The 10 Best Phoenix Suburbs To Live For 2021

We analyzed over 20 places around Phoenix to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best Phoenix suburbs.

Phoenix is a city with great suburbs, each with their own distinct flavor, personality, and traditions. This is mainly due to The Valley's vibrant southwest vibe. So, if you're ready to embrace life in the Phoenix burbs, HomeSnacks' list of the top ten best suburbs in The Valley of the Sun for 2021, below, should be your go-to guide.

Not to mention, after we looked at the latest FBI data and Census for all 22 Phoenix suburbs, we can think of more than a few good reasons to call one of this city's best suburbs home. For one, if your feet are your two wheels, Gilbert is very pedestrian-centric. If you're looking for the most family friendly suburb, Fountain Hills has amazing schools and great parks, and if you're looking for a mix of high-end shopping, dining, and art galleries, Scottsdale will not disappoint.

But, don't get it twisted, if you want to live in one, you're going to have to make at least $100,000/year to afford the median home price. But, it's worth it because many of Phoenix's top ten best suburbs foster low crime rates, low unemployment rates, and short commute times.

So, want to know where you can discover new experiences in some of Phoenix's best suburbs? Keep reading.

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around Phoenix for 2021:

  1. Paradise Valley
  2. Fountain Hills
  3. Carefree
  4. Gilbert
  5. Scottsdale
  6. Litchfield Park
  7. Chandler
  8. Santa Cruz
  9. Cave Creek
  10. Goodyear

There's a reason many of Phoenix's best suburbs are some of the best places to live in America. The sun shines close to 300 days in these places, jobs are plentiful, and people are happy. And we're pretty sure the happiest people live in Phoenix's best suburb.

So, what is the best suburb in Phoenix for 2021? According to the latest data and our SnackAbility formula, Paradise Valley is the most snackable.

To see a list of where the rest of Phoenix's suburbs ranked, click that down arrow. And if you don't find what you're looking for there, head to the bottom.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.

Feel free to check out some more reading about Arizona:

The 10 Best Phoenix Suburbs To Live For 2021

Paradise Valley, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,362
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $211,393
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
Poverty Rate: 3.6%
More on Paradise Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Paradise Valley is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Phoenix area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Paradise Valley."

Everyone here is rich; families average $211,393 a year, which is the highest in the Phoenix region. And only 2.15% are out of work. Homes average more than $1,516,200 each.

Fountain Hills, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,729
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $85,200
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 4.6%
More on Fountain Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fountain Hills is the second best 'burb we looked at near Phoenix for 2021.

It ranks 4th for incomes in the area and only 2.82% of residents lack insurance, good for best.

Carefree, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,811
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $79,152
Unemployment Rate: 0.2%
Poverty Rate: 5.2%
More on Carefree: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Carefree, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Phoenix metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Carefree.

Gilbert, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 243,254
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $96,857
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 5.3%
More on Gilbert: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gilbert ranks as the 4th best suburb of Phoenix for 2021.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Gilbert and the schools are some of the best around.

Scottsdale, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 250,602
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $88,213
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Poverty Rate: 7.6%
More on Scottsdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Scottsdale.

Scottsdale gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the Phoenix area, where houses sell for an average of $475,300. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Litchfield Park, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,073
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $83,156
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Poverty Rate: 8.8%
More on Litchfield Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Litchfield Park is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 4.27% which is 8th best in the area.

According to online reports, Litchfield Park is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Phoenix area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Chandler, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 252,692
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $82,925
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 7.6%
More on Chandler: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Chandler.

Chandler schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it's only 24.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

8. Santa CruzSanta Cruz Location In California

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 64,522
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $77,921
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Poverty Rate: 20.9%
More on Santa Cruz: Real Estate

Santa Cruz is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 4.72% of people lack insurance, good for 4th in the area.

Cave Creek, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,670
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Income: $83,787
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Poverty Rate: 11.7%
More on Cave Creek: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Cave Creek?'


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Goodyear, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 80,371
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $83,866
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Poverty Rate: 8.0%
More on Goodyear: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2021 is Goodyear.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Phoenix for 2021

Figuring out the best suburbs around Phoenix was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2015-2019 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Phoenix.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 22 suburbs to evaluate around Phoenix.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 22 in each category, where 1 was the "best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Phoenix." We're lookin' at you, Paradise Valley. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Welcome to the Best Phoenix 'Burbs of 2021

We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Phoenix, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Phoenix Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Paradise Valley, AZ 14,362 $211,393
2 Fountain Hills, AZ 24,729 $85,200
3 Carefree, AZ 3,811 $79,152
4 Gilbert, AZ 243,254 $96,857
5 Scottsdale, AZ 250,602 $88,213
6 Litchfield Park, AZ 6,073 $83,156
7 Chandler, AZ 252,692 $82,925
8 Santa Cruz, AZ 64,522 $77,921
9 Cave Creek, AZ 5,670 $83,787
10 Goodyear, AZ 80,371 $83,866
11 Goodyear, AZ 80,371 $83,866
12 Goodyear, AZ 80,371 $83,866
13 Goodyear, AZ 80,371 $83,866
14 Surprise, AZ 135,450 $69,076
15 Peoria, AZ 168,196 $75,323
16 Tempe, AZ 187,454 $57,994
17 Mesa, AZ 499,720 $58,181
18 Avondale, AZ 84,736 $61,825
19 El Mirage, AZ 35,333 $58,216
20 Glendale, AZ 247,813 $55,020
21 Tolleson, AZ 7,246 $45,952
22 Guadalupe, AZ 6,482 $38,125

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.