Is Arizona Really the Worst Place For Young People to Live?

According to a 2017 article, Arizona ranked dead last (tied with New Hampshire) among desirable states for young people. It said Arizona is fraught with livability negatives for young adults.

The study on which the article is based evaluated eight key metrics, including access to fitness facilities, broadband Internet, availability of affordable rentals, job opportunities and the price of quality education. Arizona was one of the few states to rank below the median in virtually every category (7 of 8) considered.

The article observes that Arizona “is known more as a retirement destination than a hot spot for young people.”

Key factors plummeting Arizona’s ranking were spotty access to high-speed Internet and “concentration of fitness facilities relative to the young adult population.”

The top five states for young people were North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Louisiana and Wyoming.

This article is a perfect example of how numbers can lie.

My youngest son, Casey, was born in Arizona. He’s now 35. My other two sons were babies when we moved here in 1981.

I’ve spent time in the five “top ranked states” for young people. I have a ranch near Jackson, Wyoming, where my boys visit often in the summer.

No offense if you’re from North Dakota but ND #1 and AZ #50? Seriously! Arizona not only blows away North Dakota, in my view it trumps all the study’s top ranked states in liveability and opportunity for young people. Here’s why:

The economy is vibrant and the weather is fabulous. Our two largest universities, University of Arizona and Arizona State, are among the most affordable, high-quality colleges in the nation (for state residents).

There are tons of gyms, Starbucks, interesting restaurants, theatre, upscale movies, an abundance of job opportunities (for kids with a work ethic) and affordable housing (I know, I’m in real estate) compared to states that ranked higher.

Yes, Arizona is a destination for older folks. And that may be the #1 reason why it’s such a great place for younger folks.

Our state is brimming with super-savvy, life experienced, professionally accomplished, older adults who are often willing, even anxious, to share their expertise and lend a hand to young adults. I do it. My friends do it. It’s an incredible Arizona resource the study didn’t consider.

My sons have benefitted hugely from the mentoring and connections unselfishly and graciously offered by mature Arizonans who wanted nothing more than to help those who follow. This is one of our state’s most valuable assets and underrated resources, a compelling reason why young adults should flock here.

Do the numbers lie? Check out the book, Proofiness, The Dark Art of Mathematical Deception. The misleading MoneyRates state rankings is a great example of the old aphorism “numbers lie and liars figure.”