The East Valley city and third-largest Arizona city was dubbed the best big city in the Southwest by the publication.
“There are bigger cities in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson) and bigger golf meccas too (Scottsdale),” Money writes. “Mesa can hold its own in both categories, and it beats them all in one key way – it’s a great, affordable city for raising a family.”
Education puts Mesa over the top, according to Money. The city is home to nine of the 51 schools in Arizona that earned an A+ designation from the Arizona Educational Foundation. Money also cites Mesa’s proximity to Arizona State University – which is next door in Tempe, of course – and ASU’s Polytechnic campus.
Housing in Mesa also received a mention. The city’s prices are up 5.1 percent in the past year compared to 3.9 percent for the state, though Mesa remains an affordable place to buy a home. Its median home price is $172,500.
Mesa may be the best big city to live in throughout the Southwest, but it wasn’t the only Arizona city to earn a mention in Money’s annual best places to live rankings.
Sahuarita was ranked No. 29 on Money’s list of top 50 best small cities to live.
Sahuarita, in Southern Arizona, has grown exponentially in 15 years from 3,200 in 2000 to more than 25,000 today. It also boasts a healthy median income of more than $68,000 a year, and is a 20-minute drive from Tucson and near to major employers such as Raytheon Missile Systems, the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park, Freeport McMoRan, and Asarco.
To check out more information on Money’s best places to live, visit the publication’s website.