Maricopa County, Arizona

Maricopa County, Arizona
County of Maricopa[1]

The Maricopa County Administrative Building in 2013


Map of Arizona highlighting Maricopa County
Location in the U.S. state of Arizona
Map of the United States highlighting Arizona
Arizona's location in the U.S.
Founded February 14, 1871
Seat Phoenix
Largest city Phoenix
  Total 9,224 sq mi (23,890 km2)
  Land 9,200 sq mi (23,828 km2)
  Water 24 sq mi (62 km2), 0.3%
Population (est.)
  (2015) 4,167,947
  Density 453/sq mi (175/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7

Maricopa County (/ˌmærˈkpə/ MARR-i-KOH-pə) is a county located in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,817,117,[2] making it the most populous county in the state, and the fourth-most populous in the United States. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix,[3] the state capital and sixth-most populous city in the country.

Maricopa County is the central county of the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The population explosion is evident in a 2007 Forbes study which ranked four of Maricopa County's municipalities in the top ten fastest-growing cities in the nation. Those included Buckeye as the second-fastest-growing city, Surprise and Goodyear as 3rd and 4th, and Avondale as 9th.[4] All four of these cities are located in the growing "West Valley", which is the area of Maricopa County to the west of the city of Phoenix.

Maricopa County was named after the Maricopa Indians.[5] There are five Indian reservations located in the county.[6] The largest of these are the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (east of Scottsdale) and the Gila River Indian Community (south of Phoenix).


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,224 square miles (23,890 km2), of which 9,200 square miles (24,000 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (0.3%) is water.[7] Maricopa County is also one of the largest counties in the United States by area having a land area greater than that of seven states. It is by far Arizona's most populous county, encompassing well over half of the state's residents. It is also the largest county in the United States to contain a capital city.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20154,167,947[8]9.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790–1960[10] 1900–1990[11]
1990–2000[12] 2010–2015[2]

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,072,149 people, 1,132,886 households, and 763,565 families residing in the county. The population density was 334 people per square mile (129/km²). There were 1,250,231 housing units at an average density of 136/sq mi (52/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.35% White, 3.73% African American, 1.85% Native American, 2.16% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 11.86% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. 29.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.10% reported speaking Spanish at home.[13]

There were 1,132,886 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.60% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.21.

The population was spread out with 27.00% under the age of 18, 10.20% from 18 to 24, 31.40% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 100.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,358, and the median income for a family was $51,827. Males had a median income of $36,858 versus $28,703 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,251. About 8.00% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.40% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,817,117 people, 1,411,583 households, and 932,814 families residing in the county.[14] The population density was 414.9 inhabitants per square mile (160.2/km2). There were 1,639,279 housing units at an average density of 178.2 per square mile (68.8/km2).[15] The racial makeup of the county was 73.0% white, 5.0% black or African American, 3.5% Asian, 2.1% American Indian, 0.2% Pacific islander, 12.8% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 29.6% of the population.[14] In terms of ancestry, 16.2% were German, 10.6% were Irish, 9.7% were English, 5.2% were American, and 5.1% were Italian.[16]

Of the 1,411,583 households, 35.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.9% were non-families, and 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.25. The median age was 34.6 years.[14]

The median income for a household in the county was $55,054 and the median income for a family was $65,438. Males had a median income of $45,799 versus $37,601 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,816. About 10.0% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.8% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.[17]


Maricopa County Presidential election results[18]
Year Republican Democratic
2016 47.7% 747,361 44.8% 702,907
2012 54.3% 749,885 43.6% 602,288
2008 54.4% 746,448 43.9% 602,166
2004 57.0% 679,455 42.3% 504,849
2000 53.2% 479,967 42.9% 386,683
1996 47.2% 386,015 44.5% 363,015
1992 41.4% 360,049 32.6% 285,457
1988 64.9% 442,337 33.9% 230,952
1984 72.0% 411,902 27.1% 154,833
1980 65.0% 316,287 24.6% 119,752
1976 61.7% 258,262 35.3% 144,613
1972 69.3% 244,593 27.0% 95,135
1968 59.1% 161,262 31.4% 86,204
1964 53.9% 143,114 46.0% 122,042
1960 59.4% 127,090 40.6% 86,834

Maricopa County has a long history of being a Republican Party stronghold. While the city of Phoenix leans towards the Democratic Party, along with some other small areas within the county, the rest of the county tends to vote heavily Republican. Every Republican presidential candidate has carried Maricopa County since 1948. This includes the 1964 presidential run of native son Barry Goldwater, who would not have even carried his own state had it not been for a 21,000-vote margin in Maricopa County.

Despite its apparent political leanings, Maricopa County voted against Proposition 107 in the 2006 election. This referendum, designed to ban gay marriage and restrict domestic partner benefits, was rejected by a slim 51.6%-48.4% margin within the county, and statewide by a similar margin. Two years later, however, a majority of county residents voted to pass the ultimately successful state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The County Board of Supervisors consists of five members chosen by popular vote within their own districts. Currently, the Board consists of four Republicans, each representing districts in the more affluent or conservative districts of the county, and one Democrat, representing the largest district.[19] Each member serves for a period of four years, and may be continuously reelected.

Unlike cities and towns in Arizona, counties are politically and legally creatures of the state, and do not have charters of their own. The Board of Supervisors acts in the capacity of executive authority for the county within the statutes and powers prescribed by Arizona state law. The state legislature devotes considerable time to local matters, with limited discretion granted to the Board of Supervisors on minor ordinance and revenue collection issues. Chair of the Board is held by one member for a period of one year, and is selected by the Board members themselves through public hearing.

The election of the County Sheriff, County Attorney, County Assessor, County Treasurer, Superintendent of Schools, County Recorder, Constables, Justices of the Peace, Clerk of the Superior Court, and retention of Superior Court Judges are also determined by popular vote.

The current sheriff is Joe Arpaio, who has labeled himself "America's Toughest Sheriff" due to his flamboyant and often controversial management of office.[20]

As Maricopa County is home to almost 60 percent of the state's population, it dominates Arizona's politics. Eight of the state's nine congressional districts include at least some portion of the county, and five of said districts have their population center located there. Most of the state's most prominent elected officials live in the county, as well.

Elected officials

United States Congress

District Name Party First elected [lower-alpha 1] Area(s) represented
United States Senate
  Class I Senator Jeff Flake Republican 2012 All of state
  Class III Senator John McCain Republican 1986
United States House of Representatives
  1 Ann Kirkpatrick Democratic 2012[lower-alpha 2] Gila River Indian Community
  3 Raul Grijalva Democratic 2002 Avondale, Buckeye
  4 Paul Gosar Republican 2010 Northern Maricopa County
  5 Matt Salmon Republican 2012[lower-alpha 3] Mesa, Gilbert
  6 David Schweikert Republican 2010 Phoenix, Scottsdale
  7 Ruben Gallego Democratic 2014 Phoenix
  8 Trent Franks Republican 2002 West Valley
  9 Kyrsten Sinema Democratic 2012 Phoenix, South Scottsdale, Tempe
  1. Due to redistricting in 2002 and again in 2012, many of the Representatives listed were first elected to a district other than the one they currently represent.
  2. Kirkpatrick previously represented Arizona's 1st District from 2009-2011.
  3. Salmon previously represented this district, then numbered as the 1st District, from 1995-2001.

Board of Supervisors

Party District Name First elected Area(s) represented
  Republican District 1 Denny Barney 2012 Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Sun Lakes, Tempe
  Republican District 2 Steve Chucri 2012 Apache Junction, Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Scottsdale
  Republican District 3 Andy Kunasek 1997 Anthem, Desert Hills, New River, Paradise Valley, Phoenix
  Republican District 4 Clint Hickman 2014 Avondale, Aguila, Buckeye, El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear, New River, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Wickenburg, Youngtown
  Democratic District 5 Steve Gallardo 2015 Avondale, Buckeye, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Guadalupe, Phoenix, Tolleson

Elected County Officials

Party Office Name First elected Reference
  Republican Assessor Paul D. Petersen 2014† [21]
  Republican County Attorney Bill Montgomery 2010 [22]
  Republican County Recorder Helen Purcell 1988 [21]
  Republican County School Superintendent Don Covey 2008 [21]
  Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio 1992 [21]
  Republican Treasurer Charles Hoskins 2004 [21]

†Member was originally appointed to the office.



The county is served by three interstates (Interstate 8, Interstate 10, and Interstate 17), one U.S. Highway (US 60), and several state highways (SR 51, SR 74, SR 85, SR 87, SR 143, Loop 101, Loop 202, and Loop 303).

In the area of rail transport, the region is also served by Phoenix's light rail system. The county has no other passenger rail transport as Amtrak's Sunset Limited, which once served Phoenix, has its closest stop in Maricopa, Arizona in neighboring Pinal County. The train connects Maricopa to Tucson, Los Angeles, and New Orleans three times a week. However it does not stop in Phoenix itself.

Major Highways


Phoenix's major airport is Sky Harbor International Airport. Other airports that are also used are Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Scottsdale Municipal Airport in Scottsdale, Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear and Buckeye Municipal Airport in Buckeye.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

County population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Maricopa County.[23][24]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Phoenix 1,445,632 City 1881
2 Mesa 439,041 City 1878 (founded)
3 Chandler 236,123 City 1920
4 Glendale 226,721 City 1910
5 Scottsdale 217,385 City 1951
6 Gilbert 208,453 Town 1920
7 Tempe 161,719 City 1894
8 Peoria (partially in Yavapai County) 154,065 City 1954
9 Surprise 117,517 City 1960
10 Avondale 76,238 City 1946
11 Goodyear 65,275 City 1946
12 Buckeye 50,876 City 1929
13 Sun City 37,499 CDP
14 El Mirage 31,797 City 1951
15 Queen Creek (partially in Pinal County) 26,361 Town 1990
16 Sun City West 24,535 CDP
17 Fountain Hills 22,489 Town 1989
18 Anthem 21,700 CDP
19 New River 14,952 CDP
20 Sun Lakes 13,975 CDP
21 Paradise Valley 12,820 Town 1961
22 Tolleson 6,545 City 1929
23 Wickenburg 6,363 Town 1909
24 Youngtown 6,156 Town 1960
25 Guadalupe 5,523 Town 1975
26 Litchfield Park 5,476 City 1987
27 Cave Creek 5,015 Town 1986
28 Citrus Park 4,028 CDP
29 Carefree 3,363 Town 1984
30 Gila Bend 1,922 Town 1962
31 Rio Verde 1,811 CDP
32 Komatke 821 CDP
33 Aguila 798 CDP
34 Wittmann 763 CDP
35 Maricopa Colony 709 CDP
36 Gila Crossing 621 CDP
37 St. Johns 476 CDP
38 Morristown 227 CDP
39 Arlington 194 CDP
40 Theba 158 CDP
41 Kaka 141 CDP
42 Wintersburg 136 CDP
43 Tonopah 60 CDP

See also


  2. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. Woolsey, Matt (July 16, 2007). ""America's Fastest-Growing Suburbs"". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
  5. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 199.
  6. Indian Reservations in the Continental United States, Bureau of Indian Affairs on National Park Service website. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  7. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  8. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  9. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  10. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  11. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  12. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  14. 1 2 3 "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  15. "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  16. "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  17. "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  19. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Maricopa County, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  20. Joseph M. Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5

Further reading

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Coordinates: 33°30′50″N 112°28′33″W / 33.51389°N 112.47583°W / 33.51389; -112.47583

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