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  1. Population Overview of the Region and Jurisdictions
  2. Population Growth Patterns
  3. Population Facts
  4. Population Estimates
  5. Arizona Official Population Projections 2013-2050
  6. Age Structure
  7. Race and Ethnicity
  8. Migration
  9. Income
  10. Poverty
  11. American Community Survey
  12. Population Growth by Decade
  13. Arizona's 2010 Population Totals
  14. Additional Census Links and Archives

Pima Association of Governments, with direction from its Population Technical Advisory Committee, prepares population estimates and projections for Pima County and its incorporated jurisdictions. As the region continues to experience rapid growth, accurate and reliable demographic information is an important planning tool for decision makers in many fields.

PAG uses census data to determine population estimates and projections that may be considered for transportation modeling or other efforts conducted by PAG.

Population Overview of the Region and Jurisdictions

Pima County is located in southern Arizona and covers an area of approximately 9,200 square miles. The April 1, 2010, Census population count was 980,263, of which 353,264 (36 percent) resided in the unincorporated area. The majority of the population lives in the eastern half of the county, which contains all of the five incorporated jurisdictions, two Native American tribal reservation areas and a large, urbanized unincorporated area. Approximately 85 percent of the county’s land is federal, state or Native American owned.

In 2005, Pima County and the jurisdictions issued 12,781 new residential building permits, the highest number ever issued in a single year. In 2010, the figure was 2,761. As of July 1, 2010, the official population estimate is 981,168, of which 353,319 live in unincorporated areas.

City of Tucson: The Census 2010 population of Tucson was 520,116, making it the 33rd largest city in the nation. It continues to be the second largest city in Arizona. They July 1, 2010, population estimate is 520,795. From incorporation in 1877, the city has grown from 2 square miles to over 227 square miles in area, the center of a metropolitan area of over 400 square miles. 

Oro Valley is located approximately six miles north of Tucson and is part of the metropolitan region. Incorporated in 1974, it has expanded from 2.6 square miles to over 35 square miles. The Census 2010 population was 41,011 and the official July 2010 estimate is 40,984.

Marana is located to the northwest of Tucson along I-10. Since incorporation in 1977 the town has grown from 10 to 118 square miles. Historically, a center of farming and ranching, its economy still has a large agricultural component. With a growth rate of 520 percent between 1990 and 2000, Marana experienced the highest growth rate of any Arizona city. The town grew another 158 percent between 2000 and 2010. The Census 2010 population was 34,961 and the July 2010 estimate is 35,051.

Sahuarita incorporated in 1994, and is the newest jurisdiction in Pima County.  It is located in the Santa Cruz Valley approximately 20 miles south of Tucson, and covers an area of about 30 square miles. The Census 2000 population of Sahuarita was just 3,242; at the 2010 Census, it had increased 679 percent to 25,259. The official July 2010 estimate of population is 25,347.

City of South Tucson incorporated in 1938, and is one square mile in area and is surrounded entirely by the City of Tucson. The highest population attained was approximately 7,000 in 1960. The Census 2010 count was 5,652 and the July 2010 official estimate is 5,672.

Pascua Yaqui have a small reservation of 1.87 square miles to the southwest of the City of Tucson, but the people live throughout the county as well as locations in Pinal and Maricopa counties. The Census 2000 count for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona was 3,315; total tribal membership is estimated at 6,136. The 2010 Census counted 3,484 persons in the Pima County portions of the Pascua Yaqui tribal lands.

Tohono O’odham Nation The U.S. area (4,453 square miles) of the Tohono O’odham Nation covers much of western Pima County, portions of southwestern Pinal and southern Maricopa counties. The portion lying within Pima County totals 4,341 square miles. The capital city, Sells, had a Census 2010 population of 2,495. The Pima County portions of the Nation were enumerated in 2010 as having 8,959 persons. Total tribal enrollment is estimated as being over 23,890 persons. 

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Population Growth Patterns

The 1900 decennial census recorded 14,689 residents in Pima County. As new migrants arrived in Tucson, they settled along the northern and southern corridors of State Highway 89/90; later arrivals moved steadily eastward. By 1970, development was constrained by federal lands to the east and development began to spread to the northwest. In 1970, the population center was located at Broadway Boulevard and Alvernon Way, it moved north to Sixth Street and Tucson Boulevard by 1980 and by 1990 was located near Sam Hughes Elementary School at Third Street and Norton Avenue. The northwestern growth continued through the 1990s and by 2000 the population was centered on the University of Arizona around First Street and Cherry Avenue. In 2010, the center of population moved southwest near the intersection of South Park Avenue and East Aviation Parkway. The earlier north-south pattern of expansion appears to be recurring and future development is expected to be strongly oriented around I-10 and I-19 corridors.

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Population Facts

  • Pima County's population is 980,263, according to the results of the 2010 Census
  • According to the State Demographer's Office, the estimated population of Metro Tucson (Pima County) is 981,168 as of July 1, 2010
  • Pima County's population is projected to reach 1.45 million by 2041

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Population Estimates

Pima County Pima Association of Governments' July 2010 estimate for Pima County population is 981,168. Only 10 counties larger in population grew more rapidly from 2000 to 2010. Of the 100 largest counties, Pima was 26th most rapidly growing from 2000 to 2010 at 16.2%. In 1990, Pima County had a population of 666,880. The population reached 843,746 in April, 2000. In 2010 the Census Bureau counted 980,263 persons in Pima County. Pima County was the nation's 68th largest county in 1990, 53rd largest in 2000, and 41st largest in 2010. From 1990 to 2000, Pima County ranked 27th greatest in absolute change. From 2000 to 2010 it ranked 34th.

Tucson Metropolitan Area The Tucson Metropolitan Area (Pima County) was ranked 53rd largest in 2010 compared to 58th largest in 2000. The Phoenix Metropolitan Area was 14th largest and New York was 1st. The Tucson Metropolitan Area was 58th largest in 2000, and only 10 larger metro areas grew faster. Much of the growth over the next 20 years will be driven by working age people moving here for employment opportunities. In 2002, the Tucson urbanized area was 69th most dense of the 141 urban areas with populations over 250,000, in the United States and Canada.

Tucson PAG's population estimate for Tucson for July 2010 is 520,795. Tucson, which currently covers 230.276 square miles, was the 45th largest U.S. city in 1980, 34th largest in 1990, 30th largest in 2000, and 33rd largest in 2010. Based on Census 2010, the April 1, 2010, population was 520,116. Tucson grew 20 percent in population and 24 percent in area from 1990 to 2000.  Of the 273 U.S. cities with populations over 100,000, Tucson's growth was 71st greatest in percent change, and 23rd greatest in absolute change from 1990 to 2000. Only seven cities larger than Tucson grew at a more rapid rate from 2000 to 2008; five cities larger than Tucson lost population during the same time period. The City of Tucson is nearly as large in population as the State of Wyoming and in area is more than three times the size of Washington, D.C. In 2010, Tucson was the nation’s 33rd largest city.

Tucson/Pima County Population/Estimates, 1970-2010:


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AZ Official Population Projections 2013-2050

The Arizona Department of Economic Security has published its official 2013-2050 population projections for the state, counties, incorporated places and select census designated places.

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Age Structure

The median age in Pima County was 32.8 in 1990 (slightly below the national average), 35.7 in 2000 and was estimated as 36.7 in 2007. The slow rise of the median age is due to the aging of the Baby Boomers, not to any massive influx of seniors. Much of metropolitan Tucson's growth over the next 20 years will be driven by working age people moving here for employment opportunities.

2008 Pima County Age Cohorts

Male Female Total
0-4 35,701 33,965 69,666
5-9 33,472 32,248 65,720
10-14 34,220 32,443 66,663
15-19 37,126 35,534 72,660
20-24 38,195 36,764 74,959
25-29 35,389 35,339 70,728
30-34 32,918 31,824 64,742
35-39 32,033 32,619 64,652
40-44 33,801 34,491 68,292
45-49 34,891 36,711 71,602
50-54 31,985 34,782 66,767
55-59 29,796 31,842 61,638
60-64 22,288 25,171 47,459
65-69 17,457 20,617 38,074
70-74 15,503 18,383 33,886
75-79 13,487 17,234 30,721
80-84 9,852 14,294 24,146
85+ 7,689 13,509 21,198
Total 495,803 517,770 1,013,573

Source: Arizona Department of Health Services

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Race and Ethnicity

For over 200 centuries, Tucson was home solely to Native Americans. The community then became the Frontera del Norte of New Spain for about 40 years and then part of the Republic of Mexico for about 30 years. In 1854, Tucson became part of the United States with the Gadsden Purchase (Treaty of Mesilla). Tucson is a very diverse community and home to several hundred ancestry groups. Leading ancestry groups according to Census 2000 include: Mexican (24.4%); German (16.2%); Irish (10.6%); English (10.3%); other Latino groups (4.5); Italian (4.4%); American (4.1%); and French (3.1%). In 2000, Tucson was the 8th largest city in number of Native Americans. In 1990, the metro area was 23rd largest in number of Hispanics.

In 2000, the racial and ethnic breakdown of Pima County was:

    61.48% White, Non-Hispanic, alone
    29.34% Hispanic (can be any race)
    2.85% Black/African American, alone
    2.59% Native American, alone
    1.97% Asian, alone
    0.11% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, alone
    0.12% Other, alone (self-identified)
    1.55% Two or more races

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Tucson is a place of migration, the meeting of Frontera and Frontier. The long-term ratio of in- to out-migration varies from 4:3 to 3:2. When the economy wains, in- and out-migration are nearly the same. This may be seen below with data from 2007-2008.

Leading states of origin are Arizona, California, Foreign/APO/FPO (military addressing), New Mexico, Illinois, Texas, Nevada, and Washington. Half of our newcomers arrive during the summer. Newly retired migrants have more education and higher incomes than do current residents. Numerically, Phoenix leads as a source of in-migrants, Cochise County is second, San Diego is third and Los Angeles is fourth.

From Tucson, people migrate most frequently to Phoenix and the surrounding counties of Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz. We export people to surrounding states, Texas, Washington, and the Midwest. Net migration is marked by college and military-age persons and those inexorably approaching their prime.

Over 80 percent of renters have been in their present unit less than 18 months. The average Tucsonan moves every 3.5 years; nationally, we move every 5.2 years. At the time of Census 2000, over a quarter of Tucson area households had been in their present home for less than 15 months. Another third had been in their present home from 15 months to five years. Only 26 percent of metro households had been in their present home more than 10 years.

Data on out-of-state surrendered driver's licenses allow us to draw a picture of the sources of state-level migration to Arizona. Numerically, leading states are California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, New York, New Mexico and Nevada. However, if one adjusts these registrations for the population of the donor state, then a different picture arises. Using this method (a capture rate) we note that less populous western states lead the pack. Although California is the standout donor state, we receive relatively fewer cars from there when we adjust for its large population.  

In 2002, the top-ranked states of birth for Arizona residents were:

  1. Arizona – 34.68%
  2. New York – 3.43%
  3. Foreign born – 12.80% 
  4. Texas – 2.57%
  5. California – 7.94%
  6. Ohio – 2.55%
  7. Illinois – 4.36%  
  8. Michigan – 2.48%

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  • Personal income, 2009 projection (EBRP):  $32.9 billion (up 0.1% over 2008)
  • Per capita income, 2009 projection (EBRP): $32,321 (down 0.5% over 2008)
  • Median Family Income, 1990 Census: $30,900
  • Median Family Income, Census 2000: $44,446
  • Median Household Income, Census 2000: $36,758
  • Median Family Income, FY2009: $57,500 (H.U.D. estimate for a family of four)
  • Annual Earnings per Worker, 2010 projection (EBRP): $40,260 (up 1.8% over 2009)
  • Median Hourly Wage, Tucson Metro Area, 2008 (Bureau of Labor Statisics): $14.82
  • EBRP = Economic and Business Research Program, U of AZ; HUD = U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; BLS = Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Income Comparisons, 2008


Pima County:

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Indicators of Stress

The Indicators of Neighborhood Stress documents are based on data from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing. They use a composite of 27 indicators of social dependency and housing need, and measure neighborhoods against the City of Tucson average and the Pima County average. The reports can be used as supporting information in target areas for housing rehabilitation and programs that address social needs.

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American Community Survey

The data presented in these Community Profiles are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS).  The ACS is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with reliable and timely demographic, social, economic and housing data on an annual basis. Single-year data is available for places with a population of 65,000 or more. Three-year estimates are available for places with a population of 20,000 or more. In 2010, five-year estimates will be made available for smaller geographic areas.

2006-2008 Three-Year Profiles

Casas Adobes

Catalina Foothills

Green Valley


Oro Valley

Pima County



2008 One-Year Profiles

Pima County


Additional Links for:

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Population Growth by Decade

Over the past 50 years, the population in both Arizona and Pima County has grown at a rapid pace.  In fact, according to the Census Bureau's latest population estimates, Arizona is the fastest growing state in the United States, just ahead of Nevada. Between 1950 and 2000, Arizona grew by 584 percent. Its July 1, 2009, population was estimated at just over 6.3 million. During this same period, the population in Pima County increased by 497 percent to a July 1, 2005, population estimate of approximately 958,000. In comparison, the entire United States grew approximately 86 percent during this same period. Despite this phenomenal rate of growth, Pima County’s share of the state population has actually been steadily decreasing from 16.45 percent in 2000 to approximately 15.3 percent in 2008.

Suburban areas continue to lead the PAG region in percentage growth. From 1990 to 2000, Marana and Oro Valley experienced the highest (519%) and second highest (345%) growth rate of any Arizona city or town, respectively. Sahuarita has grown over 30 percent each year since 2003. Of all the incorporated jurisdictions in Pima County, only South Tucson has experienced an overall decline in population over the past 25 years.  Between 1980 and 2000, the population decreased by 16 percent. Metro Tucson reached the 1 million mark in late 2006 and is expected to have a population of approximately 1,034,700 by 2010.

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Arizona's 2010 Population Totals

The U. S. Census Bureau has released detailed 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics to state leaders in Arizona These data provide the first look at population counts for small areas and race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data released from the 2010 Census. The data is now available on American FactFinder, the Census Bureau's online data search tool.

Data for Arizona show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Phoenix, 1,445,632; Tucson, 520,116; Mesa, 439,041; Chandler, 236,123; and Glendale, 226,721. Phoenix grew by 9.4 percent since the 2000 Census. Tucson grew by 6.9 percent, Mesa grew by 10.8 percent, Chandler grew by 33.7 percent, and Glendale grew by 3.6 percent.

The largest county is Maricopa, with a population of 3,817,117. Its population grew by 24.2 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Pima, with a population of 980,263 (increase of 16.2 percent); Pinal, 375,770 (increase of 109.1 percent); Yavapai, 211,033 (increase of 26.0 percent).

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Additional Census Links and Archives

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©Pima Association of Governments | 1 E Broadway Blvd, Suite 401, Tucson, AZ 85701 | Telephone (520) 792-1093, FAX (520) 620-6981