Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America, North America

Founded: 1864; Incorporated: 1881
Location: The Salt River Valley, south-central Arizona, United States, North America
Motto: Ditat Deus ("God enriches," state motto).
Flag: Design adopted in 1990 features stylized symbol of the mythical bird, the phoenix, on a dark purple field.
Flower: Blossom of the saguaro cactus (state flower)
Time Zone: 5 AM Mountain Standard Time (MST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White, 91.2%; Black, 5.2%; American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, 1.9%; Asian and Pacific Islander,1.7%; Hispanic origin (may be of any race), 20%.
Elevation: 332 m (1,090 ft) above sea level. Phoenix is located on flat desert land.
Latitude and Longitude: 33°44'N, 112°07'W
Climate : Desert climate with warm temperatures and low rainfall and humidity; very little wind except for storms in July and August. Hot summers and mild winters, with an average of 211 days of sunshine annually, one of the nation's sunniest cities.
Annual Mean Temperature: 22°C (72°F); January 11°C (51°F); August 32°C (89°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: None
Average Annual Precipitation: 19.5 cm (7.66 in)
Government: Council-manager government
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Units: Standard U.S.
Telephone area codes: 602
Postal codes: 85001-85086

2. Getting There

Phoenix, the city between southern Texas and California, is located in the Salt River Valley in south-central Arizona. The Superstition Mountains and a series of lakes form the city's eastern boundary, and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve encircles the city.


The major interstate highways running through Phoenix are I-10 (the Papago Freeway) and I-17 (the Black Canyon Freeway), which intersect in the city to form the Maricopa Freeway. (South of the city it becomes the Pima Freeway). State Route 89 (the Grand Avenue Expressway) enters the city from the northwest.

Bus and Railroad Service

Two Amtrak trains are available daily, and bus service is provided at the Greyhound/Trailways bus station on East Buckeye Road.


Phoenix has three airports, of which the major one is Sky Harbor International Airport, located five kilometers (three miles) southeast of downtown. The airport's ongoing series of art exhibits, arranged by the Phoenix Art Commission, has been copied by other airports around the country. More than 23 airlines operate flights into and out of the city. Nearly 28 million people annually arrive at and depart from Phoenix by air.


Phoenix benefits from its central location in relation to markets in Colorado, Utah, Texas, southern California, and Mexico, to which it is connected by a network of interstate highways. The city is served by more than 50 trucking companies, which provide commercial freight service to these and other locations. Two transcontinental rail lines provide rail freight service, and two airlines—American and American West—provide wide-body air cargo service.

Phoenix Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 1,246,712
Area: 1,225 sq km (473 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 20% Hispanic, 5.2% Black, 1.9%; American Indian, 1.7% Asian (minorities represented)
Nicknames: Valley of the Sun

Metropolitan Area

Population: 2,607,000
Description: Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona
Area: 37,747 sq km (14,574 sq mi)
World population rank1: 119
Percentage of national population2: 0.94%
Average yearly growth rate: 2.1% Ethnic composition: 91.4% white; 4% black; 2.2% Asian; approximately 20% Hispanic (may be of any race)


  1. The Phoenix metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the United States' total population living in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The Phoenix Transit System operates a fleet of 380 buses six days a week in the metropolitan area, and on weekdays only in Tempe and Mesa. The base fare is $1.25, and the average daily ridership is 112,400. The Reserve-a-Ride transportation program has served 196,000 elderly and disabled residents.


In addition to the major attractions in the city itself, sightseers can take day trips by bus or charter plane to the Grand Canyon and other regional attractions.

City Fact Comparison
Indicator Atlanta Cairo Rome Beijing
(United States) (Egypt) (Italy) (China)
Population of urban area1 2,607,000 10,772,000 2,688,000 12,033,000
Date the city was founded 1864 AD 969 753 BC 723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy) $82 $193 $172 $129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) $40 $56 $59 $62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) $2 $14 $15 $16
Total daily costs $124 $173 $246 $207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city 1 13 20 11
Largest newspaper The Arizona Republic Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar La Repubblica Renmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper 435,330 1,159,450 754,930 3,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established 1890 1944 1976 1948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

21. Famous Citizens

Joan Ganz Cooney (b. 1929), television producer.

Barry Goldwater (1909–98), U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate.

Stevie (Stephanie) Nicks (b. 1948), musician, member of the rock band Fleetwood Mac.

Mare Winningham (b. 1959), singer and actress.

22. For Further Study


A collection of information about various careers and advice on job descriptions and careers and career and job opportunities necessary to explore and choose from a complete range of job and career possibilities. Includes information to help students make wise careers choices and lists descriptions of different job profiles.

DigitalCity WebGuide Phoenix. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

The "Phoenix." [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Phoenix City Hall. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Phoenix City Net. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Phoenix Guide. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Phoenix Online. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Phoenix & Valley of the Sun Convention & Visitors Bureau. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Government Offices

Mayor's Office
200 W. Washington St., 11th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phoenix City Hall
200 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phoenix Community & Economic Development
200 W. Washington St., 11th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center
225 E. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phoenix and Valley of the Sun Convention & Visitors Bureau
400 E. Van Buren
1 Arizona Center, Suite 600
Phoenix, AZ 85004


Arizona Business Guide
P.O. Box 194
Phoenix, AZ 85001

Arizona Republic
P.O. Box 1950
Phoenix, AZ 85001

Phoenix Magazine
5555 N. 7th Ave., Suite B200
Phoenix, AZ 85013


Arizona Atlas and Gazetteer. Freeport, ME: De Lorme Mapping, 1993.

Atchison, Sterwart, and Bruce Grubbs. The Hiker's Guide to Arizona. Helena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing, 1991.

Dolainski, Stephen. Hidden Arizona. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, 1997.

Freeman, Roger, and Ethel Freeman. Day Hikes and Trail Rides In and Around Phoenix. Phoenix, AZ: 1991.

Johnson, G. Wesley. Phoenix, Valley of the Sun. Tulsa, OK: Continental Heritage Press, 1982.

Johnson, G. Wesley, ed. Phoenix in the Twentieth Century: Essays in Community History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993.

Luckingham, Bradford. Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1989.

Trimble, Marshall. Roadside History of Arizona. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Co., 1996.


A Tour of Phoenix and the State of Arizona. [video-recording] Memphis, TN: City Productions Home Video, 1996.