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More About Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix ( FEE-niks; Navajo: Hoozdo; Spanish: Fénix or Fínix, Walapai: Banyà:nyuwá) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona, with 1,608,139 residents as of 2020. It is the fifth-most populous city in the United States, and one of only two U.S. state capitals with a population of more than one million residents, along with Austin, Texas.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 11th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.85 million people as of 2020. Phoenix, the seat of Maricopa County, has the largest area of all cities in Arizona, with an area of 517.9 square miles (1,341 km), and is also the 11th largest city by area in the United States. It is the largest metropolitan area, both by population and size, of the Arizona Sun Corridor megaregion.
Phoenix was settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers and was incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889. It is in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with the original settlers’ crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the “Five C’s” anchoring Phoenix’s economy. These remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix’s hot summers more bearable.
The city averaged a four percent annual population growth rate over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession of 2007–09, and has rebounded slowly. Phoenix is the cultural center of the state of Arizona. Phoenix is also majority minority, with 42.6% of its population identifying as Hispanic and 42.5% as “white” in the 2020 census.