Nicknamed “The Old Pueblo”, the City of Tucson has a rich and distinguished history in the desert Southwest. Tucson officially became part of the United States in 1853 after the Gadsden Purchase, although its history dates back thousands of years to early Indian settlers who farmed along the Santa Cruz River. This exciting history continues to influence the culture of Tucson today and brings about a welcoming, relaxed lifestyle that, along with the warm climate, continues to attract visitors and new residents. Home to the University of Arizona (founded in 1885), Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona and in 2005 was listed as the 32nd largest city in the United States, although its relatively low density, sprawling structure provides the feel of a much smaller community. A varied desert terrain exists within the city’s region featuring unique wildlife and ranging typography from saguaro cactus all the way to pine trees in the surrounding mountains with peak elevations of over 9,000 feet above sea level.
The City of Tucson has a solid industry base with many large employers and is well known for being a leader in optics technology with nearly 150 companies involved with the industry alone. Among the many leading private and public employers are:
- Raytheon Missle Systems – With an estimated 12,000+ employees, Raytheon is the Tucson area’s single largest employer, primarily developing weapons systems for the U.S. government such as the Tomahawk, AIM-9X (Sidewinder), AMRAAM, Maverick, and Paveway. A leading edge manufacturer, Raytheon is a tremendous asset to the Tucson region and continues to provide extensive support throughout the community.
- The University of Arizona – Over 10,000 employees are affiliated with the oldest university in Arizona which typically sees enrollment above 35,000 students. With highly regarded programs in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, MIS and Marketing, the Eller College of Management is a perennial top pick among the various national ranking magazines. Among the top 25 research institutions in the U.S., the U of A has a renowned optics lab and has operated closely on numerous projects with NASA throughout the years.
- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold – An industry leader in the mining industry, Freeport-McMoRan has an extensive operation just south of Tucson which employs a vast workforce, providing numerous sustainable jobs for the Tucson region.
There are many other companies and public entities with a sizable presence in Tucson, including Wal-Mart, University Medical Center, Carondolet Health Network, Citi, IBM, UniSource, Davis-Monthan AFB, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, and the U.S. Border Patrol.
A huge attraction to the Tucson area is undoubtedly the vast amount of sunshine enjoyed yearly in the region, averaging over 350 sunny days a year. The warm, dry climate draws visitors and residents alike throughout the year, but primarily during the winter months. However, there are numerous additional benefits to living in the area, like its rich cultural history, abundant recreational opportunities, expansive culinary delights, and relaxing lifestyle. All year long there are a variety of fairs, cultural events, and arts exhibits/shows which provide interesting diversions for area residents. Host of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, the city welcomes visitors from around the globe for this unique, two-week event that stretches across the downtown Tucson area.
The most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate from 2008 puts the City of Tucson’s population at 516,799, ranking it as the 32nd largest city in the United States. Its metropolitan area population now is estimated to be over 1 million people. The median household income within the city is at $37,936 annually and boasts a vary diverse population base. For more statistics please visit the U.S. Census Bureau website for Tucson.