Cochise County offers a refreshing vision for those seeking a residence with wide-open skies and the regal Huachuca Mountains — not to mention that the county provides affordable options for those seeking a change from the urban lifestyle and expense one would find in the state’s more populated areas.

According to Sperling's BestPlaces’ Cost of Living analysis, based on a national average of 100, Cochise County’s cost of living is 84.7. Pima County is 10 points higher with a COL of 94.7 and Maricopa County scores at the national average of 100.

According to Chanse Frenette, a business analyst at Cochise College, families considering living in Cochise County should make about $80,000 annually to keep up with the cost of living. However, Arizona Public Service’s Community Profile Page puts the median household income of county residents at $52,400, with 32.82% of those households earning more than the national average of $68,703 per year, which is the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 estimate.

Cochise County, with a population of 125,922 according to the Census Bureau report of 2019, offers an affordable lifestyle and a resilient economy. According to the University of Arizona’s Arizona Economy Economic and Business Research Center, the area had an unemployment rate of 6.4% in December, lower than the statewide rate of 7.5%.

However, Cochise County residents have an income of $24,896 per capita, less than the $31,177 per capita nationwide, according to Sperling’s Best Places job market analysis.

When it comes to health care, housing, food, transportation and utilities, Sperling’s BestPlaces says Cochise County trends slightly above the national average in healthcare (102.7) and utilities (104.9), but is below average in housing (63.5), transportation (81.4) and groceries (93.9).

According to the APS analysis, residents pay $4,549 per household for health care, which includes services, insurance and supplies/equipment. That’s $304 less than Pima County and $1,065 less than Maricopa County. However, those in neighboring Santa Cruz County pay $107 less.

When it comes to shelter, which includes mortgage interest, property taxes, rental costs, miscellaneous owned dwelling costs and other lodging expenses, APS says those in Cochise County pay $10,976 per household. That cost is $935 higher in Pima County.

APS estimates food and groceries at $626 less in Cochise than in Pima County and a whopping $2,108 less than Maricopa.

Transportation expenses, including new and used vehicle purchases, motorcycles, gasoline and oil, maintenance, insurance, public transportation and miscellaneous items, are $744 less than Pima and $2,701 less than Maricopa, according to APS.

Cochise County residents pay $3,991 per household for utilities, according to APS, which includes natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, telephone services and miscellaneous services. That’s $266 less than Pima and $901 less than Maricopa.

Lower cost of living and a friendly ambiance are just two reasons people find Cochise County to their liking.