rural parts of the state.
  2. Gun ownership rates in Arkansas are quite high which has fuelled the recent increase in crime.
  3. Property crime in Arkansas is high. Extra security measures and home insurance are advised when you own property in Arkansas.
  4. The population of Arkansas is not diverse. The Caucasians in the state make up over 80% of the population.
  5. The people of Arkansas, especially in the rural parts, are not very welcoming of strangers. They like to keep their social circles small and tight.
  6. When it snows in Arkansas, you are most likely to get stuck in the snow which can be dangerously deep in winter.
  7. The school system in Arkansas could use some upgrades. Arkansas consistently ranks low in terms of literacy rates and educational performance.
  8. The poverty rates in Arkansas are quite high which increases the chances of crime.
  9. You are also in a tornado zone if you live in Arkansas.
  10. The city has many nuclear power plants which make radiation poisoning a possibility.

Is Arkansas a good place to work?

Arkansas economy had developed from a cashless economy heavily dependent on agriculture to a modern diversified economy. The GDP of Arkansas is currently about $120 Billion.

Only 3% of Arkansas’s population is currently employed in the agricultural sector. However, the agriculture industry remains a strong part of the state’s economy. Arkansas is the leading producer of broilers, turkeys, and rice in the country and ranks high in the production of other agricultural products.

Forestry is also a very strong component of Arkansas’s economy as the state has one of the highest productions of timber in the country. Tourism is also a vital component of Arkansas’s economy. In fact, the state’s nickname was given as part of a tourism campaign in the 1970s.

The Arkansas economy employs about 1.23 million people. As far as industries are concerned, the largest industry employing people in Arkansas is still agriculture. However, most people have employed down the value chain as opposed to primary production. Other large industries are transport and logistics, food manufacturing, paper and timber products industry and the aerospace respectively.

Arkansas is a great city in which to work as the unemployment rate is only 4% which is slightly below the national average unemployment rate. However, the average annual income for a household in Arkansas is $45,869 which is about $14,500 less than the national average annual household income. The average income per capita in Arkansas is $25,000 which is about $7,000 less than the national average.

There are six Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Arkansas. The largest employers in the state include Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, Dillard’s, Sam’s Club, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, ArcBest, Windstream, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Chuy’s and Murphy USA.

Is Arkansas a good place to buy a house?

Arkansas is a good place to buy a house especially since it is quite affordable to do so. The homeownership rate in Arkansas is 65.6% and pays testament to the previous statement although most homes are owned via a mortgage.

The average home price in Arkansas is $125,000 which is well below the national average home price. With such a home price, a well-paying job and a good mortgage interest rate, owning a home in the state is quite easy.

Those that can’t afford to purchase property rent it an average rate of $750 per month. Considering the mild weather in the state, you don’t have to pay that much for utilities. These figures offer insight as to why Arkansas has received credit for being the most affordable state to live in the country.

The best neighborhoods in Arkansas are Bentonville, Cammack Village, Fayetteville, Centerton, Little Flock, Johnson, Cave Springs, Rogers, Conway, Bella Vista, Maumelle, Lowell, Siloam Springs, Little Rock, and Bryant. The worst neighborhoods in Arkansas are Camden, Osceola, West Memphis, Warren, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Blytheville, Hope, El Dorado, and Alma.

Renting a property in Arkansas

  • The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Arkansas is $750.
  • The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $895 a month.
  • The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment is $1150 a month.
  • The average monthly rent for a four-bedroom apartment is $1480.
  • The average monthly rent for a five-bedroom apartment is $1900.

Buying a property in Arkansas

  • The average price of a house with a single bedroom in Arkansas is $116,000.
  • The average price of a house with double bedrooms is $137,550.
  • The average price of a house with triple bedrooms is $173,300.
  • The average price of a quadruple bedroom house is $215,400.
  • The average price of a house with quintuple bedrooms is $255,610.

Is Arkansas a good place to retire?

Arkansas is a good place in which to retire not in the least due to the good weather. The weather in Arkansas can be aptly described as mild. Only some areas in Arkansas receive heavy snowfall during winter. Mild weather is often sought after by a large percentage of retirees who would like to spend their retirement days outdoors after decades of working indoors.

Another reason to retire in Arkansas is the affordable cost of living. Everything in Arkansas is cheaper than elsewhere from food to housing. Given that a retiree will have spent a significant amount of time and effort accumulating a retirement fund or waiting for a pension, they would want to stretch their retirement funds by as large a degree as possible.

The best neighborhoods in Arkansas are Bentonville, Cammack Village, Fayetteville, Centerton, Little Flock, Johnson, Cave Springs, Rogers, Conway, Bella Vista, Maumelle, Lowell, Siloam Springs, Little Rock, and Bryant. The worst neighborhoods in Arkansas are Camden, Osceola, West Memphis, Warren, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Blytheville, Hope, El Dorado, and Alma.

Renting a Retirement property

  • The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Arkansas is $750.
  • The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $895 a month.
  • The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment is $1150 a month.
  • The average monthly rent for a four-bedroom apartment is $1480
  • The average monthly rent for a five-bedroom apartment is $1900.

Buying a retirement property

  • The average price of a house with a single bedroom in Arkansas is $116,000.
  • The average price of a house with double bedrooms is $137,550.
  • The average price of a house with triple bedrooms is $173,300.
  • The average price of a quadruple bedroom house is $215,400.
  • The average price of a house with quintuple bedrooms is $255,610.

Is Arkansas a good place to visit?

Arkansas is a land of great natural beauty and as per their nickname, a place of great natural attractions. Some of the landmarks and attractions to visit in Arkansas include:

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs is the oldest park maintained by the National Park Service. The park is enticing to tourists for its natural hot springs as you can take a bath in them and it feels heavenly. Most people step into the springs for recreation while some do it for health reasons. The park also contains hiking trails and camping areas for those who want to tour the park.

Buffalo National River

The oldest National River in the country flows for 153 miles. Tourists can witness the only elk herd left in Arkansas by visiting the river. The river’s current also gives life to over 300 species of fish, insects, freshwater mussels, and aquatic plants. You can camp, canoe and fish along the river.

Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

Of all the museums in Arkansas, this is the one you should visit. The museum itself is exquisitely designed and the museum’s displays portray the beautiful blending of architecture and art with nature. The museum features a priceless gallery, walking trails and stunning grounds worth a visit.

Crater of Diamonds State Park

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only publicly accessible diamond-bearing site in the whole world. Finding a diamond while on vacation might just be the highlight if your life. Though rare to find large diamonds, you can join other prospectors and have a great time digging in the earth for diamonds.

Marta Kovachek

Marta is a true digital nomad, traveling across the USA for the last 10 years and sharing her expertise with a wide range of readers. Read more articles by Marta Kovachek

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