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Gilbert, Arizona
Town
Gilbert's Heritage Court as viewed from Gilbert Road
Gilbert's Heritage Court as viewed from Gilbert Road
Flag of Gilbert, Arizona
Flag
Official seal of Gilbert, Arizona
Seal
Motto(s): 
"Gilbert: Clean, Safe, Vibrant"
Location of Gilbert in Maricopa County, Arizona
Location of Gilbert in Maricopa County, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona is located in Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona
Location in Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona is located in the United States
Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona
Location in the United States
Gilbert, Arizona is located in North America
Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona
Location in North America
Country United States
State Arizona
County Maricopa
Area
 • Town 68.79 sq mi (178.17 km2)
 • Land 68.59 sq mi (177.64 km2)
 • Water 0.20 sq mi (0.53 km2)
Elevation
1,237 ft (377 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Town 267,918
 • Rank US: 87th
 • Density 3,906.25/sq mi (1,508.20/km2)
 • Metro
5,200,647 (US: 10th)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP codes
85233, 85234, 85295, 85296, 85297, 85298
Area code(s) 480
FIPS code 04-27400

Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located southeast of Phoenix within the city's metropolitan area. Incorporated on July 6, 1920, Gilbert was once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World", it is the fifth-largest municipality in Arizona, and the fourth-largest in the Phoenix metro area. It covers an area of nearly 69 square miles (179 km2).

Gilbert has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeastern valley of the Greater Phoenix area. It has grown at an extremely high rate over the last three decades, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 243,254 as of the 2020 census. The town grew at an average annual rate of nearly 13% during this 30-year period. In 2019, the town's population was estimated to be 254,114. It is the largest incorporated town in the United States.

History

Gilbert owes its beginnings to William "Bobby" Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Ayer's Grocery Store, the first store in Gilbert, opened in 1910 and became the location of the first post office in 1912. The location of the town post office moved several times before settling on the east side of Gilbert Road in downtown, where it still stands today. In 1912, many Mormons who had fled the Mormon colonies in Mexico due to the actions of the forces of Pancho Villa settled in Gilbert. By 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward.

Incorporated in July 1920, Gilbert was primarily a farming community fueled by the rail line and construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern and Consolidated Canals. It remained an agricultural town for many years and was known as the "Hay Capital of the World" from 1911 until the late 1920s.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, in the 2000 Census, the town had an estimated area of 40 square miles (104 km2). As of 2009, and due to annexations the current Municipal Planning Area of Gilbert has a total area of 76.0 square miles (197 km2), of which, 75.76 square miles (196.2 km2) of it is land and 0.24 square miles (0.6 km2) of it is water.

Climate

Climate data for Gilbert, Arizona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
(31.7)
95
(35)
100
(37.8)
106
(41.1)
118
(47.8)
119
(48.3)
122
(50)
115
(46.1)
113
(45)
107
(41.7)
97
(36.1)
86
(30)
122
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 67
(19.4)
71
(21.7)
77
(25)
85
(29.4)
95
(35)
105
(40.6)
107
(41.7)
105
(40.6)
100
(37.8)
90
(32.2)
75
(23.9)
67
(19.4)
87
(30.56)
Average low °F (°C) 41
(5)
45
(7.2)
49
(9.4)
54
(12.2)
61
(16.1)
70
(21.1)
77
(25)
76
(24.4)
70
(21.1)
59
(15)
47
(8.3)
40
(4.4)
57.4
(14.12)
Record low °F (°C) 15
(-9.4)
19
(-7.2)
24
(-4.4)
30
(-1.1)
37
(2.8)
43
(6.1)
54
(12.2)
51
(10.6)
40
(4.4)
30
(-1.1)
22
(-5.6)
17
(-8.3)
15
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.01
(25.7)
1.03
(26.2)
1.19
(30.2)
0.33
(8.4)
0.13
(3.3)
0.04
(1)
0.89
(22.6)
1.14
(29)
0.89
(22.6)
0.81
(20.6)
0.77
(19.6)
0.98
(24.9)
9.21
(233.9)
Source: The Weather Channel

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 865
1930 791 −8.6%
1940 837 5.8%
1950 1,114 33.1%
1960 1,833 64.5%
1970 1,971 7.5%
1980 5,717 190.1%
1990 29,188 410.5%
2000 109,697 275.8%
2010 208,453 90.0%
2020 267,918 28.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 208,453 people, 74,147 housing units, and 3.01 persons per household.

  • Fastest growing municipality in the United States from 1990 to 2003 (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 4th fastest growing municipality in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau – 2009)
  • Ranked by CNN's Money magazine in 2008 as one of the best places to live in the United States
  • One of the top 25 safest cities in the United States
  • 34.5% of Gilbert residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • Highest household median income in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area with population 50,000+ (U.S. Census Bureau – 2005)

According to Nielsen's Claritas demographics, in 2009 the estimated racial makeup of the town was:

2009 estimated population data by gender/age:

  • 31.37 average age male/female. By 2019, the average age was reported as 33.6.
  • 50.2% male
    • 30.0 est. average age
  • 49.8% female
    • 31.8 est. average age
  • 37.1% population under 21
  • 33.3% population under 18
  • 70.0% population over 16
  • 66.8% population over 18
  • 62.9% population over 21
  • 5.3% population over 65

2009 estimated population age 15+ by marital status:

  • 20.9% never married
  • 66.7% married, spouse present
  • 2.2% married, spouse absent
  • 2.1% widowed
  • 8.1% divorced

2009 estimated population age 25+ educational attainment:

  • 92.3% high school/GED or higher
  • 37.5% bachelor's degree or higher. A 2019 report put the rate at close to 50% for residents over the age of 25.
  • 10.5% master's degree or higher

2009 estimated household by household income:

  • $109,213 average household income
  • $89,077 median household income. Median income noted as >$87,000 in a report of 2013–2017 US Census data, as compared to a state-wide median of $53,000.
  • $35,559 per capita Income
  • 2.3% of families were below the poverty level

Religion

Various religious denominations are represented in Gilbert. The town has been known for its high population of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a fact evidenced by the building of the Gilbert Arizona Temple, which was dedicated on March 2, 2014.

Arts and culture

Historic properties

There are various properties in the town of Gilbert which are considered historical and have been included either in the National Register of Historic Places or listed as such in the Gilbert Historic District. In the gallery at the end of the article are images of some of these properties with a short description of the same.

Music and dance

These performers have been associated with Gilbert:

  • Jimmy Eat World, band
  • Lifehouse, band
  • Lydia, band
  • The Maine, band
  • Scary Kids Scaring Kids, band
  • Elektrolytes, dance crew that won season 7 of America's Best Dance Crew
  • Lindsey Stirling, violinist/dancer/performer, Mesquite High School grad

Sister cities

Gallery of historic buildings

Economy

Gilbert Civic Center
Town Hall building at the Civic Center
Gilbert SW01
Gilbert Historical Museum
Picture of lake front in Val Vista Lakes in Gilbert, Arizona, USA
A waterfront in the Val Vista Lakes community in Gilbert
Downtown Gilbert - SWC Gilbert & Page - 2009-03-23
The Liberty Market with the Gilbert water tower (in background), pictured in March 2009
SanTan Village - North - 2009-09-20
SanTan Village in September 2009

Largest employers

According to the town's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Gilbert Public Schools 3,642
2 Banner Health 2,268 (~1,000 by 2019)
3 Mercy Gilbert Medical Center 1,233
4 Town of Gilbert 1,191
5 Fry's Food and Drug 966
6 Go Daddy 950 (1,300 by 2019)
7 Walmart 791
8 Chandler Unified School District 518
9 B H Drywall 500
10 Dillard's Retail and Distribution 490

Additional employers noted in a 2019 report were Dignity Health, employing about 1,000; and Isagenix International, a marketing company employing >700.

Education

Most of Gilbert is zoned to schools in the Gilbert Public Schools, while other portions are zoned to districts including the Chandler Unified School District, Mesa Public Schools, and the Higley Unified School District. Also in Gilbert are charter schools such as Eduprize (the first charter school in Arizona), American Leadership Academy, and Legacy Traditional School. The town is also home to Gilbert Christian Schools, a chain of private schools. In 2018, the Park University opened the Gilbert Campus Center after leasing 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) at the University Building in the city's Heritage District.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Gilbert is primarily served by one area freeway—the Santan Freeway portion of Loop 202. A small section of the US 60 Superstition Freeway also skirts the northern boundary of the town at the Higley Road interchange (Exit 186). Several regional arterials also serve the area, including Williams Field Road, Chandler Boulevard, and Gilbert Road. The town enjoys relative closeness to Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, which is located in east Mesa, and is a 25-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Recently, a park-and-ride facility was constructed in downtown Gilbert for bus service and future commuter rail service. Although the facility borders the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) tracks and has provisions for commuter rail service, there is currently no such service. Bus service is limited in Gilbert, with some north–south routes in Mesa dead-ending at Baseline Road before entering Gilbert. Routes that serve portions of Gilbert include the 108-Elliot Road, 112-Country Club/Arizona Avenue, 136-Gilbert Road, 140-Ray Road, 156-Chandler Boulevard/Williams Field Road, 184-Power Road, and 531-Mesa/Gilbert Express, with most of these routes operating at 30-minute frequency on weekdays. Sunday service is only available on Routes 108, 112, 156, and 184. Most people get around by cars or bikes. The city of Gilbert has a low percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 1.9 percent of Gilbert households lacked a car, and the figure was virtually unchanged in 2016 (1.7 percent). The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Gilbert averaged 2.08 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.

In 2018 Waymo started testing in a small portion of the northwest portion of the town of Gilbert.

Notable people

  • Jim Bechtel, professional poker player; World Champion of Poker in 1993; lives in Gilbert
  • Dave Burba, lives in Gilbert; pitcher for late 1990s Cleveland Indians
  • Haley Cavinder, current basketball player at Fresno State and internet personality; grew up in Gilbert and graduated from Gilbert High School
  • Marquis Cooper, professional linebacker; played for Highland High School
  • Ken Delo, singer best known for The Lawrence Welk Show; lives in Gilbert
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, NFL quarterback; played for Highland High School
  • Jineane Ford, Miss Arizona USA 1980, Miss USA 1980
  • Alan Gordon, professional soccer player; raised in Gilbert
  • Dan Hausel, Hall of Fame martial artist; resident of Gilbert since 2006
  • Shea Hillenbrand, All-Star professional baseball player and rescue farm owner
  • Darrin Jackson, professional baseball player, 1985–1999; TV broadcaster; lives in Gilbert
  • Kimberly Joiner, Miss Arizona USA 2008; raised in and still lives in Gilbert
  • Mina Kimes, ESPN TV personality and journalist; lived in Gilbert during teenage years; attended Mesquite High School
  • Naomi Lang, five-time U.S. ice dance champion, 2002 Olympian
  • Spencer Larsen, former professional football player; raised in Gilbert; played for Highland High School
  • Justin Lassen, artist; lives in Gilbert; graduated from Gilbert High School in 2000
  • Ryan Leslie, television personality on MTV's The Real World: New Orleans
  • Bengie Molina, former Major League Baseball catcher; has lived in Gilbert since 2011
  • Alex Naddour, bronze medalist at 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and in pommel horse at 2016 Summer Olympics; graduate from Highland High School
  • Carlos I. Noriega, NASA astronaut; retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant colonel; lives in Gilbert
  • Phil Ortega, MLB pitcher, 1960–1969; born in Gilbert in 1939
  • MyKayla Skinner, gold medalist at 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships; bronze medalist on vault
  • Lindsey Stirling, violinist; dancer; performer; grew up in Gilbert
  • Eric Swann, NFL player for Arizona Cardinals; lives in Gilbert
  • Rick Woolstenhulme, drummer for band Lifehouse
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