Table of contents
Updated November 30, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
state flag of Arizona

Colorado State Information

Capital: Phoenix, AZ 85007

Official Name: State of Arizona

Organized as a territory/republic: February 24, 1863

Entered Union (rank): February 14, 1912 (48th)

Present constitution adopted: 1912

State abbreviation/Postal code: Ariz./AZ

State Area Codes: 480, 520, 602, 623, 928

Fun Facts About Arizona

Nickname: The Grand Canyon State

Origin of name: The name "Arizona" originates from the Spanish interpretation of "arizuma," which was a word from the native O'odham language meaning "silver-bearing."

Motto: “Ditat Deus” (“God Enriches”)

Slogan: "The Grand Canyon State"

State symbols: 

Flower: Saguaro Cactus Blossom (1931) 

Tree: Palo Verde (1954)

Animal: Ringtail (1986)

Bird: Cactus Wren (1973)

Fish: Arizona Trout (1986)

Gem: Turquoise (1974)

Colors: Blue and Gold (1915)

Song: “Arizona March Song” with lyrics by Margaret Row Clifford and music by Maurice Blumenthal (1919); “Arizona” by Rex Allen and Rex Allen Jr. (1981)

Fossil: Petrified Wood (1988)

Dinosaur: The Sonorasaurus (2018)

Insect: Two-Tailed Swallowtail Butterfly (2001)


Governor: Katie Hobbs (to Nov. 2026)

Lieut. Governor: see Secretary of State

Secretary of State: Adrian Fontes (to Nov. 2026) 

General Treasurer: Kimberly Yee (to Nov. 2022) 

Atty. General: Kris Mayes (to Nov. 2027)

U.S. Representatives: 9

Senators: Krysten Sinema, I (to Jan. 2020); Mark Kelly, D (to Jan 2026)

Historical biographies of Congressional members

State/official website:


Residents: Arizonan

Resident population: 7,151,502 (14th Largest State, 2020)

10 largest cities (2020): Phoenix, 1,611,345; Tucson 541,859; Mesa, 505,860; Chandler, 277,556; Gilbert, 269,206; Glendale, 248,797; Scottsdale 241,933; Peoria, 191,985; Tempe, 180,823; Surprise, 144,412.

Race/Ethnicity: White (82%); Black (5.3%); Hispanic (32.3%); Asian (3.8%); American Indian and Alaska Native (5.3%); Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.3%); Two or More Races (3.1%).

Religion: Protestant (39%); Catholic (21%); Mormon (5%); Judaism (2%); Eastern Orthodox (<1%); Jehovah’s Witness (1%); Islam (1%); Buddhism (1%); Hinduism (1%); Other Faiths (2%); No Religion (27%).

Sex: Male (49.9%); Female (50.1%)

Age: Under 18 (27.7%); 18-64 (54%); 65 and over (18.3%). Median Age: 37.9.


GDP: 356.42 billion U.S Dollars (6th in U.S., 2022) 

Unemployment: 3.4% (2023)


Land area: 113,990 sq mi

Geographic center: Yavapai County, approximately 55 mi ESE of the city of Prescott

Number of counties: 15

Largest county by population and area: Maricopa County, 4,420,568 (2020); Maricopa County, 9,223 sq mi. 

State parks/recreation areas: 29

See additional census data

Tourism office


Arizona, located in the southwestern United States, is a captivating state renowned for its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage. From the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon to the striking red rock formations of Sedona, Arizona offers breathtaking natural wonders that attract visitors from around the globe. The state's history is marked by ancient civilizations, Spanish explorers, and Mexican and American influences.

Arizona's vibrant Native American communities, including the Navajo and Hopi tribes, contribute to its cultural tapestry. With a thriving economy encompassing industries such as aerospace, technology, and tourism and a bustling capital city in Phoenix, Arizona, continues to evolve while facing challenges such as water scarcity and environmental conservation. Arizona has a rich history and a bright future, making it a unique and attractive destination.

Arizona Geography

Arizona is bordered by Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California and is part of the Four Corners region. The state is characterized by its iconic natural features, including the Grand Canyon, Havasupai Falls, Slot Canyons, and the Sonoran Desert. The Colorado River runs through Arizona, and Lake Havasu City is a popular destination for water activities. With its highest peak, Humphrey's Peak, reaching an elevation of 12,633 feet, Arizona offers diverse landscapes, ranging from high mountains and plateaus to mesas and forests.

Arizona is the 6th largest state in terms of area. Still, only 15% of the land is privately owned, with the majority being part of national forests, wildlife reserves, and Native American Reservations. The state is situated in the Basin and Range Region, known for its xerophyte plants that can survive with minimal water, such as the Saguaro Cactus Blossom, the state flower. While Arizona is often associated with its desert and dry climate, approximately 27% of the state consists of forests in higher elevations, primarily featuring ponderosa pines. The Mogollon Rim Escarpment, crossing the central section of the state, marks the southeastern edge of the Colorado Plateau.

Northern Arizona is home to the world-famous Grand Canyon, a magnificent natural wonder created by millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River. Spanning 277 miles (446 km), the canyon ranges from 4 to 18 miles wide and reaches depths of up to 1 mile. Additionally, Arizona hosts well-preserved meteorite impact sites like the Barringer Meteor Crater in the middle of the high plains, approximately 25 miles west of Winslow. This crater features a mile-wide (16 km) impact site surrounded by 150 feet of broken boulders, with a depth of 570 feet (170 mm).[1]

Arizona experiences a diverse climate with lower elevations primarily characterized by desert landscapes, mild winters, and extremely hot and dry summers. Lake Havasu City's highest recorded temperature is 128.9 degrees Fahrenheit (53 C°), while the lowest recorded temperature is -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 C°) at Howley Lake. The average annual rainfall is 12.7 inches (323 mm), which occurs during two distinct rainy seasons: winter cold fronts and late-summer monsoons, often accompanied by thunderstorms and flash flooding.

Arizona People & Population

Arizona ranks 5th among the fastest-growing states in the United States, with much of its population growth occurring after World War II. Most of Arizona's population is concentrated in metropolitan areas and sprawling suburbs. The largest county in Arizona is Maricopa County, home to the state capital of Phoenix, with a population of 4,420,568, according to the 2020 census. Maricopa County also includes popular cities like Glendale and Scottsdale. Pima County is the second most populous county, which encompasses Tucson. Together, these two counties house nearly 80% of the state's population.[1]

Arizona's population primarily comprises White individuals, accounting for 61% of the population. The state also has a significant Hispanic community, comprising 32.3% of the population, because of its proximity to the Mexican border and inward migration. Additionally, Arizona has a substantial Native American population, with a quarter of the state comprising Native American Reservations and over 300,000 Native American citizens. The state is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest in Arizona and the United States, with 300,000 citizens. The Tohono O'odham Nation is the second-largest tribe in the state.[2]

Unlike many other states, Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, maintaining a consistent time throughout the year.

Arizona Government

Arizona's government consists of three separate branches. The Executive Branch is headed by the governor, currently held by Katie Hobbs (D), along with other elected officials such as the secretary of state, attorney general, state mine inspector, and a five-member party of the Corporation Commission. The state has two senators and nine house representatives. Elected officials serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms. Unlike most states, Arizona does not have a Lieutenant Governor; instead, the Secretary of State assumes those duties. However, in the November 2022 election, Arizona voters decided to add the position of Lieutenant Governor to the election ticket starting in 2026.[3]

The state legislature in Arizona is composed of 60 districts and follows a bicameral structure with a State House of Representatives and a State Senate. There are 60 members in the House of Representatives and 30 members in the Senate. Every district has one senator and two representatives.

Arizona's Judiciary includes a Supreme Court with positions appointed by the governor, including the Chief Justice, Vice Chief Justice, and five associate justices. The court can declare laws unconstitutional only when seated en banc, meaning all judges are present. The Supreme Court convenes at the Capitol complex in Arizona.

Arizona's local government comprises 15 counties with elected officials that manage public services. It also includes municipal governments with home rules, granting them the authority to make appropriate decisions for their communities through City or Town Councils. In Indian Reservations, only federal and Tribal laws apply to their citizens.

Traditionally, Arizona has leaned Republican since the 1950s. However, in recent elections, the state has gained a reputation as a swing state. In 2020, Arizona became a focal point of political turmoil when the Trump Campaign challenged the electoral college vote and filed a series of lawsuits against the state, ultimately resulting in losses.

Arizona Economy

Arizona boasts one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic economies in the United States. Phoenix, the state's capital, is the nation's 5th most populous city. Arizona is home to several Fortune 500 companies and numerous startup tech companies. Major sectors driving the state's economy include aerospace, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing. The state is also significant in the glass and space technology industry due to its attractive climate, low light pollution, and favorable landscape for astronomers.

Arizona has a sales transaction privilege tax rate of 5.6%, with additional county-level rates in most areas. The state has a flat individual income tax rate of 2.50%. According to the 2020 Census, the median income in Arizona is $65,913. However, the state also faces challenges, with a poverty rate ranging from 12% to 18% across different areas.[6]

Copper mining is a significant industry in Arizona, contributing two-thirds of the nation's copper output. The state's natural resources and mining operations are vital to the economy. Some of the largest employers headquartered in Arizona include PetSmart, Banner Health, Circle K, ON Semiconductor, Amazon, First Solar, Axon, and Honeywell.[4][5]

Arizona's economy is characterized by its rapid growth, diverse sectors, favorable growth for small businesses, and strong presence in the technology, aerospace, and mining industries.

Arizona Interesting Facts

Arizona is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, particularly the Grand Canyon, which attracts nearly 6 million visitors annually. The state offers a range of popular tourist destinations, a diverse food scene, and a growing economy supported by the technology and manufacturing sectors. Despite the hot summers, Arizona's favorable climate and low cost of living make it an appealing choice for retirees.

Native Reservations

Approximately one-quarter of Arizona is designated as Reservation Land, encompassing a vast area of 17,544,500 acres, larger than ten states in the United States. The Navajo Reservation is the largest and home to a community of over 300,000 people. This reservation holds significant historical sites, including the Navajo Monument, Canyon de Chelly, Ancient Pueblo Ruins, and Wupatki National Monument.

Save Me a Seat

Arizona boasts a unique food scene blending Native American and Hispanic cuisine. One popular favorite among Arizonians is Piki Bread, a thin and crunchy flatbread made from blue cornmeal and traditionally associated with the Hopi people. Navajo Tacos are another regional favorite, made with Native American frybread — flour-based flatbread deep-fried in lard or fat — and commonly topped with beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Posole, a traditional Mexican stew made with hominy, pork, and green chilies, is a staple food of the Pueblo people.

Ranches and Agriculture

Arizona has several ranches specializing in heirloom stock breeds, prickly pear cacti, and mesquite pods. These ranches contribute to the state's agricultural diversity and offer unique products and experiences tied to Arizona's natural resources.

Arizona History

Arizona's history is rich and diverse, dating back to the ancient Paleo-Indian settlements over 10,000 years ago. Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, followed by Mexican control and eventual American annexation. The region witnessed conflicts with Native American tribes, including the Navajo's forced relocation known as the "Long Walk." The discovery of copper and silver in the late 19th century fueled mining booms and attracted settlers. Arizona became a state in 1912, overcoming political and social challenges, including the fight for women's suffrage. World War II brought economic growth and military bases. Today, Arizona thrives as a vibrant state known for its stunning landscapes, diverse culture, and rapid population growth.

Pre-Colonial History

Paleo-Indians settled in what is now Arizona approximately 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and relied on hunting megafauna such as mammoths, mastodons, and bison. Over time, a shift occurred from hunting and gathering to agriculture, introducing crops like corn, beans, and squash to the region. Around 3500 B.C., climate changes and shifts in water sources influenced the area. In the northern part of the state, archaeological evidence of Paleo-Indians can be found in south-facing caves and rock overhangs. In the post-Archaic period, ancestral Puebloan, Hohokam, and Mogollon tribes inhabited the region, living in Pueblo structures that accommodated dozens to thousands of people and entire towns for these tribes.  

Colonial History

Spanish explorers, missionaries, and conquistadors were the first Europeans to arrive in Arizona. In 1539, Spanish priest Marcos de Niza ventured into the region to establish missions, followed by other explorers searching for gold. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, a Spanish conquistador, arrived in 1540-1542 in search of the Seven Cities of Gold, marking the first European sighting of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.

In 1691, Jesuit Missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino traveled through the area, establishing missions to convert the native population to Christianity. In 1736, significant silver deposits were discovered in Arizona. The Spanish Crown halted Jesuit missionary work in 1768, and the Franciscans took over the mission efforts.

Throughout the 18th century, Native tribes rebelled against the Spanish and attacked missionaries, leading the Spanish to construct forts to protect the settlers. In 1751, the native Pima people revolted, resulting in the death of many settlers and the abandonment of missions. In 1752, the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac, a Spanish fort, was built in present-day Tubac, Arizona. In 1775, the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson was established, forming present-day Tucson, Arizona. Several battles occurred between the Spanish and the Apache during this time.

1776 the Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate was founded near present-day Tombstone. In the early 19th century, the Spanish and the Apache made peace. Mining activities commenced in the Arivaca area, contributing to economic development. These events marked the early Spanish exploration, missionary efforts, and establishment of settlements in Arizona. 

Pre-Civil War History

Between 1810 and 1821, the Mexican War of Independence from Spain took place, leading to Mexico gaining independence in 1821. In 1822, trade posts opened between Santa Fe and St. Louis, and Americans began moving further west into Texas Territory. In 1824, fur traders moved into Arizona Territory to hunt beavers. The Texas Revolution against Mexico occurred in 1835-1836.

The U.S.-Mexican War began in 1846 over the disputed boundary between the U.S. and Texas/Mexico, and it ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.[7] The discovery of gold in California in 1848 led to a boom in Arizona's population as miners traveled through the region via the Gila Trail, the southern overland route to California.[8]  The Compromise of 1850 established the Territory of New Mexico, which included the modern area of Arizona. In 1852, the Gadsden Purchase adjusted the borders between the U.S. and Mexico. Arizona began petitioning the U.S. Congress to become a state in 1856.

The U.S. Army built forts throughout this period to discourage Native Americans from entering the region. Forts such as Fort Buchanan (established in 1857) and Fort Defiance (established in 1851) played significant roles in conflicts with Native American tribes. During the Civil War, forts were abandoned but returned to military use.

The Navajo people experienced significant hardships during this time, including forced removal to a reservation through the "Long Walk" in 1864. Fort Apache was built in 1870 on the Fort Apache Reservation, and Fort Huachuca was founded in 1877 as a base against Mexican raiders and Apaches. The Confederate States of America claimed Arizona as a Confederate territory in 1861, but Union troops later recaptured it in 1862.

The Apache Wars also took place during this period, and the Battle of Picacho Pass near Casa Grande was the westernmost battle of the Civil War. In 1863, the U.S. split up New Mexico and created the Arizona Territory along a north-south line.

Post-Civil War History 

After the Civil War, Texans migrated to Arizona Territory to establish large-scale ranching operations. This attracted outlaws to the area as well. A cattle boom occurred from 1873 to 1891, with cattle herds growing from 40,000 to over 1.5 million head — however, a drought from 1891 to 1893 decimated the cattle population.

In 1883, the copper boom began, leading to the emergence of mining towns such as Bisbee, Jerome, Douglas, Ajo, and Miami. The demand for copper wiring during the electricity boom drove the copper industry. In 1877-1929, Tombstone, a mining town, discovered silver and experienced rapid growth and became a famous outlaw town known for the historic gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881.

The city of Phoenix was connected to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1881, and in 1883, the Atlantic and Pacific (Santa Fe) railroad crossed northern Arizona. Copper replaced silver in economic importance by 1888. The territorial capital moved from Prescott to Phoenix in 1889.

The influence of John Wesley Powell's book about his expedition of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1869 sparked interest in exploring the West. The construction of the Harvey House overlooking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1905 facilitated large-scale tourism to Arizona.

Chinese immigrants arrived in large numbers during the 1880s to work on building railroads. Tucson developed its own Chinatown and fostered relationships between Chinese and Mexican communities. Arizona almost entered the union in 1912, with proposals for direct election of senators and women's suffrage, but it was initially rejected. A revised constitution without those issues was eventually signed, and Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912.

During World War I, Arizona experienced an economic boom through manufacturing and mining. In 1919, the Grand Canyon was designated a National Park. The completion of Route 66 in 1926, which passed through areas near Flagstaff and Seligman, brought truck drivers and migrants seeking new opportunities during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

The Great Depression and Dust Bowl significantly impacted Arizona, but New Deal programs provided some relief. In 1933, construction began on the Hoover Dam, providing water and power to the region. The Colorado River Compact of 1922 was a partnership between the states of Nevada, California, and Arizona, that allocated water resources, with Arizona receiving 19% of the water.

Modern History

During World War II, Arizona saw the construction of numerous military bases and operations. Prisoner of War camps were established at Camp Florence and Camp Papago. Additionally, Japanese internment camps, such as the Gila River War Relocation Center and the Poston War Relocation Center, were built on Native American reservation land, despite opposition from the Native community.[9]

The war brought an economic boom to Arizona, allowing the state to recover from the Great Depression. Manufacturing and mining, particularly copper mining, experienced increased demand. After World War II, Arizona witnessed a major population boom, primarily in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. This population growth led to challenges in water supply for agriculture, and employment in manufacturing significantly increased, with companies like Motorola, Hughes Aircraft, Goodyear Aircraft, Honeywell, and IBM establishing offices in Phoenix.

Arizona's desirable climate and lower cost of living attracted retirees, leading to the development of major retirement communities and gated communities for older residents. Today, Arizona is a rapidly growing and prosperous state. However, it faces significant challenges, including a severe climate crisis with droughts and wildfires threatening livelihoods and the state working towards preparedness for future climate disasters.

The state has seen active Civil Rights movements, and major cities have been historically segregated by race but have actively worked towards better equality for their residents. The state also deals with ongoing issues related to illegal immigration, and in April 2010, Arizona passed controversial and stringent anti-immigration laws.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona was one of the hardest-hit states, experiencing high infection and death rates. The state has also been at the center of political controversy, particularly regarding the 2020 election. Accusations were made by the Trump campaign about mishandling votes in Arizona, adding to the political discourse surrounding the state.[10]

People Also Ask…

If you are interested in more information about the state of Arizona, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common FAQs below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our quiz on National Parks!

Is Arizona Worth Living In? 

Arizona has a fairly tolerable climate and affordable housing and retirement communities. It also has a strong job market with a consistently growing economy that is attractive to manufacturing and tech companies. It has a beautiful landscape that is favorable to outdoor and astronomy enthusiasts.

What Is Arizona Known For? 

Arizona is most famous for its stunning natural landscapes, including the Grand Canyon, Sedona's red rocks, and Monument Valley. It is also known for its vibrant desert scenery, rich Native American history, and thriving cities like Phoenix and Tucson.

What Are the 5 C’s of Arizona?

The "Five C's" of A” are Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton, and Climate. These represent the major industries and resources historically contributing to the state's economy and identity.

Famous Arizona natives and residents:

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Sources +

[1] Visit Arizona. (n.d.). 15 Natural Features that Define Arizona | Visit Arizona.

[2] United States Census Bureau QuickFacts. (n.d.). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Arizona. Census Bureau QuickFacts.

[3] Gomez, G. R. (2022, November 14). Voters approve proposition creating lieutenant governor position • Arizona Mirror. Arizona Mirror.

[4] Center for New Media & Promotion (CNMP), US Census Bureau. (n.d.). My Tribal Area.

[5] United States Census Bureau QuickFacts. (n.d.-b). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Arizona. Census Bureau QuickFacts.

[6] IBISWorld - Industry Market Research, Reports, and Statistics. (n.d.).

[7] Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). (2022, September 21). National Archives.

[8] Historic Trails of Arizona - Gila Route | Arizona State Parks. (n.d.).

[9] BrieAnna J Frank, The Arizona Republic. (2017, January 30). 5 things to know about Arizona’s World War II internment camps. The Republic |

See also: