Arkansas is somewhat a forgotten state, not a lot of people wish to move here for obvious reasons, but for off grid living this state has the potential to be a good one. Arkansas has a couple of problems, namely high poverty and crime rate. Even though the state doesn’t really have any cities above 500k people, it somehow manages to have a higher crime rate than states which have big cities.
Living off the grid in Arkansas is legal, although not a lot of people say good things about this state but the truth is that this is probably one of the best states for off grid living. The cost of living is around 20% lower, the price of housing and land is around 45% lower and the property tax is also lower than the national average. When it comes to growing crops you have plenty of options in Arkansas, on the other hand, the lack of statewide renewable energy incentives and the fairly high crime rate will give you something to think about.
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Arkansas has a population of around 3 million people, and around 17% of them live in poverty, although the percentage of people living in poverty is fairly high, it has actually got better over the past couple of years as in 2015 the poverty rate was at around 19%. This state is considered by many to be a mostly rural state, it only has one city with over 100k population which is Little Rock at 195k population, all other cities have a below 100k population.
At the first glance when you look at the healthcare, education, poverty, and high crime rate you might think that this is a fairly bad state to live in no matter if you are doing it on or off the grid. The truth is that Arkansas is a beautiful state, with a lot of nature and it is even a great option for off grid living. The healthcare system in the entire country is fairly hit and miss, so is the education system, the only concerning thing in this state is the high crime rate.
You should also take the high percentage of people living in poverty with a grain of salt, somebody living in a rural area will definitely be in the poverty percentage when you compare them to somebody living in Manhattan. The truth is that you do not actually need that much money to live in Arkansas or any other southern state, taxes are low and the cost of living is also fairly low. If you are not a fan of the local climate then you might want to check out Ohio as in many aspects it is fairly similar to Arkansas Off grid living in Ohio ( The Buckeye State ).
Arkansas has a humid subtropical climate, which means that summers are hot and winters are fairly mild, all seasons have a fairly high humidity. The average temperatures during summertime are around 95°F and during the wintertime, it is around 50°F. During some years the winter temperatures can drop as low as 32°F, snow can also fall in some areas of the state although it is not that frequent. From an off grid stand of point, the climate is excellent for growing crops almost all year round. If you want to take a look at one of the neighboring states then check out my recent article Off grid living in Tennessee ( The Volunteer State ).
Best crops to grow in Arkansas
There are plenty of options in Arkansas when it comes to growing crops, you can easily grow corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat, broom corn, and even rice, in fact, Arkansas is the top producer of rice in the nation. Overall the state is great for growing crops, you will also see some greenhouses in some of the areas although these are mostly used to keep out rodents and insects. The neighboring state Louisiana is not that different from an off grid living stand of a point than Arkansas if you need more info check out my recent article Off grid living in Louisiana ( Great food way too Humid? ).
Freshwater availability in Arkansas
As Arkansas has a humid subtropical climate there is no shortage of water. Arkansas doesn’t have a lot of heavy industry or large-scale animal farms which means that the groundwater is relatively clean. On the other hand, you can also harvest rainwater fairly easily as Arkansas gets plenty of rainfall.
As Arkansas is a mostly rural state the diversity of wildlife is fairly high, you can find anything from American black bear, elk, bobcat, and white-tailed deer. In the local rivers and lakes, you will find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappies, bowfin, trout, and plenty of catfish. For hunting and fishing licenses always check the official governmental website https://portal.arkansas.gov/agency/arkansas-state-game-and-fish-commission/service/fishing-licenses/, who knows, you might be lucky enough and the site is actually working.
Generating power off the grid in Arkansas
- Solar power: Arkansas is one of the few states which doesn’t actually offer any statewide incentives for setting up a solar power system, the good news is that you can still apply for the federal tax credit which is at 30%. Although the state doesn’t offer currently any incentives for solar power, but this will most likely change in the future so ask your local authorities.
- Wind power: Arkansas offers a Federal wind energy rebate, and on top of that you can also apply for the federal tax credit. When I was inquiring about the Federal wind energy rebate in Arkansas I couldn’t get a straight answer to the actual percentage or what you need to qualify for it.
Arkansas off grid laws
In Arkansas, living off the grid is legal, in fact, a lot of communities do live off the grid. The main problem you might face is the unwillingness of the authorities to help or to even give any useful information, so get ready to go from one office to another. As the state doesn’t have the best education system you will probably be better off homeschooling your children, the homeschooling laws are fairly relaxed as long as you inform the local authorities in a timely fashion. If you want to know the best places for off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Arkansas ( Top 7 Counties ).
Arkansas road access
The roads in Arkansas are not in the best shape, although if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle then you will probably fine. The roads near the cities are in an ok shape but in rural areas, some of the roads simply look abandoned.
Arkansas price of land
The price of land in Arkansas is extremely cheap, you will pay around 45% less for a price of land or property than you would in the rest of the country. People who move here to live off the grid often buy a fairly big plot of land where they can set up their homestead dirt cheap and they can easily grow crops. In some areas you will pay even less, generally speaking, the southern parts of the state are the cheapest ones for buying property and land.
Arkansas property tax
The property tax in Arkansas is at 0.63% which is well below the national average of 1.08%. The county with the lowest property tax is Jefferson with a 0.61% property tax.
Cost of living in Arkansas
Generally speaking, the cost of living in Arkansas is around 20% lower than the national average. The price of land and housing is around 45% cheaper, and the cost of transportation is around 18% cheaper than the national average. You will also pay around 5% less for utilities, 8% less for groceries, and 14% less for healthcare services.
The unemployment rate in Arkansas is at 3.5% which is lower than the national average of 4%. The minimum wage is at $9.25 which is significantly higher than the national average of $7.25 and it is even higher than in most of the neighboring states. Most people in Arkansas work in the agricultural industries, followed by transportation, aerospace, and defense, and the forestry industries, as you can see there are plenty of jobs both for skilled and unskilled people.
Arkansas crime rate
The crime rate in Arkansas is fairly high, 5.4 crimes reported per 1000 people and the national average is 4 crimes reported per 1000 people. As this state it is mostly rural it is a high possibility that the crime rate is even higher as in the rural areas a lot of crime is simply not reported. The cities with the lowest crime rates are St. Joe, Williford, Plainview, Mammoth Spring, and Rosston. The cities with higher crime rates are Forrest City, Blytheville, El Dorado, and Little Rock.
Arkansas natural disasters
Arkansas has a couple of natural disasters, although most of them occur fairly rarely like tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and storms. The main problem with natural disasters in Arkansas is that the state has a fairly poor economy and even a smaller sized storm can make a lot of problems for the local authorities which often struggle even with maintaining the local infrastructure.
Overall Arkansas is a fairly good state for off grid living, as long as you can get past the poor health and education systems and the high crime rate. Simply put if you are on a tight budget your money will be worth a lot more in Arkansas than in states which are on the east coast.