Arkansas is full of surprises and little gems—literally! If you’re moving to Arkansas, you can visit North America’s only diamond mine in Murfreesboro and take in the history and healing powers of Hot Springs at Bath House Row. Famous natives such as Johnny Cash, President Bill Clinton and Sam Walton have all made their mark on America with a flair and style that you’ll find nowhere else but in Arkansas!
When moving to Arkansas, nicknamed the Natural State, some of your first pre-move considerations should be about just that—nature. The following tips will help you ensure that you're prepared come move day.
Before moving to AR, check with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department for updates on road conditions. Especially in the east and middle of the state in the river regions, flooded roads and bridges can compromise routes.
Summers are hot and humid, so if you’re moving during the warmer months, bring plenty of water and protect your skin from the sun. If you’re moving to Arkansas’ southern regions, try not to move in the winter. Icy rain and sleet can make driving, as well as carrying moving boxes, hazardous.
Tornadoes can hit all year round, but are especially prevalent in spring and summer. Listen to local channels when driving so you always hear weather alerts.
Arkansas hosts a number of festivals and events that attract visitors from around the country, so check your city’s calendar before planning your move.
You don’t need a moving permit in Arkansas. However, a number of cities are busy year round, while others, such as Fayetteville and Jonesboro, are busiest in fall and spring when students are moving in and out. Check with your city to find out if any parking restrictions apply before moving to AR.
Before moving to AR, change your address online with USPS! It’s easy to do, and you’ll be grateful for your mail when you get there.
Cities and Metro Areas
Arkansas’ modern-day society is as diverse as its economy. From an energetic college town like Fayetteville to a businesslike metropolis like Little Rock, Arkansas cities and towns have one thing in common: all offer a great quality of life. Other cities include Fort Smith, with its famous Convention Center; Springdale, where Tyson Foods is headquartered; Jonesboro, a college town and an agricultural hub; Rogers, one of the fastest growing cities in the state; and Pine Bluff, Bentonville and Hot Springs.
Cost of Living
The average household income in this state is $35,295, which is lower than most other states. Balancing this out, however, is a cost of living in Arkansas that is 9 percent lower than the US average. Some cities, such as Pine Bluff, even boast living expenses that are as much as 25 percent lower than the rest of the country. The low cost of living in Arkansas is primarily due to its abundance of agricultural products. Cotton, wood, rice and soybeans are all cultivated in the state’s rich alluvial soil, while cattle and poultry farming form a significant part of its income. Moreover, these products are processed in the immediate vicinity as they’re produced, so consumers in Arkansas avoid having to pay additional costs for transportation and import taxes.
Highways and Public Transport
With a long tradition of westward travelers passing through Arkansas, the state has a well-developed infrastructure that provides easy access to all urban areas. If you’re moving to Arkansas, it’s good to know that overall, roads are well-maintained, though water damage annually affects certain low-lying areas. Be sure to check with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department to see what the current road conditions are.
- Roads: Eight interstate routes and a well-developed system of state highways form the foundation of Arkansas transportation.
- Public Transportation: Most of the cities have dependable public transport systems you can use after moving to AR. In Little Rock, bus service throughout the city is provided by the Central Arkansas Transit Authority and the new River Rail Electric Streetcar.
- Railroads: Amtrak provides daily passenger transportation on the Chicago–San Antonio–Los Angeles route.
- Air Travel: If you’re flying into Arkansas, you’ll most likely land at Little Rock National Airport or Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Benton County, the state’s two busiest airports. A number of smaller regional airports in Arkansas also cater to passenger air travel.
Jobs in Arkansas are diverse and encompass many different sectors, from government jobs in Little Rock to cotton farming in Jonesboro. This may very well be one of the reasons why the 7.7 percent unemployment rate in Arkansas is lower than the US average of 8.5 percent. When you look at Arkansas job listings, you’ll see you can apply for a wide variety of positions throughout the state.
It’s very humid during the summer in Arkansas, especially at lower elevations, where average temperatures are around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy rainfall can lead to flooded roads and cut-off bridges, so be prepared when driving! Winters are dryer and cold with averages between 32 and 51 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s still a significant amount of snowfall in the mountains in the north, while areas south of Little Rock get storms with icy rain that can make for hazardous driving conditions.
After moving to AR, beware of tornadoes. Though these mainly hit during spring and summer, they can occur year-round.
It’s good to know there are many quality schools available to families and students moving to Arkansas. These are some of the state’s most notable schools:
- Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Park Magnet School in Hot Springs and Forest Park Elementary School are among the top ranked elementary schools.
- Haas Hall Academy in Farmington, Bentonville High School in Bentonville and Valley View High School in Jonesboro are some of the best high schools in the state.
- Students moving to AR can attend one of the state’s many universities, including Arkansas State University, Henderson State University and Philander Smith College.
If you have questions about moving to Arkansas, go to the Arkansas State Government’s website, where you’ll find information about a wide range of topics, including:
- Moving Permits: No moving permits are required when relocating to Arkansas. However, some urban areas can be busy, so check with your city ahead of time to see if any parking restrictions apply.
- Taxes: Arkansas doesn’t have an excise tax, but will levy a 6 percent sales tax on any untaxed new vehicle you bring into the state.
- Tolls: There are no toll roads in the state—one of the many reasons for moving to AR!
- Voter Registration: You can register to vote when you apply for an Arkansas driver’s license, or with your county clerk, State Revenue Office, public library, disability agency, public assistance agency, Arkansas National Guard or military recruitment office. You can also apply by mail by sending in a voter registration form after moving to AR.
- Trash and Recycling: These services are regulated by each city individually. Contact your municipality for information on waste management.
- Driver’s Licenses & Vehicle Registration: You must apply for an Arkansas driver’s license and register your vehicle within 30 days of moving to Arkansas. It costs between $19.75 and $32.75 to register a vehicle, depending on its year. Fees for a title are $10 without a lien recording and $10.75 with a lien recording.