Arizona vs. Nevada for Retirement

Some of the links below are affiliate links, so we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Check our disclaimer for more info. (* = affiliate link)

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy life. Many people choose to enjoy their retirement by living in a new area that they have not been to before. If you’ve ever thought about going to the American Southwest, why not compare Arizona to Nevada?

Arizona is a better retirement residency than Nevada. Arizona has more activities and attractions, offers a lower cost of living, and has more physicians, making it ideal for retirees looking for quality healthcare. However, if you want more comfortable weather and lower taxes, choose Nevada.

The rest of this article will compare Arizona and Nevada as potential retirement destinations. Read on for more details on the factors that make one better than the other and tips on choosing your retirement residency.

Arizona vs. Nevada

Arizona and Nevada are very similar states, but there are some distinct differences that I will explain in this blog post.

Both states have amazing nightlife and attractions for residents, but Nevada might be a better choice for those who want more excitement around them every day. However, Arizona might be the better choice for retirees who want to settle in a more desert environment.


Weather Event Arizona Nevada
Precipitation 12.58” (32 cm), 33 days 10.3” (26 cm), 42 days
Summer Temperature Range (Average) 82°F-105°F (27.77-40.55°C) 52.7°F-84.6°F (11.5 to 29.22°C)
Winter Temperature Range 47°F-68°F (8.33-20°C) 20.7°F-42.8°F 

(-6.27 to 6°C)

Verdict Although most people might prefer the climate of Arizona, Nevada’s heat is less extreme and therefore a better choice for retirees looking to avoid scorching heat during their golden years.


Nevada has roughly 42 days of precipitation annually, with an average precipitation of 10.3 in. (26 cm). In contrast, Arizona experiences 33 days of precipitation annually, with an average precipitation of 12.58 in. (32 cm).

Further, Nevada’s temperature ranges from 52.7°F to 84.6°F (11.5 to 29.22°C) during summer and 20.7°F to 42.8°F (-6.27 to 6°C) in winter. 

Conversely, Arizona’s summer temperature averages between 82°F and 105°F (27.77 and 40.55°C) while the typical winter temperatures range from 47°F to 68°F (8.33-20°C).

With that much difference, it is clear that Arizona would be a lot warmer than Nevada every day. Although some people like the winter months in either state, it is good to know that Nevada will see about nine more days of snow than Arizona. 

That means more time spent shoveling and the possible danger of slipping on roads or sidewalks.

Activities and Attractions

Avoid These 13 States When Retiring


Entertainment Venue Arizona Nevada
Notable Activities and Attractions Grand Canyon and Sedona Las Vegas Strip
Number of Restaurants 9000 6000
Verdict Arizona offers more options using this criterion.


The two states have a lot going on in the way of entertainment and activities. Each state has museums, restaurants, malls, and other places to meet people or have fun.

Nevada has the Las Vegas Strip open for tourists every day of the year, which is a great place for retirees who enjoy being in the center of tourist attractions. The strip is home to many casinos, hotels, and restaurants attracting people from all over the world every day.

On the other hand, Arizona has the Grand Canyon for tourists to enjoy, and Sedona, known for its vast number of red rock formations and other natural beauty. Besides that, Arizona is known for having multiple other parks featuring diverse wildlife and plant life.

In terms of restaurants, Nevada has roughly 6,000 restaurants that serve everything from fine dining to fast food.

Conversely, Arizona has over 9,000 restaurants covering a variety of cuisines and different styles of eating, ranging from fast food to casual family dining.

Both states have a variety of restaurants to choose from. 

However, Arizona has more diverse choices for retirement who love going out and having a great meal at their favorite restaurant.

Cost of Living

The following table outlines how Arizona and Nevada measure up to the cost of living compared with the rest of the United States. For every $100 spent in the US, the equivalent cost of living in each state is given.


Category United States Arizona Nevada
Overall 100 102.2 110.5
Grocery 100 96.1 100.3
Health 100 95.2 92.4
Housing 100 107.8 127.5
Utilities 100 102.7 97.2
Transportation 100 107 116.7
Tax Charges tax on retirement benefits Does not have a state income tax
Verdict The cost of living in Nevada is up to 8.3% higher than in Arizona


In both states, the cost of living is rather expensive for retirees, as both are higher than the national average. 

However, Arizona is more affordable than Nevada. For example, in Arizona:

  • Groceries are 3.9% lower than the national average. 
  • Health is 4.8% below the national average. 
  • Housing is 7.8% above average. 
  • Utilities are 2.7% higher than average.

Now let’s look at the same categories in Nevada:

  • Groceries are 0.3% more expensive. 
  • Health is 7.6% cheaper. 
  • Housing is 27.5% higher. 
  • Utilities are 2.8% below the national average.

In a nutshell, retirees who want their dollars to go further should consider relocating to Arizona after their retirement. However, this means foregoing Nevada’s tax waiver on retirement withdrawals.

Here’s a video you’d be interested in watching to have an overview of what Las Vegas and Phoenix offer:

Crime Rates

While Arizona reports lower violent crime rates than Nevada, Nevada has lower property crime rates than Arizona. During 2018, Arizona had 4.75 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, while Nevada had 5.41 violent crimes per 1,000 residents during the same year.

Further, Arizona had 26.93 property crimes per 1,000 residents in 2018, while Nevada had 24.38 property crimes per 1,000 residents in 2018. Because of that, there’s no clear-cut winner using crime rates as a criterion for deciding your retirement residency.


Arizona vs. Nevada for Retirement

Nevada has more diversified amenities than Arizona, which means there is something for everyone. For example, casino lovers can enjoy their retirement in Nevada, while retirees who love fine dining and shopping will be satisfied too.

On the other hand, Arizona offers retirees an amazing lifestyle filled with national parks and mountains to explore, along with golf courses and resorts. The Grand Canyon offers tours by helicopter, plane, and even mule to enjoy the wonder of nature that Arizona offers retirees.

Nevada has about 58 golf courses compared to Arizona’s 300.

Retirees who enjoy going out and playing a little bit of golf will be satisfied with the offering from both states. However, if they prefer a more relaxed lifestyle that comes with variety, then Arizona is a much better choice to live in after they retire.


In 2019, there were 235.8 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents in Arizona, while there were 215.7 for every 100,000 residents in Nevada.

Since retirees’ health is a top priority when it comes to choosing where they want to live after retirement, Arizona has higher numbers of physicians per capita. This means they have a better command of physicians, which is critical for retirees who need proper healthcare.

Arizona vs. Nevada for Retirement: FAQs

After reading the comparisons between Arizona and Nevada, you might still have some questions. Let’s look at two main questions that many people have. 

Is Arizona a Good State for Retirees? 

Arizona is a great state for retirees because of its low cost of living, stable economy, and multiple amenities and attractions to enjoy. Besides, retirees can enjoy all four seasons with plenty of activities to keep them busy year-round.

When you retire in Arizona, you can take advantage of the mild temperatures all year round. This might be good if you suffer from arthritis or other muscular and joint pain. 

Is Nevada a Friendly State for Retirees? 

All in all, Nevada is a pretty friendly state for retirees. You have a good healthcare system, low property taxes, and no personal income tax. Regardless of what type of retirement you’re after, there are plenty of decent places for you to settle down in NV., including Reno and Las Vegas.

Types of retirees who might benefit from living in Nevada:

  • Retired snowbirds seeking to escape from cold winters or their home states’ high taxes.
  • Those looking to retire on the beach away from cold winds and large waves.
  • Enthusiasts of USA’s popular pastime, which might be gambling.

Here Are the Crucial Factors To Consider

Arizona and Nevada are just two out of the many residency options for retirees. Let’s look at other factors that you should consider when choosing a new place to retire.

The Climate and Best Time of Year To Travel

The climate and the best time of year to travel to a location are important factors for retirees. If you only want warm weather, you might be limiting yourself too much, because, after all, certain parts of Mexico and Central America boast beautiful year-round weather.

However, remember that it might be hard or impossible for someone from Northern America (including Canada) or Western Europe (including Germany and Switzerland) to get used to scorching climates such as those found in parts of Southern America.

If you’re open-minded about the temperature where you’ll be living, pick a place with four seasons because that leaves more options when it comes to activities available during each season.

Furthermore, make sure to consider which month of the year is the best time of year to travel there. For example, Mexico is popular during Spring Break in March and April, but many people avoid it for that reason.

The Cost of Living

The cost of living is an important financial consideration when choosing your retirement residency. This factor mostly refers to the difference between your expenses now and your expenses after you have retired.

If you are already retired, this also includes how long you think you’ll live if you stay where you are currently living versus moving abroad.

You might want to check with a local bank or credit union about typical monthly expenditures in different countries so that they can give you an idea about what kinds of costs you’re looking at.

Your Health

Your health is another crucial factor to consider when choosing your retirement residency,  especially if you require daily medications. 

You need to make sure there are adequate medical facilities available in the countries where you’re looking at retiring, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, physical therapy centers, to mention but a few.

Also, keep in mind that many foreign towns and cities have special clinics that treat retirees from other countries, which can be good for retirees unfamiliar with the local healthcare system.

The Availability of Critical Services

Arizona or Florida: Which Should You Retire In?

Closely linked with health, the availability of services is another crucial factor to consider when choosing your retirement residency. For example, quality medical care may be hard to find in some countries.

This is important for several reasons, especially if you need long-term care or treatment at some point during retirement.

You should also think about how difficult it would be if an emergency occurred while traveling within your desired retirement residency. Keep in mind that many retirees who have health issues might have to return home fairly often—if not weekly or monthly—to receive proper care.

The Availability of US Dollar & Foreign Exchange Controls

The availability of the US dollar and foreign exchange controls are other factors to consider when choosing your retirement residency. When you are retired, it’s important to be able to liquidate assets in your bank or investment accounts easily.

Also, you probably want the option of buying things that are only available in particular countries without having to pay extra fees for converting currencies.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions about how easy it might be to do simple things like exchanging money at different points when you are considering a place as your retirement residency.

Availability of US & Foreign Tax Instruments & Your Existing Net Worth

The availability of US and foreign tax instruments is yet another crucial factor when choosing your retirement residency. Most retirees have enough assets in their portfolios, which they are required to file taxes on every year, even if they aren’t making a large income.

Regardless, you’ll need to know whether a foreign country’s tax system is compatible with the US tax system and if you must fill any special forms when filing your taxes from abroad.

If you don’t feel like doing your own research about this complex topic, it might be difficult for you to find professional assistance in another country to help you file your taxes correctly while living abroad.

This could pose severe legal consequences, especially if you end up breaking your host country’s tax regulations.

Your Security & Safety

Maintaining your sense of personal security and safety is another crucial factor to consider when choosing your retirement residency. As you get older, it’s important to feel safe and not worry about traveling all the time.

Oftentimes, retirees want their home country or a place that they know very well for this reason. 

If safety is important to you as you look for a new country as your permanent residence, you may want to think about whether or not there are parts of the country where it would be difficult to live because of crime statistics or other factors.

Also, keep in mind that there can be many differences in crime statistics between cities, smaller towns, and rural areas outside of major metropolitan areas.

Retirement Residency Requirements

Another crucial factor to consider when choosing your retirement residency is the requirements for residents in that country. For example, you might obtain permanent residence status fairly quickly in one country but have to wait much longer to obtain it in another.

The length of time required and the fees associated with obtaining a visa typically vary depending on where you’re looking as your permanent residence.

Personal Preference Factors

Some personal preference factors come into play when choosing your retirement residency, such as climate, environment, culture, and your personal hobbies.

Also, remember that just because you can afford to live in a place with all of the amenities that you enjoy doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy living there for decades to come, just like you would at home.

Retirement Visa Rules & Regulations

The last factor to consider when choosing your retirement residency is each country’s visa rules and regulations.

You might find it advantageous to choose countries with special programs available for retirees over 50 or 55 years old, so keep this in mind.

For expert advice on retirement and how to prepare for the future, I recommend reading Choose Your Retirement: Find the Right Path to Your New Adventure (available on The author provides practical insights into how to manage your finances, pick retirement destinations, and live the life you want in your golden years.

Bottom Line

There are many factors that retirees must consider before deciding where they will be living for the rest of their lives after their golden years begin. Taxes, crime rates, and amenities all play a major role in making this decision.

That said, between Arizona and Nevada, Arizona is a better retirement residency for retirees. With more activities, attractions, lower cost of living, and physicians per capita than Nevada, I think it’s the perfect place to retire.

However, if looking for less comfortable weather and low taxes, Nevada may be your best bet!



Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

Recent Posts