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Tucson Facts

Answers to frequently asked questions, and facts and statistics about Tucson & Southern Arizona.

Tucson at a Glance

History

Tucson officially was founded on August 20, 1776. But long before that, people had found something special here and made it their home. In fact, the area we call Tucson is one of the oldest continually inhabited areas in North America. Read more about Tucson's history here.

Location & Geography

City Area: 227 Miles

Location: Tucson is in the southern part of Arizona, 115 miles southeast of Phoenix along Interstate 10 and 70 miles north of the United States-Mexico border along Interstate 19.

Elevation: 2,643 feet at Tucson International Airport. The highest point in the Tucson area, Mount Wrightson, in the Santa Rita Mountains, has an elevation of 9,453 feet. Mt. Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet in elevation.

Tribal Lands: The Tohono O'odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe have occupied this area for centuries; their tribal lands extend to the south of the city.

Sonoran Desert: As currently defined covers approximately 100,000 square miles (260,000 sq. km.) and includes most of the southern half of Arizona, southeastern California, most of the Baja California peninsula, the islands of the Gulf of California, and much of the state of Sonora, Mexico. This is the only place in the world where the giant saguaro cactus grows.  (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum)

Surrounding Mountains: Tucson is in a valley surrounded by five mountain ranges: the Tucson, Santa Catalina, Rincon, Santa Rita, and Tortolita mountain ranges. In and around are natural areas, including Catalina State Park to the northwest; Coronado National Forest to the north; Saguaro National Park East and West on east and west sides; and the Santa Rita Mountains to the south.

Sky Islands: Isolated mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and northern Mexico. Some rise more than 6,000 feet above the surrounding desert floor so their habitats vary from deserts to subalpine forests. In Southern Arizona, the Santa Catalinas are the best known; others include Baboquivari, Chiricahua, Huachuca, Pinaleño, Santa Rita, and Whetstone.

Desert Rivers: A network of riverbeds (locally called “washes” or “arroyos”) throughout the Tucson valley remain dry most of the year, but flood briefly during seasonal rains (notably in late-summer's monsoon rainy period but occasionally in winter months) . On the banks of these riverbeds, Pima County has developed an interconnected multi-use recreational trail called The Loop

Climate

Sunshine: 350+ days (one of America's sunniest cities). Tucson's mild winter weather is legendary. 

5 Seasons:

  • Autumn (October & November).
  • Winter (December & January & February).
  • Spring (From early to late February through April).
  • Foresummer drought (May & June).
  • Summer monsoon or summer rainy season (early July to mid-September).

(Source: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum)

Population

32nd largest U.S. city at 750,000 residents (2015); 1,010,025 people in Pima County (2015). Tucson is Arizona's second most-populated city after the state capital Phoenix.

Sales Tax

  • Arizona state sales tax is 5.6%
  • Pima County add .05% and City of Tucson add 2% = City of Tucson sales tax is 8.1% 
  • Town of Marana and Town of Oro Valley add 2.5% = in both cities sales tax is 8.6%

Bed Tax

Tax is added to overnight accommodation rate:

  • Tucson: 12.05% plus $4 per room per night
  • Marana: 14.55%
  • Oro Valley: 14.55%
  • Pima County: 12.05%

Time Zone

The State of Arizona is in the Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST). Arizona is one of only two U.S. states that does not make an adjustment for Daylight Savings Time, and during the months of April through October, Arizona time mirrors Pacific Daylight Time.

Liquor Laws 

Arizona law prohibits anyone younger than age 21 to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. The purchase, service, or consumption of liquor is prohibited from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday-Sunday.

(Source: Arizona Department of Liquor, June 2015)

Housing 

  • Average Sale Price: $209,631
  • Total Units Sold: 15,060
  • Total Sales Volume: $3,157,057,716
  • Average Days on Market: 63
  • Total Units Listed: 29,723

(Source: Tucson Association of Realtors, MLS, 2015 Year's End)

Cycling Scene

  • Tucson bikeways, including bike lanes, shared-use paths, and residential bike paths = 1,010+ miles. 
  • The Loop shared-use, car-free path connecting Pima County communities (Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, South Tucson, Vail) will total 131 miles when done = 112 miles have been completed.

(Sources: City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, 2014; Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, 2016)

College Town 

The University of Arizona (also referred to as U of A, UA, or Arizona) is a co-educational public research university located in central Tucson. The UA was the first university in the Arizona Territory; it was founded in 1885 and opened its doors on October 1, 1891. Much of the main campus has been designated as an arboretum with plants from around the world. The UA is one of the top-ranked research universities in the United States, especially known for its Optical Sciences department and its space exploration research. Learn more on the UA website.

10 Largest Employers 

  • The University of Arizona – 11,251 employees
  • Raytheon Missile Systems – 9,600 employees
  • State of Arizona – 8,500 employees
  • Davis-Monthan Air Force Base – 8,580 employees
  • Pima County – 7,060 employees
  • Tucson Unified School District – 6,770 employees
  • Banner - University Medical Center - 6,272 employees
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection – 5,739 employees
  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. – 5,530 employees
  • Wal-Mart – 5,500 employees

(Source: Star 200, Tucson.com, 2014)

Mileage Chart

 From Tucson To:MilesKM
 Benson4674
 Bisbee90144
 Douglas118189
 Grand Canyon338541
 Green Valley2439
 Nogales63101
 Phoenix115184
 Sierra Vista70112
 Tempe112179
 Tombstone70112
 Tubac4470
 Yuma240384
Saguaro Cactus
Bike path with flowers

Tucson Mural in Downtown

Downtown Tucson Sunset

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