Cost of living -

7 Things to Know and do When Moving to Arkansas

Arkansas is a state in the South-Central region of the United States. Arkansas is a welcoming and comfortable state that offers a high quality of life, good employment opportunities, plenty of outdoor recreational activities and a low cost of living.

Also known as ‘The Natural State’, Arkansas is the fifth-fastest growing metropolitan area in the US. It is surrounded by natural beauty and residents get to enjoy all four seasons in the year.

So, if you are considering moving to Arkansas, there are numerous things you need to know and prepare for, like their cost of living or simply how to notify the state of Arkansas of your address change. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to Arkansas.

Moving to Arkansas: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Arkansas

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Arkansas, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Arkansas, look for helpful reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Arkansas? Take a look at our selection of:

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, Arkansas has an unemployment rate of 2.9%, which increased from 2.7% in August 2023.

Jobs that are often in high demand are personal care assistant, registered nurses, and crew member.

Finding a job in Arkansas is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include LinkedIn, Indeed, and SimplyHired.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to Arkansas from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to Arkansas. Book a flight from your departure city to The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) in Little Rock or the Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA), depending on your destination within Arkansas.

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, Arkansas cities have bus services like Greyhound, and Flixbus, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Arkansas may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you are moving to Arkansas permanently, and you receive a lot of mail (excluding packages), you may want to sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding allows your mail to be redirected to the right address for a given period of time. The fee for regular mail forwarding is only a little over a dollar for 6 months. If you want to extend the service, you will have to pay around $20 for 6 months more. You can begin your mail forwarding process by signing up on USPS’s website or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Moving to a new place is an opportunity to start afresh. If you’re moving to Arkansas, selling or donating the items you won’t need will go a long way in making your move easier. You can sell your old household items and personal possessions, and anything that will not be useful. Pick out the items that will not be useful for you in Arkansas, then decide if you want to sell them on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or donate them to a non-profit organization.

2. Upon your arrival in Arkansas

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

You can easily get around in Arkansas. There are several options available. 

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to Arkansas and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to an Arkansas license within 30 days. There is no grace period provided as per the law. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your nearest revenue office and hand over your valid out-of-state license for a new AR driver license. In case your license is expired for more than 31 days, or you don’t have a license to surrender, you will have to appear for the vision test and written test. 

If your valid license has expired for more than a year then you will have to take the written, vision and road exam. When applying, you will need to submit your proof of Social Security Number, Identity and Legal Presence and some other documents.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to Arkansas, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. To get your car registered in Arkansas: 

Transfer your out-of-state title and purchase auto insurance that meets AT minimum coverage requirements. To register your car, you need to visit any AR OMV revenue office with a completed Vehicle Registration Application (Form 10-381) and some other documents.

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in Arkansas like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in Arkansas, you can register to vote by mail or in person. 

To register by mail, you need to fill out the Arkansas Voter Registration Application and mail it to your local county clerk’s office. If you wish to register in person, you can complete an in-person voter registration at your county clerk’s office or at any AR ODS location.

Changing your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in Arkansas is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank with most branches in Arkansas for easy access is Arvest Bank. Arkansas’s residents has access to a whopping 101 offices of Arvest Bank in the state.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of Arkansas proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Arkansas as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$141.50

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$242.20

Gym

$35.00

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in Arkansas

Best places to live in Arkansas

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Rock Creek. It offers a dense suburban feel, a thriving nightlife, a diverse culture, and a lot of amenities.

If you are a family, you might want to consider Bentonville. Bentonville offers good housing facilities, some highly rated public schools, a lot of recreational activities, and it’s a suitable place to raise a family. 

If you are single, you should consider moving to Fayetteville. Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas and has a lot of great educational institutes, coffee shops and restaurants. This is the reason a lot of young professionals live here. In addition to this, Fayetteville offers a lot of amenities. 

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, and internet in Arkansas is a straightforward process. 

  • The Arkansas Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating the services and rates of electricity, natural gas, water, telephone, and pipeline safety services in Arkansas. You can visit their website and search for water, electricity, and gas providers and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry. 

Should you rent or buy?

The average Arkansas home value is $381,012, increased by 8% from 2022. Arkansas’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $150.00.

Finding an apartment for rent in Arkansas is easy, utilize websites like Zillow, Apartmentguide, and Apartments.com. When seeking a house, these websites—Zillow, Realtor, and Century21—will assist you in your search for a home in Arkansas.

Cost of rent in Arkansas

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Fayetteville/Fort Smith (Outside of Center)

$475.00

$1,500.00

Cost of buying a property in Arkansas

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Fayetteville

$200,795

Numbeo (Oct 2023)Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you are residing in. It is a financial protection that will cover for your expenses if a natural disaster damages your home. Home insurance rates are a bit high in Arkansas due to the high frequency of catastrophic events. Residents in Arkansas are at a risk of snow ice, heavy rain, tornadoes, floods, and tropical storms.

4. Cost of living in Arkansas

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$475.00

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($47.97 multiplied by 4)

$191.88

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$191.54

Internet with 60 Mbps

$53.00

Transit pass

$36.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$95.25

Gym membership 

$35.00

Total

$1,077.67

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Arkansas

On average, there are 217 sunny days per year in Arkansas. The highest temperature in Summers is 91° and the Winter low is 28 degrees. Arkansas averages 4 inches of snow per year and 51 inches of rain. Residents of Arkansas get to experience all four seasons in a year. The weather is mild and pleasant most of the time. 

Summers in Arkansas can be sultry and there are a lot of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy. Arkansas experiences mild winters with little snowfall, no matter how cold it gets there is always plenty of fun stuff to do. The most popular time to visit Arkansas is fall season, it is vibrant and full of colors. You will get to enjoy its amazing fall foliage with colors of gold, red, and orange.

6. What to do as a local in Arkansas

After you are done settling into your new home in Arkansas, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in Arkansas include:

Pinnacle Mountain State Park – A geographically diverse state park, best for outdoor adventure. 

Bull Shoals Lake – A lot of activities to do like scuba, fishing, boating and more. 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – A lot of history to learn from.

Some common grocery stores in Arkansas are: Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Save a Lot. 

The two most popular big chain stores are Walmart and Costco.

Must-visit food places in Arkansas are US Pizza and Big Orange.

Visit the popular cities in Arkansas: Little Rock, Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Bentonville. 

7. Fun facts about Arkansas

  • Fun Fact #1: Arkansas is also the only state in North America where you can find a diamond field.
  • Fun Fact #2: Among the 50 states, Arkansas is the biggest producer of rice.
  • Fun Fact #3: Previously known as the ‘Land of Opportunity’, the state changed its nickname to ‘The natural state’ in 1995.

Conclusion

If you love outdoor activities, Arkansas is a great fit. It’s home to several national parks, including Hot Springs National Park, as well as numerous state parks and wildlife management areas. The Buffalo National River is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking. “Southern hospitality” is being practiced here, and you’re likely to find the people warm and inviting.

While moving to Arkansas has its pros and cons, checking the cost of living is essential to making sure you will live comfortably in this city and call it home. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the state and consider your priorities to determine if Arkansas is the right fit for you and your family.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in Arkansas. 

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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