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Maricopa County is the central county of the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Maricopa County was named after the Maricopa Native Americans. There are five Native American Reservations located in the county. The largest are the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (east of Scottsdale) and the Gila River Indian Community (south of Chandler).
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. Maricopa County is one of the largest counties in the United States by area, with a land area greater than that of four states. From west to east, it stretches 132 miles (212 km) and 103 miles (166 km) from north to south. It is by far Arizona's most populous county, encompassing well over half of the state's residents. It is the largest county in the United States to have a capital city.
La Paz County – west
Yuma County – west
Pima County – south
Pinal County – southeast
Gila County – east
Yavapai County – north
National protected areas
Sonoran Desert National Monument (part)
Tonto National Forest (part)
Median Household Income in 2015 across metro Phoenix; the darker the green, the higher the income
Percent of people living in poverty across metro Phoenix in 2016; the darker the red, the higher the concentration of poverty
Census Pop. %±
1880 5,689 —
1890 10,986 93.1%
1900 20,457 86.2%
1910 34,488 68.6%
1920 89,576 159.7%
1930 150,970 68.5%
1940 186,193 23.3%
1950 331,770 78.2%
1960 663,510 100.0%
1970 971,228 46.4%
1980 1,509,175 55.4%
1990 2,122,101 40.6%
2000 3,072,149 44.8%
2010 3,817,117 24.2%
Est. 2019 4,485,414 17.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,072,149 people, 1,132,886 households, and 763,565 families living 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 77.4% White, 3.7% African American, 1.9% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 11.9% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. 29.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.1% reported speaking Spanish at home.
There were 1,132,886 households, out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% 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 27.0% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% 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 8.0% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 census, there were 3,817,117 people, 1,411,583 households, and 932,814 families living in the county. 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). The racial makeup of the county was 73.0% white (58.7% non-Hispanic 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. The largest ancestry groups were:
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.
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.
According to data provided by the United States Census Bureau in October 2015 and collected from 2009-2013, 73.72% of the population aged five years and over spoke only English at home, while 20.32% spoke Spanish, 0.56% spoke Chinese, 0.47% Vietnamese, 0.41% Tagalog, 0.37% Arabic, 0.36% German, 0.30% French, 0.25% Navajo, 0.21% Korean, 0.20% Hindi, 0.15% Italian, 0.14% Persian, 0.13% Russian, 0.13% Serbo-Croatian, 0.12% Telugu, 0.12% Polish, 0.11% Syriac, 0.11% Japanese, 0.11% spoke Romanian, and 0.10% spoke other Native North American languages at home.
In 2010 statistics, the largest religious group in Maricopa County was the Diocese of Phoenix, with 519,950 Catholics worshipping at 99 parishes, followed by 242,732 LDS Mormons with 503 congregations, 213,640 non-denominational adherents with 309 congregations, 93,252 AG Pentecostals with 120 congregations, 73,207 SBC Baptists with 149 congregations, 35,804 Christian churches and churches of Christ Christians with 29 congregations, 30,014 ELCA Lutherans with 47 congregations, 28,634 UMC Methodists with 55 congregations, 18,408 LCMS Lutherans with 34 congregations, and 15,001 PC-USA Presbyterians with 42 congregations. Altogether, 39.1% of the population was claimed as members by religious congregations, although members of historically African-American denominations were underrepresented due to incomplete information. In 2014, the county had 1,177 religious organizations, the fifth most out of all US counties.
Government, policing, and politics
The governing body of Maricopa County is its Board of Supervisors. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors consists of five members chosen by popular vote within their own districts. Currently, the Board consists of four Republicans and one Democrat. Each member serves a four-year term, with no term limits.
Maricopa County sheriff
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office provides court protection, administers the county jail, and patrols the unincorporated areas of the county plus incorporated towns by contract.
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 it tends to vote heavily Republican, making it one of the more conservative urban counties in the country. 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 carried his own state had it not been for a 21,000-vote margin in Maricopa County. It is currently the largest county in the country to vote Republican. Since 1964, Democrats have only kept the margin within single digits three times–in 1992, 1996, and 2016.
Presidential election results
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 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 amendment was later overruled by the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right in the United States.
Unlike cities and towns in Arizona, counties are politically and legally subordinate to 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 County Sheriff, County Attorney, County Assessor, County Treasurer, Superintendent of Schools, County Recorder, Constables, Justices of the Peace, and Clerk of the Superior Court are all elected by the people. Retentions of Superior Court Judges are also determined by popular vote.
The county's dominant political figure for over two decades (from 1993 to 2017) was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had dubbed himself "America's Toughest Sheriff" and gained national notoriety for his flamboyant and often controversial practices and policies.
As Maricopa County is home to almost 60 percent of the state's population, it dominates Arizona's politics. For example, in the 2018 Senate election, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema carried the county en route to becoming the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Arizona since 1988. She won the county by over 60,000 votes, which would have been more than enough to give her the victory; she won statewide by 55,900 votes. Eight of the state's nine congressional districts include at least some portion of the county, and five of the districts have their population center located there. Most of the state's most prominent elected officials live in the county as well.
United States Congress
District Name Party First elected Area(s) represented
United States Senate
Class I Senator Kyrsten Sinema Democratic 2018 All of state
Class III Senator Martha McSally Republican 2018
United States House of Representatives
1 Tom O'Halleran Democratic 2016 Gila River Indian Community
3 Raul Grijalva Democratic 2002 Avondale, Buckeye, Phoenix
4 Paul Gosar Republican 2010 Northern Maricopa County
5 Andy Biggs Republican 2016 Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert
6 David Schweikert Republican 2010 Phoenix, Scottsdale
7 Ruben Gallego Democratic 2014 Phoenix
8 Debbie Lesko Republican 2018 West Valley
9 Greg Stanton Democratic 2018 Phoenix, South Scottsdale, Tempe
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.
Was appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy, and not elected.
Board of Supervisors
Main article: Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Elected county officials
Party Office Name First elected Reference
Republican Assessor Eddie Cook 2020†
Republican Clerk of the Superior Court Jeff Fine 2018†
Republican County Attorney Allister Adel ----†
Democratic County Recorder Adrian Fontes 2016
Republican County School Superintendent Steve Watson 2016
Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone 2016
Republican Treasurer Royce Flora 2016
†Member was originally appointed to the office.
Maricopa County Library District operates the county libraries in Maricopa County.
The Maricopa County School Superintendent is charged with the general conduct and supervision of the public school system in Maricopa County. The Superintendent is one of six county-wide elected officials, elected by the voters of Maricopa County every four years. Since the inception of the office, there have been thirteen Maricopa County School Superintendents. The incumbent, Steve Watson, took office January 1, 2017.
Further information: Metropolitan Phoenix Freeways
I-8 (AZ).svg Interstate 8
I-10 (AZ).svg Interstate 10
I-17 (AZ).svg Interstate 17
US 60.svg U.S. Route 60
US 80 (AZ historic).svg Historic U.S. Route 80
US 93.svg U.S. Route 93
Arizona 101.svg Loop 101
Arizona 202.svg Loop 202
Arizona 303.svg Loop 303
Arizona 51.svg State Route 51
Arizona 71.svg State Route 71
Arizona 74.svg State Route 74
Arizona 85.svg State Route 85
Arizona 87.svg State Route 87
Arizona 143.svg State Route 143
Arizona 347.svg State Route 347
The major primary commercial airport of the county is Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).
Other airports located in the county include:
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa (AZA)
Scottsdale Municipal Airport in Scottsdale (SCF)
Deer Valley Airport in Deer Valley Village in Phoenix (DVT)
Chandler Municipal Airport in Chandler (CHD)
Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear (GYR)
Glendale Municipal Airport in Glendale (GEU)
Buckeye Municipal Airport in Buckeye (BXK)
Falcon Field (Arizona) in Mesa (MSC)
Gila Bend Municipal Airport in Gila Bend (E63)
Wickenburg Municipal Airport in Wickenburg (E25)
In terms of freight rail, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad serve the county.
In terms of passenger rail, greater Phoenix is served by a light rail system. The county has no other passenger rail transport as Amtrak's Sunset Limited, which served Phoenix until June 2, 1996, has its closest stop in Maricopa 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.
Peoria (partly in Yavapai County)
Phoenix (county seat)
Queen Creek (partly in Pinal County)
Wickenburg (partly in Yavapai County)
San Tan Valley
Sun City West
Native American communities
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
Gila River Indian Community
Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community
Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation
County population ranking
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Maricopa County.
† county seat
Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Population (2017 Estimate) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Phoenix † 1,445,632 1,626,078 City 1881
2 Mesa 439,041 496,401 City 1878 (founded)
3 Chandler 236,123 253,458 City 1920
4 Scottsdale 217,385 249,950 City 1951
5 Glendale 226,721 246,709 City 1910
6 Gilbert 208,453 242,354 Town 1920
7 Tempe 161,719 185,038 City 1894
8 Peoria (partially in Yavapai County) 154,065 168,181 City 1954
9 Surprise 117,517 134,085 City 1960
10 Avondale 76,238 84,025 City 1946
11 Goodyear 65,275 79,858 City 1946
12 Buckeye 50,876 68,453 City 1929
13 Queen Creek (partially in Pinal County) 26,361 39,184 Town 1990
14 Sun City 37,499 -- CDP
15 El Mirage 31,797 35,216 City 1951
16 Sun City West 24,535 -- CDP
17 Fountain Hills 22,489 24,583 Town 1989
18 Anthem 21,700 -- CDP
19 New River 14,952 -- CDP
20 Paradise Valley 12,820 14,293 Town 1961
21 Sun Lakes 13,975 -- CDP
22 Wickenburg 6,363 7,409 Town 1909
23 Tolleson 6,545 7,205 City 1929
24 Youngtown 6,156 6,760 Town 1960
25 Guadalupe 5,523 6,525 Town 1975
26 Litchfield Park 5,476 6,009 City 1987
27 Cave Creek 5,015 5,622 Town 1986
28 Citrus Park 4,028 -- CDP
29 Carefree 3,363 3,783 Town 1984
30 Gila Bend 1,922 2,069 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
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