Southern Arizona Cities Snapshot - 2015

Author(s):
Jennifer Pullen

The Southern Arizona cities snapshot provides an overview of how the 25 largest cities within Cochise, Pima, Pinal, Greenlee, Graham, and Yuma counties are performing. Select measures from MAP’s core indicators were chosen to illustrate the most recent year of data available for the Southern Arizona cities. Special features will provide greater detail, when possible, on each of these seven indicators. For example, the poverty rate will be explored by race, family type, and age.   

  Population (2015) Population Growth Rate (2000 - 2015) Median Age (2015) Four-year College Attainment (2015) EARLY EDUcation (2015) Poverty Rate (2015) Median Household Income (2015)
AJO 3886 4.9% 45.8 16.8% _ 33.6% $32,964
Benson 5013 6.4% 56.1 20.7% 48.7% 22.1% -
bisbee 5415 -11.1% 48.2 29.3% 35.1% 29.1% $31,010
casa grande 49796 97.4% 38.4 17.4% 28.9% 16.9% $44,348
CLIFTON 3500 34.8% 28.5 10.4% 36.9% 9.2% $58,036
Coolidge 11973 53.8% 35.7 11.1% 23.8% 27.4% $39,621
Douglas 16911 18.2% 33.1 7.9% 46.2% 32.0% $27,975
eloy 16954 63.4% 34.1 7.7% 53.4% 36.2% $31,033
florence 30770 80.4% 40.0 11.7% _ 16.8% $47,891
green valley 22419 29.7% 71.5 39.9% _ 5.2% $46,682
marana 38280 182.4% 38.3 40.5% 45.5% 5.8% $74,438
maricopa 45748 4298.8% 34.4 25.2% 38.3% 8.1% $65,793
morenci 1649 -12.2% 28.2 15.1% _ 6.8% $65,706
arizona 6641928 29.5% 36.8 27.5% 36.1% 18.2% $50,255
united states 316515021 12.5% 37.6 29.8% 47.4% 15.5% $53,889
  Population (2015) population growth Rate  (2000 - 2015) median age (2015) Four-Year college attainment (2015) EARLY EDUCATION (2015) poverty rate (2015) Median Household income (2015)
NOGALES 20601 -1.3% 32.6 14.1% 20.4% 32.7% $28,044
ORO VALLEY 41965 41.3% 50.8 50.6% 56.8% 5.6% $77,770
SAFFORD 9636 4.4% 32.8 13.6% - 16.9% $46,277
SAHUARITA 25430 684.4% 35.1 34.3% 53.2% 6.2% $66,339
SAN LUIS 30658 100.1% 27.1 8.3% 34.3% 30.2% $30,637
SIERRA VISTA 44892 18.8% 32.5 30.2% 36.7% 12.7% $59,091
SOMERTON 14845 104.3% 27.5 7.3% 42.8% 31.5% $31,540
SOUTH TUCSON 5686 3.6% 33.4 1.3% 54.1% 48.7% $21,964
THATCHER 4935 22.7% 24.3 25.6% - 17.1% $44,167
TUCSON 528374 8.6% 33.4 25.2% 37.3% 25.3% $37,149
WILLCOX 3639 -2.5% 36.2 8.0% - 18.0% -
YUMA 93812 21.0% 31.4 17.0% 47.2% 18.4% $43,754
arizona 6641928 29.5% 36.8 27.5% 36.1% 18.2% $50,255
united states

316515021

12.5% 37.6 29.8% 47.4% 15.5% $53,889

Between 2000 and 2015, 16 of the 25 Southern Arizona cities posted population growth rates that met or surpassed the U.S. rate of 12.5%. Maricopa’s growth rate of 4,298.8% was by far the fastest increase in population of any of the Southern Arizona cities. Maricopa also had high levels of median household income and a low poverty rate, ranking it fourth and sixth respectively out of the 25 cities. Maricopa is located in Pinal County, south of the Phoenix city center.

Oro Valley had the highest median household income at $77,770 in 2015 and posted one of the lowest poverty rates among the 25 Southern Arizona cities at 5.6%, only Green Valley had a lower poverty rate at 5.2%. A handful of Southern Arizona cities had poverty rates below 10.0%, those include Green Valley (5.2%), Oro Valley (5.6%), Marana (5.8%), Sahuarita (6.3%), Morenci (6.8%), Maricopa (8.1%), and Clifton at 9.2%. There is a direct correlation between median household income and the poverty rate. As median household income increases the poverty rate decreases. As one would expect, the Southern Arizona cities with low poverty rates also had high levels of median household income.  This is true with the exception of Green Valley, which has a median household income of $46,682, well below the Arizona level of $50,255. Green Valley is unique in the sense that it is a retirement community with an average median age of 71.5, 34.7 years higher than the average median age for the state of Arizona. This may explain the low levels of poverty coupled with a median household income that is below the average. 

During 2015, Oro Valley had the highest percentage of those who were 25 years and older with a bachelor’s degree or better at 50.6%.  Marana was second, more than 10 percentage points behind Oro Valley at 40.5%. An educated workforce is a key component for strong economic growth. Local areas with a high concentration of educated workers tend to generate faster long-run income, population, and job growth. South Tucson posted the lowest percentage of those with a bachelor’s degree or better that were 25 years and older at 1.3%. Additionally, South Tucson had the highest poverty rate (48.7%) and lowest median household income ($21,964) of the 25 Southern Arizona cities. 

Enrollment in a quality early education program is often thought of as a precursor to later success in school. Oro Valley had the highest percentage of three-to-four year olds enrolled in early education with 56.8%. South Tucson, Eloy, and Sahuarita, followed closely behind with 54.1%, 53.4%, and 53.2% enrolled, respectively. These four cities have enrollment rates slightly higher than the U.S. rate of 47.4% and significantly higher than the state of Arizona at 36.1%.    

What are the key trends?

The percent change in population between 2000 and 2015 is provided for the 25 most populous Southern Arizona cities.  Maricopa posted a remarkable increase in population at 4,298.8%. Sahuarita, Marana, Somerton, and San Luis more than doubled their populations, with increases of 684.4%, 182.4%, 104.3%, and 100.1% respectively. Four cities in Southern Arizona decreased in total population between 2000 and 2015. Morenci posted the largest loss in population at 12.2% and was followed closely by Bisbee at 11.1%, while Willcox and Nogales posted respective losses of 2.5% and 1.3%. Most Southern Arizona cities, as well as the state of Arizona, posted a substantially larger increase in population over this 15-year period than did the U.S.

How is it measured?

All data provided for the Southern Arizona cities, state of Arizona, and the U.S. come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a nationwide rolling-sample survey that produces one and five year estimates on demographic, social, housing, and economic measures.  Data is only available as five-year estimate for populations smaller than 20,000.  In order to compare the Southern Arizona cities with the state of Arizona and the U.S. all data provided in this analysis utilized five-year estimates.