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Apache County, Arizona facts for kids

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Apache County
Navajo Nation Council Chamber
Official seal of Apache County
Seal
Map of Arizona highlighting Apache County
Location within the U.S. state of Arizona
Map of the United States highlighting Arizona
Arizona's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Arizona
Founded February 24, 1879
Named for Apache people
Seat St. Johns
Largest community Eagar
Area
 • Total 11,218 sq mi (29,050 km2)
 • Land 11,198 sq mi (29,000 km2)
 • Water 21 sq mi (50 km2)  0.2%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 71,518
 • Estimate 
(2019)
71,887
 • Density 6.3753/sq mi (2.46151/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
Congressional district 1st
Four Corners marker, southwestern United States
Apache County includes the Arizona section of the Four Corners Monument.

Apache County is in the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. Shaped in a long rectangle running north to south, as of the 2010 census, its population was 71,518. The county seat is St. Johns.

Most of the county is occupied by part of the federally recognized Navajo Nation and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, respectively.

History

Apache County was formed during the Tenth Territorial Legislation in 1879 out of the eastern section of Yavapai County; officially all land east of 119°45′ W. By 1895, Navajo County and parts of Graham, Greenlee and Gila Counties were formed from this land. The county seat was placed in the town of Snowflake, but was moved a year later to St. Johns. From 1880 to 1882, the county seat was temporarily in Springerville before being returned to St. Johns.

A history of the area, written in 1896, records the following about Apache County:

Apache County was created in 1879 and lies in the northeastern corner of the Territory. Until March, 1895, it also embraced what is now Navajo County, but at that date the latter was set apart and established as a separate county. Apache County is justly noted for its great natural resources and advantages. It is destined some day in the early future to have a large agricultural population. Now, immense herds of cattle and flocks of sheep roam over its broad mesas and its fertile valleys. The Navajo Indians occupy the northern part of the county-in fact, occupy much of the remainder of the county, as they refuse to remain on their reservation, preferring to drive their sheep and cattle on lands outside their reservation, where the grazing is better. The southern part is a fine grazing country, while the northern part is cut up into picturesque gorges and canons by the floods of past centuries.

In the late 1880s, the county sheriff was Old West gunfighter legend Commodore Perry Owens. At that time, the county covered more than 21,177 square miles (54,850 km2) in territory. In September 1887, near Holbrook in what is now Navajo County, Owens was involved in one of the Old West's most famous gunfights, when he killed three men and wounded a fourth while serving a warrant on outlaw Andy Blevins/Andy Cooper, an active participant in a raging range war, later dubbed the Pleasant Valley War.

In 2015, Apache County had the highest rate of death due to motor vehicles in the United States, with 82.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 11,218 square miles (29,050 km2), of which 11,198 square miles (29,000 km2) is land and 21 square miles (54 km2) (0.2%) is water. The county is the third-largest county by area in Arizona and the sixth-largest in the United States (excluding boroughs and census areas in Alaska).

Apache County contains parts of the Navajo Indian Reservation, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and Petrified Forest National Park. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is entirely within the county.

Adjacent counties

Apache County is one of two U.S. counties (the other being Wayne County, West Virginia) to border two counties of the same name, neither of which is in the same state as the county itself (San Juan County, Utah and San Juan County, New Mexico).

Indian reservations

Apache County has the most land designated as Indian reservation of any county in the United States. ( Coconino County and Navajo County are a close second and third.) The county has 19,857.34 km2 (7,666.96 sq mi) of reservation territory, or 68.34 percent of its total area. The reservations are, in descending order of area within the county, the Navajo Nation, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and the Zuni Indian Reservation, all of which are partly located within the county.

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 5,283
1890 4,281 −19.0%
1900 8,297 93.8%
1910 9,196 10.8%
1920 13,196 43.5%
1930 17,765 34.6%
1940 24,095 35.6%
1950 27,767 15.2%
1960 30,438 9.6%
1970 32,298 6.1%
1980 52,108 61.3%
1990 61,591 18.2%
2000 69,423 12.7%
2010 71,518 3.0%
Est. 2019 71,887 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2018

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 71,518 people, 22,771 households, and 16,331 families residing in the county. The population density was 6.4 inhabitants per square mile (2.5/km2). There were 32,514 housing units at an average density of 2.9 per square mile (1.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 72.9% Native American, 23.3% white, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% black or African American, 1.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.8% of the population.

The largest ancestry groups were:

  • 69.6% Navajo
  • 5.4% English
  • 5.3% German
  • 4.2% Irish
  • 4.0% Mexican
  • 1.4% American
  • 1.1% Scottish
  • 1.0% French
  • 1.0% Polish

Of the 22,771 households, 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 21.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.3% were non-families, and 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 3.10 and the average family size was 3.76. The median age was 32.4 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,184 and the median income for a family was $36,915. Males had a median income of $38,451 versus $31,557 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,294. About 26.9% of families and 34.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.8% of those under age 18 and 29.2% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Major highways

U.S. Route 191 NM Beautiful Valley 2006 09 06
U.S. Route 191 crossing the Beautiful Valley in Apache County
  • I-40 (AZ).svg Interstate 40
  • US 60.svg U.S. Route 60
  • US 64.svg U.S. Route 64
  • US 180.svg U.S. Route 180
  • US 191.svg U.S. Route 191
  • Arizona 61.svg State Route 61
  • Arizona 260.svg State Route 260
  • Arizona 264.svg State Route 264

Airports

The following public use airports are located in Apache County:

Communities

Apache Sitgreaves Nima2
Wildflower meadow in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, near Alpine.
Casa Malpais Kiva
Kiva at Casa Malpais, near Springerville.
Navajo Nation Council Chambers 6809
Navajo Nation Council Chambers, Window Rock.

City

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

County population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Apache County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Eagar 4,885 Town 1948
2 Chinle 4,518 CDP
3 Fort Defiance 3,624 CDP
4 St. Johns 3,480 City 1879
5 Window Rock 2,712 CDP
6 Springerville 1,961 Town 1948
7 Lukachukai 1,701 CDP
8 St. Michaels 1,443 CDP
9 Many Farms 1,348 CDP
10 Ganado 1,210 CDP
11 Tsaile 1,205 CDP
12 Houck 1,024 CDP
13 Round Rock 789 CDP
14 Sawmill 748 CDP
15 Dennehotso 746 CDP
16 Teec Nos Pos 730 CDP
17 Rock Point 642 CDP
18 Sanders 630 CDP
19 Burnside 537 CDP
20 McNary 528 CDP
21 Nazlini 489 CDP
22 Red Mesa 480 CDP
23 Rough Rock 414 CDP
24 Del Muerto 329 CDP
25 Steamboat 284 CDP
26 Cornfields 255 CDP
27 Klagetoh 242 CDP
28 Cottonwood 226 CDP
29 Wide Ruins 176 CDP
30 Red Rock 169 CDP
31 Alpine 145 CDP
32 Sehili 135 CDP
33 Vernon 122 CDP
34 Oak Springs 63 CDP
35 Greer 41 CDP
36 Concho 38 CDP
37 Nutrioso 26 CDP
38 Lupton 25 CDP
39 Toyei 13 CDP

Education

Primary and secondary schools

The following school districts serve Apache County:

  • Alpine Elementary School District
  • Chinle Unified School District
  • Concho Elementary School District
  • Ganado Unified School District
  • McNary Elementary School District
  • Red Mesa Unified School District
  • Round Valley Unified School District
  • Sanders Unified School District
  • St Johns Unified School District
  • Vernon Elementary School District
  • Window Rock Unified School District

In addition several other schools, including charter schools and tribal schools operated by or affiliated with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs's Office of Education Programs, serve the county.

Tribal schools:

  • Many Farms High School
  • Hunters Point Boarding School

Charter schools:

  • New Visions Academy

Private schools:

  • St. Michael Indian School

Public libraries

The Apache County Library District, headquartered in St. Johns, operates public libraries in the county. The branches include Alpine Public Library (unincorporated area), Concho Public Library (unincorporated area), Greer Memorial Library (unincorporated area), Round Valley Public Library (Eagar), Sanders Public Library (unincorporated area), St. Johns Public Library (St. Johns), and Vernon Public Library (unincorporated area).

The Navajo Nation Museum and Library is located in Window Rock. The library and museum is the largest one on the Navajo Nation and in Apache County.

Notable people

  • Berard Haile
  • Cormac Antram
  • Don Lorenzo Hubbell
  • Anselm Weber
  • Rex E. Lee
  • David King Udall
  • Mo Udall
  • Stewart Udall
  • William Cooper
  • John Wayne
  • Henry Chee Dodge
  • Joe Shirley Jr.
  • Annie Dodge Wauneka

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