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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!

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!

Great Areas of Central Arkansas Vol. 3: Little Rock - Qaupaw & SOMA

Downtown Little Rock offers the widest variety of living options. In addition to upscale condominiums, lofts, and studio apartments in the busiest part of town, downtown Little Rock is characterized by the beauty of its historic neighborhoods.


The Villa Marre

The Villa Marre

Located just south of Little Rock’s business district, the Quapaw Quarter is the oldest and most historic district of Little Rock and is an excellent choice for living. This historic district is home to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and the Museum of Arkansas Military History in MacArthur Park—the oldest municipal park in the city. Throughout the Quapaw Quarter, a variety of stunningly beautiful homes from the Antebellum and Victorian eras can be found, in addition to several examples of Craftsman-style architecture. Scott, Center and Spring streets, in particular, are where many such homes stand today. The exterior of the Villa Marre, for example, is known nationally as featured on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. In addition to beautiful and uniquely historic homes, the Quapaw Quarter features some of Little Rock’s oldest churches and schools, such as the St. Edward Church and School, established in 1885.


Shops in SOMA

Shops in SOMA

The Quapaw Quarter is situated next to the South on Main (“SOMA”) area, which offers a vibrant new nightlife, exceptional dining, and comfortable living. Stretching from I-630 on the North side and Roosevelt Boulevard to the South, SOMA is characterized by quaint streets full of excellent local establishments that provide a wide and unique range of dining, shopping, and nightlife. Antique stores, art galleries, and locally owned restaurants serving critically-acclaimed cuisine are found along South Main Street. Community Bakery, for instance, established in 1947, is a long-time favorite of all Little Rock residents and visitors. The Root Café offers an eclectic, down-home dining environment and features only food grown by Arkansas farmers. The newer South on Main restaurant and bar offers fine dining with a southern twist, excellent live music acts, and an impressive selection of unique drinks to enjoy while taking in its charming atmosphere. These are just a few of the many excellent dining and nightlife options in the SOMA district. A wide array of quaint living options, including houses, town homes, and studio apartments, surround the Main Street area and reflect the historic charm of the area.


Great Areas of Central Arkansas Vol. 2: West Little Rock

If you prefer a more suburban setting with more room, or perhaps a quiet neighborhood to start a family, West Little Rock offers high-quality, comfortable living.


Chenal Homes

Chenal Homes

Chenal is a scenic community of impressive homes, luxury condos, championship golf courses, fine dining, shopping, outdoor recreation and so much more. Chenal is well known for having the most sought-after Central Arkansas homes. Whether you’re looking for a beautiful house in a specific neighborhood, a view overlooking the golf course, or lots to build your dream retreat, you’ll find it in this expansive subdivision. Chenal has seen enormous growth over the past ten years and offers a very wide range of living options in addition to upscale shopping and impressive dining options. The Promenade at Chenal —from beautiful large family homes to new upscale apartments for single residents or couples. Located near the Chenal Country Club, Chenal Valley is characterized by its eye-catchingly elegant houses and beautiful golf courses.


Pleasant Valley Country Club

Pleasant Valley Country Club

West Little Rock’s prestigious Pleasant Valley is another beautiful neighborhood that offers comfortable suburban living in the midst of stunning natural scenery. Pleasant Valley is a large area that includes a variety of living options as well as excellent schools, churches, neighborhood pools, and golf courses. Pleasant Valley Country Club is the premier country club of Arkansas, featuring a 27-hole championship golf course of rolling hills and tree-lined fairways. In addition to stunningly beautiful homes of many different sizes and styles, Pleasant Valley is also home to Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Saint James United Methodist Church, and Temple B’nai Israel, and Pulaski Academy, just to name a few. In the rolling hills of Pleasant Valley, one will find the beautiful subdivisions of Pebble Beach, Marlowe Manor, Hillsborough, and Valley View, among many others. Impressive shopping and dining options are also found within this beautiful suburban area.


Pleasant Ridge Town Center

Pleasant Ridge Town Center

The Pleasant Ridge Area is another beautiful suburb in West Little Rock, providing resort-style living at a prime location. Nestled in between prestigious Pleasant Ridge Town Center and Pinnacle Mountain, Pleasant Ridge offers the best of both worlds—near entertainment, shopping, and fine dining and also beautiful hiking trails by the Arkansas River. Pleasant Ridge Town Center is one of Little Rock's premier shopping centers and features all of the elements that appeal to the discriminating shopper. The Center is home to stores such as Belk and restaurants like Bar Louie and Bonefish Grill. In addition to beautiful homes that overlook the Arkansas River (Walton Heights), this part of West Little Rock offers an array of newly constructed condominiums and luxury apartments at reasonable prices.

Great Areas of Central Arkansas Vol. 1: Little Rock - Hillcrest & The Heights

Central Arkansas is a great place to live and has many great neighborhoods to offer. Whether you are looking for the hustle-and-bustle of the vibrant downtown area, a quiet homestead in a beautiful suburban neighborhood, or something more quaint in between, Central Arkansas has the option for you at an affordable price. This series of blogs will describe the many great places to live in Central Arkansas:


One of Hillcrest's many festivals

One of Hillcrest's many festivals

Hillcrest is one of Little Rock’s beautiful historic neighborhoods—it is often referred to as the Hillcrest Historic District by its residents. Hillcrest is the lower, southern section of the Pulaski Heights neighborhood and contains some of Little Rock's most historic construction in both commercial and residential areas. Often thought of as the "heart of Little Rock," it is located almost directly in the center of the city and was arguably the first fully established suburb in Little Rock, and among the first neighborhoods in Arkansas. Much of what makes Hillcrest an historic district and famous neighborhood are the highly sought-after houses of diverse architectural styles. Ranging from Prairie to Queen Anne styles, the houses were built from all different time periods to represent Hillcrest as a unique neighborhood. Hillcrest is also a great place to raise a family, with historic schools and churches nestled alongside the beautiful historic homes. Along Kavanaugh Boulevard, the central vein of Hillcrest and The Heights, you will also find excellent restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique stores. Bars and restaurants such as Ciao Baci, The Afterthought, The Fountain, and La Terraza also offer an eclectic mix of establishments that offer unique cuisine and live music to keep Hillcrest nights alive.

The Heights

The Heights' strip of restaurants and shops

The Heights' strip of restaurants and shops

Nestled along the North side of Hillcrest is The Heights, another beautiful Little Rock neighborhood. This district is located on the north side of Cantrell Road and University Avenue, and extends East toward downtown Little Rock, ending at the beautiful Country Club of Little Rock. The Heights is mostly newer than Hillcrest and contains many popular stores, restaurants, and bars that give the neighborhood a vibrant evening and night life. The Heights is also very family friendly, with many beautiful family homes, churches, and excellent schools. A leisurely stroll along the north half of Kavanaugh Boulevard and into the more historic part of the Heights offers plenty of options for dining and shopping, as well as pleasant views of a beautiful and comfortable neighborhood.

Watch Your Back!

In the process of moving, it is tempting for people to take on the lifting of heavy items themselves while neglecting the possible risk of back injury. This oversight can have painful, and sometimes permanent, consequences. Lifting heavy items improperly can cause damage in the muscles, joints, and spinal discs of the back. 

When lifting, be aware of your movements and know your limits

When lifting, be aware of your movements and know your limits

You can decrease the chance of back injury by using proper form when lifting. Take a look at these easy preventative steps to take to save your back:

Posture! The first and most important step should be to ensure that the back is kept straight. A common mistake that leads to injury is allowing the back to curve during lifting, which puts harmful strain on the muscles in the lower back. You can keep your back straight by keeping the chest pushed forward. Do this while bending at the hips and knees. This form will allow the back to remain in a straight orientation and will prevent curvature while lifting weight. Furthermore, using this form will allow the muscles of the legs and hips to do the work, saving your lower back from harmful strain.

Don’t do the twist! Lead with the hips while lifting to avoid any harmful twisting motion. It may be tempting to lead with the shoulders, which runs the risk of twisting out of a straight posture and putting strain on the wrong muscles. Such a motion combined with heavy weight can cause damage to the joints in the back, as well as to the pelvis. The shoulders should be kept aligned with the hips—nice and straight ahead.

Watch your center of gravity! The center of gravity is the point at which the entire weight of a body may be considered as concentrated so that if supported at this point the body would remain in equilibrium in any position. Be sure to keep the weight close to the body during the entire process of lifting. This may be a rather obvious point, but holding weight further away from the body (and thereby away from the center of gravity) will make lifting much more difficult and can put unnecessary and harmful strain on the lower back. Keeping the weight centered and close to the body ensures the most efficient lifting, requiring the least possible amount of effort to lift.


Next time you are moving something—whether it’s a refrigerator, a piano, a big chunk of lead, heavy boxes for that friend who asked you last-minute to help him move, or even barbells at the gym—don’t forget to watch your back and keep these three tips in mind to avoid injury.


Posted by Brandon Moving & Storage, Central Arkansas' premiere movers