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Arizona
State of Arizona
Flag of Arizona Official seal of Arizona
Nickname(s): 
The Grand Canyon State;
The Copper State;
The Valentine State
Motto(s): 
Ditat Deus (God enriches)
Anthem: "The Arizona March Song" and "Arizona"
Map of the United States with Arizona highlighted
Map of the United States with Arizona highlighted
Country United States
Before statehood Arizona Territory
Admitted to the Union February 14, 1912 (48th)
Capital
(and largest city)
Phoenix
Largest metro Greater Phoenix
Legislature Arizona Legislature
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
Area
 • Total 113,990 sq mi (295,234 km2)
Area rank 6th
Dimensions
 • Length 400 mi (645 km)
 • Width 310 mi (500 km)
Elevation
4,100 ft (1,250 m)
Highest elevation 12,637 ft (3,852 m)
Lowest elevation 72 ft (22 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 7,151,502
 • Rank 14th
 • Density 57/sq mi (22/km2)
 • Density rank 33rd
 • Median household income
$56,581
 • Income rank
29th
Demonym(s) Arizonan
Language
 • Official language English
 • Spoken language As of 2010
  • English 74.1%
  • Spanish 19.5%
  • Navajo 1.9%
  • Other 4.5%
Time zones
Most of state UTC−07:00 (Mountain)
Navajo Nation UTC−07:00 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−06:00 (MDT)
USPS abbreviation
AZ
ISO 3166 code US-AZ
Trad. abbreviation Ariz.
Latitude 31°20′ N to 37° N
Longitude 109°03′ W to 114°49′ W
Arizona state symbols
Flag of Arizona.svg
Seal of Arizona.svg
Living insignia
Amphibian Arizona tree frog
Bird Cactus wren
Butterfly Two-tailed swallowtail
Fish Apache trout
Flower Saguaro cactus blossom
Mammal Ring-tailed cat
Reptile Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake
Tree Palo verde
Inanimate insignia
Colors Blue, old gold
Firearm Colt Single Action Army revolver
Fossil Petrified wood
Gemstone Turquoise
Mineral Fire agate
Rock Petrified wood
Ship USS Arizona
Slogan The Grand Canyon State
Soil Casa Grande
State route marker
Arizona state route marker
State quarter
Arizona quarter dollar coin
Released in 2008
Lists of United States state symbols
Carnegiea gigantea (3)
Saguaro cactus flowers and buds after a wet winter. This is Arizona's official state flower.

Arizona ( AIR-iz-OH-nə; Navajo: Hoozdo Hahoodzo O'odham: Alĭ ṣonak) is a state in the Western United States, grouped in the Southwestern and occasionally Mountain subregions. It is the 6th largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah to the north, Colorado to the northeast, and New Mexico to the east; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912. Historically part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees; the Colorado Plateau; mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the internationally known Grand Canyon National Park, which is one of the world's seven natural wonders, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments.

Since the 1950s, Arizona's population and economy have grown dramatically because of migration into the state, and now the state is a major hub of the Sun Belt. Cities such as Phoenix and Tucson have developed large, sprawling suburban areas. Many large companies, such as PetSmart and Circle K, have headquarters in the state, and Arizona is home to major universities, including the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Traditionally, the state is politically known for national conservative figures such as Barry Goldwater and John McCain, though it voted Democratic in the 1996 presidential race and in the 2020 presidential and senatorial elections.

Arizona is home to a diverse population. About one-quarter of the state is made up of Indian reservations that serve as the home of 27 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest in the state and the United States, with more than 300,000 citizens. Since the 1980s, the proportion of Hispanics in the state's population has grown significantly owing to migration from Mexico. In terms of religion, a substantial portion of the population are followers of the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).

Etymology

The state's name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning "small spring," which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like "Arissona". The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O'odham language. Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona ("the good oak"), as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area.

There is a misconception that the state's name originated from the Spanish term Árida Zona ("Arid Zone").

Geography and geology

Monument Valley 01
West Mitten at Monument Valley
Bellemont Arizona View
San Francisco Peaks seen from Bellemont, Arizona
Saguaro National Park - Flickr - Joe Parks
Sonoran Desert at Saguaro National Park
Cathedral Rock Water-27527-1
Cathedral Rock near Red Rock Crossing in Sedona
See also lists of counties, rivers, lakes

Arizona is the sixth largest state in area, after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state's 113,998 square miles (295,000 km2), about 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservations.

Arizona is best known for its desert landscape. It has plants such as the cactus. It is also known for its climate, which has very hot summers and mild winters. Less well known is the pine-covered high country of the Colorado Plateau in the north-central part of the state.

Mountains and plateaus are found in more than half of the state. 27% of Arizona is forest. The largest stand of Ponderosa pine trees in the world is in Arizona.

The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge. It is made by the Colorado River in northern Arizona. The canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Most of the canyon is in the Grand Canyon National Park—one of the first national parks in the United States.

Arizona is home to a well-kept meteorite impact site. The Barringer Crater (better known simply as “Meteor Crater”) is a huge hole in the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau. It is about 25 miles (40 km) west of Winslow. A rim of smashed and jumbled boulders, some of them the size of small houses, rises 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the surrounding plain. The crater is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, and 570 feet (170 m) deep. Meteor Crater is a popular tourist attraction. It is privately owned by the Barringer family through the Barringer Crater Company. There is an admission fee charged to see the crater.

Arizona is one of two states that does not observe Daylight Saving Time, except in the Navajo Nation in the northeastern part of the state.

Earthquakes

Generally, Arizona is at low risk of earthquakes, except for the southwestern portion which is at moderate risk due to its proximity to Southern California. On the other hand, Northern Arizona is at moderate risk due to numerous faults in the area. The regions near and west of Phoenix have the lowest risk.

The earliest Arizona earthquakes were recorded at Fort Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River. They were centered near the Imperial Valley, or Mexico, back in the 1800s. Douglas felt the 1887 Sonora earthquake with its epicenter 40 miles to the south in the Mexican state of Sonora. The first damaging earthquake known to be centered within Arizona occurred on January 25, 1906, also including a series of other earthquakes centered near Socorro, New Mexico. The shock was violent in Flagstaff.

In September 1910, a series of fifty-two earthquakes caused a construction crew near Flagstaff to leave the area. In 1912, the year Arizona achieved statehood, on August 18, an earthquake caused a 50-mile crack in the San Francisco Range. In early January 1935, the state experienced a series of earthquakes, in the Yuma area and near the Grand Canyon. Arizona experienced its largest earthquake in 1959, with a tremor of a magnitude 5.6. It was centered near Fredonia, in the state's northwest near the border with Utah. The tremor was felt across the border in Nevada and Utah.

Climate

Due to its large area and variations in elevation, the state has a wide variety of localized climate conditions. In the lower elevations, the climate is primarily desert, with mild winters and extremely hot summers. Typically, from late fall to early spring, the weather is mild, averaging a minimum of 60 °F (16 °C). November through February are the coldest months, with temperatures typically ranging from 40 to 75 °F (4 to 24 °C), with occasional frosts.

About midway through February, the temperatures start to rise, with warm days, and cool, breezy nights. The summer months of June through September bring a dry heat from 90–120 °F (32–49 °C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding 125 °F having been observed in the desert area. Arizona's all-time record high is 128 °F (53 °C) recorded at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994, and July 5, 2007; the all-time record low of −40° was recorded at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.

Arizona has an average annual rainfall of 12.7 in (323 mm), which comes during two rainy seasons, with cold fronts coming from the Pacific Ocean during the winter and a monsoon in the summer. The monsoon season occurs toward the end of summer.

Arizona's northern third is a plateau at significantly higher altitudes than the lower desert, and has an appreciably cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers, though the climate remains semiarid to arid. Extremely cold temperatures are not unknown; cold air systems from the northern states and Canada occasionally push into the state, bringing temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) to the state's northern parts.

History

North Rim of Grand Canyon, Arizona 2005
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

For thousands of years before the modern era, Arizona was home to numerous Native American tribes. Hohokam, Mogollon and Ancestral Puebloan cultures were among the many that flourished throughout the state. Many of their pueblos, cliffside dwellings, rock paintings and other prehistoric treasures have survived, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

The first European contact by native peoples was with Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, in 1539. He explored parts of the state and made contact with native inhabitants, probably the Sobaipuri. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–1542 during its search for Cíbola.

Father Kino was the next European in the region. A member of the Society of Jesus, he led the development of a chain of missions in the region. He converted many of the Indians to Christianity in the Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 18th century. Spain founded presidios ("fortified towns") at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775.

When Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of its Territory of Nueva California, also known as Alta California. Descendants of ethnic Spanish and mestizo settlers from the colonial years still lived in the area, with much deeper roots than later European-American migrants from the United States.

Mexico 1824 (equirectangular projection)
Mexico in 1824. Alta California is the northwestern-most state.

During the Mexican–American War (1847), the U.S. occupied Mexico City and pursued its claim to much of northern Mexico, including what later became Arizona. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) specified that, in addition to language and cultural rights of the existing inhabitants being considered as inviolable, the sum of US$15 million in compensation (equivalent to $368,192,307.69 in 2018.) be paid to the Republic of Mexico. In 1853 the U.S. acquired the land below the Gila River from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered as part of the Territory of New Mexico until southern New Mexico Territory seceded from the Union during the American Civil War as the Confederate Territory of Arizona on March 16, 1861.

Apache chieff Geronimo (right) and his warriors in 1886
Geronimo (far right) and his Apache warriors fought against both Mexican and American settlers

Arizona was recognized as a Confederate Territory by presidential proclamation of Jefferson Davis on February 14, 1862. This is the first official use of the name. Arizona supported the Confederate cause with men, horses, and supplies. Formed in 1862, Arizona Scout Companies fought with the Confederate Army throughout the war. Arizona has the westernmost recorded engagement of the war, the Battle of Picacho Pass.

The federal government declared a new Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of New Mexico Territory, in Washington, D.C., on February 24, 1863. These new boundaries would later form the basis of the state.

The first territorial capital, Prescott, was founded in 1864 following a gold rush to central Arizona.

Brigham Young sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid- to late 19th century.

DorotheaLangeMigrantWorkersChildren
Children of Depression-era migrant workers, Pinal County, 1937

20th century to present

During the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, several battles were fought in the Mexican towns just across the border from Arizona settlements. Throughout the revolution, numerous Arizonans enlisted in one of the several armies fighting in Mexico. Only two significant engagements took place on U.S. soil between U.S. and Mexican forces: Pancho Villa's 1916 Columbus Raid in New Mexico, and the Battle of Ambos Nogales in 1918 in Arizona. The Americans won the latter.

After U.S. soldiers were fired on by Mexican federal troops, the American garrison launched an assault into Nogales, Mexico. The Mexicans eventually surrendered after both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few months earlier, just west of Nogales, an Indian War battle had occurred, considered the last engagement in the American Indian Wars, which lasted from 1775 to 1918. U.S. soldiers stationed on the border confronted Yaqui Indians who were using Arizona as a base to raid the nearby Mexican settlements, as part of their wars against Mexico.

Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted.

Eleanor Roosevelt at Gila River, Arizona at Japanese,American Internment Center - NARA - 197094
Eleanor Roosevelt at the Gila River relocation center, April 23, 1943

Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona's most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression. But during the 1920s and even the 1930s, tourism began to develop as the important Arizonan industry it is today. Dude ranches, such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to take part in the flavor and activities of the "Old West". Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws. They include the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936).

Arizona was the site of German POW camps during World War II and Japanese-American internment camps.

Arizona was also home to the Phoenix Indian School, one of several federal Indian boarding schools designed to assimilate Native American children into mainstream European-American culture. Children were often enrolled into these schools against the wishes of their parents and families. Attempts to suppress native identities included forcing the children to cut their hair, to take and use English names, to speak only English, and to practice Christianity rather than their native religions.

Numerous Native Americans from Arizona fought for the United States during World War II.

Arizona's population grew tremendously with residential and business development after World War II, aided by the widespread use of air conditioning, which made the intensely hot summers more comfortable.

Three ships named USS Arizona have been christened in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.

Demographics

Arizona population map
A population density map of Arizona
Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,482
1870 9,658 49.0%
1880 40,440 318.7%
1890 88,243 118.2%
1900 122,931 39.3%
1910 204,354 66.2%
1920 334,162 63.5%
1930 435,573 30.3%
1940 499,261 14.6%
1950 749,587 50.1%
1960 1,302,161 73.7%
1970 1,770,900 36.0%
1980 2,718,215 53.5%
1990 3,665,228 34.8%
2000 5,130,632 40.0%
2010 6,392,017 24.6%
2020 7,151,502 11.9%
Sources: 1910–2020
Note that early censuses
may not include
Native Americans in Arizona

The United States Census Bureau records Arizona's population as 7,151,502 in the 2020 Census, a 12% increase since the 2010 United States Census.

Arizona remained sparsely settled for most of the 19th century. The 1860 census reported the population of "Arizona County" to be 6,482, of whom 4,040 were listed as "Indians", 21 as "free colored", and 2,421 as "white". Arizona's continued population growth puts an enormous stress on the state's water supply. As of 2011, 61% of Arizona's children under age one belonged to racial groups of color.

The population of metropolitan Phoenix increased by 45% from 1991 through 2001, helping to make Arizona the second fastest-growing state in the U.S. in the 1990s (the fastest was Nevada). As of July 2018, the population of the Phoenix area is estimated to be over 4.9 million.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Arizona had a population of 6,392,017. In 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 8% of the population. This was the second highest percentage of any state in the U.S. Arizona has banned sanctuary cities.

Metropolitan Phoenix (4.7 million) and Tucson (1.0 million) are home to about five-sixths of Arizona's people (as of the 2010 census). Metro Phoenix alone accounts for two-thirds of the state's population.

Race and ethnicity

In 1980, the Census Bureau reported Arizona's population as 16% Hispanic, 6% Native American, and 75% non-Hispanic white, based on people's self-identification. In 2010, the racial makeup of the state was:

Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 30% of the state's population. Non-Hispanic whites formed 58% of the total population.

Arizona racial breakdown of population
Racial composition 1970 1990 2000 2010
White 91% 81% 76% 73%
Native 5% 6% 5% 5%
Black 3% 3% 3% 4%
Asian 1% 2% 2% 3%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
Other race 1% 9% 12% 12%
Two or more races 3% 3%

Arizona's five largest ancestry groups, as of 2009, were:

  1. Mexican (27%)
  2. German (16%)
  3. Irish (11%)
  4. English (10%)
  5. Italian (5%)

Languages

Extension spanish arizona
Extent of the Spanish language in the state of Arizona
Top 10 non-English languages spoken in Arizona
Language Percentage of population
(as of 2010)
Spanish 21%
Navajo 2%
German <1%
Chinese (including Mandarin) <1%
Tagalog <1%
Vietnamese <1%
Other North American indigenous languages (especially indigenous languages of Arizona) <1%
French <1%
Arabic <1%
Apache <1%
Korean <1%
Navajo Cowboy-1
A Navajo man on horseback in Monument Valley

As of 2010, 73% (4,215,749) of Arizona residents age five and older spoke only English at home, while 21% (1,202,638) spoke Spanish, 2% (85,602) Navajo, <1% (22,592) German, <1% (22,426) Chinese (which includes Mandarin), <1% (19,015) Tagalog, <1% (17,603) Vietnamese, <1% (15,707) Other North American Indigenous Languages (especially indigenous languages of Arizona), and French was spoken as a main language by <1% (15,062) of the population over the age of five. In total, 27% (1,567,548) of Arizona's population age five and older spoke a mother language other than English.

Arizona is home to the largest number of speakers of Native American languages in the 48 contiguous states, as more than 85,000 individuals reported speaking Navajo, and 10,403 people reported Apache, as a language spoken at home in 2005. Arizona's Apache County has the highest concentration of speakers of Native American Indian languages in the United States.

Religion

Exterior of the Mission Xavier del Bac
The Spanish mission of San Xavier del Bac, founded in 1700
Religion in Arizona (2014)
Religion Percent
Protestant
  
39%
Unaffiliated
  
27%
Catholic
  
21%
Mormon
  
5%
Jewish
  
2%
Jehovah's Witness
  
1%
Hindu
  
1%
Buddhist
  
1%
Muslim
  
1%
Other
  
2%

In 2010, the Association of Religion Data Archives reported that the three largest denominational groups in Arizona were the Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and non-denominational Evangelical Protestants. The Catholic Church has the highest number of adherents in Arizona (at 930,001), followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 410,263 members reported and then non-denominational Evangelical Protestants, reporting 281,105 adherents. The religious body with the largest number of congregations is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with 836 congregations) followed by the Southern Baptist Convention (with 323 congregations).

According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the fifteen largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 and 2000 were:

Religion 2010 Population 2000 Population
Catholic Church 930,001 974,884
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 410,263 251,974
Non-denominational Christianity 281,105 63,885
Southern Baptist Convention 126,830 138,516
Assemblies of God 123,713 82,802
United Methodist Church 54,977 53,232
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 48,386 33,162
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 42,944 69,393
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod 26,322 24,977
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 26,078 33,554
Episcopal Church (United States) 24,853 31,104
Seventh-day Adventist Church 20,924 11,513
Church of the Nazarene 16,991 18,143
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ 14,350 0
Churches of Christ 14,151 14,471

Hinduism became the largest non-Christian religion (when combining all denominations) in 2010 with more than 32,000 adherents, followed by Judaism with more than 20,000 and Buddhism with more than 19,000.

Economy

Barringer Crater aerial photo by USGS
Arizona's Meteor Crater is a tourist attraction.

The 2011 total gross state product was $259 billion. This figure gives Arizona a larger economy than such countries as Ireland, Finland, and New Zealand. The composition of the state's economy is moderately diverse; although health care, transportation and the government remain the largest sectors.

Early in its history, Arizona's economy relied on the "five C's": copper (see Copper mining in Arizona), cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). Copper is still extensively mined from many expansive open-pit and underground mines, accounting for two-thirds of the nation's output.

Law and government

Counties

Arizona is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. As of 1983 there were 15 counties in the state, ranging in size from 1,238 square miles (3,210 km2) to 18,661 square miles (48,330 km2).

Arizona counties
County name County seat Year founded 2010 population Percent of total Area (sq. mi.) Percent of total
Apache St. Johns 1879 71,518 1.12 % 11,218 9.84 %
Cochise Bisbee 1881 131,346 2.05 % 6,219 5.46 %
Coconino Flagstaff 1891 134,421 2.10 % 18,661 16.37 %
Gila Globe 1881 53,597 0.84 % 4,796 4.21 %
Graham Safford 1881 37,220 0.58 % 4,641 4.07 %
Greenlee Clifton 1909 8,437 0.13 % 1,848 1.62 %
La Paz Parker 1983 20,489 0.32 % 4,513 3.96 %
Maricopa Phoenix 1871 3,817,117 59.72 % 9,224 8.09 %
Mohave Kingman 1864 200,186 3.13 % 13,470 11.82 %
Navajo Holbrook 1895 107,449 1.68 % 9,959 8.74 %
Pima Tucson 1864 980,263 15.34 % 9,189 8.06 %
Pinal Florence 1875 375,770 5.88 % 5,374 4.71 %
Santa Cruz Nogales 1899 47,420 0.74 % 1,238 1.09 %
Yavapai Prescott 1864 211,033 3.30 % 8,128 7.13 %
Yuma Yuma 1864 195,751 3.06 % 5,519 4.84 %
Totals: 15 6,392,017 113,997

Federal representation

Arizona's two United States Senators are John McCain (R), the 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee, and Jeff Flake (R).

As of the start of the 115th Congress, Arizona's representatives in the United States House of Representatives are Tom O'Halleran (D-1), Martha McSally (R-2), Raul Grijalva (D-3), Paul Gosar (R-4), Andy Biggs (R-5), David Schweikert (R-6), Ruben Gallego (D-7), Trent Franks (R-8), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-9). Arizona gained a ninth seat in the House of Representatives due to redistricting based on Census 2010.

Baseball

Arizona is a popular location for Major League Baseball spring training, as it is the site of the Cactus League. Spring training was first started in Arizona in 1947, when Brewers owner Veeck sold them in 1945 but went onto purchase the Cleveland Indians in 1946. He decided to train the Cleveland Indians in Tucson and convinced the New York Giants to give Phoenix a try. Thus the Cactus League was born.

On March 9, 1995, Arizona was awarded a franchise to begin play for the 1998 season. A $130 million franchise fee was paid to Major League Baseball and on January 16, 1997, the Diamondbacks were officially voted into the National League.

Since their debut, the Diamondbacks have won five National League West titles, one National League Championship pennant, and the 2001 World Series.

State symbols

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus 20061226
Cactus wren, the Arizona state bird
  • Arizona state amphibian: Arizona treefrog (Hyla eximia)
  • Arizona state bird: cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
  • Arizona state butterfly: two-tailed swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)
  • Arizona state colors: federal blue and old gold
  • Arizona state fish: Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache)
  • Arizona state flag: Flag of the State of Arizona
  • Arizona state flower: saguaro blossom (Carnegiea gigantea)
  • Arizona state fossil: petrified wood
  • Arizona state gemstone: turquoise
  • Arizona state mammal: ring-tailed cat (Bassariscus astutus)
  • Arizona state motto: Ditat Deus (Latin God enriches)
  • Arizona state neckwear: bolo tie
  • Arizona state reptile: Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)
  • Arizona state seal: Great Seal of the State of Arizona
  • Arizona state slogan: Grand Canyon State
  • Arizona state songs: "Arizona March Song" (by Margaret Rowe Clifford) and "Arizona" (by Rex Allen, Jr.)
  • Arizona state tree: palo verde (Parkinsonia)
  • Arizona state gun: Colt Single Action Army revolver

Education

Elementary and secondary education

Public schools in Arizona are separated into about 220 local school districts which operate independently, but are governed in most cases by elected county school superintendents; these are in turn overseen by the Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona Department of Education. A state Superintendent of Public Instruction (elected in partisan elections every even-numbered year when there is not a presidential election, for a four-year term). In 2005, a School District Redistricting Commission was established with the goal of combining and consolidating many of these districts.

Higher education

University of Arizona mall
The University of Arizona (the Mall) in Tucson
Asubiodesign
Arizona State University (a biodesign building) in Tempe

Arizona is served by three public universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. These schools are governed by the Arizona Board of Regents.

Private higher education in Arizona is dominated by a large number of for-profit and "chain" (multi-site) universities.

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott and Prescott College are Arizona's only non-profit four-year private colleges.

Arizona has a wide network of two-year vocational schools and community colleges. These colleges were governed historically by a separate statewide board of directors but, in 2002, the state legislature transferred almost all oversight authority to individual community college districts. The Maricopa County Community College District includes 11 community colleges throughout Maricopa County and is one of the largest in the nation.

Public universities in Arizona

Private colleges and universities in Arizona

  • American Indian College
  • Carrington College
  • Arizona Christian University
  • Art Center College of Design
  • Art Institute of Tucson
  • Art Institute of Phoenix
  • A.T. Still University
  • Brookline College
  • Brown Mackie College
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • International Baptist College
  • Midwestern University
  • Northcentral University
  • Ottawa University
  • Park University
  • University of Phoenix
  • Penn Foster College
  • Prescott College
  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • University of Advancing Technology
  • Western Governors University
  • Western International University
  • Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

Community colleges

  • Arizona Western College
  • Central Arizona College
  • Cochise College
  • Coconino Community College
  • Diné College
  • Eastern Arizona College
  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College
  • Estrella Mountain Community College
  • GateWay Community College
  • Glendale Community College
  • Maricopa County Community College District
  • Mesa Community College
  • Mohave Community College
  • Northland Pioneer College
  • Paradise Valley Community College
  • Phoenix College
  • Pima Community College
  • Rio Salado Community College
  • Scottsdale Community College
  • South Mountain Community College
  • Yavapai College

Transportation

Entering Arizona on I-10 Westbound
Entering Arizona on I-10 from New Mexico

Highways

Interstate highways

I-8 | I-10 | Future I-11 | I-15 | I-17 | I-19 | I-40

U.S. routes

US 60 | US 64 | Historic US 66 | US 70 | Historic US 80 | US 89 | US 89A | US 91 | US 93 | US 95 | US 160 | US 163 | US 180 | US 191

Main Interstate routes include I-17, and I-19 traveling north–south, I-8, I-10, and I-40, traveling east–west, and a short stretch of I-15 traveling northeast–southwest through the extreme northwestern corner of the state. In addition, the various urban areas are served by complex networks of state routes and highways, such as the Loop 101, which is part of Phoenix's vast freeway system.

Public transportation, Amtrak, and intercity bus

See also: List of passenger train stations in Arizona

The Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are served by public bus transit systems. Yuma and Flagstaff also have public bus systems. Greyhound Lines serves Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and several smaller communities statewide.

A light rail system, called Valley Metro Rail, was completed in December 2008; it connects Central Phoenix with the nearby cities of Mesa and Tempe.

In Tucson, the Sun Link streetcar system travels through the downtown area, connecting the main University of Arizona campus with Mercado San Agustin on the western edge of downtown Tucson. Sun Link, loosely based on the Portland Streetcar, launched in July 2014.

Amtrak Southwest Chief route serves the northern part of the state, stopping at Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams and Kingman. The Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited routes serve South-Central Arizona, stopping at Tucson, Maricopa, Yuma and Benson. Phoenix lost Amtrak service in 1996 with the discontinuation of the Desert Wind, and now an Amtrak bus runs between Phoenix and the station in Maricopa. As of 2021, Amtrak has proposed to restore rail service between Phoenix and Tucson.

Aviation

See also: List of airports in Arizona

Airports with regularly scheduled commercial flights include: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX, ICAO: KPHX) in Phoenix (the state's largest airport and the major international airport); Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUS, ICAO: KTUS) in Tucson; Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IATA: AZA, ICAO: KIWA) in Mesa; Yuma International Airport (IATA: NYL, ICAO: KNYL) in Yuma; Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) in Prescott; Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (IATA: FLG, ICAO: KFLG) in Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon National Park Airport (IATA: GCN, ICAO: KGCN, FAA: GCN), a small, but busy, single-runway facility providing tourist flights, mostly from Las Vegas. Phoenix Sky Harbor is the world's 7th busiest airport in terms of aircraft movements and 17th for passenger traffic.

Other significant airports without regularly scheduled commercial flights include Scottsdale Municipal Airport (IATA: SCF, ICAO: KSDL) in Scottsdale, and Deer Valley Airport (IATA: DVT, ICAO: KDVT, FAA: DVT) home to two flight training academies and the nation's busiest general aviation airport.

Notable people

Images for kids

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