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Maricopa County is located in the south-central part of Arizona. As of April 1, 2010, its population is an estimated 3,817,117, the most populous in the state, which ranks fourth among the nation's counties and is greater than the population of 23 states. Maricopa County is also one of the largest counties in the United States by land mass too, having a land area greater than that of seven states. The county seat is Phoenix, which is Arizona's largest city and capital.

The population explosion is evident in a 2007 Forbes study which ranked four of Maricopa County's municipalities in the top ten fastest-growing cities in the nation. Those included Buckeye as the second-fastest-growing city, Surprise and Goodyear as 3rd and 4th, and Avondale as 9th. All four of these cities are located in the growing "West Valley", which is the area of Maricopa County to the west of the city of Phoenix.

There are five Indian reservations located in the county. The largest of these are the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (east of Scottsdale) and the Gila River Indian Community (south of Phoenix).

Geography

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 9,224.27 square miles (23,890.7 km2), of which 9,203.14 square miles (23,836.0 km2) (or 99.77%) is land and 21.13 square miles (54.7 km2) (or 0.23%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,072,149 people, 1,132,886 households, and 763,565 families residing in the county. The population density was 334 people per square mile (129/km²). There were 1,250,231 housing units at an average density of 136/sq mi (52/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.35% White, 3.73% African American, 1.85% Native American, 2.16% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 11.86% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. 29.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.10% reported speaking Spanish at home.

There were 1,132,886 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.60% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.21.

The population was spread out with 27.00% under the age of 18, 10.20% from 18 to 24, 31.40% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 100.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,358, and the median income for a family was $51,827. Males had a median income of $36,858 versus $28,703 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,251. About 8.00% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.40% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.

2005 Estimates (as of July 1, 2005)

· White (Non-Hispanic): 61.5%
· Black: 4.3%
· Asian: 2.7%
· American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent: 2.2%
· Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.2%
· Persons of Two or more Races: 1.6%
· Hispanic: 30.1% 

· As of July 1, 2005, Maricopa County had 3,635,528; an 18% change from 2000. Males accounted for 50.3% of the population, and females accounted for 49.7%.

· 27.4% of the population was under 18 years of age.
· 61.5% of the population was between 19 and 64 years of age
· 11.1% of the population was over 65 years of age.

Adjacent counties

·         La Paz County, Arizona - west

·         Yuma County, Arizona - west

·         Pima County, Arizona - south

·         Pinal County, Arizona - southeast

·         Gila County, Arizona - east

·         Yavapai County, Arizona - north

National protected areas

·         Sonoran Desert National Monument (part)

·         Tonto National Forest (part)