Phoenix metropolitan area

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"Valley of the Sun" redirects here. For the 1942 Western, see Valley of the Sun (film). For other uses, see Sun Valley (disambiguation).
Phoenix Metropolitan Area
Valley of the Sun
Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area highlighted in a map of Arizona.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area highlighted in a map of Arizona.
Country  United States
State Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona
Largest city Flag of Phoenix, Arizona.svg Phoenix
Other Major Cities • Maricopa County
 - Mesa
 - Chandler
 - Glendale
 - Scottsdale
 - Gilbert
 - Tempe
 - Peoria
 - Surprise
 - Avondale
 - Goodyear
 - Buckeye
 - Sun City
• Pinal County
 - San Tan Valley
 - Casa Grande
 - Maricopa
 • Total 14,598.63 sq mi (23,494.22 km2)
 • Land 14,565.76 sq mi (23,441.32 km2)
 • Water 32.87 sq mi (52.9 km2)
Highest elevation 2,704 ft (824.18 m)
Lowest elevation 735 ft (224.03 m)
Population (Census 2010)[2]
 • Total 4,192,887
 • Estimate (2014) 4,489,109 (12th)
 • Density 308.2/sq mi (192.6/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 850xx to 853xx, 856xx [3]
Area code(s) 623, 602, 480, 520, 928

The Phoenix Metropolitan Area – often referred to as the Valley of the Sun, the Salt River Valley or Metro Phoenix – is a metropolitan area, centered on the city of Phoenix, that includes much of the central part of the U.S. State of Arizona. The United States Census Bureau designates the area as the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), defining it as Maricopa and Pinal counties.

The population of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area increased by 45.3% from 1990 through 2000, compared to the average United States rate of 13.2%, helping to make Arizona the second fastest growing state in the nation in the 1990s (the fastest was Nevada).[4] The 2000 Census reported the population of the metropolitan area to be 3,251,876.

As of April 1, 2010 the Census Bureau reported that the two-county metropolitan area had a population of 4,192,887, making it the 14th largest metro area in the United States. Metro Phoenix grew by 941,011 people from April 2000 to April 2010. It is home to more than two-thirds of Arizona's population.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 726,183
1970 1,039,807 43.2%
1980 1,599,970 53.9%
1990 2,238,480 39.9%
2000 3,251,876 45.3%
2010 4,192,887 28.9%
Est. 2014 4,489,109 7.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, there were 4,192,887 people, 1,537,137 households, and 1,024,971 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 73.0% White (58.7% White Non-Hispanic), 5.0% Black, 3.3% Asian, 2.4% Native American or Alaska Native (virtually all Native American) and 16.2% of other or mixed race. 29.5% were Hispanic of any race.[5]

In 2010 the median income for a household in the MSA was $50,385 and the median income for a family was $58,497. The per capita income was $24,809.[6]

Communities in the Phoenix metropolitan area[edit]

What follows is a list of places in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area (populations as of 2014). The Office of Management and Budget defines a metropolitan area as the core city plus its county and any nearby counties that are economically dependent on the core city. However, Arizona has relatively large counties and a harsh, rugged desert landscape. For these reasons, much of the land that is part of the Metropolitan Statistical Area is rural or completely uninhabited. The core part of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area is the Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona Urban Area, which is far smaller than the Metropolitan Statistical Area.[7]

Places that fall completely or partially within the boundaries of the Phoenix-Mesa, AZ UA are in bold below.[7]

Cities and Suburbs[edit]

Map showing cities and highways in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA, as defined by the U.S. Census as both Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Principal City

Places with 250,000+ inhabitants

Places with 150,000-249,999 inhabitants

Places with 75,000 to 149,999 inhabitants

Places with 30,000 to 74,999 inhabitants

Places with 10,000-29,999 inhabitants

Fewer than 10,000 inhabitants[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Over 10,000 inhabitants[edit]

Under 10,000 inhabitants[edit]


Freeways and expressways[edit]

The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is served by several controlled-access freeways, including Interstate 10, Interstate 17, US 60, SR 51, Loop 101, SR 143, and Loop 202.

Many new freeways are planned to be built by 2025, either through upgrades of existing roads such as SR 74, SR 85, and Loop 303; or through the construction of new freeways where no road existed before such as SR 24, SR 30, and the South Mountain Freeway portion of Loop 202.

Arterial roads[edit]

For more details on arterial roads in the metro area, see Phoenix metropolitan area arterial roads.

Most of the arterial roads in the Phoenix metropolitan area are laid out on a regular grid, following the section lines established in the Public Land Survey System. As a result, arterial roads in cities that had once been geographically separate may have been given different names while occupying the same section line. When these roads were extended to accommodate the growth in the area they eventually merged into a single road while the previous segments retained their existing names. This results in several cases of a road abruptly changing names; for example, Dunlap Avenue in Phoenix becomes Olive Avenue west of 43rd Avenue, in Glendale.

Another quirk of a grid system based upon the Public Land Survey System is due to the occasional corrections in the grid caused by the curvature of the earth. This results in arterial roadways deviating slightly from a straight line, as can be seen in many locations where roads abruptly curve either just north or just south of Baseline Road to follow a new section line.

The majority of the cities in the metropolitan area, as well as unincorporated areas in Maricopa County, observe the addressing system employed by the City of Phoenix. A number of cities, however, retain their own addressing systems with differing reference points, creating the potential for multiple instances of a house number being found on the same named road.

In terms of numbering systems, some roads that continue through multiple cities will switch numbering conventions several times. A drive eastward along Broadway Road, for example, will pass through Goodyear, Avondale, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Apache Junction, each with their own reference point for address numbering. Though the street does not curve, the direction changes from west to east in each city and back again when moving from one city to the next, causing considerable overlap in numbers.


A light rail system (dubbed the "METRO Light Rail," or "Worm") runs more than 20 miles from suburban Mesa, through Tempe and into Phoenix, traveling through the downtown area, offering access to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and linking two of the four metro area campuses of Arizona State University. The light rail began public operation on December 27, 2008, and it was projected to initially accommodate 26,000 boardings a day, or more than 8 million boardings in its first year. The Valley Metro light rail boardings has experienced constant growth since the beginning. In the year 2012, the light rail boarded just over 14 million people.

Expansions to the METRO system are currently in the early planning stages.


In 2010, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was the 24th busiest passenger facility in the world and the 10th busiest in the United States, with more than 38 million passengers using the facility. With three terminal buildings encompassing 120 gates, more than 20 airlines offer daily non-stop flights to destinations throughout the world.

The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport started commercial passenger flights in 2004. The airport currently provides service to 39 destinations.

There are several municipal and regional airports in the metropolitan area, however none of them are currently used by commercial airlines for passenger flights. They include, but are not limited to, Glendale Airport, Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Scottsdale Airport, Falcon Field, Chandler Airport, Buckeye Airport, Phoenix Regional Airport, Pleasant Valley Airport, Estrella Sailport, Stellar Airpark, Skyranch at Carefree, Gila River Memorial Airport, Pegasus Airpark.


Changes in house prices for the area are publicly tracked on a regular basis using the Case–Shiller index; the statistic is published by Standard & Poor's and is also a component of S&P's 20-city composite index of the value of the U.S. residential real estate market.

Street numbering systems[8][9][edit]

Most communities in Maricopa County use the Phoenix-County numbering system, with the point of origin at Central Avenue and Washington Street. In the Phoenix-County system, north-south numbered roads labeled "avenue", "drive", and "lane" are located West of Central Avenue, while those labeled "street", "place" and "way" are located east of Central Avenue. Starting with 579th Avenue[10] in the west near Tonopah the avenues count down with approximately 8 numbers per mile to 19th Avenue and count up again to from 16th Street to 228th Street[11] near Queen Creek in the east. They go, in order from west to east (although not all necessarily exist):

  • 2nd Avenue – 1st Dale – 1st Glen – 1st Lane – 1st Drive – 1st Avenue
  • Central Avenue
  • 1st Street – 1st Place – 1st Way – 1st Terrace – 1st Run – 2nd Street

This has been a source of confusion for some newcomers, who might end up, for example, at 91st Avenue and Thunderbird Road, when in fact they intended to go to 91st Street and Thunderbird Road, between 30 minutes and an hour away from one another depending on traffic.

One beneficial quality of this arrangement for unfamiliar travelers is that the major north-south arterial roads are rarely similarly named; the "avenue" arterials in the West Valley are all odd-numbered and the "street" arterials in the East Valley are even-numbered, with the exception of 7th Ave. & 7th St., both being major roadways running parallel and each one-half mile from Central Ave.

Communities in Maricopa County that have their own street numbering systems include:

Community Point of Origin
Apache Junction Idaho Road & Junction Drive
Avondale (historic downtown only) Central Avenue & Western Avenue
Buckeye (historic downtown only) Monroe Avenue & 1st Street
Chandler Commonwealth Place & Arizona Avenue
Gilbert Gilbert Road & Elliot Road
Litchfield Park Old Litchfield Road & Wigwam Boulevard
Mesa Center Street & Main Street
Goodyear (historic district only) Western Avenue & Litchfield Road
Tempe Mill Avenue & the Salt River
Wickenburg Center Street & Frontier Street
Wittmann (core area only) Center Street & Grand Avenue

Additional confusion can be encountered in Mesa in its urban core, with east-west numbered avenues and drives counting down from 11th Avenue north towards Main Street),[12] and numbered streets and places counting down from 11th Place south towards Main Street.[13] Then, in the eastern part of the city, north-south streets and places count up from 22nd St east of Gilbert Rd,[14] to 112th Street on the Apache Junction border.[15] Also, numerous trailer parks inside the city limits run their own contradictory variations of the numbered street system.[16]

Most communities in Pinal County use the Pinal County street numbering system, whose point of origin is at SR 287 and 11 Mile Corner Road (the intersection of which is known as "11 Mile Corner"). Exceptions include:

Community Point of origin
Apache Junction Idaho Road & Junction Drive
Casa Grande Ash Avenue & Center Street
Coolidge Central Avenue & railroad tracks
Eloy Alsdorf Road & Main Street
Florence Butte Avenue & Main Street
Queen Creek (follows Phoenix-County)
Stanfield SR 84 & Stanfield Road

Note that Apache Junction continues Mesa's convention of numbered street names by having the north-south sequence continue up from 112th St while simultaneously having east-west numbered avenues south of Apache Trail and east-west numbered streets north of Apache Trail.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-3. Ranking Tables for Metropolitan Areas: 1990 and 2000, United States Census Bureau, April 2, 2001, retrieved July 8, 2006 
  5. ^ DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 – 2010 Demographic Profile Data, U.S. Census Bureau 
  6. ^ DP03, SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau 
  7. ^ a b URBANIZED AREA OUTLINE MAP (CENSUS 2000): Phoenix--Mesa, AZ (PDF), U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau 
  8. ^ Phoenix Metropolitan Street Atlas (2006 ed.). Wide World of Maps. 2006. 
  9. ^ Google Maps
  10. ^ "Google Maps". Google. January 1, 1970. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Google Maps". Google. January 1, 1970. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Google Maps". Google. January 1, 1970. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Google Maps". Google. January 1, 1970. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Google Maps". Google. January 1, 1970. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  15. ^ 56 S 111th Pl (January 1, 1970). "56 S 111 pl, Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona 85208 – Google Maps". Google. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  16. ^ 56 S 111th Pl (January 1, 1970). "56 S 111 pl, Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona 85208 – Google Maps". Google. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  17. ^ 56 S 111th Pl (January 1, 1970). "56 S 111 pl, Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona 85208 – Google Maps". Google. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 

External links[edit]