Mesa | United States
Mesa (/ˈmeɪsə/ MAY-sə) is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix. Mesa is the central city of the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south along with Queen Creek, and Apache Junction on the east.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson, and the 36th-largest city in the US. The city is home to 439,041 people as of 2010 according to the Census Bureau. Mesa is home to numerous higher education facilities including the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University.
At the same time, another group dubbed the First Mesa Company arrived from Utah and Idaho. Their leaders were named Francis Martin Pomeroy, Charles Crismon, George Warren Sirrine and Charles I. Robson. Rather than accepting an invitation to settle at Jones' Lehi settlement, they moved to the top of the mesa that serves as the city's namesake. They dug irrigation canals, some of which were over the original Hohokam canals, and by April 1878, water was flowing through them. The Second Mesa Company arrived in 1879 and settled to the west of where the First Mesa Company settled in 1880, due to lack of available farmland. This settlement was called Stringtown.
On July 17, 1878, Mesa City was registered as a 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) townsite. The first school was built in 1879. In 1883, Mesa City was incorporated with a population of 300 people. Dr. A. J. Chandler, who would later go on to found the city of Chandler, worked on widening the Mesa Canal in 1895 to allow for enough flow to build a power plant. In 1917, the city of Mesa purchased the utility company. The revenues from the company provided enough for capital expenditures until the 1960s. During the Great Depression, WPA funds provided paved streets, a new hospital, a new town hall and a library.
The age distribution was 27.3% under 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $42,817, and the median income for a family was $49,232. Males had a median income of $35,960 versus $27,005 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,601. About 6.2% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over. Mesa's residents exhibit a great deal of economic diversity, with low-income areas constructed somewhat close to high-scale neighborhoods with expensive custom homes. The neighborhood "Marlborough Mesa" has won a community award.
Almost all of the city of Mesa is served by public schools operated by Mesa Public Schools; however, a small southern portion is served by the Gilbert Public Schools, and a small western portion is served by the Tempe Elementary School District and the Tempe Union High School District.
Mesa is home to Mesa Community College, the largest of the Maricopa Community Colleges, which enrolls over 24,000 full and part-time students. The Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University lies in southeast Mesa. This satellite campus enrolls over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in scientific and engineering fields. A. T. Still University operates an Osteopathic Medical School in Mesa. The aviation school CAE Global Academy Phoenix is located in Mesa.
After launching a higher education initiative in 2012, Mesa became home to branch campuses of five private, liberal arts instituations: Albright College, Westminster College, Benedictine University, Upper Iowa University and Wilkes University. Two have since left (Albright College and Westminster College), while a third, Wilkes University, recently announced it would move entirely online.
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 77.4% White, 3.7% African American, 1.9% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 11.9% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. 29.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.1% reported speaking Spanish at home.
There were 1,132,886 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% 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 27.0% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% 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 8.0% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
The County Board of Supervisors consists of five members chosen by popular vote within their own districts. Currently, the Board consists of four Republicans, each representing districts in the more affluent or conservative districts of the county, and one Democrat, representing the largest district. Each member serves a four-year term, with no term limits.
Unlike cities and towns in Arizona, counties are politically and legally subordinate to the state, and do not have charters of their own. The Board of Supervisors acts in the capacity of executive authority for the county within the statutes and powers prescribed by Arizona state law. The state legislature devotes considerable time to local matters, with limited discretion granted to the Board of Supervisors on minor ordinance and revenue collection issues. Chair of the Board is held by one member for a period of one year, and is selected by the Board members themselves through public hearing.
The election of the County Sheriff, County Attorney, County Assessor, County Treasurer, Superintendent of Schools, County Recorder, Constables, Justices of the Peace, Clerk of the Superior Court, and retention of Superior Court Judges are also determined by popular vote.
The county's dominant political figure for over two decades (from 1993 to 2017) was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had dubbed himself "America's Toughest Sheriff" and gained national notoriety for his flamboyant and often controversial practices and policies.
As Maricopa County is home to almost 60 percent of the state's population, it dominates Arizona's politics. Eight of the state's nine congressional districts include at least some portion of the county, and five of said districts have their population center located there. Most of the state's most prominent elected officials live in the county, as well.