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Largest Cities in Arizona (2020)

Largest Cities in Arizona (2020)

Photo: fotomak/Shutterstock

Want to know which are the largest cities in Arizona? Here’s an updated list of the biggest and most populated cities in Arizona by size and population in 2020.

Arizona is the 6th largest state in the US by area and the 14th most populated state in the United States. It’s located in the southwest and has a population of 7,171,646 people. There are 91 municipalities in total, but only 10 cities are home to more than 100,000 residents. 

Phoenix

Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona, both in terms of size and population. It is home to 1,490,758 residents and is currently ranked as one of the most populated cities in the U.S. Phoenix serves as the State Capital and makes up the majority of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. 

It was incorporated in 1881, although it was settled already in 1867. Additionally, it’s the seat of Maricopa County and the city covers an area of 516.70 Square miles.

The Hohokam People have lived in the area for over 2000 years and they created the foundation of the city with irrigation canals that made the soil arable. Much of the city’s economy revolves around the 5Cs, which are cattle, copper, climate, cotton, and citrus. 

Phoenix

Photo: Shutterstock

Tucson

Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and the seat of Pima County. The city has a total of 525,031 residents and is especially renowned for being home to the University of Arizona.

It was originally founded as a military fort by the Spanish and was later incorporated as an American city in 1877. The city covers an area of 226.71 square miles (587.2 km2). 

The largest employers are the University of Arizona, Raytheon Missile Systems, State of Arizona, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and Pima County as well as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

It’s a major transportation hub for the Union Pacific Railroad’s Sunset Route but it also attracts some 3.5 million visitors annually. The mild winters and sunny climate year-round are some of the biggest factors behind tourism, and a large number of resorts and hotels. 

Tucson in Arizona

Photo: Chris Rubino/Shutterstock

Mesa

Mesa is the second-largest city in Maricopa County and while it’s incorporated as a city, it’s more or less a suburb of Phoenix. It’s actually the largest suburban city by population in the United States with a total population of 452,091 residents.

Some of the most notable attractions in Mesa are the Hohokam Park, Mesa Amphitheater, and the Meza Arizona Temple. Banner Health System, Mesa Public Schools, Boeing, and Walmart are the largest employers in the city.

Mesa in Arizona

Photo: Tim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

Chandler

Chandler is another suburban city of Phoenix, located north of Mesa and West of Tempe. There are a total of 245,231 living in Chandler, Arizona. The city was founded in 1912 and incorporated in 1920. 

Intel is the largest employer in Chandler with more than 11,000 employees. Chandler Fashion Center is one of the major shopping malls in Arizona which covers an area of 1,300,000-square-foot (120,000 m2).

Furthermore, the city of Chandler is famous for its Ostrich Festival, which is a legacy of the large number of ostrich farms in the 1910s. The city saw a major increase in its number of residents from 1980 to 2010. 

Chandler

Photo: Tim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

Glendale

Glendale is yet another major city in Maricopa County with a total of 231,978 residents, making it the 5th largest city in Arizona by population. The city had a big population growth in the 70s and 80s as well as the 90s.

In 1950, Glendale had a population of 8,179 people and in 1990, more than 147,864 people were living in the city. There are several historic buildings in Glendale that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Some of the most notable buildings are the Beet Sugar Factory, Manistee Ranch, Sahuaro Ranch, First National Bank of Glendale, and Glendale High School Auditorium.

Glendale

Photo: DCornelius/Shutterstock

Scottsdale

Scottsdale is included in the Phoenix Metro Area and was incorporated in 1951. It goes under the slogan “The West’s Most Western Town” and it has grown tremendously since the 50s. 

The city is located in Maricopa County and has a total of 223,519 residents, making it the 6th largest city in Arizona. Some 39% of the workforce work within the tourism industry, and there are several hotels and resorts in Scottsdale.

A sunny climate year-round attracts tourists from all over the country, and Scottsdale is particularly known for its destination spas.

Scottsdale aerial view

Photo: Tim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

Gilbert

Gilbert is actually a town and not a city, despite the fact that it is home to more than 223,131 people. It covers an area of 68.29 square miles and was once known as “The Hay Shipping Capital of the World”. 

What makes it stand out is its low crime rate and it has been ranked as the largest town with zero murders several years. It has also been ranked as one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the United States. 

Gilbert

Photo: Tim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

Tempe

Tempe is another city in Maricopa County with a total of 166,975 residents. It was actually named after a place in Greece, known as the Vale of Tempe. The city of Tempe is home to the main campus of Arizona State University. It was incorporated in 1892, but the Hohokam people have lived here for centuries. 

Tempe in Arizona

Photo: Tim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

Most Populated Cities in Arizona

1 Phoenix 1,490,758
2 Tucson 525,031
3 Mesa 452,091
4 Chandler 245,231
5 Glendale 231,978
6 Scottsdale 223,519
7 Gilbert 223,131
8 Tempe 166,975
9 Peoria 160,231
10 Surprise 121,648
11 Yuma 93,078
12 San Tan Valley 86,743
13 Avondale 77,912
14 Goodyear 70,148
15 Casas Adobes 68,525
16 Flagstaff 67,419
17 Buckeye 54,927
18 Lake Havasu City   52,827
19 Catalina Foothills   50,643
20 Casa Grande 50,316

Biggest Cities in Arizona

Rank City Area
1 Phoenix 516.70 sq. mi
2 Buckeye 375.26 sq. mi
3 Valle 243.89 sq. mi
4 Tucson 226.71 sq. mi
5 Goodyear 191.48 sq. mi
6 Scottsdale 183.92 sq. mi
7 Peoria 174.40 sq. mi
8 Parks 172.34 sq. mi
9 Sierra Vista 152.27 sq. mi
10 Vicksburg 142.91 sq. mi

The Fastest Growing Cities in Arizona

Phoenix is the fastest growing city in Arizona in terms of sheer numbers, but it’s also the only municipality with over 1 million people. That is also why it’s interesting to take a look at percentage growth since the latest census in 2010. 

Queen Creek has seen a percent growth that equals 56.4%. However, in actual numbers, the increase in residents is just 12,505. 

City Percentage growth since the latest census in 2010
Queen Creek 56.4%
Marana 38.7%
Maricopa 35.9%

More about the cities in Arizona

Phoenix and Tucson are the two major cities in Arizona along with Mesa, which is located just outside Phoenix and is included in the Metropolitan area together with Scottsdale. 

Most of the largest cities in Arizona are actually located within the Valley of the Sun, and Tucson is the only exception. Yuma is another fairly large city with over 90,000 residents that is situated next to the Mexican border. 


Which of the largest cities in Arizona did you already know about? Leave a comment below!

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