Arizona Sun Corridor
Counter Clock-wise from Top: Downtown Phoenix skyline, Downtown Tucson, Mesa City Hall
|• 2025 Projection||7,764,211|
|• 2050 Projection||12,319,771|
The Arizona Sun Corridor, shortened Sun Corridor, is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of Arizona. The Sun Corridor is comparable to Indiana in both size and population. It is one of the fastest growing conurbations in the country and is speculated to double its population by 2040.The largest metropolitan areas are the Phoenix metropolitan area - Valley of the Sun - and the Tucson metropolitan area. The regions' populace is nestled in the valley of a desert environment. Similar to Southern California, the urban area extends into Mexico, reaching the communities of Nogales and Agua Prieta.
Megaregions of the United States are clustered networks of American cities, which are currently estimated to contain a total population exceeding 237 million.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
Its population is composed of a total of five metropolitan areas: Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, Sierra Vista-Douglasand Nogales. Out of these, two are metropolitan areas with over 1,000,000 residents: the Phoenix metropolitan area with 4,192,887 residents and the Tucson metropolitan area with 1,020,200 residents. The Arizona Sun Corridor is made up of all of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, along with parts of Yavapai, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. It is home to over 86 percent of Arizona's population.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area – often referred to as the Valley of the Sun, the Salt River Valley, or Metro Phoenix – is a metropolitan area, centered on the city of Phoenix, that includes much of the central part of the U.S. State of Arizona. The United States Office of Management and Budget designates the area as the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), defining it as Maricopa and Pinal counties. As of the Census Bureau's 2017 population estimates, Metro Phoenix had 4,737,270 residents, making it the 11th largest Metropolitan Area in the nation by population. The gross domestic product of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area was $242 billion in 2017, 16th largest amongst metro areas in the United States.
Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metroupolitan area in the United States (2014).
Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843. The city is the county seat of Yavapai County. In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple. The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.
Most of the Arizona Sun Corridor is in the Sonoran Desert; to the south of the region is the border between the United States and Mexico, and to the east is the Arizona transition zone and the Mountains of Arizona. The Southern California Megaregion is to west and is the nearest other Megaregion to the Arizona Sun Corridor.
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.
The Arizona transition zone is a diagonal northwest-by-southeast region across central Arizona. The region is a transition from the higher elevation Colorado Plateau to the northeast in Northeast Arizona and the Basin and Range region of southwest and south regions of lower elevation deserts.
The Arizona Sun Corridor lies in the American Southwest, about halfway between the Southern California and Front Range Megaregions. It is shown on the map in deep blue.
The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.
Southern California is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises California's southernmost counties, and is the second most populous urban agglomeration in the United States. The region is traditionally described as eight counties, based on demographics and economic ties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. The more extensive 10-county definition, which includes Kern and San Luis Obispo counties, is also used and is based on historical political divisions.
The Front Range Urban Corridor is an oblong region of urban population located along the eastern face of the Southern Rocky Mountains, encompassing 18 counties in the US states of Colorado and Wyoming. The corridor derives its name from the Front Range, the mountain range that defines the west central boundary of the corridor. The region comprises the northern portion of the Southern Rocky Mountain Front geographic area, which in turn comprises the southern portion of the Rocky Mountain Front geographic area of Canada and the United States. The Front Range Urban Corridor had an estimated population of 4,833,260 on July 1, 2016, an increase of +11.53% since the 2010 United States Census.
Below is a table listing all communities of the Arizona Sun Corridor with a population of at least 10,000 residents.
|Area (2010)||Population density (2010)|
|sq mi||km2||/sq mi||/km2|
|Rio Rico||CPD||Santa Cruz||18,962|
|San Tan Valley||CPD||Pinal||81,321|
|Sierra Vista Southeast||CPD||Cochise||14,797|
|Sun City West||CPD||Maricopa||24,535|
Intercity in the region is provided by the I-8, I-10, I-17, and I-19 freeways, as well as US 60, SR 87, SR 90, and SR 77, among other surface highways.
In the U.S. state of Arizona, Interstate 10 (I‑10), the major east–west Interstate Highway in the United States Sun Belt, runs east from California, enters Arizona near the town of Ehrenberg and continues through Phoenix and Tucson and exits at the border with New Mexico near San Simon. The highway also runs through the cities of Casa Grande, Eloy, and Marana. Segments of the highway are referred to as either the Papago Freeway, Inner Loop, or Maricopa Freeway within the Phoenix area, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway outside metro Phoenix.
Interstate 17 (I-17) is an Interstate Highway located entirely within the U.S. state of Arizona. I-17's southern terminus lies within Phoenix, at Interstate 10, and its northern terminus is in Flagstaff, at Interstate 40. The majority of I-17 is known as the Arizona Veterans Highway. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, it is mostly known as the Black Canyon Freeway, however the southern 4.16 miles (6.69 km) is part of the Maricopa Freeway. The portion of the highway south of Cordes Lakes was built along the alignment of SR 69, while the northern part was built along old SR 79's alignment. I-17 is one of the most scenic Interstate Highways as it gains more than a mile in altitude between Phoenix at 1,117 feet (340 m) and Flagstaff at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). The highway features several scenic view exits along its route that overlook the many mountains and valleys found in northern Arizona.
Interstate 19 (I-19) is a north–south Interstate Highway located entirely within the U.S. state of Arizona. I-19 travels from Nogales, roughly 300 feet (91 m) from the Mexican border, to Tucson, at I-10. The highway also travels through the cities of Rio Rico, Green Valley, and Sahuarita.
Phoenix area arterials are set up in a grid pattern, which helps simplify transportation within the region. Tucson's streets have a similar system.
Amtrak's Sunset Limited operates three times a week, connecting Maricopa, Arizona and Tucson. There is no other intercity rail in the region; however a high-speed rail corridor is also being studied between Phoenix and Tucson.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States and to nine Canadian cities.
The Sunset Limited is an Amtrak passenger train that for most of its history has run between New Orleans and Los Angeles, over the nation's second transcontinental route. However, up until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it ran between Orlando and Los Angeles. It is the oldest named train in the United States; it was first introduced in 1894 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, and was handed to Amtrak upon its formation in 1971.
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Arizona. With an estimated 51,977 residents as of 2018, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Intracity rail systems include the Valley Metro Rail, which operates within the Phoenix metropolitan area, connecting Uptown and Downtown Phoenix with Tempe and Mesa, and Tucson's Sun Link streetcar system, which links Downtown Tucson and the Mercado district to the University of Arizona.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Tucson International Airport provide air transportation to the region, from both within the country and from a few foreign countries, among other smaller airports, which focus on regional air traffic from nearby. Recently, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, previously being a military base, has also become an option for low-cost carriers to fly into the Phoenix area as well.
US Airways, now owned by Fort Worth company American Airlines, was once headquartered and based in Tempe, which is in the Phoenix Valley. However, American Airlines maintains a strong presence in the state due to the history with US Airways.
Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,078 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Maricopa County is a county in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated its population was 4,307,033 as of 2017, 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 United States.
Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, part of the Greater Phoenix Area. Named Scottsdale in 1894 after its founder Winfield Scott, a retired U.S. Army chaplain, the city was incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2,000. The 2015 population of the city was estimated to be 236,839 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as "a desert version of Miami's South Beach" and as having "plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene." Its slogan is "The West's Most Western Town."
North American area code 520 is a state of Arizona telephone area code serving Tucson and most of the southeastern part of the state.
The Southern Rocky Mountain Front is an elongated geographic region located along the eastern and southern face of the Southern Rocky Mountains in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. The region comprises the southern portion of the Rocky Mountain Front geographic region of Canada and the United States. The Southern Rocky Mountain Front had a population of 5,467,633 according to the 2010 United States Census. The region is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States and its population is projected to grow by 87% to 10,222,370 by 2050. In 2005 the GDP of the region was $229,202,000,000 making up 2% of the United States GDP.
State Route 24, formerly State Route 802, also known as Gateway Freeway and Williams Gateway Freeway, is a freeway in the extreme southeastern region of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The roadway is planned as a controlled-access highway to move traffic from the southeastern suburbs of Phoenix to planned ones in northwestern Pinal County. It is the lowest-numbered state route in Arizona. The first mile from Loop 202 to Ellsworth Road opened on May 4, 2014. Planning for future sections has been halted until studies for the Pinal North-South Freeway are completed to confirm how the two freeways will intersect.
The transportation system of Arizona comprises rail, air, bus, car and bicycle transport.
The metropolitan area of Phoenix in the U.S. state of Arizona contains one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing freeway systems, boasting over 1,405 lane miles as of 2005.
The East Valley is a multi-city region within the Phoenix metropolitan area of Arizona.
The following is a timeline of the history of the area which today comprises the U.S. state of Arizona. Situated in the desert southwest, for millennia the area was home to a series of Pre-Columbian peoples. By 1 AD, the dominant groups in the area were the Hohokam, the Mogollon, and the Ancestral Puebloans. The Hohokam dominated the center of the area which is now Arizona, the Mogollon the southeast, and the Puebloans the north and northeast. As these cultures disappeared between 1000–1400 AD, other Indian groups settled in Arizona. These tribes included the Navajo, Apache, Southern Paiute, Hopi, Yavapai, Akimel O'odham, and the Tohono O'odham.
Over the years, there have been multiple proposals to bring commuter rail service to the Phoenix, Arizona, area.
The Northern California Megaregion, distinct from Northern California, is an urbanized region of California consisting of many large cities including San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and Oakland. There are varying definitions of the megaregion, but it is generally seen as encompassing the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento area, northern San Joaquin Valley, and the Monterey Bay Area.