Gilbert, Arizona is a vibrant city full of sunny days and friendly neighbors. But does this picture-perfect location really as flawless as it seems?
Here are 17 reasons why you might want to rethink the life-changing move to Gilbert, Arizona.
1. A Depressing Desert Location
This one is a given, but Arizona is hot. Like, really hot. To put it lightly, if you have a car with black leather seats and you are wearing shorts, you can kiss your legs goodbye. Even if you have a heat shield placed on the inside of your white car that has cloth seats, it doesn’t do much good. 105 degree weather during Gilbert’s July months will absolutely cook your car. (Source)
Besides the heat, everywhere you look there will be a mirage of tan and brown. Sprawled across a dry and barren landscape, the city of Gilbert and the places surrounding it is depressing to look at. The only signs of life are derived from commercialism, cars, and identical suburban neighborhoods.
Welcome to the desert, my friend. It’s all downhill from here.
2. You’re in the Middle of Nowhere
Gilbert is placed in the bottom half of the state of Arizona. Yes, Gilbert is sandwiched between Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Pheonix in the heart of SanTan Valley, but if you look back on the map, you’re in a western desert. You are also a 2 hours and 52-minute drive from the border to another country. (Source)
You are in the middle of nowhere.
While you’re visiting, you will notice that Gilbert is filled with restaurants, shopping, reservoirs, and entertainment to distract you from the fact that you live in an actual sauna. Because there is not much to offer geographically, Gilbert is pumped with distractions which can be hard for those who do not have family nearby despite the amount of people around them.
4. Driving takes awhile
Gilbert and the cities surrounding it have nicely paved roads located on a perfect grid system. It sounds wonderful in theory and car enthusiasts love the perfect pavement. However, getting to any freeway takes about 20 minutes and once you’re there, it’s faster to take the grid system because of traffic.
And if you think you live close to where you need to go, think again.
Because Gilbert is new, there is still construction going on which means that the roads get congested easily. I lived and worked in Gilbert, Arizona. It took me 40 minutes to get to work early in the morning to go 17 miles. In Farmington, Utah where I used to live, 17 miles away is Salt Lake City, which takes only 20 minutes to drive.
In short, living in Gilbert generally takes twice as long to get anywhere. I rest my case.
5. There is a strong ‘car scene’
Gilbert is known for its car culture. Clean and perfect roads as mentioned before mean great driving, which breeds car enthusiasts. Some of the Gilbert car guys are really kind and genuinely interested in automobiles, but a big portion of the car scene is full of arrogant and irresponsible young adults that like to cause trouble.
It is more than an inconvenience, the car scene in Gilbert is also dangerous. I know stories of friends who would get in brutal accidents from car meets and street racing. Most of this scene is teenagers, creating plenty of room for poor decision-making, car accidents, drinking, drugs, and genuine bullying.
6. Gilbert is quickly growing
Everyone is moving to Gilbert and the cities surrounding it. It is a perfect paradise full of shopping and perfect families. Gilbert was originally a retirement city, hence the number of entertainment options. The truth is that people are moving away from California because of finances and politics. Arizona has similar entertainment with a different landscape and a conservative culture. This makes Gilbert an attractive option for some families. Gilbert is also the fourth fastest-growing municipality in America. (Source)
If you get claustrophobic easily and want to live in a quiet desert, Gilbert is not the best option for you.
7. Intense academic standards
When I first moved to Gilbert, I was surprised at the number of schools, specifically charter options. Like many churches I saw, I most likely saw a school across the street.
Arizona’s Legislature became concerned about students’ standardized test scores in the 90s. In 1994, Legislature gave less regulation or conflict-of-interest laws to charter schools, hence the inflation of schooling options. Today, 16 percent of Arizona students attend a charter school and some Arizona public schools are considered the best in the country. (Source)
That was one of the biggest culture shocks for me, coming from Utah where high schools are based on your location, private schools are 30,000 a year, and charter schools are for extreme religious families.
A family member of mine works at a prestigious preschool in the Gilbert area. They would share their experiences with the parents and students and noticed that some children were a better fit for the rigorous education expectations than others. Others needed a slower-paced environment focused on playtime.
While education is extremely important, some kids just have some time to be a child. If you are someone that feels that kids need to be kids and let adulthood come in its own due time, be wary of Gilbert’s education culture.
8. Once in Gilbert, always in Gilbert
Once you graduate high school, the world is your oyster – but that’s not the case for some Gilbert kids. Most marry their high school sweetheart, live in their parent’s basement due to insane housing prices, and work for 15 dollars an hour.
Let me make this clear: this lifestyle is not a bad one! A lot of times this is the right choice due to personal circumstances. My point is that a lot of Gilbert kids have a world of intensive education but do not live an ambitious life usually because of finances and hometown culture. I’ll leave this point up to your objection, but it is hard to grow outside of your Gilbert hometown.
9. A somewhat college town
Because a lot of graduated students are stuck in Gilbert and education is a big cultural factor, there are opportunities for higher education. Options include the Chandler-Gilbert Community college, Arizona State’s polytech campus close by in Mesa, Arizona State’s main campus in Pheonix, and Grand Canyon University which is a Christian higher education option. (Source)
Because it is common for graduates to stay in the area, most students will go to these schools. While these schools are not bad, they are not prestigious. The University of Arizona is a more respected option, located almost 2 hours away in Tucson.
Because of all this Gilbert remains a combination of younger families, college kids, religious groups, and retired couples. There is a lot going on in this town, so if that kind of congestion and a slight college town life is not your thing, reconsider Gilbert.
10. Housing is expensive
The housing market in Gilbert is absolutely insane. Available homes for rent are on the market for about a day and median prices are 600,000 for smaller homes. It is usually better to build, but building locations are becoming scarce because of how quickly it is growing. (Source)
The truth is, more people are looking to buy than there are homes available. It is really hard to find a place to live in Gilbert, let alone afford the lifestyle.
11. Shopping is expensive
With advertisements everywhere, it’s tempting to spend money you don’t have on top of rent, gas, and other living expenses. Gilbert is not kind to those on a budget, especially those that are easily swayed by what is popular to buy. Gilbert is also home to some of the wealthiest families in the state, so naturally, shopping will suit those needs.
Scottsdale is also 40 minutes from Gilbert but is home to some of the best shopping in the country. I love going to the Scottsdale mall, even if I can’t afford a single thing. Luxury that is just in reach but separated by finance is discouraging, but if you have the money for it, Gilbert is the place to be!
12. Gilbert is highly religious
Gilbert is known for its high population of those in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as Mormons. 6.5% of the religious community in Gilbert are Mormon and 7.8 are another sect of Christianity. Most religions are simply Christian, and if that does bother you, rethink the move to Gilbert.
13. Nosy neighbors
Speaking of the highly religious, most Christian neighborhoods breed a “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude. A common complaint of Mormonism’s hometown of Utah, which is also a bordering state, is that their religious neighbors are judgemental, nosy, and disingenuous. Because of this kind of atmosphere, a lot of Mormon families will move to the neighboring state of Arizona, specifically to Gilbert or Mesa.
This culture has unfortunately transferred to Gilbert over the past 10 years. Of course not all Mormons are bad, but Gilbert has become a mix of California and Utah culture, filled with soda shops, boutiques, churches on every corner, and neighbors’ eyes making sure you attend church.
Of course, this is not everyone’s experience and some may enjoy the welcoming Mormon atmosphere. But this cultural factor is prominent enough to mention and could very well be a good cause not to move to the expanding city of Gilbert, Arizona.
14. Gilbert is political
Gilbert is known to be a conservative city, neighboring Queen Creek which is known to be full of farmers, rednecks, and Trump flags. This conservative atmosphere might be a positive and a big reason to move to Gilbert, but for the left-minded person, it may be harder to find others that whom you fit in politically. (Source)
To give a bit of a perspective, Gilbert is rated the 9th best city for conservative families. Matt Salmon, a conservative congressional representative has an A+ grading from the National Rifle Association, or the NRA, and a 98% scoring from The Heritage Foundation.
15. High chance of Skin Cancer
SPF is a must in Gilbert! In Gilbert, there are almost 168 days annually when the high temperature is over 90 degrees. This statistic shows that Gilbert is in fact hotter than most places in Arizona. Arizona also has a high altitude with low latitude, meaning less protection from dangerous UV rays. (Source)
Year around sunshine also leaves more potential for skin cancer, specifically Melanoma which is a more serious form of skin cancer. Studies have shown that Arizona resident melanoma cases between 2010 and 2016 increased 87 percent from 1,107 cases to 2,075 cases. (Source)
16. Scorpions and Snakes, oh my!
I like to think of Arizona as America’s Australia. The desert creates some weird and scary creatures as they fight to survive the heat. Squporions are dangerous and are most successfully killed by being set on fire. It is a must to wear shoes outside at all times because you never know what creepy dangers lay in the distance.
I am not a creepy crawling person, so for the time that I lived in Gilbert this was a constant fear of mine. Do not move here if you mind or do not have someone to ward off the pests!
17. Monsoon Season
Do you have a fear of thunderstorms, flooding, and other extreme weather? Gilbert might not be the safest option.
Arizona is known for its famous Monsoon Season which begins June 15 to September 30th. 40 to 50 percent of Arizona’s annual precipitation is experienced during these three months. Monsoon season also brings mosquitos, booming thunder at 3 in the morning, and angry stabs of rain only for the sky to turn bright and sunny 20 minutes after. It’s a bipolar weather season with the temperature sitting at about 100 degrees. (Source)
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