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Maricopa County

Maricopa County, Arizona
Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona
Template:Infobox U.S. county/map
Arizona's location in the U.S.
Founded February 14, 1871
Seat Phoenix
Largest city Phoenix
 • Total 9,224.27 sq mi (23,891 km2)
 • Land 9,203.14 sq mi (23,836 km2)
 • Water 21.13 sq mi (55 km2), 0.23%
Population (Est.)
 • (2012) 3,942,169
 • Density 415/sq mi (160.1/km²)
Congressional district Template:Infobox U.S. county/district, Template:Infobox U.S. county/district, Template:Infobox U.S. county/district
Time zone Template:Infobox U.S. county/timezone
Template:Infobox U.S. county/timezone

Maricopa County (/ˌmærɨˈkpə/ ) 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, the most populous in the state,[1] and ranks fourth among the nation's counties and is greater than the population of 23 states.[2] 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. The county seat is Phoenix,[3] which is Arizona's largest city and capital. The center of population of Arizona is located in Maricopa County, in the town of Gilbert.[4] 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, as well as the largest American county whose seat starts with a different letter than the county.

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.[5] 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.

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 2000 census, the county has a total area of 9,224.27 square miles (23,890.7 km2), of which 9,203.14 square miles (23,836.0 km2) (or 99.77%) is land and 21.13 square miles (54.7 km2) (or 0.23%) is water.[7]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

List of cities and towns


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20123,942,1693.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2012 Estimate[9]


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,072,149 people.

In addition, Hispanic or Latino people, of any race, formed 29.6% of the population.


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.[10]

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.


Maricopa County Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
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 34.5% 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

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 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.[11] Each member serves for a period of four years, and may be continuously reelected. The Board of Supervisors acts in the capacity of executive authority for the county within the statutes and powers prescribed by Arizona state law. In this respect the Legislature of the State of Arizona is, in effect, the legislative body of the county, 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. Unlike cities and towns in Arizona, each county is not a chartered government and is considered both politically and legally a sub-division of the state.

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.[12]

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 Template:Efn 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 2012Template:Efn Gila River Indian Community
  3 Raul Grijalva Democratic 2002 Avondale, Buckeye
  4 Paul Gosar Republican 2010 Northern Maricopa County
  5 Matt Salmon Republican 2012Template:Efn Mesa, Gilbert
  6 David Schweikert Republican 2010 Phoenix, Scottsdale
  7 Ed Pastor Democratic 1991 Phoenix
  8 Trent Franks Republican 2002 West Valley
  9 Kyrsten Sinema Democratic 2012 Phoenix, South Scottsdale, Tempe


Arizona Legislature

Board of Supervisors

Party District Name First elected Area(s) represented
  Republican District 1 Denny Barney 2012 Chandler, Guadalupe, Queen Creek, Tempe
  Republican District 2 Steve Chucri 2012 Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale
  Republican District 3 Andy Kunasek 1997 Phoenix
  Republican District 4 Clint Hickman N/A, selected by sitting Supervisors to fill seat vacated by Max Wilson, Spring 2013 Aguila, Buckeye, Glendale, Goodyear, New River, Peoria, Surprise, Wickenberg
  Democratic District 5 Mary Rose Wilcox 1988 Gila Bend, Sentinel


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

  • Interstate 8
  • Interstate 10
  • Interstate 17
  • U.S. Route 60
  • Loop 101
  • Loop 202
  • Loop 303
  • State Route 51
  • State Route 71
  • State Route 74
  • State Route 85
  • State Route 87
  • State Route 143
  • State Route 347


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

Other communities


See also

Arizona portal


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

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