"I believe in Arkansas as a land of opportunity and promise," says the Arkansas Creed. The scenic beauty, thriving economy and low cost of living may translate into a good opportunity for you if you're considering moving to the Natural State.
With three national forests, Hot Springs National Park, Buffalo National River, 45 state parks, 13 major lakes, 2 mountain ranges and 9,000 miles of streams and rivers, it's no wonder how Arkansas earned its nickname. The beauty of the scenery is enhanced by the four distance seasons that grace the landscape.
Living in Arkansas is cheaper than in most of the neighboring states. Rent and utilities are lower than most other major cities, and the overall cost of living is rated below the national average. Average apartments for rent go for only $475, the lowest in the entire country, according to one study (by comparison, Washington, D.C., and New York apartment rentals topped the list at more than $1,600, and the next lowest was Memphis at $540).
For those who are relocating to Arkansas apartments without a job, there's good news: Arkansas is a great place to find work, the unemployment rate is consistently below the national average. In the past, Arkansas was primarily an agricultural state, and it is still the number one producer of rice and poultry. However, industry has surpassed agriculture as the main economic force, and Arkansas is currently ranked eighth in the nation for industry. The state houses the home offices of such major companies as Jacuzzi, Tyson Foods, TCBY, Riceland Foods, Sam Walton's Wal-Mart, Maybelline, Dillards Department Stores and J.B. Hunt Transport Company. Other major manufacturers in the state include Whirlpool Corporation, International Paper, American Greetings and Georgia Pacific.
The principal cities of Arkansas include Little Rock (population 183,133), the state capital and chief commercial center, located on the Arkansas River; Fort Smith (80,268), an industrial center; North Little Rock (60,433), on the opposite bank of the river; Pine Bluff (55,085), a center of the state's wood-processing industry; Jonesboro (55,515), a commercial and farm-goods processing center; Fayetteville (58,047), an industrial city and distribution center for rich agricultural region; and Hot Springs (35,750), a resort and spa in the Ouachita Mountains.
Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas, is located near the center of the state. Its claims to fame include being President Bill Clinton's first capital city and the cradle of the civil rights movement. Little Rock offers exciting nightlife, excellent restaurants and interesting destinations like the new Clinton Presidential Center and Park. The weather is comfortable much of the year, with highs reaching into the low 80s in the summer and dipping down into the 30s in winter. Perhaps the most popular spot in town, the historic, downtown River Market District has been part of a revitalization of the riverfront over the past decade. Housing in general is limited, but there are some gorgeous new apartments for rent in this exciting, up-and-coming neighborhood.
Arkansas's third largest city, Fayetteville provides residents with many cultural and educational opportunities. Shopping, nightlife and sports events (Fayetteville is home to the Razorbacks) are high on the list of Fayetteville's amenities, not to mention the natural world that surrounds the area with mountains, trails, lakes and rivers. Fayetteville's public and private schools are some of the state's best, providing young people a great start in education and extracurricular activities. A rich culture, exciting urban lifestyle, hometown character and reasonably priced housing, including homes and apartments, makes Fayetteville a wonderful place to live.
Fort Smith is "Where life's worth living," according to the town motto. This energetic city--the second largest in the state--is known for welcoming newcomers with a blen of Southern hospitality and Western openness. An ambitious downtown redevelopment program is a sign of the city's energy and desire to improve its future. Look for apartment rentals in this burgeoning area to get in on the ground floor of its renaissance.
With a population of 2.6 million and growing, Arkansas is a dynamic state full of bright prospects. If your employment options lead you to Little rock or one of the other major cities, you'll find plentiful options for apartments for rent. Consider moving in to one of the downtown areas currently under restoration; the urban lifestyle, reasonable rents on apartments and dynamic atmosphere may be just the opportunity you were looking for.