Arkansas and Tennessee are neighboring states in the south-central part of the US. If you’re considering moving to this region known for its affordable cost of living, you might wonder which is cheaper to live in between Arkansas and Tennessee?
Although both states are affordable, Arkansas is cheaper to live in than Tennessee by 8.6%. But there are other factors to consider. Tennessee has a stronger economy, healthcare quality, and a more favorable tax system. However, Arkansas has less hazardous weather, while both have great landscapes.
Regardless of the differences between the two cities, any of them could be a good choice for those moving to this region with excellent higher education options. Here, we discuss which state is cheaper, Arkansas or Tennessee.
Cost of Living in Tennessee and Arkansas
Both Tennessee and Arkansas are good choices when looking for an affordable state to live in. The cost-of-living indices for both states are below the national average. But if you want a cheaper option. It would have to be Arkansas. Arkansas’s cost of living is 21% below the national average, while Tennessee’s is only12.4% below.
In Arkansas, everything costs less. These include grocery, healthcare, housing, utilities, and transportation. The same applies in Tennessee except for the cost of healthcare which is above the national average. If you’re looking for the most affordable place to live in the US, Arkansas will be in the top three.
Comparison Between Arkansas and Tennessee on Livability Factors
However, the cost of living isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding where to live. Hence, it’s important to consider other factors in comparing the two states.
1. Quality of Healthcare
The high cost of healthcare in Tennessee seems justified because it’s better than that of Arkansas. US News ranks Tennessee 40 on the list of states for quality of healthcare, while Arkansas ranks 49. This means that while both states are poor regarding healthcare, only that Arkansas is closer to rock bottom. So if healthcare is an important concern for you, you might be better off settling for Tennessee.
The economies in both states are that big. But Tennessee still has the better of the two choices. The state has a GDP of $377 billion, and the median income is $29,769. Overall, it ranks 3rd for fiscal stability and 16th for fiscal stability.
On the other hand, Arkansas ranks 41 for the economy and 14 for fiscal stability. The state’s GDP is $131 billion, while the median income is $26,315. In terms of economic opportunities, Tennessee is 21 while Arkansas is 22. Thus, Tennessee is a better option economically.
When planning to live in a state, taxes are one of the key things you have to consider. Fortunately, Tennessee’s tax rate is quite low. The state doesn’t have an individual income tax but an average combined sales tax of 9.55%. Property taxes in the state are also very low, at a rate of 0.68%. In addition, the low cost of houses in the state contributes significantly to property taxes. All these make Tennessee one of the country’s top ten states regarding tax climate.
Meanwhile, Arkansas has a graduated individual income tax that ranges between 2 and 5.5%. The combined sales tax is an average of 9.47%, and the property tax is 0.64%. Overall, the state tax system is 44th on the tax climate index. This makes Tennessee a better option for most people who want a state with a favorable tax regime.
4. Higher Education
Not everyone fancies tertiary education, but if you do, you’ll want it in an affordable yet quality school. Arkansas can offer you that. Its in-state universities, such as the University of Arkansas or Arkansas State University, are decent. They offer a wide variety of programs at low cost, and the cheap living conditions in the state also put them in good stead. This makes it possible to graduate with as little debt as possible,
However, the state ranks 41 among the most educated states. This is mostly because of its low educational attainment rankings and completion rate for 4-year college programs. The University of Arkansas is the best-ranking university in Arkansas and ranks 122nd in the US.
Tennessee is also a fine state for higher education and ranks 29 among the most educated states. There are several universities and colleges here in Tennessee. There are almost 200 colleges and universities in the state, and many are high-ranking. While they’re not as cheap as Arkansas, they’re still affordable. Vanderbilt University in Tennessee ranks 40th best university in the US, and The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is 77th.
The climate in Tennessee and Arkansas is quite similar. Both states have hot and humid summers, while the rest of the year is mostly temperate. January is the coldest month in Arkansas, and the state experiences light snow in its northern parts. But its south is generally dry. During summer, the temperature can reach the 90s. But the average year-round temperature is actually in the 70s.
Tennessee is also similar to most other states in the south-central part of the US. However, parts of Tennessee are prone to severe weather, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, and hurricane remnants. So you need to be prepared for such occurrences by getting insurance. You should also have an emergency preparedness kit if you live here.
Generally, the fairly great weather in both states means that there are a lot of outdoor activities to get involved in. Fortunately, the two states boast of several attractions in terms of beautiful landscape. Arkansas has the nickname of the natural state, which depicts its natural scenery. Anyone who loves the outdoors will enjoy living here. There are several activities to be involved in, such as hiking, cycling, water skiing, camping, boating, fishing, etc. there are mountains, lakes, and forests in the state to make that possible.
Tennessee also has a great landscape with thousands of caves to explore. The great smoky mountains national park is also here. Another reason you might like Tennessee is Graceland, Elvis Presley’s house. This is the second most-visited house in the US after the White House.
Arkansas is a cheaper place to live than Tennessee. But both are quite similar in several other ways. So Tennessee might be a better choice for overall livability if you consider where to live. But if cutting costs is the most important to you, then Arkansas isn’t a bad choice.