Maricopa County (/ˌmærɪˈkoʊpə/ MARR-i-KOH-pə) is a county in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,817,117, making it the state's most populous county, and the fourth-most populous in the United States. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix, the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the country.
Maricopa County is the central county of the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area.
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 in the growing "West Valley", which is the area of Maricopa County to the west of the city of Phoenix.
Maricopa County was named after the Maricopa Indians. There are five Indian reservations located in the county. The largest are the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (east of Scottsdale) and the Gila River Indian Community (south of Chandler).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,224 square miles (23,890 km²), of which 9,200 square miles (24,000 km²) is land and 24 square miles (62 km²) (0.3%) is water. Maricopa County is also one of the largest counties in the United States by area having a land area greater than that of seven states. From west to east, it stretches 132 miles (212 km) and 103 miles (166 km) from north to south. It is by far Arizona's most populous county, encompassing well over half of the state's residents. It is also the largest county in the United States to contain a capital city.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,817,117 people, 1,411,583 households, and 932,814 families residing in the county. The population density was 414.9 inhabitants per square mile (160.2/km²). There were 1,639,279 housing units at an average density of 178.2 per square mile (68.8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.0% white (58.7% non-Hispanic white), 5.0% black or African American, 3.5% Asian, 2.1% American Indian, 0.2% Pacific islander, 12.8% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 29.6% of the population.
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