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How is Living in Scottsdale? - What to Know Before Moving There

How is Living in Scottsdale? | 🏜️ What to Know Before Moving to Scottsdale

The city of Scottsdale, AZ is known for being one of the most desirable places to live in the entire United States and is even recognized internationally by people across the world. Among its many amenities, Scottsdale has top-rated luxury resorts, upscale restaurants, more than 70 art galleries, and museums, as well as some of the best shopping destinations in Arizona.

Located about 13 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale is bordered by neighboring cities of Tempe, Mesa, Fountain Hills, Carefree, and Paradise Valley. Scottsdale is officially nicknamed “The West’s Most Western Town” because of its long-time cowboy culture and history dating back more than 140 years.

Established in the early 1880s, the land that now makes up this area was purchased by U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott and his wife Helen. It was originally called Orangedale because the Scott family had planted a large spread of citrus groves across the area. It quickly became a popular location for well-educated people who wanted to create an upscale lifestyle in the city.

Winfield & Helen Scott in 1900
Scottsdale, AZ founders Winfield and Helen Scott in 1900

The town was renamed Scottsdale for its founders Winfield and Helen in 1894. Scottsdale was officially incorporated as an Arizona city in 1951.

As a great place to live, thousands of people are still moving to Scottsdale every year. One of the most interesting facts about Scottsdale is that it is the number one destination in America for retirees.

Scottsdale has been home to a huge number of notable people including famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer, and U.S. Senator John McCain. It has also housed popular entertainers such as original Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter, director Steven Spielberg, country singer Dierks Bentley, and singer Joe Jonas. Even famous athletes have graced the community of Scottsdale including big names like heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali, NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, and world-champion boxer Mike Tyson.

1. People of Scottsdale, AZ – Population & Demographics

The population in Scottsdale is 258,064 residents with a median age of 50 years old, making it the 5th most populated city in Arizona. The biggest decade of growth came during the 1990s when more than 70,000 people moved to Scottsdale. Even now, it continues to see major growth with 45,000 newcomers relocating to Scottsdale in the past 10 years.

Scottsdale demographics give a clear picture of the diversity in the area as it is made up of 81% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Asian, and 2% Black or African American. The gender ratio in Scottsdale is about 52% female and 48% male.

The Scottsdale population has an ancestry of 19% German, 13% Irish, 11% English, 8% Italian, 4% Polish, and a variety of others. And with an average of about 2 people per household in Scottsdale, about 50.8% of residents in the city are married couples.

The median household income in Scottsdale of $86,097 is higher than the national average and presents a good idea of how affluent the city is. Almost 40% of residents living in Scottsdale make salaries of over $100,000 per year.

2. Cost of Living in Scottsdale

Known for its affluent neighborhoods and upper-class lifestyle, the cost of living in Scottsdale is 31% higher than the Arizona average and 33% higher than the national average. While expenses like healthcare and home utilities cost less than state averages, the higher end of spending comes from local transportation, food, and housing.

What does it cost to live in Scottsdale? Is Scottsdale affordable? Well, some of the groceries that cost more than average include a gallon of milk for $3.19, chicken filets for $5.33 per pound, and $3.36 for a dozen eggs. A slight balance can be found because of the lower utility prices; Scottsdale’s average monthly utility bill is $157.23..

Scottsdale Typical Living Expenses

According to Numbeo, these are estimated amounts that residents in Scottsdale pay for the most common expenses:

  • Meal inexpensive restaurant, $14
  • Meal for 2 People Mid-range Restaurant, $80
  • Milk (regular), $3.19
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread, $2.84
  • Rice, $1.49
  • Eggs, $3.36
  • Local cheese, $7.66
  • Chicken filets, $5.33
  • Beef round, $10.33
  • Basic monthly utilities, $157.23
  • Internet, $74.38

Scottsdale Real Estate Market

Scottsdale housing prices are the largest impact on Scottsdale’s high cost of living.. The average listing price of a home in Scottsdale is $700,000, though the median sale price is closer to $595,000 for a house. These numbers equal out to a median sale price of $279 per square foot and typically require an average down payment of 23% in most areas. The real estate market in Scottsdale is somewhat competitive with homes usually going pending in about 41 days.

The Scottsdale homeownership rate is 66%, about 12% higher than the nearby city of Phoenix. Scottsdale, AZ homes for sale have a wide spread of possibilities with locations ranging from a handful of humble mobile homes to huge properties that are worth over $30 million.

A beautiful home in Scottsdale, AZ

About 34% of residents living in Scottsdale lease their residence. The average price of rent in Scottsdale is $1,682 per month, which has increased by nearly 4% over the past year. If you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartment, expect to pay an average of $1,502 per month. A two-bedroom apartment in Scottsdale costs about $1,788 per month.

The most affordable places to live in Scottsdale include Arcadia, South Scottsdale, and some areas around Old Town Scottsdale. Looking at the other side, the most expensive Scottsdale communities are Silverleaf, DC Ranch, Encanto Norte, Pinnacle Peak, Happy Valley Ranch, and Desert Mountain.

Income, Sales, & Property Taxes in Scottsdale

The income tax rate in Scottsdale is variable and changes based on the amount of money you make every year. Scottsdale income tax rates range from 2.59% to 4.5%.

According to the TaxJar calculator, the Scottsdale sales tax is ranked the 11th highest out of the 50 United States at 8.050%. You can see the sales tax in Scottsdale breakdown here:

  • Arizona State tax rate 5.600%
  • Maricopa County tax rate 0.700%
  • Scottsdale tax rate 1.750%
  • Total sales tax rate 8.050%

Anyone who is preparing to buy a home in the city will want to be mindful of the Scottsdale property tax rate as well. Property tax rates in Scottsdale are lower than Arizona and national averages:

  • Scottsdale property tax rate 0.640%
  • Arizona property tax rate 0.724%
  • National property tax rate 1.080%

For example, if you bought a home for $700,000, then the Scottsdale property taxes would be about $7,280 per year.

3. Scottsdale Neighborhoods

As anyone preps for relocating to Scottsdale, finding the right community is an important part of the process. There are plenty of beautiful Scottsdale neighborhoods to choose from that offer a huge supply of nearby amenities and perks.

Local neighborhoods in Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale covers 184.4 square miles and is located toward the northeast side of Maricopa County in Arizona.

Area codes in Scottsdale include 480 and 602.

Top Neighborhoods in Scottsdale

Map of the Best Scottsdale Neighborhoods

4. Things to Do in Scottsdale

With some of the best museums and the most popular shopping destinations in the state and even in the country, there are so many amazing and fun Scottsdale activities. From top-rated attractions and entertainment venues to museums and local parks, you’ll never have to go far when searching for enjoyable things to do in Scottsdale. When relocating to Scottsdale it’s a great idea to see what amenities are available around town.

Top Attractions

  • Talking Stick Resort – The most popular resort in Scottsdale, featuring a casino, golf course, spa, and 4-star hotel with many other attractions nearby.
  • OdySea Aquarium – The largest aquarium in the southwest United States, boasting more than 30,000 animals, marine exhibits, interactive experiences, and a 3D movie theater.
  • Butterfly Wonderland – Popular kids activity in Scottsdale housing thousands of butterflies in an interactive setting with a gift shop and cafe.
  • Taliesin West – The winter home of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which has since been converted into a school for architecture students.
  • Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden – A National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat with more than 7,000 desert plants within 200 unique species.
  • Arizona Food Tours – The longest-running food tour in Arizona taking tourists and locals to some of the best dining destinations in Scottsdale.
  • Fiesta Bowl Museum – Popular sports museum in Scottsdale displaying historical items and information about the college football Fiesta Bowl.

Entertainment & Arts

  • Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts – An 853-seat theater for performances that include live music, plays, comedians, and much more.
  • RoadHouse Cinemas – Top-rated movie theater in Scottsdale where your food and drinks are brought to you at your seat.
  • Wonderspaces Arizona – One of the most unique displays of art and various pieces of work you’ll find anywhere in the country.
  • Celebration of Fine Art – Art shows, rotating exhibits, and featured artists can all be found at this popular Scottsdale attraction.

Museums

Parks & Outdoors

  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – A 40-acre retired railroad station with displays of multiple train engines, a children’s playground, mini train rides, and more.
  • McDowell Sonoran Preserve – An outdoor conservation area in Scottsdale with hiking trails and beautiful scenic views of the surrounding area.
  • Pinnacle Peak Park – Highly-rated park where visitors can go rock climbing or hike to the very top of Pinnacle Peak 3,169 feet up.
  • Tom’s Thumb Trailhead – Another popular place to go hiking in Scottsdale with multiple trails, a visitor center, accessible restrooms, and more.

Shopping

  • Scottsdale Fashion Square – One of the most popular shopping complexes in the entire Phoenix Valley with more than 200 stores and restaurants along with a Harkins movie theater.
  • Scottsdale Quarter – An outdoor mall with fine dining restaurants, a splash pad, a movie theater, and lots of popular shops.
  • The Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center – More than 50 stores, fast food restaurants, and dine-in locations can be found at this trendy Scottsdale shopping mall.
  • Other convenient shopping locations include Walgreens, Target, Walmart, Sprouts, and AJ’s Fine Foods.

Map of Scottsdale Activities

5. Restaurants in Scottsdale

Fine dining seems to come standard at Scottsdale restaurants with great places to eat found all over the city. No matter what your palate is hungry for, there is sure to be a restaurant in Scottsdale ready to fulfill your craving. Some of the most well-known locations to eat in Scottdale include:

 

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6. Scottsdale Utilities/Driver License Change of Address

Before relocating to Scottsdale, one of the most important steps is to make sure you have your local utilities set up ahead of time. This includes bare essentials such as electricity, water, sewer, trash, and natural gas if your home is equipped for it. Knowing the utility providers in Scottsdale will give you a head start and ensure you have the lights on when showing up to your new home.

Electric (Based on Where You Live)

Gas

Water

Trash

Internet

Change of Address Information

Along with setting up your utility accounts, another key aspect of any relocation is changing your address in Scottsdale. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and state laws state that it is mandatory to notify them of your address change within 10 days of relocating to Scottsdale.

7. Scottsdale Sports

Scottsdale gets the benefit of being close enough to Phoenix that they can easily root for and attend the same major sporting events. The area is home to sports teams in each of the four professional major sports associations.

Sports events in Scottsdale include:

  • Arizona Coyotes (NHL): With a Division title and reaching the playoffs nine times, the Coyotes have a strong history of success.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB): The Diamondbacks were victorious in the 97th World Series in 2001 where they beat the New York Yankees in seven games.
  • Phoenix Suns (NBA): The Suns have competed in the NBA Finals twice (1976 & 1993).
  • Arizona Cardinals (NFL): The Cardinals made it to Super Bowl XLIII in 2008, though they were beaten by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Scottsdale hosts the Phoenix Rising FC professional soccer team, which plays at the local Casino Arizona Field. The Salt River Fields at Talking Stick are the location where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies hold their spring training games.

8. Transportation

The average commute time in Scottsdale is less than 20 minutes on average. Almost everyone living in Scottsdale owns a vehicle but there are still public transportation options available for local residents.

The Valley Metro serves Scottsdale with numerous bus routes spanning various parts of the city. Bus stops are easily found with benches and blue signs along the side of the road.

Scottsdale rideshare programs are readily available with popular companies like Uber or Lyft. You’ll rarely have to wait for more than a few minutes to get a ride to wherever you’re going.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at sunset

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the most commonly used airport for people residing in Scottsdale. But there are a handful of other locations around the city including:

9. Crime

Scottsdale is the 13th safest city in Arizona thanks to its secure neighborhoods and gated communities

According to FBI reports, the crime rate in Scottsdale is 15% lower than the national average overall. There is only a 1 in 48 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Scottsdale.

The violent crime rate in Scottsdale is 165.52 per 100,000 people, which means the city has 58% less violent crime than the national average. This includes homicide, theft, aggravated assault, and rape. The murder rate in Scottsdale is 2.75 per 100,000 residents, which is 55% lower than the national average.

The area is also becoming safer as Scottsdale crime has dropped by more than 12% in the past year. If you’re searching for the safest places to live in Scottsdale, the Pinnacle Peak neighborhood is safer than 96% of the cities in Arizona. On the other hand, the crime rate in South Scottsdale is 37% higher than the national average. Scottsdale is a very safe place to live.

Keep track of local crime statistics by using the City of Scottsdale crime map.

An interesting fact about Scottsdale crime is that it’s illegal to cut down certain plants in the city including the giant saguaro cactus. Anyone who cuts down one of these native Sonoran Desert cacti will face a large fine and between one to four years in jail.

10. Economy

The current unemployment rate in Scottsdale is 4% but the area has played a key role in helping Arizona’s gross domestic product (GDP) increase 3.1% from 2018 to 2019, achieving an all-time high of $265 billion for the year.

Local business area in Scottsdale

The largest employers in Scottsdale are:

  • HonorHealth (The largest employer in Scottsdale with 6,323 employees)
  • Vanguard (3,365 employees)
  • CVS (2,978 employees)
  • City of Scottsdale (2,694 employees)
  • Scottsdale Unified School District (2,668 employees)
  • General Dynamics (2,403 employees)

The top industries helping the Scottsdale economy are:

  • Tourism
  • Healthcare
  • Technical Services
  • Retail Trade
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing

11. Healthcare

Residents living in Scottsdale have a great system of hospitals for emergencies and standard care available to them. The top medical hospitals in Scottsdale are:

12. Jobs in Scottsdale

The job market in Scottsdale is always getting better as more opportunities open up. The average salary in Scottsdale is $66,000 as the trend in wages is going up about 1% year after year.

Best Places to Work in Scottsdale

13. Scottsdale Schools

With about 38,700 children under 18 years old living in Scottsdale, they make up about 15% of the city population. Schools in Scottsdale are some of the most highly-rated in the United States with top programs ranging from elementary school up to college.

Elementary, Middle, & High Schools

Parents get to send their kids to some of the top schools in the country here in Scottsdale with the best programs at local school districts like:

  • Scottsdale Preparatory Academy District
  • Archway Classical Academy Scottsdale 
  • Basis Charter Schools
  • Scottsdale Unified District

The top schools in Scottsdale are:

  • BASIS Scottsdale (Ranked 7th best high school in Arizona and among top 50 in the U.S.)
  • BASIS Scottsdale Primary – East Campus
  • Sequoya Elementary School
  • Chaparral High School (Ranked 24th best high school in Arizona)
  • Cheyenne Traditional Elementary School
  • Great Hearts Academies – Scottsdale Prep
  • Great Hearts Academies – Archway Scottsdale

Colleges

Offering online courses and in-person learning, the nearest colleges to Scottsdale include:

And for a unique college experience, the Arizona Cowboy College is a family-owned Scottsdale business that teaches students how to be cowboys and cowgirls.

14. Weather & Climate in Scottsdale

The city of Scottsdale follows the Phoenix Valley trend of hot summers, low annual rainfall, and cool, comfortable winters in its desert climate. Experiencing extreme high temperatures during the hot months, you’ll often see temperatures well into the 100s. But relief comes after a few months as most of the year brings cooler temperatures and mild Scottsdale weather.

A hiker on Pinnacle Peak overlooking part of Scottsdale

July is the hottest month in Scottsdale as high temperatures reach averages of 106°F and lows in the mid-70s at night. The temperatures dip in the coldest month of December as residents living in Scottsdale experience weather between the mid-30s in the evening and upper 60s during the day. Scottsdale gets minimal precipitation throughout the year with only about 11 inches of annual rain.

The best time to visit Scottsdale is when temperatures are at their most comfortable in the middle of spring or fall. But most Scottsdale residents still find themselves enjoying the outdoors even in the hottest part of the summer, making sure to keep water and sunscreen handy at all times.

Annual Climate in Scottsdale

  • Number of sunny days in Scottsdale: Scottsdale gets around 299 sunny days per year, placing it among the sunniest cities in the entire country.
  • Annual rainfall in Scottsdale: Getting only about 11 inches of rainfall per year in Scottsdale, it is much less than the U.S. average of 38 inches annually.
  • Annual snowfall in Scottsdale: Although there was a surprising amount of snow in Scottsdale back in February 2019, it’s usually a rare sight for this area. Scottsdale averages less than 1 inch of annual snowfall.

Moving to Scottsdale?

Anyone thinking about relocating to Scottsdale will find the city is flowing with fun activities, amazing shopping destinations, and gorgeous homes. The team of trusted Scottsdale movers here at Mentors Moving is committed to assisting people with their relocations to and from this great city. Give us a call today at (480) 619-8240 or complete the Request a Quote form for a free moving estimate!