Gila County, Arizona
|Founded||February 8, 1881|
|• Total||4,795 sq mi (12,420 km2)|
|• Land||4,758 sq mi (12,320 km2)|
|• Water||38 sq mi (100 km2) 0.8%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||11/sq mi (4.3/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 4th|
The county was formed from parts of Maricopa and Pinal counties on February 8, 1881. The boundary was then extended eastward to the San Carlos River by public petition in 1889. The original county seat was in the mining community of Globe City, now Globe.
In the 1880s, a long range war broke out in Gila County that became the most costly feud in American history, resulting in an almost complete annihilation of the families involved. The Pleasant Valley War (also sometimes called the Tonto Basin Feud or Tonto Basin War) matched the cattle-herding Grahams against the sheep-herding Tewksburys. Once partisan feelings became tense and hostilities began, Frederick Russell Burnham, who later became a celebrated scout and the inspiration for the boy scouts, was drawn into the conflict on the losing side. Burnham shot many men in the feud, and was himself nearly killed by a bounty hunter. Tom Horn, a famous assassin, was also known to have taken part as a killer for hire, but it is unknown as to which side employed him, and both sides suffered several murders to which no suspect was ever identified. In the 1960s, it was home of Gerald Gault, who was the subject of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in re Gault, that stated juveniles have the same rights as adults when arrested to be notified of the charges against them, the rights to attorneys, for family members to be notified of their arrests and to confront their accusers and to not be punished more harshly than adults who are convicted of the same crime, especially if an adult's penalty for the crime would be less than a juvenile convict's.
- Yavapai County – northwest
- Maricopa County – west
- Pinal County – south
- Graham County – southeast
- Navajo County – east, northeast
- Coconino County – north
National protected areas
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 51,335 people, 20,140 households, and 14,098 families living in the county. The population density was 11 people per square mile (4/km2). There were 28,189 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.8% White, 0.4% Black or African American, 12.9% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 6.6% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 16.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.8% reported speaking Spanish at home, while 6.3% speak Western Apache.
There were 20,140 households, out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.1% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.1% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $30,917, and the median income for a family was $36,593. Males had a median income of $31,579 versus $22,315 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,315. About 12.6% of families and 17.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 census, there were 53,597 people, 22,000 households, and 14,294 families living in the county. The population density was 11.3 inhabitants per square mile (4.4/km2). There were 32,698 housing units at an average density of 6.9 per square mile (2.7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.8% white, 14.8% American Indian, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 5.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 17.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 17.4% were German, 13.3% were English, 11.4% were Irish, and 3.4% were American.
Of the 22,000 households, 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.0% were non-families, and 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94. The median age was 47.9 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $37,580 and the median income for a family was $46,292. Males had a median income of $41,698 versus $30,023 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,600. About 11.6% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.
Historically, Gila County was a Democratic-leaning county in largely-Republican Arizona – for example, it voted for Adlai Stevenson II in 1952, Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and (very narrowly in a three-way contest) for John W. Davis in 1924. In much of the “dealignment” period from 1960 to 1980, when Arizona was the only state never carried by a Democrat, Gila was the second most-Democratic county in Arizona, behind massively unionized Greenlee. Only during very large Presidential landslides was Gila County carried by Republicans before 2000: indeed, apart from Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Richard Nixon in 1972, no Republican before 2000 ever carried the county by more than seven percentage points.
Since 2000, however, like Greenlee County, Gila County has trended heavily towards the Republican Party, and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance was the worst ever by a Democratic presidential nominee. Moreover, Barack Obama did worse here in 2008 than John Kerry did in 2004, one of a few non-Ozark or non-Appalachian counties where this occurred (possibly due to Arizona Senator John McCain's presence on the ballot).
Gila County was covered in the papers as the site of a confluence between politics and public health as the conservatism of the county (with Democrat Joe Biden losing by 34 points in the 2020 presidential election) was considered one reason for vaccine skepticism, allowing the county to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to all adults well before other areas in the US.
The following public-use airports are located in the county:
- Globe (county seat)
- Bear Flat
- Beaver Valley
- Canyon Day
- Cedar Creek
- Central Heights-Midland City
- Christopher Creek
- Copper Hill
- Deer Creek
- Dripping Springs
- East Globe
- East Verde Estates
- El Capitan
- Flowing Springs
- Freedom Acres
- Geronimo Estates
- Haigler Creek
- Hunter Creek
- Icehouse Canyon
- Jakes Corner
- Kohls Ranch
- Mead Ranch
- Mesa del Caballo
- Oxbow Estates
- Rock House
- Roosevelt Estates
- Round Valley
- San Carlos
- Six Shooter Canyon
- Tonto Basin
- Tonto Village
- Washington Park
- Whispering Pines
County population ranking
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Population (2010 Census)||Municipal type||Incorporated|
|2||† Globe||7,532||City||1875 (founded)|
|4||Central Heights-Midland City||2,534||CDP|
|12||Six Shooter Canyon||1,019||CDP|
|15||Mesa del Caballo||765||CDP|
|18||Hayden (partially in Pinal County)||662||Town|
|22||Winkelman (partially in Pinal County)||353||Town|
|30||East Verde Estates||170||CDP|
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- Lott, Jack (1981). "Chapter 8. The Making of a Hero: Burnham in the Tonto Basin". In Boddington, Craig (ed.). America – The Men and Their Guns That Made Her Great. Petersen Publishing Co. p. 90. ISBN 0-8227-3022-7.
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- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
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- New York Times https://web.archive.org/web/20210303062244/https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/01/us/coronavirus-vaccines-gila-arizona.html. Archived from the original on March 3, 2021. Missing or empty
- (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20210301135035/https://www.gilacountyaz.gov/Results.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 1, 2021. Missing or empty
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