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We know that equitable access to opportunity and upward mobility is of key concern for young people across the state. Current data has illuminated the deep disparities and disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and economic crisis on young people and particularly communities of color. In listening to young Arizonans statewide, we heard about the pressures of affording childcare and housing, and the discouraging realities for those entering a challenging job market. These all present meaningful challenges that we must confront head on as a state.

What Young Arizonans Said

"Cost of living and cost of housing are issues that will drive or destroy the Arizona infrastructure and potential for economic growth in years to come."

"At this rate, my kids are going to grow up homeless."

"People making a middle-class income can no longer afford middle class housing, and rent is so sky high that you can't save for a home."

"Living in Flagstaff, most salaries are not conducive to affordable housing."

"I have worked full-time for 15 years, and it's still difficult for me and many of my peers to purchase property."

"I moved from a state that was very high to live in and almost impossible to own a house. At 24, I was able to buy my own house out here, something many of my friends still can’t afford to do in NJ."

"Housing costs have skyrocketed in Tucson and many expensive apartment buildings have been built downtown that are unaffordable for most young professionals."

"I can't believe that 800 sq. ft apartment rent is more than my mortgage on a 4-bedroom house."


How to Interpret the Data

This metric is measured by the Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) for selected cities in Arizona. The HOI is defined as the percentage of homes sold that would have been affordable to a family earning the local median income. For example, a score of 63.1, the national HOI for the first quarter of 2020, means that 63.1% of homes sold in this time period were affordable to an adjusted median income of $72,900. Affordability is defined as spending no more than 28% of a household’s gross monthly income on housing costs which include rent or mortgage payments. A higher number will indicate that more homes are available to median wage-earning families in the local area.

For more information on the Housing Opportunity Index please visit:

Cost of Housing is updated annually and is available for the following localities:

  • Select Arizona cities
  • Select Southwestern US cities