Arizona was the 48th state to join the United States. In time, however, Arizona became a very popular destination, even compared to other southwestern states. There are many reasons why this is true including the climate, economic opportunities, the great outdoors, and interesting cities such as Phoenix and Tuscon to explore.
Arizona has been in political news lately with multiple races getting nationwide attention, including the re-election of a former astronaut (Senator Mark Kelly). The state overall in recent decades has been a popular destination. Why is this? No, it is not because of the iced tea.
Southwestern U.S. Becomes Popular
We already saw why Las Vegas, Nevada was built in a desert. Las Vegas, however, is not the only popular destination in the American Southwest. The whole region has become quite popular.
New Mexico and Arizona were the last two states in the continental United States to join the Union. Only Alaska and Hawaii came later. Arizona joined the club in 1912.
There was a noticeable population shift, however, to the southwestern United States after World World II. As noted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the trend continues:
For every decade between 1950 and 2010, the growth rate of the Desert Southwest was at least twice as great as that for the United States as a whole. And in three of those periods, the growth rate in the region was at least triple the U.S. growth rate: 1950 to 1960, 1970 to 1980, and 1980 to 1990. In fact, in each of those decades, the growth rate of the Desert Southwest exceeded 40 percent.
Most of Arizona’s population (about 90%) lives in the Desert Southwest. Arizona is the most populous state in the American Southwest and is still growing with an increase of 15% from 2010. No wonder it has been so important politically in recent years.
The Sunny Climate
Geography is an important part of understanding the world and everyone living there. Climate, a fancy term for weather basically, turns out to be a major draw in Arizona.
Do you like the sun? Cold weather not for you? Well, move over Florida aka the “Sunshine State.” The leader here is Arizona with an average of over 300 sunny days a year.
Now, for me, that much sun is a bit much (toss in the arid weather), but many enjoy it, especially with modern-day air conditioning. It is the “Desert Southwest” after all.
The warm and arid weather has various health benefits. The weather is a major draw for retired people along with a reasonable cost of living. Many “snowbirds” in Arizona!
The sunsets are beautiful with gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and orange across the horizon
A major “pull” factor that brings people into a region is economic factors. Arizona’s cost of living is somewhat middle of the road among the states.
Nonetheless, Arizona’s cost of living is a major draw factoring in everything. For instance, it is about 30% lower than nearby California, leading to a major influx of people from that state.
There has also been a growth in jobs though the rate of increase has changed over the years.
Since Arizona is home to some of the nation’s leading technology companies, the state offers great career opportunities. There is a range of options including financial services, transportation, travel and tourism, utilities, technology, education, healthcare, and hospitality.
Arizona also offers a nice place to live for the money. Other places might be cheaper, but for all that the state offers, the cost of living is quite reasonable.
Arizona is a popular tourist destination. How can it not; it is the home of the Grand Canyon!
Arizona is in general a great destination for outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking. Arizona is a beautiful state known for its nature, providing many opportunities for horseback riding, bicycle riding, fishing, and a lot more. If you like wide-open spaces, it is for you.
The state is also home to many Native American tribes including the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe, and Pueblo of Zuni, among others
Do you like sports? There are lots of those as well, for a variety of sports, including the Cardinals, Suns, Coyotes, and Diamondbacks. I see a theme in those names.
And, there are many other activities such as different types of music, gambling, and museums.
Phoenix and Tucson
The U.S. Census informs me that two of the four most populous counties in the American Southwest are those that contain Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
Five reasons many people like Phoenix: cost of living, less traffic, excellent school systems, beautiful landscapes, and loads of entertainment activities. Phoenix Suns, anyone?
How about Tucson? Top reasons include: the low cost of living, mountains, lovely weather, outdoor activities, and Mexican food. Tucson is also home to the University of Arizona.
Toucan Sam of Fruit Loops fame is not from Tucson.
Phoenix and Tucson are lovely places to live with a lot of interesting sights to check out. No wonder they are two of the most popular cities in the region.
What Arizona Means To Me
A popular answer is Vietnam war hero, POW, long-time senator, and famous maverick, John McCain. Or, maybe Senator Krysten Sinema, who is his successor.
Another possible choice is Miranda v. Arizona, the source of the famous “Miranda warnings.”
Other possible answers are Phoenix, particular sports teams, or the tea! What is yours?