Get To Know Maricopa, Arizona

  • 01 of 05

    Maricopa Location and History

    Maricopa County Courthouse
    ••• Zeb Micelli/Wikimedia Commons

    Like the rest of the Greater Phoenix area, Maricopa's history has an agricultural base. With available water at Maricopa Wells, this town became an important stop for the Butterfield Overland Mail Line. A rail line from Maricopa to Phoenix, constructed in the late 19th century, is now a thoroughfare for cars known as Maricopa Road, or the John Wayne Parkway.

    Maricopa has experienced what the city refers to as hyper growth in the 20th century. People moving to the area looking for cheaper housing and wide open spaces found Maricopa and began relocating there in droves. Even though Maricopa is not even in Maricopa County, I have added Maricopa to my Greater Phoenix coverage because it is one of the newer frontiers of the area. People live in Maricopa, but come into Chandler, Phoenix, and other communities to work, play and shop.

    Maricopa became an incorporated city in 2003. It is Arizona's 88th city.

    Maricopa is located in the south part of the Greater Phoenix area. The city offices...MORE of Maricopa are about 35 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

    The Gila River Indian Reservation is to the immediate north, with Chandler and Phoenix farther north. The Ak-Chin Indian Reservation is to the immediate southwest, and Casa Grande is southeast.

    Maricopa, Arizona covers about 4 square miles, and the elevation of Maricopa is about 1,175 feet. Temperatures in Maricopa are not significantly different than they are in Phoenix. There may be a few degrees variance in either direction.

    County: Pinal
    Area Code: 520
    Zip Codes: 85238, 85239

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Maricopa Population Statistics

    Maricopa High School
    ••• Maricopa High School. Judy Hedding

    The City of Maricopa has been in explosive growth mode since 2000. People discovered the town (it became a city since then) was reasonably close to Chandler, Tempe, and Phoenix, and decided that much more affordable housing, open spaces, and a small community feel were more important than a long commute.

    The population of Maricopa was 15,934 at the 2005 Special Census. As of 2013, the U.S. Census estimates the population at 45,508.

    The median age of a Maricopan is 32 years old. The median household income in the city is $64,587, and 6.2% of the people in the city are below poverty level. Nearly 27% of the population of the City of Maricopa has a 4-year college degree or advanced degree (2012 U.S. Census estimates).

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  • 03 of 05

    Maricopa Attractions, Special Events, Malls

    Playground at Pacana Park
    ••• Playground at Pacana Park. Judy Hedding

    Maricopa does not have a traditional shopping mall. There's no problem buying groceries or pharmacy items in Maricopa. Other retail, like clothing and gifts, are gradually entering the market.

    1. Pacana Park was the first major park in Maricopa and opened in October 2006. Soccer field, football field, tennis courts, a covered playground and a stocked lake are onsite at this 22-acre park. 
    2. There really aren't attractions in Maricopa itself.
    3. City sponsored activities so far revolve around youth sports and library activities.
    4. Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino is right outside Maricopa on the reservation. Dining, concerts, and, of course, gambling, are offered there.
    5. The Maricopa Salsa Festival, Fishing Derby, Founder’s Day Celebration and Holiday Homes on Parade are the special events in Maricopa.
    6. Shamrock Farms give dairy farm tours at their dairy in Stanford, about 20 minutes from central Maricopa.
    7. Attractions and events in Chandler are the closest to Maricopa when coming toward Phoenix.
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  • 04 of 05

    Maricopa Largest Employers

    Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino
    ••• Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino. Judy Hedding

    The largest employers, both government and non-government, in and adjacent to the City of Maricopa are:

    1. Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino
    2. Maricopa Unified School District
    3. Walmart
    4. City of Maricopa
    5. Fry's Food Store
    6. Volkswagen Proving Grounds

    The closest areas for people to work outside of Maricopa are Casa Grande and Chandler. Longer commutes will take people to Tucson and other cities in the Greater Phoenix area.

    More about the Ak-Chin Indian Community: Both Tohono O'odham and Pima Indians reside here. Ak-Chin Farms, Harrah's Casino, and the Ak-Chin Tribal Government are all major employers.

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  • 05 of 05

    What's Special About Maricopa

    New Homes in Maricopa
    ••• New Homes in Maricopa. © 2007 Judy Hedding

    In 2000 there were just over 1,000 people in what was then the Town of Maricopa. Maricopa became a city in 2003.  Why did Maricopa experience such unusual growth? Basically, because families are finding more affordable housing in the areas on the outskirts of the Greater Phoenix area. Are many of them working in Chandler and Phoenix and other cities in Maricopa County? You betcha! All you have to do is take a look at Highway 347 (Maricopa Road) during rush hour. Yikes! No wonder that a survey of residents noted that highest on the list is the widening of SR 347 or an alternate route to I-10.

    Planning for such growth is no easy chore. Parks, city sponsored recreation, and libraries have recently been added. Retail and restaurants are opening every week it seems.

    Today it's pretty obvious when you drive around the city where the original Town of Maricopa had its core, and where the new growth in the City of Maricopa has taken place. Even the Municipal Offices are being rebuilt to keep...MORE up with the new Maricopa image. What's next? According to the City's economic development division, hopefully, ​a hospital and a college. The nearest college is Central Arizona College in Coolidge.

    The City of Maricopa refers to itself as “a community with a heart.”