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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!

Great Areas of Central Arkansas Volume 7: North Little Rock

North Little Rock is another excellent place to live in central Arkansas. Located on the other side of the Arkansas River from Little Rock, North Little Rock provides a vast array of inviting neighborhoods, and the downtown area has experienced impressive growth over the past several years. The city’s neighborhoods offer the same quality living as in Little Rock, but generally at a more affordable level.

NLR's Argenta Area

NLR's Argenta Area

Founded as Argenta, North Little Rock officially became a city in 1901. The name Argenta refers specifically to downtown North Little Rock, and this area continues to honor its history by brilliantly preserving its beautiful early twentieth century buildings. The City Hall is one of these buildings, which still bears the name “Argenta.” The Argenta area is celebrated to this day—the Arts & Entertainment District has become an increasingly popular hub for community events, farmers’ markets, live theater and comedy, excellent new restaurants, craft beer, vibrant night life, and much more. You will definitely want to experience everything the Argenta Arts & Entertainment District has to offer! If you like the downtown scene, there are also great apartments and town homes in the area. And in the spring, don’t forget to catch an Arkansas Travelers baseball game at Dickey Stevens Park, and take a tour of the World War II submarine USS Razorback!

The USS Razorback

The USS Razorback

Beyond Argenta, North Little Rock offers many other great locations for living. The Park Hill and Lakewood areas are beautiful suburban neighborhoods that provide boundless options for family living, all within a lusciously green suburban area. Here you will find a wide variety of home sizes and architectural styles to suit your taste. Tucked away in the Lakewood neighborhood, in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park, is The Old Mill, a distinctive and beautiful historic landmark that was featured in Gone With The Wind. Further east, you can shop, dine and stay in the McCain Mall area, which offers a vast array of stores and restaurants. To the west, splash on down to Wild River Country, Arkansas’ largest water park!

The Old Mill

The Old Mill

This article mentions just a few of the many attractions and excellent neighborhoods that North Little Rock has to offer. If you are considering a move to Central Arkansas, you don’t want to miss out on seeing the beautiful areas of North Little Rock and the increasingly popular Argenta area!

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!