|Founded||February 14, 1871|
|Named for||Maricopa people|
|• Total||9,224 sq mi (23,890 km2)|
|• Land||9,200 sq mi (24,000 km2)|
|• Water||24 sq mi (60 km2) 0.3%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||480/sq mi (190/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th|
Maricopa County is in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2020 census the population was 4,420,568, or about 62% of the state's total, making it the fourth-most populous county in the United States and the most populous county in Arizona, and making Arizona one of the nation's most centralized states. The county seat is Phoenix, the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the United States.
Maricopa County is the central county of the Phoenix–Mesa–Chandler Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Office of Management and Budget renamed the metropolitan area in September 2018. Previously, it was the Phoenix–Mesa–Glendale metropolitan area, and in 2000, that was changed to Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale.
Maricopa County was named after the Maricopa Native Americans. Five Native American Reservations are 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 United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,224 sq mi (23,890 km2), of which 24 sq mi (62 km2) (0.3%) is covered by water. Maricopa County is one of the largest counties in the United States by area, with a land area greater than that of four other US 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 and south
- Gila County – east
- Yavapai County – north
National protected areas
Maricopa County has 14 regional parks:
- Adobe Mountain Desert Park
- Chaparral Lake
- Estrella Mountain Regional Park
- Hassayampa River Preserve
- Indian Mesa
- Lake Pleasant Regional Park
- Litchfield Park, Arizona
- Manistee Ranch
- McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
- Papago Park
- Phoenix Mountains Preserve
- Sahuaro Ranch
- San Tan Mountain Regional Park
- White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
It also has at least 21 protected areas:
- Big Horn Mountains Wilderness
- Daisy Mountain Preserve
- Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve
- Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
- Harquahala Mountains
- Hells Canyon Wilderness (Arizona)
- Hummingbird Springs Wilderness
- Mesa Grande
- Mummy Mountain (Arizona)
- National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona
- Painted Rock Petroglyph Site
- Sierra Estrella
- Signal Mountain Wilderness
- Sonoran Desert National Monument
- St. Francis Catholic Cemetery
- Superstition Mountains
- Table Top Mountain (Arizona)
- Tonto National Forest
- Wabayuma Peak
- White Tank Mountain Regional Park
- Woolsey Peak
Flora and fauna
From 2009 to 2011, an inventory of all vascular plants growing along the Salt River (Arizona), Gila River, New River and Agua Fria River and their tributaries in the Phoenix metropolitan area was done. In October 2022, Maricopa County Environmental Services Department detected Dengue virus in mosquitoes they had trapped; in November the first locally transmitted case of dengue fever was reported in the County and Arizona state as a whole - previous dengue cases in Maricopa County had been related to travel.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Racial and ethnic composition since 1960
|Black or African American||5.9%||5.0%||3.7%||3.4%||3.1%||3.3%||3.7%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||30.6%||29.6%||24.8%||16.2%||13.1%||14.5%||-|
As of the census of 2000, 3,072,149 people, 1,132,886 households, and 763,565 families were living in the county. The population density was 334 people/sq mi (129 people/km2). The 1,250,231 housing units averaged of 136 per square mile (53/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.4% White, 3.7% African American, 1.9% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 12.0% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. About 29.5% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race. About 19.1% reported speaking Spanish at home.
Of the 1,132,886 households, 33.0% had children under 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 not families. About 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.67, and the average family size was 3.21.
The age distribution in the county was 27.0% under 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 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 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, 3,817,117 people, 1,411,583 households, and 932,814 families were living in the county. The population density was 414.9/sq mi (160.2/km2). The 1,639,279 housing units averaged 178.2/sq mi (68.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 73.0% white (58.7% non-Hispanic white), 5.0% 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 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.9% were not 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 to 2013, 73.7% of the population aged five years and over spoke only English at home, while 20.3% spoke Spanish, 0.6% spoke Chinese, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.4% Tagalog, 0.4% Arabic, 0.4% German, 0.3% French, 0.3% Navajo, 0.2% Korean, 0.2% Hindi, 0.2% Italian, 0.1% Persian, 0.1% Russian, 0.1% Serbo-Croatian, 0.1% Telugu, 0.1% Polish, 0.1% Syriac, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% spoke Romanian, and 0.1% spoke other Native North American languages at home.
In 2010 statistics, the largest religious group in Maricopa County were Roman Catholics, who are organized under the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. There are 519,950 Catholics and 99 parishes. This is followed by 242,732 LDS Mormons with 503 congregations, 213,640 non-denominational adherents with 309 congregations, 93,252 Assembly of God Pentecostals with 120 congregations, 73,207 Southern Baptists with 149 congregations, 35,804 Christian churches and churches of Christ Christians with 29 congregations, 30,014 Evangelical Lutherans with 47 congregations, 28,634 UMC Methodists with 55 congregations, 18,408 Missouri Synod Lutherans with 34 congregations, and 15,001 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. As of 2023[update] 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.
For much of the time after World War II, Maricopa County was one of the more conservative urban counties in the United States. While the city of Phoenix has been evenly split between the two major parties, most of the rest of the county was strongly Republican. Until 2020, every Republican presidential candidate since 1952 had carried Maricopa County. 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. Until 2020, it was the largest county in the country to vote Republican. From 1968 to 2016, Democrats held the margin within single digits only three times–in 1992, 1996, and 2016. In 2020, Joe Biden became the first Democrat in 72 years to win the county, which flipped Arizona to the Democratic column for the first time since 1996 and only the second time since 1948. Furthermore, Biden became the first presidential candidate to win more than one million votes in the county. This makes Maricopa County the third county in American history to cast more than one million votes for a presidential candidate. The county is also a statewide bellwether, voting for the statewide winning candidate in all elections except 1996.
Despite its consistent Republican allegiance since 1952, its fast-growing Hispanic population and influx of conservative retirees and Mormons, which were traditionally conservative voting blocs but were increasingly skeptical of President Donald Trump, signaled that it was a crucial bellwether in the 2020 election.
|Voter Registration as of April 2023[update]|
|Party||Number of voters||Percentage|
Despite its political leanings at the time, 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 a successful state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The amendment was later invalidated 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 county Board of Supervisors acts under powers delegated by state law, mainly related to minor ordinances and revenue collection. With few exceptions, these powers are narrowly construed.The chairperson of the board presides for a one-year term, selected by the board members during a 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 elected by the people. Retention of Superior Court judges is also determined by popular vote.
The county's dominant political figure for over two decades (from 1993 to 2017) was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who called himself "America's Toughest Sheriff" and gained national notoriety for his flamboyant and often controversial practices and policies.
Maricopa County is home to 62 percent of the state's population and therefore 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, more than enough for the victory; she won statewide by 55,900 votes. All but one of the state's nine congressional districts include part of the county, and five of the districts have their population center located there. Most of the state's prominent elected officials live in the county. Further underlining Maricopa County's political dominance, Biden's margin of 45,109 votes was more than enough to carry the state; he only won Arizona by 10,457 votes.
United States Congress
|District||Name||Party||First elected [a]||Area(s) represented|
|United States Senate|
|Class I Senator||Kyrsten Sinema||Independent||2018||At Large|
|Class III Senator||Mark Kelly||Democratic||2020|
|United States House of Representatives|
|1||David Schweikert||Republican||2010||Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Scottsdale|
|2||Eli Crane||Republican||2022||Gila River Indian Community|
|3||Ruben Gallego||Democratic||2014||Glendale, Phoenix|
|4||Greg Stanton||Democratic||2018||Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe|
|5||Andy Biggs||Republican||2016||Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek|
|7||Raul Grijalva||Democratic||2002||Avondale, Gila Bend, Goodyear, Phoenix|
|8||Debbie Lesko||Republican||2018||Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Surprise|
|9||Paul Gosar||Republican||2010||Buckeye, El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise|
- Due to redistricting in 2012, many of the Representatives listed were first elected to a different district.
The 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th districts are all centered in Maricopa County. The 2nd and 9th are centered in rural Arizona, while the 7th is primarily Tucson-based.
Board of Supervisors
Elected county officials
|Republican||Clerk of the Superior Court||Jeff Fine||2018†|||
|Republican||County Attorney||Rachel Mitchell||2022†|||
|Republican||County Recorder||Stephen Richer||2020|||
|Republican||County School Superintendent||Steve Watson||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.
School districts with territory in the county (no matter how slight, even if the administration and schools are in other counties) include:
- Cave Creek Unified School District
- Chandler Unified School District
- Deer Valley Unified District
- Dysart Unified School District
- Fountain Hills Unified School District
- Gila Bend Unified School District
- Gilbert Unified School District
- Higley Unified School District
- Mesa Unified School District
- Nadaburg Unified School District
- Paradise Valley Unified School District
- Peoria Unified School District
- Queen Creek Unified School District
- Saddle Mountain Unified School District
- Scottsdale Unified School District
- Wickenburg Unified School District
- Agua Fria Union High School District
- Buckeye Union High School District
- Glendale Union High School District
- Phoenix Union High School District
- Tempe Union High School District
- Tolleson Union High School District
- Aguila Elementary School District
- Alhambra Elementary School District
- Arlington Elementary School District
- Avondale Elementary School District
- Balsz Elementary School District
- Buckeye Elementary School District
- Cartwright Elementary School District
- Creighton Elementary School District
- Fowler Elementary School District
- Glendale Elementary School District
- Isaac Elementary School District
- Kyrene Elementary School District
- Laveen Elementary School District
- Liberty Elementary School District
- Litchfield Elementary School District
- Littleton Elementary School District
- Madison Elementary School District
- Mobile Elementary School District
- Morristown Elementary School District
- Murphy Elementary School District
- Osborn Elementary School District
- Palo Verde Elementary School District
- Paloma School District
- Pendergast Elementary School District
- Phoenix Elementary School District
- Riverside Elementary School District
- Roosevelt Elementary School District
- Sentinel Elementary School District
- Tempe School District
- Tolleson Elementary School District
- Union Elementary School District
- Washington Elementary School District
- Wilson Elementary School District
There is also a state-operated school, Phoenix Day School for the Deaf.
The Phoenix Indian School was formerly in the county.
The major primary commercial airport of the county is Phoenix 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 in Mesa (MSC)
- Gila Bend Municipal Airport in Gila Bend (E63)
- Wickenburg Municipal Airport in Wickenburg (E25)
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.
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
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Population (2020 Census)||Population (2021 Estimate)||Municipal type||Incorporated|
|7||Peoria (partially in Yavapai County)||190,985||194,917||City||1954|
|13||Queen Creek (partially in Pinal County)||59,519||66,346||Town||1990|
|16||Sun City West||25,806||--||CDP|
In 2019, the largest employers in Maricopa County were:
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|2||State of Arizona||23,950|
|4||Frys Food Stores||15,170|
|7||City of Phoenix||12,190|
|9||Arizona State University||10,950|
|11||JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association||9,310|
|12||Bank of America||9,180|
|15||Mesa Unified School District 4||8,500|
|17||United States Department of the Air Force||7,720|
|19||State Farm Insurance||7,420|
|20||United States Postal Service||7,260|
|Sector||Number of jobs||Percent||National percent|
|Health care and social assistance||312,385||11.2%||11.3%|
|Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services||249,786||9.0%||6.2%|
|Finance and insurance||226,934||8.2%||5.4%|
|Accommodation and food services||204,917||7.4%||7.5%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||200,508||7.2%||7.2%|
|Real estate and rental and leasing||169,363||6.1%||4.8%|
|Other services (except government)||140,788||5.1%||5.8%|
|Transportation and warehousing||134,151||4.8%||4.5%|
|Arts, entertainment, and recreation||64,117||2.3%||2.4%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||35,917||1.7%||1.4%|
|Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction||5,356||0.2%||0.6%|
|Forestry, fishing, and related activities||2,994||0.1%||0.5%|
Maricopa produces far more Brassica than anywhere else in the state, including far more cabbage,: 288 collards,: 289 and mustard greens,: 292 and far more eggplant: 290 and greenhouse production of tomato.: 311 Slightly more kale is grown here than Yavapai,: 291 and a close second to Yuma for broccoli,: 288 cauliflower,: 289 and spinach,: 294 and to Yavapai for field tomato.: 295 The county is top for parsley and is tied with Pima for other fresh herbs.: 290 Some of the state's melon, okra, and bell pepper are also grown here.: 289
Almost all the apricot,: 298 freestone peach,: 300 persimmon,: 301 and nectarine: 299 in the state are grown here. The county also ties for the highest amount of cling peach with Cochise,: 300 along with Pima produces almost all the pomegranate,: 302 and grows most of the kumquat.: 302 Maricopa's farms grow a middling amount of fig,: 299 grape (Vitis spp. including V. vinifera),: 299 and pear (Pyrus spp.) other than Bartlett.: 300 A small amount of plum is also produced here.: 301
- 2021 Maricopa County presidential ballot audit
- History of Phoenix, Arizona
- Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
- Maricopa Trail
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Maricopa County, Arizona
- USS Maricopa County (LST-938)
- White Tank Mountain Regional Park
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The Democratic victory – declared days after CNN projected Biden's win in the presidential race – was anchored by Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and nearly 60% of all people in the state. Maricopa is the fastest-growing county in the country, transforming over the last two decades into a sprawling mass of metropolitan hubs, sun-scorched planned communities and bustling strip malls.
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- Official website
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