A lot of out-of-towners have asked me about diversity and the best places to live in Phoenix. They basically want to know Where Do Black People Live in the Phoenix Area?!
Some people want to know if the Valley of the Sun has an All-Black Neighborhood. The answer is No. Black people amount to 7 percent of the Maricopa County population (US Census Bureau) and we are spread out all over the Phoenix metropolitan area.
However, I’m a native and I think the Phoenix area is a desirable place for African Americans to live if you are open-minded and proactive about finding activities, business opportunities and friends. Read more of my thoughts about “How to Survive as a Black Person in the Phoenix Area.”
Let’s get back to the topic … Where Do Black People Live in the Phoenix Area?
Please read our advice below to help you find the city or town that best fits your needs.
Here we go …
Laveen – I would move there for the affordability, the proximity to downtown Phoenix and the potential. I live just east of Laveen (in south Phoenix) and homes are very affordable. Great homes from 1300 sq. ft. and up. Shopping centers, restaurant and entertainment venues are coming, but right now Laveen has little night life.
You’ll find a diverse community here – African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Caucasian, etc.
South Phoenix – You gotta pick your spots in south Phoenix! Some neighborhoods are beautiful, safe and affordable. Some of the more expensive, upscale neighborhoods offer great views of the Valley and they are safe. But some of the neighborhoods can be unsafe – especially at night.
I live in South Phoenix and I am proud of it. You can’t beat the affordability, the proximity to downtown Phoenix and the potential. For the most part, the people are down-to-earth and friendly. You can find affordable homes, shopping centers, some restaurants, some entertainment venues, but South Phoenix definitely has much room to grow.
The schools are the main drawback. Cuts to Arizona’s education budget have really hit the South Phoenix schools hard.
You’ll find a diverse community here – African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Caucasian, etc. South Phoenix was once considered the “black part of town,” but the Hispanic population is the dominant demographic now.
Central Phoenix – Is my top choice for single people (no matter what race you are). If you move to central Phoenix, you’ll be living near many of the cultural festivals, theatres, museums, nightclubs, live music spots, unique restaurants, historical landmarks and of course, the Light Rail. I advise all single people who move here to start out in central Phoenix and once you get comfortable in the Valley, then consider moving out to the suburbs. Some parts of central Phoenix are gorgeous, some parts are not very flattering … you have to do your research before settling into your home.
Chandler/Gilbert – These towns are my top choice for families. Great places to live and the homes are affordable. Chandler and Gilbert have everything that a family would need – malls, restaurants, great schools, parks, etc. It’s close to major companies such as Intel, Verizon, etc. But Chandler and Gilbert are really spread out so you have to be careful. You could end up buying a home on the border of Mexico if you go too far south. The East Valley’s diversity is improving as more and more minorities are moving into Chandler and Gilbert.
Ahwatukee – Great town for singles and families. Ahwatukee has a plethora of restaurants, retail stores, great schools, parks, etc. It’s close to major companies such as Intel, Verizon, etc. It’s nestled up against the south and eastern sides of South Mountain which makes for good hiking opportunities. Seems to be one of the more ideal spots for Black people in the Valley.
Tempe – You’ll find the beautiful Arizona State University campus, Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue and Kiwanis Park. Mill Avenue is on the west end of the ASU campus and is a hot spot for bar, nightclubs, shopping and restaurants! Love going there! Kiwanis Park is a popular spot for African American picnics, cultural events and activities. However, Tempe has some rough spots here and there. Overall, I like Tempe – nice town for singles and younger families.
Mesa – Mesa is one of the largest cities in Maricopa County. Mesa takes a great deal of pride in being a destination for families and is probably best known for its sizeable Mormon community. You’ll find fun venues for kids such as Mesa Riverview and Golfland. From December to March, many people from Canada and the northern regions of the United States visit Mesa to escape the cold weather and to watch Spring Training baseball games (we call them snowbirds). I probably wouldn’t recommend Mesa as an ideal city for Black singles. It’s better for families. But be careful because some neighborhoods are really nice and some are rough!
Scottsdale – If you’re single and love to mingle with people of all races, Scottsdale is a great choice. Scottsdale is considered as the Beverly Hills of Phoenix. I love the nightlife in the Old Town area – it’s the best spot in the Valley for the younger African American crowd to go clubbing. Scottsdale is also home to many of my favorite restaurants and shopping malls! Many of the parties for the Super Bowl and NBA All-Star weekends are hosted here. However, Scottsdale has little diversity in its population and the police force has a tendency to make us feel unwelcome (be careful when you are leaving the clubs).
Glendale – You’ll be close to major stadiums – Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes. The nightlife is getting better because of Westgate City Center and the Arrowhead district. Westgate City Center is a good home for those who are looking for an urban lifestyle – nice condos, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and sports venues all in one spot!
Glendale is spotty when it comes to finding a home. Some neighborhoods are nice, some are not-so-nice. However, Glendale has almost everything that a family needs. Parks, restaurants, movie theaters – you can get a great bang for your buck if you buy a home there.
Peoria or Surprise – Too far out for me. Homes are affordable and big, schools are great, it’s a haven for families. Not an ideal place to live if you are single. Not much diversity here.
Northern Phoenix – Anthem/Boulder Creek was made for families. Great schools, affordable homes, more entertainment/restaurants are coming. Not much diversity here.
Goodyear, Avondale, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Fountain Hills, Maricopa … they’re just too far out for me, but these towns are also great for families. The diversity is improving in some of these towns.
Obviously, I couldn’t cover every nook and cranny in the Valley because there are too many little towns to name! If you have any suggestions on good or bad neighborhoods in the Phoenix metro area, let us know!
Also, if you want specific information on home prices, I encourage you to contact local real estate professionals. Check out the PhxSoul.com Business Directory for a list of agents and realtors.