What are the most and least affordable Arizona counties?

Photo by Derek K. Miller | Creative Commons

Affordable housing has become a major issue in Arizona politics and newly released data by the National Low Income Housing Coalition has shed a light on where the issue is the most prevalent in the state.

Coconino came out in the bottom as the least affordable county for Arizona residents and Greenlee coming out as the most affordable county. 

The data cover topics such as the average price of rentals, the number of renters versus. homeowners, and what jobs you might need to afford rent in Arizona.

By the numbers 

NLIHC created the dataset by using a mixture of data from the Census, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Social Security Administration to see how areas across the state stack up.

The percentage of homeowners to renters varied across the state, with Greenlee having the largest number of renters. In Greenlee, renters make-up 53 percent of the population. In Apache County only 22 percent of the population rents, the lowest rate in the state. On average, roughly 33 percent of the state’s population are renters. 

The data also looked at the average wages of renters across the state in each county. In total, renters in the state make an average of $15.42 an hour. 

Once again, Greenlee takes the cake as the best place for a renter to live with the average hourly salary amounting to $38 an hour. However, this data could be skewed due to the difference in population of Greenlee to other counties in the state. 

Greenlee’s population is only about 9,500 people. In neighboring Graham County, the city of Safford has roughly the same population. 

However, a similarly small county in Arizona is far less affordable. 

In La Paz County, which has a population of under 21,000, the average hourly wage of renters is $11.14. 

Researchers at the NLIHC also looked at the average rent prices across the state when compiling their data. 

Coconino, Maricopa, Pinal and Yavapai counties all had the highest average rent compared to the rest of the state, with Greenlee, Santa Cruz and Yuma making up the bottom three. 

Those living in the top four counties will need to work on average 54 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a studio apartment and 120 hours a week to afford a four-bedroom apartment. 

Those living in the bottom three counties will need to work on average 39 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a studio apartment and 80 hours a week to afford a four-bedroom apartment. 

The data also shows that Arizona residents need to earn a minimum of $25,000 a year to afford a studio apartment and around $55,000 a year to afford a four-bedroom apartment. However, that can vary by county as well. 

In Coconino County you need to make $35,000 a year to afford the average studio apartment. 

Food preparation workers, servers, cashiers, teacher assistants, retail workers, security guards, janitors and receptionists all make under this amount on average in Arizona.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.


  1. Yeah, and a good share of the jobs in some areas where the rent it is high are seasonal. When I moved here, I found it strange that they pay the workers $14.00 and hour but then give them 24 to 32 hours a week and wonder why they are living in a dilapidated RV and can barely make the rent on the small slot where it’s parked. The poor people can’t afford to live in some of the counties for sure.

    What is nice, is that if you do have money, the land is reasonable in many areas outside of the cities. You can put an inexpensive building on the land and call it home. That is when living in Arizona is reasonably priced.


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