State of Arizona - AZ

Arizona is a U.S. state located in the Southwestern United States. It is best known for its desert landscape, which includes cacti. Arizona is also known for its exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. Less well known is the pine-covered high country in the north-central portion of the state, which contrasts with the lower deserts of the state.

Arizona is one of the Four Corners states. It borders New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, touches Colorado, and has a 389-mile (626 km) international border with the states of Sonora and Baja California Norte in Mexico. Aside from the Grand Canyon, many other National Forests, Parks, Monuments, and Indian reservations are located in the state. Arizona was the 48th state admitted into the U.S. (1912), and the last of the contiguous states admitted.

See also lists of counties, rivers, lakes, state parks, National Parks and National Forests.
Arizona is located in the Western United States as one of the Four Corners states. Arizona is the sixth largest state in area, after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state's 118,000 square miles, approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is government forest and park land, recreation areas and Native American reservations.[1]

Arizona is best known for its desert landscape, which is rich in xerophyte plants such as cactus. It is also known for its climate, which presents exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. Less well known is the pine-covered high country of the Colorado Plateau in the north-central portion of the state, which contrasts with the desertic Basin and Range region in the southern portions of the state.

Like other states of the Southwest, Arizona has an abundance of topographical characteristics in addition to its desert climate. More than half of the state features mountains and plateaus and contains the largest stand of Ponderosa pine in the United States. The Mogollon Rim, a 2000-foot (600 m) escarpment, cuts across the central section of the state and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where the state experienced its worst forest fire ever in 2002. Arizona belongs firmly within the Basin and Range region of North America. The region was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by a cooling-off and related subsidence. The entire region is slowly sinking.

The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River, in northern Arizona. The canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is largely contained in the Grand Canyon National Park—one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of designating the Grand Canyon area, visiting on numerous occasions to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery.

The Canyon was created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, and is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6 to 29 kilometers) and attains a depth of more than 1 mile (1.6 km). Nearly 2 billion years of the Earth's history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateaus have uplifted.

Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, except in the Navajo Nation located in the northeastern region of the state.

A view of an Arizona sunset looking over a lake.Due to its large area and variations in elevation, the state has a wide variety of localized climate conditions. In the lower elevations, the climate is primarily desert, with mild winters and hot summers. Typically, from late fall to early spring, the weather is mild, averaging a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15°C). November through February are the coldest months with temperatures typically ranging from 40–75 °F (4–24 °C), although occasional frosts are not uncommon. About midway through February, the temperatures start to rise again with warm days, and cool breezy nights. The summer months of May through August bring a dry heat ranging from 90–120 °F (32–48 °C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding 125 °F (52 °C) having been observed in the desert area. Due to the primarily dry climate, large temperature swings often occur between day and night, with some as large as 50 °F (28 °C) in the summer months.

However, the northern third of Arizona is a plateau at significantly higher altitudes than the lower desert, and has an appreciably cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers. Extreme cold temperatures are not unknown; cold air systems from the northern states and Canada occasionally push into the state, bringing temperatures below 0 °F (–18 °C) to the higher parts of the state.

Arizona has an average annual rainfall of 12.7 inches (322 mm),[2] which comes during two rainy seasons, with cold fronts coming from the Pacific Ocean during the winter and a monsoon in the summer.[3] The monsoon season occurs from the middle of July through August and brings lightning, thunderstorms, wind, and torrential, if usually brief, downpours. It is rare for tornadoes and hurricanes to occur in Arizona, but there are records of both occurring.

Indicative of the variation in climate, Arizona is the state which has both the metropolitan area with the most days over 100 °F (37.8 °C) (Phoenix), and the metropolitan area in the lower 48 states with the most days with a low temperature below freezing (Flagstaff).

Horsethief Lake near Crown King, Arizona.
Main article: History of Arizona
Historians disagree about the origin of the name "Arizona" and its attachment to the region. Three possible derivations are:

O'odham words "alĭ ṣon" ("small spring"), actually the name of a town, which is called "Arizonac" in English, about eight miles (13 km) south of the United States–Mexican border. Historically, it may have been "alĭ son" or even "alĭ sona". The O'odham "l" is a voiced alveolar lateral fricative, which might sound to a Spanish or English speaker like an "r" sound. Later in the mid 18th century Spanish missionaries changed Father Eusebio Francisco Kino's maps of the area; they renamed the town Arizonac as Arizona. As the maps were republished and circulated in Europe, the name Arizona became attached to the whole northern part of New Spain.
Spanish words "árida zona" ("arid zone").
A Nahuatl or Aztec word "arizuma" meaning "silver-bearing".
Meeting its original native inhabitants, Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan, explored the area in 1539. Coronado's expedition entered the area in 1540–42 during its search for Cíbola. Father Kino developed a chain of missions and taught the Indians Christianity in Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 1700s. Spain founded fortified towns (presidios) at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775. All of what is now Arizona became part of Mexico's northwest frontier upon the Mexican assertion of independence from Spain in 1810. The United States took possession of most of Arizona at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, after paying the Mexican government. In 1853 the land below the Gila River was acquired from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered as part of the Territory of New Mexico until southern New Mexico seceded from the Union as the Confederate Territory of Arizona on March 16, 1861. This is the first official use of the name. A new Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of New Mexico Territory was declared in Washington, D.C. on February 24, 1863. The new boundaries would later form the basis of the state.

Other names including "Gadsonia", "Pimeria", "Montezuma", "Arizuma", and "Arizonia" had been considered for the territory [1], however when President Lincoln signed the final bill, it read "Arizona", and the name became permanent. (Montezuma was not the Mexican Emperor, but the sacred name of a divine hero to the Pueblo people of the Gila valley, and was probably considered — and rejected — for its sentimental value, before the name "Arizona" was settled upon.)

Brigham Young sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid-to-late 19th century. They founded Mesa, Snowflake, Heber, Safford and other towns. They also settled in the Phoenix Valley (or "Valley of the Sun"), Tempe, Prescott, among other areas. The Mormons settled what became known as Northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, but this areas was in fact part of old New Mexico Territory. The largest ancestry of these settlers is German American.

Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. Arizona was the 48th state admitted into the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states admitted.

A sunset in the Arizona desert near Scottsdale. The climate and imagery are two factors behind Arizona's tourism industry.Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona's most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression, but it was during the 1920s and 1930s that tourism began to be the important Arizona industry it is today. Dude ranches such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to experience the flavor and life of the "old West." Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws to this day; they include the Arizona Biltmore in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936).

Arizona was the site of German and Italian prisoner of war camps during World War II. The Phoenix area site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family (of major home appliance fame), and is currently utilized as the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese American internment camp was located on Mount Lemmon, just outside of the state's southeastern city of Tucson. Another POW camp was located near the Gila River in eastern Yuma County.

Arizona's population grew tremendously after World War II, in part because of the development of air conditioning, which made the intense summers more comfortable. According to the Arizona Blue Book (published by the Secretary of State's office each year), the state population in 1910 was 294,353. By 1970, it was 1,752,122. The percentage growth each decade averaged about 20% in the earlier decades and about 60% each decade thereafter.

The 1960's saw the establishment of retirement communities, special age-restricted subdivisions catering exclusively to the needs of senior citizens who wanted to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest and the Northeast. Sun City, established by developer Del Webb and opened in 1960 was one of the first such communities. Green Valley, south of Tucson, was another such community designed to be a retirement subdivision for Arizona's teachers. (Many of these senior citizens arrive in Arizona each winter and stay only during the winter months; they are referred to as snowbirds.)

Three ships named USS Arizona have been named in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.

Historical populations
year Population Change Percent


1860 6,482 — —
1870 9,658 3,176 33%
1880 40,440 30,782 76%
1890 88,243 47,803 54%
1900 122,931 34,688 28%
1910 204,354 81,423 40%
1920 334,162 129,808 39%
1930 435,573 101,411 23%
1940 499,261 63,688 13%
1950 749,587 250,326 33%
1960 1,302,161 552,574 42%
1970 1,770,900 468,739 26%
1980 2,718,215 947,315 35%
1990 3,665,228 947,013 26%
2000 5,130,632 1,465,404 29%
As of 2005, Arizona had an estimated population of 5,939,292, which is an increase of 199,413, or 3.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 808,660, or 15.8%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 241,732 people (that is 462,739 births minus 221,007 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 576,238 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 168,078 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 408,160 people.

Demographics of Arizona (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 89.29% 3.74% 5.81% 2.36% 0.28%
2000 (hispanic only) 24.13% 0.41% 0.73% 0.19% 0.07%
2005 (total population) 88.74% 4.20% 5.63% 2.75% 0.31%
2005 (hispanic only) 27.20% 0.58% 0.72% 0.23% 0.08%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 15.05% 30.11% 12.25% 35.27% 25.02%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) 9.32% 25.75% 11.85% 34.75% 22.33%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 30.51% 65.92% 15.01% 41.10% 32.89%
Arizona Population Density MapAccording to 2003 U.S. Census estimates, Arizona has the third highest number (and the sixth highest percentage) of Native Americans of any state in the Union. 286,680 were estimated to live in Arizona, representing more than 10% of the country's total Native American population of 2,752,158. Only California and Oklahoma [2] has more Native Americans. The perimeters of Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, and Yuma abut Native American reservations.

The largest ancestry groups in Arizona are Mexican (21%), German, English, Irish, and Native American. The southern and central parts of the state are heavily Mexican-American, especially in Santa Cruz County and Yuma County near the Mexican border. The north-central and northwestern counties are largely inhabited by residents of English ancestry. The northeastern part of Arizona has many American Indians.

Arizona is projected to become a minority-majority state by the year 2035, if current population growth trends continue. In 2003, for the first time, there were more Hispanic births in the state than white (non-Hispanic) births.

As of 2000, 74.1% of Arizona residents age 5 and older speak only English at home and 19.5% speak Spanish. Navajo is the third most spoken language at 1.9%, followed by other Native North American languages at 0.6% and German at 0.5%.

49.9% of the population is male, 50.1% is female.

Religious affiliations in Arizona:[citation needed]

Christianity – 80%
Protestant – 42%
Baptist – 9%
Methodist – 5%
Lutheran – 4%
Other Protestant/general Protestant – 24%
Roman Catholic – 31%
Latter-day Saint (Mormon) – 6%
Other Christian – 1%
Other Religions – 2%
Native American – 2%
Non-Religious – 18%

The 2004 total gross state product was $187 billion. If Arizona (and each of the other US states) were an independent country along with all existing countries (2005), it would have the 61st largest economy in the world (CIA - The World Factbook). This figure gives Arizona a larger economy than such countries as Ireland, Finland, and New Zealand. Arizona currently has the 21st largest economy among states in the U.S..

The state's per capita income is $27,232, 39th in the U.S. Early in its history, Arizona's economy relied on the "Five C's": copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). At one point Arizona was the largest producer of cotton in the country. Copper is still extensively mined from many expansive open-pit and underground mines, accounting for two-thirds of the nation's output.

The state government is Arizona's largest employer, while Wal-Mart is the state's largest private employer, with 17,343 employees (2003).

In 2001, 161,166 Arizonans were employed in the high-tech sector, accounting for about 8.3% of total private-sector employment of more than 1.9 million. High-tech payroll in 2001 was $2.2 billion, or 14.7% of the private-sector total. High-tech employment was led by software and computers, with 34,314; electronics components manufacturing, 30,358; aerospace manufacturing, 25,641; architectural and engineering services, 21,378; telecommunications, 21,224; and instruments manufacturing, 13,056.

Arizona collects personal income taxes in five brackets: 2.87%, 3.20%, 3.74%, 4.72% and 5.04%. Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax (sales) and Use tax rates generally are 6.3%.

The state rate on transient lodging (hotel/motel) is 7.27%. The state of Arizona does not levy a state tax on food for home consumption or on drugs prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. However, some cities in Arizona do levy a tax on food for home consumption.

All fifteen Arizona counties levy a tax.

Incorporated municipalities also levy transaction privilege taxes which, with the exception of their hotel/motel tax, are generally in the range of 1-to-3%. These added assessments could push the combined sales tax rate to as high as 10.7%.

Entering Arizona on I-10 from New Mexico Arizona license plate
Main interstate routes include I-17, and I-19 running north-south, I-40, I-8, and I-10 running east-west, and a short stretch of I-15 running NE/SW through the extreme NW corner of the state.

Phoenix is served by a network of freeways, many of which were initiated by a ½ cent general sales tax measure approved by voters in 1985. Before this network, I-10 and I-17 handled almost all freeway traffic in Phoenix, placing a large burden on surface arterial streets, leading to increased traffic congestion as the area grew in size.

I-10 (the Maricopa and Papago Freeways) from Los Angeles travels from the west through downtown, and exits the metro area in a southeast direction toward Tucson. I-17 (the Black Canyon Freeway) begins in downtown Phoenix and travels north to Flagstaff. US 60 also travels through the heart of the city, starting in downtown Phoenix, and heading northwest through the suburbs of Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise. To the east, it is called the Superstition Freeway, and from its beginning in Tempe, travels eastward towards Mesa, Gilbert, and Apache Junction, and beyond. State Route Loop 101 (called the Agua Fria, Price, or Pima Freeway, depending on the segment) is also a major highway that forms a semicircle around the northern suburbs of the city, starting from I-10 in the west and travelling around to the Santan portion of Loop 202 in the southeast.

The new freeways started after the 1985 sales tax approval are: Arizona 51, Loop 101, Arizona 143 (the Hohokam Expressway), Arizona 153 (the Sky Harbor Expressway), Loop 202 (the Red Mountain and Santan Freeways), and Loop 303 (the Estrella Freeway), and the final section of I-10. Most of these have been completed by 2005, with Loop 202 and Loop 303 being in the final stages of construction and development.

Arizona 51 (the Piestewa Freeway) connects downtown and central Phoenix with north Phoenix and Paradise Valley, and connects with the aforementioned Loop 101 at its northern end. Two-thirds of this route was opened in 1999 and the remainder in 2003. It had been known as the Squaw Peak Parkway (for a nearby mountain), but this name was considered offensive to those in the Native American community. Both the road and the mountain were re-named in the spring of 2003 for US Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, a member of the Hopi tribe, the first woman to die in combat during the current Iraq War and the first Native American woman to die in combat while in the US Army.

As recently as 1959, many roads such as State Highway 87, the Beeline Highway between Phoenix and the small community of Payson in Gila County, were unpaved.

The Tucson metropolitan area is primarily served by I-10, I-19 and Arizona 77. I-19 departs from I-10 in the southern part of Tucson, runs through southern Tucson (including an exit serving the historic Mission San Xavier) and the retirement community of Green Valley and terminates in Nogales, in Santa Cruz County, at the international border with Mexico. Destination signs on I-19 have metric distance figures in kilometers instead of standard miles. Arizona 77 serves North Tucson and Tucson's northern suburbs including Casas Adobes, Catalina Foothills, Oro Valley, and Catalina. Arizona 77 continues northward until it terminates at the Navajo Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona.

State Route 210 (Barraza-Aviation Parkway) is a limited-access parkway built in the early 1990s to connect downtown Tucson to the southeastern portion of the city. Few new limited-access roads are in the plans in Tucson due to strong community opposition to freeways.

Yuma, Flagstaff & Casa Grande
Yuma and Casa Grande are served by I-8; Flagstaff is served by I-17 and I-40. US Highway 95 parallels the Colorado River, from Las Vegas to the Mexican border near Yuma.

Historic U.S. Route 66, a major route for Midwestern emigrants prior to the advent of the interstate highway system, traversed the northern part of the state, passing through Flagstaff and Kingman. Route 66 in Arizona closely followed the route of what is now Interstate 40 except for an 88 mile stretch between Seligman and Kingman now known as Arizona State Highway 66, where the route veered to the north passing through Peach Springs.

Public transportation and intercity bus
The Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are served by public bus transit systems. Yuma and Flagstaff also have public bus systems. Greyhound Lines serves Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and several smaller communities statewide.

A light rail system is currently being built in Phoenix. When completed, it will connect Central Phoenix with the nearby cities of Mesa and Tempe. The system is projected to be operational by December of 2008.

In May 2006, voters in Tucson approved a Regional Transportation Plan (a comprehensive bus transit/streetcar/roadway improvement program), and its funding via a new half-cent sales tax increment. The centerpiece of the plan is a light rail streetcar system that will connect the main University of Arizona campus with the Rio Nuevo master plan area on the western edge of downtown. [3]

Airports with regularly scheduled commercial flights include: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX, ICAO: KPHX) in Phoenix (the largest airport and the major international airport in the state); Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUS, ICAO: KTUS) in Tucson; Yuma International Airport (IATA: YUM, ICAO: KYUM) in Yuma; Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) in Prescott; and Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (IATA: FLG, ICAO: KFLG) in Flagstaff.

Other significant airports without regularly scheduled commercial flights include Williams Gateway Airport (IWA) in Mesa, and Scottsdale Municipal Airport (IATA: SCF, ICAO: KSDL) in Scottsdale.

Law and government
See also List of Arizona Congressmen and List of Arizona Governors

Arizona State Capitol, Phoenix
Capitol complex
The state capital of Arizona is in Phoenix. The original Capitol building, with its distinctive copper dome, was dedicated in 1901 (construction was completed for $136,000 in 1900), when the area was still a territory. Phoenix became the official state capital with Arizona's admission to the union in 1912.

Separate legislative buildings for the House of Representatives and Senate were dedicated in 1960, and an Executive Office Building was dedicated in 1974 (the ninth floor of this building is where the Office of the Governor is located). The original Capitol building was converted into a museum.

The Capitol complex is fronted and highlighted by the richly landscaped Wesley Bolin Memorial Park, named after Wesley Bolin, a governor who died in office in the 1970's. Numerous monuments and memorials are on the site, including the anchor and signal mast from the USS Arizona (one of the U.S. Navy ships sunk in Pearl Harbor); a granite version of the Ten Commandments; and the Arizona Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

State legislature
Arizona's legislature is bicameral (like the legislature of every other state except Nebraska) and consists of a thirty-member Senate and a 60-member House of Representatives. Legislators are elected for two-year terms.

Each Legislature covers a two-year period. The first session following the general election is known as the first regular session, and the session convening in the second year is known as the second regular session. Each regular session begins on the second Monday in January and adjourns sine die (terminates for the year) no later than Saturday of the week in which the 100th day from the beginning of the regular session falls. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, by rule, may extend the session up to seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can only be extended by a majority vote of members present of each house.

The current majority party is the Republican Party, which has held power since 1950.

Arizona state senators and representatives are elected for two year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms in a chamber, though there is no limit on the total number of terms. When a lawmaker is term-limited from office, it is not uncommon for him or her to run for election in the other chamber.

The fiscal year 2006-07 general fund budget, approved by the Arizona Legislature in June 2006, is slightly less than $10 billion. Besides the money spent on state agencies, it also includes more than $500 million in income- and property tax cuts, pay raises for government employees, and additional funding for the K-12 education system.

State executive branch
Arizona's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. The governor may serve any number of terms, though no more than two in a row. The current governor of Arizona is Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. She has been governor since 2003.

Federal representation
The two U.S. Senators from Arizona are Senator John McCain (Republican) and Senator Jon Kyl (Republican).

Arizona's representatives in the United States House of Representatives are Rick Renzi (R-1), Trent Franks (R-2), John Shadegg (R-3), Ed Pastor (D-4), J.D. Hayworth (R-5), Jeff Flake (R-6), Raul Grijalva (D-7), and Jim Kolbe (R-8). Jim Kolbe announced his retirement from Congress in 2006, creating one of the few open seats in the nation in Arizona's Congressional District 8. Arizona gained two seats in the House of Representatives due to redistricting based on Census 2000.

Political culture
Presidential elections results Year Republican Democratic
2004 54.87% 1,104,294 44.40% 893,524
2000 50.95% 781,652 44.67% 685,341
1996 44.29% 622,073 46.52% 653,288
1992 38.47% 572,086 36.52% 543,050
1988 59.95% 702,541 38.74% 454,029
1984 66.42% 681,416 32.54% 333,854
1980 60.61% 529,688 28.24% 246,843
1976 56.37% 418,642 39.80% 295,602
1972 61.64% 402,812 30.38% 198,540
1968 54.78% 266,721 35.02% 170,514
1964 50.45% 242,535 49.45% 237,753
1960 55.52% 221,241 44.36% 176,781
While the Republican Party has traditionally dominated Arizona politics since the 1950s, the state's changing demographics reflect political changes. Arizona narrowly voted for Bill Clinton in 1996, who was the first Democrat to take the state since Harry Truman in 1948. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's ten electoral votes by a margin of 11 percentage points with 54.9% of the vote.

The state's concentration of Democrats is strongest in the city of Tucson (excluding Tucson's historically Republican-dominated suburbs) and the counties of Santa Cruz and Apache.

Maricopa County, home of Phoenix and the fourth-most populous in the country, has voted Republican in every presidential election since at least 1952. However, the current mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, is a Democrat. The current state attorney general and governor are also both Democrats. Both Governor Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard are widely expected to win their upcoming elections.

A controversial political contest in Arizona in the 2006 election involves Proposition 204, a ballot measure that relates to the humane treatment of farm animals.

United States presidential election, 2004, in Arizona

Important cities and towns
Map of Arizona - PDF Phoenix TucsonSee: List of cities in Arizona, List of cities in Arizona (by population), List of Arizona counties

Phoenix, the largest city in the state, is the capital. The Phoenix metro area includes Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, Tempe and Scottsdale, with a total population of nearly 3.9 million.

Tucson is the state's second largest city, located 135 miles (220 km) southeast of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Tucson metropolitan area has a population rapidly nearing 1 million.

Each city named in bold has a population greater than 100,000.

Apache Junction
Bullhead City
Camp Verde
Casa Grande
Casas Adobes
Catalina Foothills
Cottonwood-Verde Village
Drexel Heights
Flowing Wells
Fortuna Foothills
Fountain Hills
Golden Valley
Green Valley
Lake Havasu City
Mohave Valley
New Kingman-Butler
New River
Oro Valley
Paradise Valley
Prescott Valley
San Luis
Sierra Vista Southeast
Sierra Vista
Sun City West
Sun City
Sun Lakes
Tanque Verde
Queen Creek

Top 25 cities by wealth, in Arizona
Ranked by per capita income

# City Income # City Income
1 Paradise Valley, Arizona $81,290 14 Sedona, Arizona $31,350
2 Carefree, Arizona $62,433 15 Green Valley, Arizona $31,138
3 Rio Verde, Arizona $58,783 16 Oro Valley, Arizona $31,134
4 Tubac, Arizona $46,643 17 Williamson, Arizona $30,232
5 Catalina Foothills, Arizona $42,006 18 Big Park, Arizona $30,026
6 Scottsdale, Arizona $39,158 19 Queen Valley, Arizona $28,886
7 Cave Creek, Arizona $38,070 20 Corona de Tucson, Arizona $28,304
8 Litchfield Park, Arizona $37,793 21 Elgin, Arizona $27,909
9 Tanque Verde, Arizona $36,467 22 Sonoita, Arizona $27,312
10 Gold Camp, Arizona $35,010 23 Sun City, Arizona $25,935
11 Sun Lakes, Arizona $33,394 24 New River, Arizona $25,932
12 Fountain Hills, Arizona $32,230 25 Tortolita, Arizona $25,550
13 Sun City West, Arizona $32,049 See complete list of Arizona places


Elementary and secondary education
Public schools in Arizona are separated into about 220 local school districts which operate independently, but are governed in most cases by elected county school superintendents; these are in turn overseen by the Arizona State Board of Education (a division of the Arizona Department of Education) and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (elected in partisan elections every even-numbered year when there is not a presidential election, for a four-year term).

Colleges and universities
Higher education in Arizona is governed at the university level by the Arizona Board of Regents or the ABOR, a 12-member body. According to information published by the ABOR office and available on their Web site, eight volunteer members are appointed by the Governor to staggered eight-year terms; two students serve on the Board for two-year appointments, with the first year being a nonvoting apprentice year. The Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction serve as voting ex-officio members. The ABOR provides "policy guidance" and oversight to the three major degree-granting universities, as provided for by Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

State universities
(Ranked by student enrollment)

Arizona State University
University of Arizona
Northern Arizona University

Community colleges
Community colleges in Arizona were governed historically by a separate statewide Board of Directors, but a bill passed in the 2002 regular session of the Legislature (HB 2710, which later became ARS 15-1444) transferred almost all oversight authority to individual community college districts. The community college systems in Arizona are among the best in the United States.

Central Arizona Community College
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Coconino Community College
Estrella Mountain Community College
GateWay Community College
Glendale Community College
Mesa Community College
Paradise Valley Community College
Phoenix College
Rio Salado Community College
Scottsdale Community College
South Mountain Community College
Pima Community College
Desert Vista Campus
Downtown Campus
East Campus
Northwest Campus
West Campus
Eastern Arizona College
Yavapai College
Prescott College
Cochise College
Mohave Community College
South Mountain Community College
Arizona Western College
Northland Pioneer College

Non-Profit Private Colleges and trade schools
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Ottawa University
Prescott College
Thunderbird - The Garvin School of International Management
Western Governors University

For-Profit Private Colleges and trade schools
Art Institute of Phoenix
Collins College, Tempe
University of Advancing Technology, Tempe
DeVry University, Phoenix
American Indian College of the Assemblies of God
Grand Canyon University
Southwestern College
University of Phoenix
Western International University
Northcentral University

Professional sports teams
Club Sport League
Arizona Cardinals Football National Football League
Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Major League Baseball
Arizona Rattlers Arena Football Arena Football League
Arizona Sting Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Phoenix Coyotes Ice hockey National Hockey League
Phoenix Mercury Basketball Women's National Basketball Association
Phoenix Roadrunners Ice Hockey East Coast Hockey League
Phoenix Suns Basketball National Basketball Association
Tucson Sidewinders Baseball Minor League Baseball
Yuma Scorpions Baseball Golden Baseball League

Spring training
Arizona is a popular location for Major League Baseball spring training, as it is the site of the Cactus League. The only other location for spring training is in Florida with the Grapefruit League. The state hosts the following teams:

Arizona Diamondbacks in Tucson Electric Park
Chicago Cubs in HoHoKam Park
Chicago White Sox in Tucson Electric Park
Colorado Rockies in Hi Corbett Field
Kansas City Royals in Surprise Stadium
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Tempe Diablo Stadium
Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale Baseball Park
Oakland Athletics in Phoenix Municipal Stadium
San Diego Padres in Peoria Sports Complex
San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale Stadium
Seattle Mariners in Peoria Sports Complex
Texas Rangers in Surprise Stadium

Miscellaneous topics

Art and pop culture
Arizona has featured a continuous string of dancing and performing groups of many ethnicities. The state is a recognized center of Native American art, with a number of galleries such as the Heard Museum showcasing historical and contemporary works. Sedona, Jerome, and Tubac are known as budding artist colonies, and small arts scenes exist in the larger cities and near the state universities.

Many tourist souvenirs produced in Arizona or by its residents display characteristic images, such as sunsets, coyotes, and desert plants. Several major Hollywood films, such as U-Turn, Waiting to Exhale, Just One of the Guys, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Scorpion King, The Banger Sisters, Used Cars, and Raising Arizona have been made there (as indeed have many Westerns). The Jeff Foxworthy comedy documentary movie Blue Collar Comedy Tour was filmed almost entirely at the Dodge Theatre. Arguably one of the most famous examples could be Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Psycho. Not only was some of the film shot in Phoenix, but the main character is from there as well. Some of the television shows filmed in Arizona include Insomniac with Dave Attell, COPS, and America's Most Wanted. The 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which Ellen Burstyn won the Best Actress Oscar, and also starred Kris Kristofferson, was set in Phoenix, as was the TV sitcom Alice, which was based on the movie.

"Arizona" was the title of a popular song recorded by Mark Lindsay (formerly of Paul Revere and the Raiders) that was a hit during the winter of 1969-1970.

See also List of films shot in Arizona

Illegal Immigration
The sparsely populated deserts of Arizona and New Mexico along the Mexican border have, in recent years, become the site of a large amount of illegal immigration into the United States. This is due in large part to greater difficulty crossing the border around more populated areas such as El Paso, Texas imparted by policy changes in recent years. Critics of such changes argue that the changes do not make a substantial difference in the number of people crossing the border into the United States illegally each year. Critics of the policy also point to a growing humanitarian crisis in the American Southwest as hundreds or thousands of illegal immigrants die each year attempting to make the crossing in increasingly remote and inhospitable locations such as the Sonoran Desert. The use of professional smugglers to ferry people across the border illegally is also increasing, see: people smuggling. Such smuggling operations are known to also often be associated with the cross-border illicit drug trade and have caused a wave of crime in Southwestern states. Proponents of the changes in policy argue that the new policy is successful in reducing the amount of illegal immigration into the United States. Accurate numbers that can effectively support either side of the argument are rare due to the illegal nature of the activity. In recent years, illegal immigration has become a major issue in both Southwestern politics and politics throughout the United States.

Notable people
Famous Arizonans also include:

former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist
founder of NTV Geoff Stirling
former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Presidential candidate (2000), (rumored 2008) and Senior Republican Senator John McCain
Presidential candidate (1964) and former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater
Former Governor, Secretary of the Interior, and Presidential candidate (1988) Bruce Babbitt
Presidential candidate (1976) and former Arizona congressman Mo Udall and his brother Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall
former U.S. Senator Carl Hayden
and former United States Solicitor General Rex E. Lee.
Glenn Spencer - advocate against illegal immigration.
Arizona notables in culture and the arts include:

author Zane Grey
architect Frank Lloyd Wright
artist Georgia O'Keeffe
musicians Alice Cooper and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, of Phoenix
Linda Ronstadt of Tucson.
Film director Steven Spielberg grew up in Scottsdale, as did Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter
Labor leader and civil rights pioneer Cesar Estrada Chavez was from San Luis, near Yuma.
For a complete list, see List of people from Arizona.

Arizona may be considered to be somewhat of a "hotspot" for unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings. According to the UFO Casebook, there have been 1324 reported sightings between 1946 and 2006,[4] the sixth most of all 50 states and Washington DC. 1324 sightings in 60 years is a little over 20 every year.

One of the most famous UFO sightings in Arizona are the infamous Phoenix Lights. These are one of the most heavily witnessed UFO sightings ever. The sightings occurred on March 13, 1997. The five lights in a "V"-shape were first spotted in Henderson, Nevada, and then moved to Paulden, on to Prescott Valley, to Dewey, and then finally to Phoenix. After the lights left Phoenix, they moved toward Tucson, following Interstate 10 at a slow pace. UFO witnesses and investigators claim these lights have never been completely explained; at the time of the occurrence, the Arizona Air National Guard issued a public statement that the 'mysterious' lights were likely flares dropped by a Maryland Air National Guard training mission which was in the area and returning to Tucson at about the time the lights were reported.

Scouting in Arizona
Arizona Highways (magazine)
Arizona Department of Transportation


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