Fast Facts, History, and State Symbols
Demographics and Native American Indians
Law, Government, and Economy
Geography and Climate
Important Cities and Towns
Art, Film, Music, and Sports
• ABBREVIATION: AZ
• TOTAL AREA: 113,990 sq. miles (6th largest)
• POPULATION: 6.6 million people (15th largest)
• DENSITY: 57 people per sq. mile (33rd in the US)
• CAPITAL CITY: Phoenix
• UNION ADMISSION: 14th February, 1912 (48th State)
• GOVERNOR: Jan Brewer (Republican)
• FAMOUS LANDMARK: The Grand Canyon (approx. 1 mile deep)
• HIGHEST POINT: Humphreys Peak (3852 miles)
• LONGEST RIVER: Colorado River (1450 miles)
• LANGUAGES: English (73%), Spanish (22%), Navajo (2%)
Arizona Fast Facts
1539 Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, explored the area
1540 Coronado, a Spanish explorer, explored the area
1690s Father Kino, a member of the Society of Jesus, developed missions
1752 Spain founded presidios (fortified towns) in Tubac
1775 Spain founded presidios in Tucson; the American Indian wars began (thru 1918)
1821 Mexico achieved independence from Spain and formed Alta California
1847 The US occupied Mexico City in the Mexican-American War
1848 The US paid Mexico $15M compensation for the land (~$400M in 2012)*
1853 The US paid Mexico $10M compensation for land below the Gila River
1862 During the American Civil War, The Territory of “Arizona” was claimed by the
Confederate States of America on 14th February
1880s Mormons, lead by Brigham Young, settled northern Arizona in Phoenix Valley
1910 The US defeated Mexico in the Mexican Revolution
1912 Arizona became the 48th state admitted to the US Union on 14th February
1920/30s The Great Depression affected Arizona’s cotton farming and copper mining;
Tourism saved the state – “old West” dude ranches and hotels
1941 Prisoner of War (POW) camps were developed for Japanese; Native American
children were forced to adopt Anglo culture at the Phoenix Indian School
1960s Many retirement villages established for the elderly (known as “snowbirds”)
* The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Arizona’s State Symbols – Animate
Arizona’s State Symbols – Inanimate
Colors: Blue, Old Gold
Firearm: Colt Single Action Army Revolver
Fossil / rock: Petrified Wood
Mineral: Fire Agate
Ship: USS Arizona
Slogan: The Grand Canyon State
Soil: Casa Grande
Song(s): "Arizona March Song,” "Arizona" (alternate)
The population of Arizona on July 1, 2012 was 6,553,255. In 2010, illegal immigrants
constituted an estimated 8% of the population. This was the second highest percentage
of any state in the U.S.
* United States Census Bureau
3% 0% Non-Hispanic White
Hispanics or Latinos of
Native American and
Black or African American
Native Hawaiian and
Other Pacific Islander
Native American Indians
About one-quarter of Arizona is federal land and is home of the Navajo
Nation, the Apache tribe, and many other groups:
– the Hopi tribe, the Tohono O'odham, the Yavapai people, the Yaqui
people, the Zuni people, the Pima people, the Hia C-eḍ O'odham and
various Yuman tribes, such as the Yavapai people, the Quechan people,
the Mojave people, the Cocopah people, the Paiute people, the
Havasupai people and the Hualapai people!
Arizona’s Apache County has the highest concentration of speakers of
Native American Indian languages in the United States.
Over 85,000 people speak Navajo at home.
Over 10,000 people speak Apache at home, (2005).
Law and Government
State Legislative Branch
The Arizona Legislature is “bicameral” (like every other state except
Nebraska) and has a 30-member Senate and a 60-member House of
The current majority party is the Republican Party.
Each of the 30 legislative districts has one senator and two representatives.
Legislators are elected for two-year terms.
State Executive Branch
Arizona’s executive branch is headed by a governor, who is elected to a four-
year term. The current governor of Arizona is Jan Brewer.
State Judicial Branch
The Arizona Supreme Court is the highest court in Arizona.
Arizona’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2011 was $259 billion.
The economy is larger than countries like Ireland, Finland, and New Zealand.
Phoenix is the hub of the economy; 75% of production happens here.
Median income is $50,448, 22nd in the US, (just below the US median).
Health care, transportation, and the government are the largest sectors.
The State Government is the largest public employer.
Nearly 70% of land in Arizona is owned by the State. The Government leases
most of its land to ranchers and miners.
Walmart is the largest private employer.
Once, Arizona was the largest producer of cotton in the country.
Arizona still produces two-thirds of the nation’s copper.
The Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting
of the northeastern corner of Arizona, southwestern corner of Colorado,
northwestern corner of New Mexico, and southeastern corner of Utah.
Arizona is best known for its desert landscape, such as the desert Basin and
Range region in the southern portions of the state. Less well known is the
pine-covered high country of the Colorado Plateau in the north-central portion
of the state.
The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado
River, in northern Arizona and is nearly 1 mile deep. The canyon is one of the
seven natural wonders of the world.
Arizona is home to one of the most well-preserved meteorite impact sites in
the world. The Barringer Meteorite Crater (or simply, “Meteor Crater”) is in
the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau and is nearly 1 mile wide.
Due to its size, Arizona has a wide
variety of local climate conditions.
Arizona has the area with the most
days over 100 °F (Phoenix) and the
area with the most days below
In the lower regions the climate is
desert with mild winters and
extremely hot summers.
In the northern plateau region the
climate is much cooler with cold
winters and mild summers.
Average annual rainfall is 12.7 inches.
Important Cities and Towns (Top 15)
Name Type Population (2010)
Phoenix (Capital) City 1,445,632
Tucson City 520,116
Mesa City 439,041
Chandler City 236,123
Glendale City 226,721
Scottsdale City 217,385
Gilbert Town 208,453
Tempe City 161,719
Peoria City 154,065
Surprise City 117,517
Yuma City 93,064
Avondale City 76,238
Flagstaff City 65,870
Goodyear City 65,275
Lake Havasu City City 52,527
There are 91 cities
and towns in Arizona
Art, Film, and Music
Phoenix Art Museum has the Southwest’s largest collection of visual art
from around the world.
Several major Hollywood films have been filmed in Arizona including
“Raising Arizona,” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”
The state is mentioned in the Beatle’s song “Get Back.” McCartney
sings: "JoJo left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass."
The Roman Catholic Church has the highest number of members in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has the second
highest number of members (251,974). This church also has the largest
number of congregations in Arizona (805).
The Southern Baptist Convention has the third highest (138,516). This
church has the second largest number of congregations (323).
Roman Catholic = 25%, Protestant = 23%, Unaffiliated = 22%,
LDS (Mormon) = 4%, Jehovah Witness = 1%, Jewish = 1%, Buddhist = 1%,
Other Religions = 4%, Don't Know/Refused = 2%
“Children’s Atlas of the World”. Sale, Colin. Fog City Press. NSW, Australia.
“Our Fifty States”. Bockenhauer, Mark, and Cunha, Stephen. National
Geographic Society, Washington, DC. 2004. pp 169-172