Population and Geographic Characteristics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arizona is the fastest growing State.  Its 2006 population of 6,166,318 represents a resident increase of 213,311 or 3.6 percent.[1]  Arizona's 2010 projected population is 6.2 million.[2]  In area, Arizona is the 6th largest  of the 50 states, exceeded by Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, and New Mexico.  Its 114,000 square miles make it as large as New York and the New England states combined.[3]   Although most of its acreage is frontier and rural, the majority of the population resides in urban centers Phoenix and Tucson (refer to Map 1 for details). Table 1a provides population trend estimates for Arizona and its 15 counties for 1996 through 2000. Population numbers for selected communities are presented in Table 1b.

Arizona is one of four U.S.-Mexico border states and consists of only 15 counties. It is bordered to the north by Nevada and Utah, to the east by New Mexico, to the south by Mexico, and to the west by California. The state’s culture and history are replete with influences assimilated from the Spanish Empire to Mexican, Central and South American immigrants. At the same time, the state is home to 21 American Indian tribes, including the Navajo, the largest on-reservation population in the United States. Economically, the state represents a diverse mixture of professions and incomes as retirees, military, and high tech industry leaders reside in communities with teachers and farm laborers.[4]

state mapMap 1. Arizona 15 County Topographic Profile


1. U.S. Census Bureau. (December 22, 2006). U.S. Census Bureau News.  Retrieved on May 15, 2008 on the World Wide Web: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/007910.html

2. Arizona Department of Commerce. (2001). Arizona Economy. Retrieved on October 18, 2001, from the Arizona Department of Commerce on the World Wide Web: http://www.commerce.state.az.us/datapages/economy.htm.

3. Gordon, R. J. (1987). Arizona Rural Health Provider Atlas, Rural Health Office, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine. pp. 1-152.

4. Eng, H. J., Resnick, C., Yordy, K., DuVal, M., Vogel, R., Brill, J., Paz-Ono, J., Parces, M., Voloudakis, M., Khandokar, I., Clarihew, B., and Jacobs, J. (2002). Health Care Coverage in Arizona: Full Assessment. pp. 1-55., Appendices A-I.