Are you thinking about living in Arizona but you’re debating between Chandler and Gilbert? In this episode of the Great Escape, I’m going to tell you the difference between Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona. We’ll look at the different lifestyles, locations, and housing options of each city so you can decide which one fits you best.

The Lifestyle

The first thing we’ll look at is the difference in lifestyles. Chandler tends to be known for its employment, nightlife, and activities. On the other hand, Gilbert is more popular for those looking for a family-friendly area with good restaurants and a cute downtown. However, if you’re looking for vibrant nightlife in Gilbert, be ready to turn in early; it gets pretty quiet around 10:00 to 10:30 pm.

Both of these cities have excellent schools, shopping, and parks. Additionally, both are close to the freeways, with easy access to the Phoenix area and the airport. However, you’re going to have heavy traffic to the Phoenix area during rush hour and in the winter months. During the summer—after the snowbirds have flown home and the kids are back in school—that traffic is pretty much cut in half.

All About Chandler

Now that you know about the lifestyle of these two areas, let’s dig into each city—starting with Chandler. Founded in 1912, Chandler has grown to 282,452 people as of May 2022. It was named after Dr. A. J. Chandler, the first veterinarian surgeon in the territory of Arizona. He was also instrumental in building the early canal system.

In 1913, there was the grand opening of the San Marcos Hotel. Chandler was an agricultural town known for its alfalfa and its cotton, the latter of which was used in the production of rubber tires. Goodyear then leased 80,000 acres in the Chandler area, with other businesses moving in after. The area gradually changed from agriculture to manufacturing and technology.

Today, there are 110,920 housing units with an average household income of $99,000 in 2018. The incorporated area consists of 65 miles and there are 64 parks. Additionally, the downtown storefronts have been restored to a modernized version of the original buildings. All the stores are small mom-and-pop stores.

The Downtown area has grown to include the Center of the Arts, restaurants, and other stores. It’s also known for its famous Ostrich Festival. Chandler now has a diverse draw from everything for families to nightlife. You’ll also find an abundance of employers from Intel and Microchip Technology to Bashas.

All About Gilbert

What about Gilbert? Sized at 72.6 miles, its current population is 266,971 people. Since 1980, the population has doubled every five years. Approximately 70% of the population is families, with the median age in the low to mid-30s. Additionally, 70% of the population has some secondary education and over 50% have a college degree.

Gilbert also used to be a farming community and was incorporated on July 6, 1920. It was the “Hay Capital of the World” until the late 1920s. In 1902, the Arizona Eastern Railway started construction of the rail line between Phoenix and Florence. A rail siding was established on the property that was owned by William Gilbert, and the town sprung up around it.

Gilbert is actually designated a town, not a city. In fact, it’s the largest town in the United States. It’s also the safest town or city with a population of 100,000 or more in the entire United States. Today, Gilbert is very pro-business, with some of the lowest corporation and individual tax rates in the country. There are approximately 3,500 manufacturing jobs with average earnings of $65,035.

Some of the major employers in the immediate area include GoDaddy, Dignity and Banner Health, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Isagenix, Costco, and many others. There are several business districts, with most being developed right along the 202 Freeway.

Housing Options

Chandler was more fully developed before Gilbert, as it’s closer to the Phoenix Downtown area. Development kept moving east to finally include the suburbs of Gilbert, so you’ll find older homes in Chandler. Of course, they are also still building in Chandler in the southern sections with new homes available—just not as much as in the Gilbert area. There, they’re still building in the south and eastern sections of the town.

Let’s first look at rentals. Currently, there are 161 rentals available in Chandler. They range from $1,599 a month to $13,000 a month, with the median rent range right at about $2,950. The median size is about 1,782 square feet, with an average cost of $1.65 a square foot. There are 175 rentals in Gilbert that range from $1,700 a month to $12,400 a month. They range in size from 890 square feet to 6,500 square feet with a median price of $1.47 a square foot.

There are 356 homes available in Gilbert, ranging from $282,000 to $5.5 million and in size from 673 square feet to 10,327 square feet with a median price of $312.07 a square foot. Chandler currently has 343 homes that range from $135,000 to $14.6 million and range from 641 square feet to 22,860 square feet. The average price is $315.84 per square foot.

There are beautiful communities in both towns. Gilbert has Val Vista Lakes, Morrison Ranch, Seville, Spectrum, Power Ranch, and Finley Farms to name a few. Chandler has Ocotillo, Sun Groves, The Traditions, Galveston, and more. You just can’t go wrong with either town.

Enjoy Desert Living

I hope this gives you some insight into the Gilbert and Chandler communities. If you’d like more information on either community or moving to Arizona in general, please feel free to call at 480-226-1925 or email me and I’d be happy to connect with you. We get calls from people moving here all the time, and we’d love to help you, too.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of The Great Escape, my show all about escaping to Arizona and enjoying desert living. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!