Moving to Arkansas: State Relocation Guide

What do legendary artist Johnny Cash, iconic college football coach Bear Bryant, and President Bill Clinton have in common? They were all born in the beautiful state of Arkansas. Moving to Arkansas means joining the ranks of those inspired by the mountains and guided by the streams toward success.

But even as breathtaking as this state might be, it’s still new to you, which means moving might feel intimidating. But don’t fret — we’ve put together all the crucial details you should know before you decide to move. 

This guide to living in Arkansas covers the climate, taxes, education, healthcare, job opportunities, and other important information you’ll need to get a better idea of what this state has to offer.

Arkansas Climate

Famed climatologist Wladimir Köppen described Arkansas as humid subtropical. While the air is indeed humid, when you live here you’ll see that the climate in Arkansas is ever-changing.

In Arkansas, you can expect heat waves, snow, ice storms, tornadoes, sub-zero temperatures, and humidity. This range of possibilities keeps people on their toes and requires a closet full of warm and cold-weather clothing.

The average temperature in the summer hovers around 90℉, and in the winter, it’s 51℉. With such a wide temperature range, Arkansas residents can expect to experience all four seasons. That means plenty of time to enjoy outdoor activities and appreciate the natural beauty of the changing seasons. 

One of the biggest reasons Arkansas has such a variance in weather is its geographical location.

Arkansas has mountains and plains that collide and affect climate. As warm, moist air travels off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, cold, dry air descends from the Rocky Mountains. The combination of these cold and warm fronts is the perfect recipe for thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Arkansas averages 26 tornadoes per year. Although a tornado can land anywhere (land or water), they are more common in the plains.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

So depending on where you decide to live, you might want to make sure you have a tornado shelter in place. Other than the occasional tornado, however, there’s not much to complain about regarding the weather.

That’s one reason why Arkansas is called the Natural State — its beautiful environment and weather make it perfect for enjoying the great outdoors. Living in Arkansas allows you to experience all the seasons and the weather that comes with them. Just be prepared for some storms.

Taxes in Arkansas

Arkansas legislators recently implemented a plan to decrease state income tax from 2021’s rate of 5.9% to 4.9% by 2025. The most significant drop already occurred at the start of 2022, when the state income tax fell to only 5.5%. 

Overall, Arkansas ranks well in taxes compared to the rest of the country.

  • Low property taxes at a rate of 0.64% — only ten states have better rates
  • It has one of the lowest tax rates for state income tax

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

There is one tax category that Arkansas sits near the top of — sales tax. Arkansas has a high sales tax rate of 9.47%, which puts it third in the country.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

When moving to Arkansas, you can take advantage of some healthy tax breaks on your income and property, but know that you are paying a higher percentage than most states when you go out to eat and shop.

Job Opportunities and Costs in Arkansas

Overall, Arkansas struggles with job opportunities. The Natural State is in the lower third for business environment, employment, and growth, which puts it at number 41 overall for state economy.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

The current job growth rate is only 0.7%, while the national average of 1.4%. This slow growth is mainly due to the state’s low investment capital and low migration. People don’t invest their money or opt to move to Arkansas enough to spur economic activity.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

Although the job market might be slow, Arkansas ranks high in affordability and equality.

Arkansas’ cost of living is 79, whereas the national average is 100. There are many reasons why this might be the case:

  1. Housing is half the national average.
  2. Groceries are significantly cheaper.
  3. Health insurance and care are more affordable than the national average.
  4. Transportation costs are significantly less.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

Living in Arkansas helps you stretch your hard-earned dollars further than in many other states since you don’t have to pay as much for most bills and insurance — a low cost of living definitely has its perks.

Meanwhile, the median household income is significantly lower than the national average. At only $48,952, it’s nearly $20,000 lower than the average.

Such low income directly impacts the poverty level in the state, which is higher than the national average. In Arkansas, it’s 16.2% (the national average is 12.3%).

Since job growth is slow and there are not as many high-paying jobs in Arkansas as there are in other states, you should have a job lined up if you decide to come to Arkansas. Although life here is more affordable than in the rest of the country, there is a tradeoff in income..

Arkansas Healthcare

Arkansas ranks in the lower tenth of the country regarding healthcare. Its low rating is largely due to the presence of multiple colluding issues such as a higher population number still opting out of healthcare, an increasing number of preventable hospital admissions, and a significantly higher obesity rate.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

Although the Natural State only has a slightly higher percentage of uninsured residents compared to the national numbers, the obesity rate, and the number of hospital admissions make it hard, at times, to meet the state’s general healthcare demand. However, Arkansas isn’t alone in this struggle: nestled between several states of varying healthcare ratings, Arkansas is most similar to Texas and Mississippi.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

The lack of physician care has a substantial impact on the general health of Arkansas residents. The US average is 210 physicians for every 100,000 people, whereas Arkansas has 164 physicians for every 100,000 people. 

If you want to have access to healthcare, you must live near some of the larger cities in Arkansas, like Fayetteville and Conway. These locations and surrounding areas will give you the best access to a limited healthcare system.

Additionally, the average Arkansas resident pays around $320 per month for health insurance on a bronze plan. Since this is for an individual, you can expect this number to go up if you have dependents or a spouse on the plan.

Although the level of access and costs for healthcare might scare some people, because Arkansas is The Natural State, the state’s leaders do a lot to maintain the natural environment.

The water in Arkansas is supremely better than the national average. Rated 79/100, Arkansas’ water is 24 points higher than the national average. Similarly, the Arkansas superfund index, money designated for cleaning contaminated land, is ranked 95/100, whereas the national average is 87/100.

Ultimately, with below-average healthcare access in Arkansas, you might have difficulty finding care near you. However, the state takes care of its land and water and provides a clean environment for its residents.

Arkansas Education

When it comes to education, Arkansas offers some good opportunities, but it struggles as a whole. Ranked 41st in the nation, Arkansas has a lot of room to grow, but with low income and low taxes, the chances of that happening are slim.

Therefore, it’s essential to know what to expect if you have school-aged children and to be aware of where the better districts are.

So let’s start with what Arkansas does well. Arkansas has a high graduation rate for high school.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

Although not all their high school graduates attend college, nearly 90% of their students graduate high school, which is significantly higher than the US average.

About 22% of students graduate with a four-year degree, which is lower than the national average.

Arkansas State Relocation Guide

Arkansas does have excellent secondary education. The state boasts two schools scoring in the top 250 nationally-ranked colleges and universities: the University of Arkansas and Harding University.

Additionally, some of the best school districts in Arkansas are:

  • Hass Hall Academy — This is the best public school in the state. Hass Hall Academy, which serves grades seven through 12, has campuses in Bentonville, Rogers, Fayetteville, and Springdale.
  • Bentonville Public Schools — Second on the list, Bentonville public schools are known for offering superior academics, clubs, and extracurricular sports.
  • Greenwood School District — Located southeast of Fort Smith, Greenwood offers the best athletic programs in Arkansas and is the friendliest district for educators.

Notable Highlights

If you’re thinking of moving to Arkansas, you should know a few things about the state. Many historical figures who had an impact on the world lived here. There’s also a lot of natural beauty to explore.

Here is a list of some notable highlights to help you learn more about your new home.

  • Arkansas’ nickname is “The Natural State.”
  • Arkansas was the 25th state, hence the 25 stars on its flag.
  • Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas.
  • The mockingbird is the state bird.
  • President Bill Clinton was born in Arkansas.
  • Some other famous people born in Arkansas include Maya Angelou, Bear Bryant, Johnny Cash, Jerry Jones, Douglas MacArthur, and Scottie Pippen.
  • As The Natural State, it only makes sense for Arkansas to have over 600,00 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers.
  • There are six national parks, 2.5 million acres of national forests, and 50 state parks.
  • Hot Springs National Park welcomes millions of guests annually. Some notable past bathers include Babe Ruth, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Al Capone.
  • Arkansas comes from the old Native American Quapaw word Akakaze, meaning “Land of the Downriver People.”

Best Places to Live in Arkansas

Arkansas is a unique state and has a lot of natural beauty. Whether you prefer city life or the great outdoors, Arkansas has both.

If you’re ready to make Arkansas your new home, there are a few things you need to do to prepare for your move. Here are steps you can take before heading to your new home:

  • Arkansas has all types of weather, so you need to pack enough clothing for all climates, or at least enough clothing for the season you’re in. You’ll definitely need an umbrella if you’re arriving in spring or fall.
  • Keep essential documents on your person. These documents include your driver’s license, social security card, medical records, voter registration card, and vehicle registration.
  • One of the biggest concerns for many families is their car. When moving across state lines or across the country, it’s helpful to have a reputable company on hand to help you make a smooth transition. Guardian Auto Transport has the best state-to-state car shipping and offers total peace of mind. Our helpful customer support and transparent pricing make the process easy for you.

Now that you have these things covered, below are the top three places to live in Arkansas:

Bentonville

Rated the best place to live in Arkansas by AreaVibes, Bentonville scores 92/100 because of its low crime rates and family-friendly environment. Located just north of Fayetteville, Bentonville has one of the best school districts in the state.

If you move to Bentonville, you can visit beautiful galleries like the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Walmart Museum, and the Museum of Native American History. Bentonville is also near multiple National and State Parks.

Lowell

Lowell is next on the list. This town is another small community near Fayetteville, and it has the quintessential small-town charm you would expect from a tiny community.

In Lowell, you can live in one of the best neighborhoods in the state without sacrificing the low cost of living – living in Lowell is comparable to the state average. Highway 49 runs right through this small town, which is ideal for weekend road trips to Eureka Springs, Table Rock Lake, and Little Rock.

Bella Vista

Third on the list is Bella Vista. This town’s population sits between Bentonville and Lowell, in the northwest corner of the state. What started as a summer resort in the Ozark Mountains over a century ago is now home to a beautiful town with forests, lakes, and streams throughout.

Bella Vista is a great place to consider if you love the outdoors and spending time in nature. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s highly affordable.

Conclusion

When deciding to move to a new state, there’s a lot to consider: cost of living, taxes, education, work opportunities, and safe communities. 

Arkansas is an excellent place for people who want affordable living and a quieter life. Although the taxes are low, you might not make as much money per year in this state compared to other states with more job opportunities.

However, since you’re nestled in nature with beauty all around you, it might be the perfect trade-off for you if you’re into outdoor activities and enjoying the simple things in life.

If you’re ready to make Arkansas your home, don’t forget to think about your car. How are you going to get it to your new home? Let Guardian Auto Transport assist you instead of selling it or having to have someone drive it. We’ll help you transport your car to Arkansas or even ship your car state to state. Our shipping is affordable, safe, and highly recommended.

Contact us today for a free estimate and learn how to make your move to Arkansas seamless.

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