kids encyclopedia robot

Maricopa, Arizona facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Residential developments dominate the landscape of Maricopa
Residential developments dominate the landscape of Maricopa
Flag of Maricopa
Official seal of Maricopa
Official logo of Maricopa
Location of Maricopa in Pinal County, Arizona
Location of Maricopa in Pinal County, Arizona
Maricopa, Arizona is located in the United States
Maricopa, Arizona
Maricopa, Arizona
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Arizona
County Pinal
Established 1857
Incorporated 2003
 • Type Council-manager government
 • Total 42.59 sq mi (110.32 km2)
 • Land 42.49 sq mi (110.06 km2)
 • Water 0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
1,190 ft (358 m)
 • Total 58,125
 • Density 1,367.81/sq mi (528.11/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP code
85138, 85139
Area code(s) 520
FIPS code 04-44410
GNIS feature ID 7694

Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Pinal County, Arizona, United States. With 58,125 residents as of 2020, Maricopa is the largest incorporated municipality in Pinal County which forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.


Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.

During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.

The most prosperous period of time for Maricopa Wells was in the 1870s. During this time the trading center at the Wells provided water and food for not only the east-west travelers, but those who traveled to the north to Phoenix. Fairly good roads had been built by James A. Moore, the proprietor at Maricopa Wells, to all points north, and the Wells was a constant hubbub of activity.

Maricopaville developed south and west of the Wells, following construction of a railroad line from this terminus to Phoenix. In 1879, the Southern Pacific Railroad was in the process of building a railroad line from Yuma to Tucson, and a second railroad line was to be built from Maricopaville, wrapping around the western edge of South Mountain into Phoenix. With the railroad, Maricopaville took on the appearance of a gold rush California boom town, as men worked day and night building hotels, saloons, warehouses, restaurants, theaters, etc. One newspaper of the time reckoned that with its thousands of people and good location, Maricopaville would be an ideal choice for the location of the state capital.

But the railroad never built the anticipated line from Maricopaville into Phoenix. Tempe also wanted to be on the railroad line and lobbied the territorial government to gain a stop. Officials agreed. The settlement known as Maricopaville was essentially rebuilt three miles to the east (to the present location of Maricopa) in the early 1880s, in order to accommodate the Maricopa & Phoenix line, planned to go through Kyrene and Tempe to the north on the way to Phoenix. The first train departed from Maricopa for Phoenix on July 4, 1887. All east-west rail travelers had to stop at Maricopa, and those who wanted to go north had to shift to the M & P Railroad.

Maricopa was officially incorporated as a city on October 15, 2003, becoming the 88th incorporated city in Arizona. Between 2000 and 2010, the city's population grew from 1,040 residents to 43,482, an increase of 4080%.

A part of the city is within the boundaries of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The small, federally recognized tribe has developed Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino and related resort, a multi-entertainment cinema complex, and operates a golf course; all are open to the public and draw attendees from Maricopa as well as the greater Phoenix area. In addition the tribe operates the Ak-Chin Regional Airport and an industrial park. A 2011 study said that its casino and resort made up a large part of the economy of Pinal County, in terms of number of jobs and revenue generated.

Geography and climate

Maricopa is located at 33°3′24″N 112°2′48″W / 33.05667°N 112.04667°W / 33.05667; -112.04667 (33.056702, -112.046656).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (83 km2), all of it land.

The topography in Maricopa is flat with several mountain ranges 10 to 20 miles away. The elevation of Maricopa is 1190 feet.

Climate data for Maricopa, AZ
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86
Average high °F (°C) 68
Average low °F (°C) 36
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.83
Source: The Weather Channel

Surrounding municipalities


Historical population
Census Pop.
2000 1,040
2010 43,482 4,081.0%
2020 58,125 33.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 43,482 people, 14,359 households, and 11,110 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,356.8 people per square mile (526.4/km2). There were 17,240 housing units at an average density of 540.4 per square mile (208.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.2% White, 9.7% Black or African American, 2.0% Native American, 4.1% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 8.5% from other races, and 5.3% from two or more races. 24.4% of the population is Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 14,359 households, out of which 47.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.6% were non-families. 15.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 2.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.38.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 32.5% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 35% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.

According to 2009 Census Bureau estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $67,692, and the median income for a family was $69,818. The per capita income for the city was $27,618. About 3.7% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line.



Maricopa is primarily served by Arizona State Route 347, a north–south highway that connects to Interstate 10, approximately 14 miles north of Maricopa, as well as Arizona State Route 84 11 miles south of Maricopa. State Route 84 then ends at Interstate 8 approximately 6 miles west of State Route 347. Within Maricopa, State Route 347 is John Wayne Parkway. As it leaves the city for the Gila River Indian Community to the north or the Ak-Chin Indian Community to the south, the road changes names to Maricopa Road. A portion of old State Route 347 within Maricopa also exists as Maricopa Road.

Maricopa is also served by Arizona State Route 238, which connects Maricopa to the town of Mobile, which is incorporated into the city of Goodyear. Past Mobile, State Route 238 becomes a county route that connects to Arizona State Route 85 in Gila Bend. State Route 238 and Mobile Road designations are used interchangeably. State Route 238 ends at State Route 347, and continues east as Smith-Enke Road, a major east–west corridor for the city of Maricopa. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway also makes up a major corridor for the city, connecting it to the city of Casa Grande. This road parallels the Union Pacific Railroad at a diagonal, ultimately becoming Plainview Street within Maricopa and Cottonwood Lane in Casa Grande.


California Zephyr railcar at the Maricopa, AZ Amtrak station

Maricopa is located on a Union Pacific Railroad line. The city is currently the closest stop to Phoenix served by Amtrak's Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle trains. The Maricopa depot opened in 2001, originally in a converted passenger rail car but now in a metal building. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach offers connecting service between Maricopa and Phoenix.


Maricopa is served by the following utilities:

  • Cable: Orbitel Communications
  • Electricity: Electrical District #3
  • Natural Gas: Southwest Gas
  • Telephone/DSL: CenturyLink
  • Water: Global Water (Santa Cruz Water Company, Palo Verde Utilities), Maricopa Domestic Water Improvement District


The City of Maricopa operates Maricopa Express Transit (MET), which provides local bus service.

Education facilities

Public school districts

  • Maricopa Unified School District
  • Mobile Elementary School District

Public elementary schools

  • Butterfield Elementary School
  • Mobile Elementary School
  • Maricopa Elementary School
  • Pima Butte Elementary School
  • Saddleback Elementary School
  • Santa Cruz Elementary School
  • Santa Rosa Elementary School

Public middle schools

  • Desert Wind Middle School
  • Maricopa Wells Middle School

Public high school

  • Maricopa High School

Charter schools

  • Leading Edge Academy Maricopa
  • Sequoia Pathway Academy Maricopa
  • Heritage Academy

Community college

  • Central Arizona College

Notable people

  • Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska governer and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, bought a house and lived in Maricopa for two years before returning to Alaska.
  • Former state senator Steve Smith resides in Maricopa.
  • Tony Beets, from the show Gold Rush, lives in Maricopa.
kids search engine
Maricopa, Arizona Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.