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Gila County, Arizona facts for kids

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Gila County
Gila County Courthouse in Globe
Gila County Courthouse in Globe
Official seal of Gila County
Map of Arizona highlighting Gila 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 8, 1881
Seat Globe
Largest town Payson
 • Total 4,795 sq mi (12,420 km2)
 • Land 4,758 sq mi (12,320 km2)
 • Water 38 sq mi (100 km2)  0.8%%
 • Total 53,597
 • Estimate 
 • Density 11.1777/sq mi (4.3157/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
Congressional districts 1st, 4th

Gila County is in the central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census its population was 53,597. The county seat is Globe.

Gila County comprises the Payson, Arizona Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Gila County contains parts of Fort Apache Indian Reservation and San Carlos Indian Reservation.


The county was formed from parts of Maricopa County and Pinal County on February 8, 1881. The boundary was then extended eastward to the San Carlos River by public petition in 1889. The original county seat was in the mining community of Globe City, now Globe, Arizona.

Popular theory says that the word Gila was derived from a Spanish contraction of Hah-quah-sa-eel, a Yuma word meaning "running water which is salty".

In the 1880s, a long range war broke out in Gila County that became the most costly feud in American history, resulting in an almost complete annihilation of the families involved. The Pleasant Valley War (also sometimes called the Tonto Basin Feud or Tonto Basin War) matched the cattle-herding Grahams against the sheep-herding Tewksburys. Once partisan feelings became tense and hostilities began, Frederick Russell Burnham, who later became a celebrated scout and the inspiration for the boy scouts, was drawn into the conflict on the losing side. Burnham shot many men in the feud, and was himself nearly killed by a bounty hunter. Tom Horn, a famous assassin, was also known to have taken part as a killer for hire, but it is unknown as to which side employed him, and both sides suffered several murders to which no suspect was ever identified. In the 1960s, it was home of Gerald Gault, who was the subject of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in re Gault, that stated juveniles have the same rights as adults when arrested to be notified of the charges against them, the rights to attorneys, for family members to be notified of their arrests and to confront their accusers and to not be punished harsher than adults who are convicted of the same crime, especially if an adult's penalty for the crime would be less than a juvenile convict's.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,795 square miles (12,420 km2), of which 4,758 square miles (12,320 km2) is land and 38 square miles (98 km2) (0.8%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,021
1900 4,973 146.1%
1910 16,348 228.7%
1920 25,678 57.1%
1930 31,016 20.8%
1940 23,867 −23.0%
1950 24,158 1.2%
1960 25,745 6.6%
1970 29,255 13.6%
1980 37,080 26.7%
1990 40,216 8.5%
2000 51,335 27.6%
2010 53,597 4.4%
2019 (est.) 54,018 0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2018

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 53,597 people, 22,000 households, and 14,294 families living in the county. The population density was 11.3 inhabitants per square mile (4.4/km2). There were 32,698 housing units at an average density of 6.9 per square mile (2.7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.8% white, 14.8% American Indian, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 5.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 17.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 17.4% were German, 13.3% were English, 11.4% were Irish, and 3.4% were American.

Of the 22,000 households, 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.0% were non-families, and 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94. The median age was 47.9 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,580 and the median income for a family was $46,292. Males had a median income of $41,698 versus $30,023 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,600. About 11.6% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways

  • US 60.svg U.S. Route 60
  • US 70.svg U.S. Route 70
  • Arizona 77.svg State Route 77
  • Arizona 87.svg State Route 87
  • Arizona 188.svg State Route 188
  • Arizona 260.svg State Route 260


The following public-use airports are located in the county:

  • Payson Airport in Payson
  • San Carlos Apache Airport near Globe


Gila County Incorporated and Unincorporated areas
Map of the incorporated and major unincorporated areas in Gila County. Also shown are borders for Indian reservations in the County.



Census-designated places

Other communities

Indian reservation

County population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Payson 15,301 Town
2 Globe 7,532 City 1875 (founded)
3 San Carlos 4,038 CDP
4 Central Heights-Midland City 2,534 CDP
5 Star Valley 2,310 Town 2005
6 Pine 1,963 CDP
7 Miami 1,837 Town
8 Claypool 1,538 CDP
9 Tonto Basin 1,424 CDP
10 Peridot 1,350 CDP
11 Canyon Day 1,209 CDP
12 Six Shooter Canyon 1,019 CDP
13 Strawberry 961 CDP
14 Wheatfields 785 CDP
15 Mesa del Caballo 765 CDP
16 Icehouse Canyon 677 CDP
17 Young 666 CDP
18 Hayden (partially in Pinal County) 662 Town
19 Gisela 570 CDP
20 Round Valley 487 CDP
21 Pinal 439 CDP
22 Winkelman (partially in Pinal County) 353 Town
23 Cedar Creek 318 CDP
24 Tonto Village 256 CDP
25 Dripping Springs 235 CDP
t-26 Beaver Valley 231 CDP
t-26 Top-of-the-World 231 CDP
27 East Globe 226 CDP
28 Oxbow Estates 217 CDP
29 Deer Creek 216 CDP
30 East Verde Estates 170 CDP
31 Christopher Creek 156 CDP
32 Whispering Pines 148 CDP
33 Carrizo 127 CDP
34 Copper Hill 108 CDP
35 Freedom Acres 84 CDP
36 Rye 77 CDP
37 Jakes Corner 76 CDP
38 Cutter 74 CDP
39 Washington Park 70 CDP
40 Geronimo Estates 60 CDP
41 Rock House 50 CDP
42 Hunter Creek 48 CDP
43 Kohls Ranch 46 CDP
44 Flowing Springs 42 CDP
45 Mead Ranch 38 CDP
46 El Capitan 37 CDP
47 Roosevelt 28 CDP
48 Haigler Creek 19 CDP
49 Bear Flat 18 CDP

Notable people

  • David Gowan

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Gila para niños

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