The Cost of Living in Arkansas

As time goes by, the cost of living tends to increase. Some parts of the United States have higher costs of living than others, which depends on many different factors. Let's take a closer look at the cost of living in Arkansas...

According to, the average cost of living in Arkansas is 84.3 on the cost of living index. This means that overall, the cost of living in Arkansas is less than the national average of 100. Out of all the factors taken into account in this average figure—grocery, health, housing, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneoushousing is the lowest factor. Housing costs in Arkansas scores 64 in comparison with the national average of 100 (costs registering over 100 are therefore higher than the national average).

The Clinton Library in Little Rock, AR

The Clinton Library in Little Rock, AR

Another website provides 2016 data on a breakdown of different living costs in Arkansas. With housing for instance, the average monthly rent for a 900 square foot apartment or home in Little Rock ranges from about $850 to $1,095, and the monthly cost of utilities averages at about $120 for a small studio apartment.

According to recent cost-of-living research, the cost of living in Central Arkansas (Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, etc.) is generally about 3% below the national average, while the cost of healthcare in this area is above the national average. Average childcare, housing, and transportation costs, however, remain below the national average. Moving away from the metropolitan areas, the cost of living decreases to 4% below the national average and beyond. However, in Northwest Arkansas (Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, etc.), living costs average 7% below the national average. Pine Bluff and Jonesboro reflect a cost of living similar to the rural areas of Arkansas, which ranges from 10% -12% below the national average. In Arkansas’s rural areas, transportation costs are higher, but taxes, healthcare, childcare, and housing all remain below the national average.

Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, AR

Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, AR

What does this all mean? Generally, it means that Arkansas offers a relatively low cost of living. A Talk Business & Politics article from 2015 explained that the cost of living in Arkansas is the second-lowest in the nation. This means that money earned in Arkansas “goes further than just about any other state.” Even with higher state sales taxes, people earning income in Arkansas have greater buying power than in other states and are able to afford better housing due to the lower housing costs. The only other state in the nation with a lower cost of living is Arkansas’s neighbor, Mississippi.

The Economic Growth of Little Rock & Central Arkansas

The Little Rock area is the central hub of Arkansas’ economy. Central Arkansas has enjoyed significant economic and population growth in recent history, and the Little Rock area continues to grow, gaining more and more impressive national ratings in economy, commerce, and industry. Little Rock has recently made Kiplinger’s “10 Great Places to Live,” Gallup’s “America’s Happiest Cities,” Moody’s “Most Diverse Economy in the Nation,” Forbes “Top 200 Best Places for Business and Careers, as well as Kiplinger’s “Best Value City” feature.

According the City’s website, Little Rock and the Central Arkansas area have seen over $2.5 billion in economic development since 1994. This growth has been both characterized and facilitated by an increasingly active private sector and a highly dedicated Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Strong economic growth in Central Arkansas has also driven new commercial and residential real estate development trends. In 2015, Little Rock saw significant commercial real estate development, exemplified by new retail and industrial areas.

Even more significant commercial growth has appeared in the past few years. Shoppers from all over the state now come to Little Rock to visit the Outlets at Little Rock, the Bass Pro Shop, stores and restaurants at Shackleford Crossing, and the new Dave and Buster’s sports bar and arcade.

Central Arkansas is a great place to start a business—the state offers tax incentives for industrial and economic development. Advantage Arkansas Income Tax Credit, ArkPlus, Create Rebate, Free Port Law of Arkansas, InvestArk Sales and Use Tax Credit, Targeted Business and Tax Back Sales & Use Tax Refund are just some of the programs in place to offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to get off the ground or establish their business in Arkansas while enjoying low taxes.

The Hewlett Packard presence in Conway

The Hewlett Packard presence in Conway

Major industry has also been increasingly active in Central Arkansas. Aviation, for instance, has been and continues to be a dynamic industry in the Little Rock area. Little Rock is home to the facilities of companies such as Dassault Falcon Jet, Raytheon, and Central Flying Service that contribute greatly to the economy and provide tons of jobs. Biotechnology is also an emerging industry in Central Arkansas.

Aside from the growing commercial and industrial sectors, real estate development in Central Arkansas has been impressive. The area has seen “years of steady appreciation in commercial real estate values,” and this appreciation is expected to continue as more and more real estate is demanded for business and industrial growth. 

All in all, this increased activity has boosted the Central Arkansas economy. The increased business activity in the local economy has led to greater cash flow, the creation of countless new jobs, and new residential real estate transactions and development. If you are deciding where to move or start your business, choose Central Arkansas and become part of the increasingly strong economy!

Great Areas of Central Arkansas Volume 6: Benton & Bryant

If you are looking for a place outside of the big city, the Little Rock area has some delightful suburbs that offer affordable home options with access to all the amenities of city living. Benton and Bryant are two of these Little Rock suburbs well worth looking at when searching for a new home in the Little Rock area!

Benton Square

Benton Square

Located just southwest of Little Rock along Interstate 30, Benton is the county seat of Saline County and has enjoyed significant growth over the past few years. Benton is a colorful and sunny community with plenty of Southern charm. The increasing popularity of the city is evident by its population increase of about 30% over the past ten years, and the community continues to grow and develop today.

Benton offers excellent value—the city has the advantage of providing a quality of suburban living equal to that of Little Rock, but with a more affordable price range. Benton residents have said that the city boasts an increasingly strong business community and an active chamber of commerce organization, and is an excellent environment for raising a family. Benton also has excellent ratings for schools and education.

Also along Interstate 30, between Little Rock and Benton, is another delightful suburb. Although smaller than Benton, the City of Bryant also offers great value for comfortable suburban living. The Keep Bryant Beautiful campaign and the Jumpstart urban revitalization program are also examples of Bryant’s vibrant and active community that will enjoy significant growth over the coming years.

Bryant High School

Bryant High School

The Southern charm of this area is perhaps the most attractive characteristic. Located between Little Rock and Hot Springs, both Benton and nearby Bryant provide antique seekers ample opportunity to search for treasures with several antique malls on both sides of the interstate. The Saline River has excellent fishing, scenery and back-country floating for the outdoors enthusiast. Aside from antiques and beautiful natural attractions, there are plenty of signature dining options in Benton and Bryant. Brown’s Country Store and Restaurant, for one, is an iconic attraction in Benton along I-30, and is a long-time favorite stop for Arkansans, out-of-state travelers, and local residents alike.

All in all, the Benton-Bryant area is an excellent choice for suburban living. If you’re looking for a new home for your family, the value is hard to beat! These beautiful Little Rock suburbs provide quiet suburban living with the amenities of the big city, as well as strong, family-oriented communities.

Countdown to Your Move

Being prepared for your move to Central Arkansas is very important. There are many things to do and details to take care of before you move to a new home. Making a plan to take care of those things in the weeks leading up to your moving date will help make the process MUCH less stressful and ensure that you have time to address everything that must be done before the move. Try using the following time table to prepare for your next move!

Four weeks before your move: 

    Submit an address change form with the post office. You can do this online at If you have children in school, notify the schools of the address change, along with your church, magazine subscriptions, etc. Gather all of your family’s medical records and if you are moving to Central Arkansas (Little Rock, Benton, Bryant, Maumelle, North Little Rock, etc.) from a different city, ask your current doctor for recommendations in the new location. It is also wise to begin creating an inventory of each possession, including the date purchased and the estimated value. Then, contact your utility providers to schedule a shutoff date and turn-on date for your old and new homes. Also include newspaper delivery, trash pick-up, and lawn services.

Three to two weeks before your move: 

    If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, contact your carrier to transfer the insurance to your new home. If you are moving long distance, make arrangements to move any plants and pets you have. Also, finalize any travel arrangements to your new home. It’s also important to dispose of any flammable items like gasoline, matches, bleach, cleaning liquids, and aerosol cans before leaving your old home. Don’t forget to drain the gasoline from your lawnmower or any other gas-powered lawn equipment.

The week before your move: 

    Arrange the payment at your new destination. Determine which items you will travel with personally, such as jewelry or other small valuables, and prepare adequate travel packing for them.

The day before your move: 

    Whether or not you are moving long distance, prepare a box of things you will need when you arrive at your new home. You can take this box with you and have your Brandon Co. driver load and unload it first. Also make sure that all packing services have been completed before signing for them.

On moving day: 

    Plan to be at your current home when Brandon Co. movers arrive to supervise the loading of your shipment. If you are not able to be at your home during that time, be sure to give the Brandon Co. driver the name and number of the person you’ve designated to be there for you. As your items are being loaded, our representative will check the condition of your possessions and inventory them with you. After the loading, make a final walk-through of your home to ensure that nothing important has been overlooked. Sign the Bill of Lading while double-checking that your new address, phone number, and chosen valuation are correct. Before you leave, don’t forget to lock all the doors and windows and turn off the lights one last time!

    Plan to be at your new home a day early if possible to ensure that the utilities are connected and to plan the placement of furniture and other large items in your home. Finally, plan to be present to pay the driver prior to the unloading of your possessions and to review and approve the inventory checklist. More important than anything, though, is to relax and enjoy your brand new home!