Phoenix Vs. Albuquerque: Which City Is Better To Live In?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Although Phoenix and Albuquerque have ideal weather year-round and a growing economy, one city is undoubtedly better than the other. Looking at several metrics, a clear-cut winner between the two starts to emerge.

Phoenix is a better city to live in because there is a safer environment, better school systems, and a more varied diversity throughout the city. Although housing prices can be inflated compared to Albuquerque, this city offers a slightly higher median income that can help compensate for higher costs. Endless leisure opportunities and predictable weather make Phoenix attractive for all people.

While Albuquerque has a lower cost of living and a better quality of life overall, it is imperative to consider the high occurrence of violent crime. Of course, crime can be localized and central to certain areas, so if you consider a move to Albuquerque, be sure to research the best neighborhoods and places before your move. An experienced real estate agent should be able to help you with your search.

Which City Is Better: Phoenix or Albuquerque?

Determining a winning city is a delicate and careful determination that is dependent on several factors. More goes into living in and enjoying a city than just being able to afford the rent. To determine a better city, we have examined several metrics as they relate to the average person.

Quality of Life

Being able to enjoy the city you live in is essential, so it is necessary to measure some intangible metrics that evaluate your overall quality of life. While both Phoenix and Albuquerque have remarkably high indexes above the national average, Albuquerque has a significantly better quality of life. Not only will you find more purchase power in this city, but you will also find a better climate. Phoenix though does have less pollution and is a safer city. Healthcare is comparable in both Phoenix and Albuquerque.

Winner: Albuquerque

Cost of Living

Comparing these two cities will reveal that Phoenix is about 14% more expensive overall than Albuquerque. The major driving factor for higher prices is housing. Overall, groceries will be about 1.4% more, utilities about 4.7% more, and transportation about 32% more. Expect to pay 14% more for healthcare in Phoenix compared to Albuquerque.

Winner: Albuquerque

Housing Costs

One of the driving factors that makes Phoenix a more expensive city is the cost of housing. These costs are about 17% higher in Phoenix compared to Albuquerque. Still, even with the higher housing costs, about 54% of the population owns their home in Phoenix. With lower housing prices, though, comparatively 60% of the population owns their home in Albuquerque, compared to the 40% of the population that rents.

Median House Price$239,400$203,500
Average Rent 1 BDRM$1,053$873

Winner: Albuquerque

Job Market

Although Phoenix may have a lower unemployment rate, the projected job growth is well below the forecast for the country. Couple this with the fact that the median income is only slightly higher than Albuquerque, and you have all the signs of a slowing job market. For these reasons, Albuquerque has a clear advantage when it comes to job opportunities.

The main industries in Phoenix are aerospace, business services, and conductor manufacturing. The University of Arizona, Raytheon Missile Systems, and Arizona State University are the city’s largest employers. Albuquerque’s industry also revolves around aerospace but introduces energy technology and computer chip manufacturing into the job market mix.

Projected 10-Year Growth16%34.5%
Median Household Income$57,459$52,911
Median Personal Income$29,434$28,229

Winner: Albuquerque


Many different cultures and heritages make up Phoenix. Today, residents can find strong Chinese, Russian, Filipino, Irish, German, and Vietnamese influences throughout the city in the cuisine, art, and music. There is also a solid outdoor vibe, with many residents finding any excuses to be outside simply. Native American roots and history run deep through the culture and influence many of the progressive social policies.

Albuquerque is also home to Native American and Hispanic culture and features a wonderful fusion of the two influences. There is an intense art scene in this city, and there are many museums that will feature Native American art specifically.

Winner: Tie


There are several opportunities for outdoor entertainment in Phoenix. Between the many parks, gardens, and golf courses, residents can always find an excuse to be outside. Plus, there is abundant nightlife and a rich artistic culture with several art museums in the city.

Albuquerque features a historic old town with historic buildings. Residents can also visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center or the National Museum of Nuclear Science. It is also not uncommon to find residents outside, frequenting several area parks and gardens with excellent weather.

Winner: Albuquerque


With an international airport and Amtrak station, it is easy for people to come to Phoenix. This city also has one of the fastest-growing highway systems in America, making it easy to reach this city from outside destinations. The entire city is laid out in a grid pattern, making it exceptionally simple to walk or bike throughout the city. This city is ranked as the 15th most bikeable city in the US.

Albuquerque has several options for people to move throughout the city. It has two airports, major highways, an electric street rails system, and a bus line. Plus, Albuquerque is particularly easy to bike and was voted the 28th most walkable city in the United States.

Winner: Tie


Phoenix is a very educated city, with nearly 30% of the population earning an Associate’s degree. Most people are young, and 18 to 44-year-old adults make up 44% of the population. When it comes to the racial makeup of this city, 20% self-identify as White, 40% Hispanic, 3% Asian, and 6% Black.

Albuquerque has a smaller young adult population, with only about 30% of the residents making up the 25-44-year-old age group. In this city, several people are educated, with 32% of the population earning an Associate’s degree. This city is less varied than Phoenix; this city is 25% White, 46% Hispanic, 4.6% Native American, 3% Black, and 2.4% Asian.

Winner: Phoenix


In the entire country, Phoenix has some of the absolute best private and public schools. These schools routinely achieve top scores in standardized testing. Further, Phoenix is home to some wonderful higher education institutions, including the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

Albuquerque also boasts some top school districts with higher than average public schools. The private school system in this city is even better, with better rankings, test scores, and academics. Unfortunately, there are not many options for higher education, and students only have the University of New Mexico or Brookline College to choose between.

Winner: Phoenix


Both Phoenix and Albuquerque are extremely hot and have year-round nice weather. Phoenix temperatures fluctuate throughout the year more wildly. Expect summers to average about 105 degrees F and winters to average about 60 degrees F. There are only 33 days of rain each year in Phoenix.

Albuquerque has less of a temperature range, reaching into the low 90s through the summer and dropping to the 50s throughout the winter. While Phoenix temperatures vary throughout the year, Albuquerque’s temperatures will change throughout the day and often plummet at night.

Winner: Albuquerque

Crime Rates

For a significant city, Phoenix gets about as much crime as should be expected. Violent crimes like assault, rape, and murder are all slightly over the national average. Property crimes that include theft and burglary are slightly over the national average, but motor vehicle theft is almost double the standard for the country.

While Phoenix may seem like it has a crime problem, it is nothing compared to the crime rates in Albuquerque. Violent crimes are sky-high, with assault triple the national average and murder and rape double the average. This city is the fifth highest in the country when it comes to violent crime. Not unexpected, burglary and theft are double the national average, and motor vehicle theft is about triple. While neither city is exceptionally safe, Phoenix is the safer option when considering violent crime.

Winner: Phoenix

Related Questions

How little rain does Arizona get?

Compared to other states throughout the country, Arizona gets very little rain. On average, this state only gets about 9 inches a year, compared to the national average of 32 inches. This fact is because much of Arizona is located in the Sonoran Desert. The rainy season is abridged, with one season in December and the other occurring in July.

Is New Mexico a good candidate for solar power?

Yes! In fact, New Mexico offers several solar power tax incentives to residents to encourage solar power use. This state is one of the best in the country for solar utilization, and if you live in New Mexico, solar panels are an excellent investment for homeowners. Solar panels can not only be used to power your home’s electric system or hot water system, but additional energy produced through the solar panels can be transmitted back to the grid for a valuable power credit.


Although both of these cities offer higher than average quality of life for the typical resident, there can only be one winner in our city to city face-off. Due to the higher safety metrics, ease of transportation, and better school systems, Phoenix is the winner. This city may have higher housing costs, but the higher median income can help make up the difference. Plus, this city has loads of outdoor recreation opportunities and a rich culture that can be hard to duplicate.

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