Nevada

State of the United States of America
State of Nevada
Flag of Nevada State seal of Nevada
Flag Seal
Nickname(s):

Silver State (official);
Sagebrush State; Battle Born State
Motto(s): All for Our Country
State song(s): “Home Means Nevada
Map of the United States with Nevada highlighted
Official language None
Demonym Nevadan
Capital Carson City
Largest city Las Vegas
Largest metro Las Vegas Valley
Area Ranked 7th
 • Total 110,577 sq mi
(286,382 km2)
 • Width 322 miles (519 km)
 • Length 492 miles (787 km)
 • % water 0.72
 • Latitude 35° N to 42° N
 • Longitude 114° 2′ W to 120° W
Population Ranked 33rd
 • Total 3,060,150 (2018 est.)[1]
 • Density 26.8/sq mi  (10.3/km2)
Ranked 42nd
 • Median household income $55,431 [2] (34th)
Elevation
 • Highest point Boundary Peak[3][4][5][a]
13,147 ft (4007.1 m)
 • Mean 5,500 ft  (1680 m)
 • Lowest point Colorado River at California border[4][5]
481 ft (147 m)
Before statehood Nevada Territory, Utah Territory, Arizona Territory
Admission to Union October 31, 1864 (36th)
Governor Steve Sisolak (D)
Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall (D)
Legislature Nevada Legislature
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house Assembly
U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D)
Jacky Rosen (D)
U.S. House delegation 1: Dina Titus (D)
2: Mark Amodei (R)
3: Susie Lee (D)
4: Steven Horsford (D) (list)
Time zones  
 • state Pacific: UTC −8/−7
 • West Wendover Mountain: UTC −7/−6
ISO 3166 US-NV
Abbreviations NV, Nev.
Website www.nv.gov
Nevada state symbols
Flag of Nevada.svg

The Flag of Nevada
Nevada-StateSeal.svg

The Seal of Nevada
Living insignia
Bird Mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides)
Fish Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi)
Flower Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
Mammal Desert bighorn sheep
Reptile Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)
Tree Bristlecone pine (Pinus monophylla)
Inanimate insignia
Mineral Silver
Rock Sandstone
State route marker
Nevada state route marker
State quarter
Nevada quarter dollar coin

Released in 2006
Lists of United States state symbols

Nevada (/nɪˈvædə/) is a state in the Western United States.[6] It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast and Utah to the east. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, the 34th most populous, but the 9th least densely populated of the U.S. states. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada’s people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area[7] where three of the state’s four largest incorporated cities are located.[8] Nevada’s capital, however, is Carson City.

Nevada is officially known as the “Silver State” because of the importance of silver to its history and economy. It is also known as the “Battle Born State”, because it achieved statehood during the Civil War (the words “Battle Born” also appear on the state flag); as the “Sagebrush State”, for the native plant of the same name; and as the “Sage-hen State”.[9]

Nevada is largely desert and semi-arid, much of it within the Great Basin. Areas south of the Great Basin are within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada lie on the western edge. About 86% of the state’s land is managed by various jurisdictions of the U.S. federal government, both civilian and military.[10]

Before European contact, Native Americans of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes inhabited the land that is now Nevada. The first Europeans to explore the region were Spanish. They called the region Nevada (snowy) because of the snow which covered the mountains in winter. The area formed part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and became part of Mexico when it gained independence in 1821. The United States annexed the area in 1848 after its victory in the Mexican–American War, and it was incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. The discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to a population boom that became an impetus to the creation of Nevada Territory out of western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, as the second of two states added to the Union during the Civil War (the first being West Virginia).[11]

Nevada has a reputation for its libertarian laws. In 1940, with a population of just over 110,000 people, Nevada was by far the least-populated state, with less than half the population of the next least-populated state.[12] However, legalized gambling and lenient marriage and divorce laws transformed Nevada into a major tourist destination in the 20th century.[13][14] Nevada is the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal, though it is illegal in Clark County (Las Vegas), Washoe County (Reno) and Carson City (which, as an independent city, is not within the boundaries of any county). The tourism industry remains Nevada’s largest employer,[15] with mining continuing as a substantial sector of the economy: Nevada is the fourth-largest producer of gold in the world.[16]

Mountains west of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert

Contents

  • 1 Etymology and pronunciation
  • 2 Geography

    • 2.1 Climate
    • 2.2 Flora and fauna
  • 3 Counties
  • 4 History

    • 4.1 Before 1861
    • 4.2 Separation from Utah Territory
    • 4.3 Statehood (1864)

      • 4.3.1 Gambling and labor
      • 4.3.2 Nuclear testing
  • 5 Demographics

    • 5.1 Population
    • 5.2 Settlements
    • 5.3 Locations by GDP per capita
    • 5.4 Religion
  • 6 Economy

    • 6.1 Mining
    • 6.2 Cattle ranching
    • 6.3 Largest employers
  • 7 Transportation
  • 8 Law and government

    • 8.1 Government

      • 8.1.1 State agencies
    • 8.2 Law

      • 8.2.1 Prostitution
      • 8.2.2 Divorce
      • 8.2.3 Taxes
      • 8.2.4 Gay rights
      • 8.2.5 Incorporation
      • 8.2.6 Financial institutions
      • 8.2.7 Alcohol and other drugs
      • 8.2.8 Smoking
      • 8.2.9 Crime
  • 9 Politics

    • 9.1 State politics
    • 9.2 National politics
    • 9.3 Voting
  • 10 Education

    • 10.1 Public school districts
    • 10.2 Colleges and universities
    • 10.3 Research institutes
  • 11 Parks and recreation areas

    • 11.1 Recreation areas maintained by the federal government

      • 11.1.1 Northern Nevada
      • 11.1.2 Southern Nevada
    • 11.2 Wilderness
    • 11.3 State parks
  • 12 Culture

    • 12.1 Entertainment and tourism
    • 12.2 Sports

      • 12.2.1 List of teams

        • 12.2.1.1 Major professional teams
        • 12.2.1.2 Minor professional teams
        • 12.2.1.3 Amateur teams
        • 12.2.1.4 College teams
  • 13 Military
  • 14 Future issues
  • 15 State symbols
  • 16 See also
  • 17 Notes
  • 18 References
  • 19 External links

Etymology and pronunciation

The name “Nevada” comes from the Spanish nevada [neˈβaða], meaning “snow-covered”, [17] after the Sierra Nevada (“snow-covered mountains”).

Most Nevadans pronounce the second syllable of their state name using the .mw-parser-output .smallcaps{font-variant:small-caps}TRAP vowel (/nɪˈvædə/). Many from outside the Western United States pronounce it with the PALM vowel (/nɪˈvɑːdə/). Although the latter pronunciation is closer to the Spanish pronunciation, it is not the pronunciation preferred by most Nevadans. State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson proposed a bill to recognize the alternate (quasi-Spanish) pronunciation of Nevada,[18] though the bill was not supported by most legislators and never received a vote. The Nevadan pronunciation is the de facto official one, since it is the one used by the state legislature. At one time, the state’s official tourism organization, TravelNevada, stylized the name of the state as “Nevăda”, with a breve mark over the a indicating the locally preferred pronunciation[19] which is also available as a license plate design.

Geography

A topographic map of Nevada

Nevada is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province, and is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin.

Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow. The state’s highest recorded temperature was 125 °F (52 °C) in Laughlin (elevation of 605 feet or 184 meters) on June 29, 1994.[20] The coldest recorded temperature was −52 °F (−47 °C) set in San Jacinto in 1972, in the northeastern portion of the state.[20]

The Humboldt River crosses the state from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee, and Carson rivers. All of these rivers are endorheic basins, ending in Walker Lake, Pyramid Lake, and the Carson Sink, respectively. However, not all of Nevada is within the Great Basin. Tributaries of the Snake River drain the far north, while the Colorado River, which also forms much of the boundary with Arizona, drains much of southern Nevada.

The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 m), harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (910 m), while some in central Nevada are above 6,000 feet (1,800 m).

The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less rain in the winter but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is also lower, mostly below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights.

Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line (in respect to the cardinal directions) as a state boundary at just over 400 miles (640 km). This line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) offshore (in the direction of the boundary), and continues to the Colorado River where the Nevada, California, and Arizona boundaries merge 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the Laughlin Bridge.

The largest mountain range in the southern portion of the state is the Spring Mountain Range, just west of Las Vegas. The state’s lowest point is along the Colorado River, south of Laughlin.

Nevada has 172 mountain summits with 2,000 feet (610 m) of prominence. Nevada ranks second in the United States by number of mountains, behind Alaska, and ahead of California, Montana, and Washington. Nevada is the most mountainous state in the contiguous United States.

Climate

Köppen climate types in Nevada

Nevada is the driest state in the United States.[21] It is made up of mostly desert and semi-arid climate regions, and, with the exception of the Las Vegas Valley, the average summer diurnal temperature range approaches 40 °F (22 °C) in much of the state. While winters in northern Nevada are long and fairly cold, the winter season in the southern part of the state tends to be of short duration and mild. Most parts of Nevada receive scarce precipitation during the year. Most rain that falls in the state falls on the lee side (east and northeast slopes) of the Sierra Nevada.

The average annual rainfall per year is about 7 inches (180 mm); the wettest parts get around 40 inches (1,000 mm). Nevada’s highest recorded temperature is 125 °F (52 °C) at Laughlin on June 29, 1994 and the lowest recorded temperature is −50 °F (−46 °C) at San Jacinto on January 8, 1937. Nevada’s 125 °F (52 °C) reading is the third highest statewide record high temperature of a U.S. state, just behind Arizona’s 128 °F (53 °C) reading and California’s 134 °F (57 °C) reading.

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Nevada[22]
Location July (°F) July (°C) December (°F) December (°C)
Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min
Las Vegas 104 81 40 27 56 38 13 3
Reno 92 57 33 14 45 25 7 –4
Carson City 89 52 32 11 45 22 7 –5
Elko 90 50 32 10 37 14 2 –9
Fallon 92 54 33 12 45 19 7 –7
Winnemucca 93 52 34 11 41 17 5 –8

Flora and fauna

The vegetation of Nevada is diverse and differs by state area. Nevada contains six biotic zones: alpine, sub-alpine, ponderosa pine, pinion-juniper, sagebrush and creosotebush.[23]

Counties

The Las Vegas Strip looking South.

Carson City Mint in Carson City. Carson City is an independent city and the capital of Nevada.

Nevada is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. Carson City is officially a consolidated municipality; however, for many purposes under state law it is considered to be a county. As of 1919 there were 17 counties in the state, ranging from 146 to 18,159 square miles (380 to 47,030 km2).

Lake County, one of the original nine counties formed in 1861, was renamed Roop County in 1862. Part of the county became Lassen County, California in 1864. In 1883, Washoe County annexed the portion that remained in Nevada.[24]

In 1969, Ormsby County was dissolved and the Consolidated Municipality of Carson City was created by the Legislature in its place co-terminous with the old boundaries of Ormsby County.

Bullfrog County was formed in 1987 from part of Nye County. After the creation was declared unconstitutional, the county was abolished in 1989.[24]

Humboldt county was designated as a county in 1856 by Utah Territorial Legislature and again in 1861 by the new Nevada Legislature.

Clark County is the most populous county in Nevada, accounting for nearly three-quarters of its residents. Las Vegas, Nevada’s most populous city, has been the county seat since the county was created in 1909 from a portion of Lincoln County, Nevada. Before that, it was a part of Arizona Territory. Clark County attracts numerous tourists: An estimated 44 million people visited Clark County in 2014.[25]

Washoe County is the second most populous county of Nevada. Its county seat is Reno. Washoe County includes the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area.

Lyon County is the third most populous county. It was one of the nine original counties created in 1861. It was named after Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union General to be killed in the Civil War. Its current county seat is Yerington. Its first county seat was established at Dayton on November 29, 1861.[26]

Nevada counties
County name County seat Year founded 2010 population[27] Percent of total Area (mi2) Percent of total Population density (/mi2)
Carson City Carson City 1861 55,274 2.63 % 146 0.13 % 378.59
Churchill Fallon 1861 24,877 0.92 % 5,023 4.54 % 4.95
Clark Las Vegas 1908 1,951,269 72.25 % 8,091 7.32 % 241.17
Douglas Minden 1861 46,997 1.74 % 738 0.67 % 63.68
Elko Elko 1869 48,818 1.81 % 17,203 15.56 % 2.84
Esmeralda Goldfield 1861 783 0.03 % 3,589 3.25 % 0.22
Eureka Eureka 1869 1,987 0.07 % 4,180 3.78 % 0.48
Humboldt Winnemucca 1856/1861 16,528 0.61 % 9,658 8.74 % 1.71
Lander Battle Mountain 1861 5,775 0.21 % 5,519 4.99 % 1.05
Lincoln Pioche 1867 5,345 0.20 % 10,637 9.62 % 0.50
Lyon Yerington 1861 51,980 1.92 % 2,016 1.82 % 25.78
Mineral Hawthorne 1911 4,772 0.18 % 3,813 3.45 % 1.25
Nye Tonopah 1864 43,946 1.63 % 18,159 16.43 % 2.42
Pershing Lovelock 1919 6,753 0.25 % 6,068 5.49 % 1.11
Storey Virginia City 1861 4,010 0.15 % 264 0.24 % 15.19
Washoe Reno 1861 421,407 15.60 % 6,551 5.93 % 64.32
White Pine Ely 1869 10,030 0.37 % 8,897 8.05 % 1.12
Totals Counties: 17 2,700,551 110,552 24.43

History

Before 1861

Mexico in 1824. Alta California included today’s Nevada.

Francisco Garcés was the first European in the area,[28] Nevada was annexed as a part of the Spanish Empire in the northwestern territory of New Spain. Administratively, the area of Nevada was part of the Commandancy General of the Provincias Internas in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Nevada became a part of Alta California (Upper California) province in 1804 when the Californias were split. With the Mexican War of Independence won in 1821, the province of Alta California became a territory (state) of Mexico, with a small population. Jedediah Smith entered the Las Vegas Valley in 1827, and Peter Skene Ogden traveled the Humboldt River in 1828. When the Mormons created the State of Deseret in 1847, they laid claim to all of Nevada within the Great Basin and the Colorado watershed. They also founded the first white settlement in what is now Nevada, Mormon Station (modern day Genoa), in 1851. In June 1855, William Bringhurst and 29 fellow Mormon missionaries from Utah arrived at a site just northeast of downtown Las Vegas and built a 150-foot square adobe fort, the first permanent structure erected in the valley, which remained under the control of Salt Lake City until the winter of 1858–1859.

As a result of the Mexican–American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico permanently lost Alta California in 1848. The new areas acquired by the United States continued to be administered as territories. As part of the Mexican Cession (1848) and the subsequent California Gold Rush that used Emigrant Trails through the area, the state’s area evolved first as part of the Utah Territory, then the Nevada Territory (March 2, 1861; named for the Sierra Nevada).[29]

Sculpture representing a steam locomotive, in Ely, Nevada. Early locomotives played an important part in Nevada’s mining industry

See History of Utah, History of Las Vegas, and the discovery of the first major U.S. deposit of silver ore in Comstock Lode under Virginia City, Nevada in 1859.

Separation from Utah Territory

Nevada territory in 1861

On March 2, 1861, the Nevada Territory separated from the Utah Territory and adopted its current name, shortened from Sierra Nevada (Spanish for “snow-covered mountain range”).

The 1861 southern boundary is commemorated by Nevada Historical Markers 57 and 58 in Lincoln and Nye counties.

Statehood (1864)

Eight days before the presidential election of 1864, Nevada became the 36th state in the union. Rather than sending the Nevada State Constitution to Washington DC by Pony Express to save time the full text of the State Constitution was sent by Telegraph at a cost of $3,416.77—the most costly telegraph on file for a single dispatch. Finally the response from Washington DC on October 31, 1864 was “the pain is over, the child is born, Nevada this day was admitted into the Union”. Statehood was rushed to the date of October 31 to help ensure Abraham Lincoln’s reelection on November 8 and post-Civil War Republican dominance in Congress,[30] as Nevada’s mining-based economy tied it to the more industrialized Union. As it turned out, however, Lincoln and the Republicans won the election handily, and did not need Nevada’s help.

Nevada is one of only two states to significantly expand its borders after admission to the Union. (The other is Missouri, which acquired additional territory in 1837 due to the Platte Purchase.)

In 1866 another part of the western Utah Territory was added to Nevada in the eastern part of the state, setting the current eastern boundary.

Nevada achieved its current southern boundaries on January 18, 1867, when it absorbed the portion of Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River, essentially all of present-day Nevada south of the 37th parallel. The transfer was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area, and officials thought Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected population boom. This area includes most of what is now Clark County and the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Mining shaped Nevada’s economy for many years (see Silver mining in Nevada). When Mark Twain lived in Nevada during the period described in Roughing It, mining had led to an industry of speculation and immense wealth. However, both mining and population declined in the late 19th century. However, the rich silver strike at Tonopah in 1900, followed by strikes in Goldfield and Rhyolite, again put Nevada’s population on an upward trend.

Gambling and labor

Gambling erupted once more following a recession in the early 20th century, helping to build the city of Las Vegas

Unregulated gambling was commonplace in the early Nevada mining towns but was outlawed in 1909 as part of a nationwide anti-gambling crusade. Because of subsequent declines in mining output and the decline of the agricultural sector during the Great Depression, Nevada again legalized gambling on March 19, 1931, with approval from the legislature. Governor Fred B. Balzar’s signature enacted the most liberal divorce laws in the country and open gambling. The reforms came just eight days after the federal government presented the $49 million construction contract for Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam).[31]

Nuclear testing

The Nevada Test Site, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the city of Las Vegas, was founded on January 11, 1951, for the testing of nuclear weapons. The site consists of about 1,350 square miles (3,500 km2) of desert and mountainous terrain. Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site began with a 1 kiloton of TNT (4.2 TJ) bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat on January 27, 1951. The last atmospheric test was conducted on July 17, 1962, and the underground testing of weapons continued until September 23, 1992. The location is known for having the highest concentration of nuclear-detonated weapons in the U.S.

Over 80% of the state’s area is owned by the federal government. The primary reason for this is homesteads were not permitted in large enough sizes to be viable in the arid conditions that prevail throughout desert Nevada. Instead, early settlers would homestead land surrounding a water source, and then graze livestock on the adjacent public land, which is useless for agriculture without access to water (this pattern of ranching still prevails).

Demographics

Population

Population density map of Nevada

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,857
1870 42,941 526.2%
1880 62,266 45.0%
1890 47,355 −23.9%
1900 42,335 −10.6%
1910 81,875 93.4%
1920 77,407 −5.5%
1930 91,058 17.6%
1940 110,247 21.1%
1950 160,083 45.2%
1960 285,278 78.2%
1970 488,738 71.3%
1980 800,493 63.8%
1990 1,201,833 50.1%
2000 1,998,257 66.3%
2010 2,700,551 35.1%
Est. 2018 3,034,392 12.4%
Source: 1910–2010[32]
2018 estimate.[33]

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Nevada on July 1, 2016 was 2,940,058, an increase of 56,300 residents (1.95%) since the 2015 US Census estimate and an increase of 239,367 residents (8.86%) since the 2010 United States Census.[33] Nevada had the second highest percentage growth in population from 2015 to 2016. At the 2010 Census, 6.9% of the state’s population were reported as under 5, 24.6% were under 18, and 12.0% were 65 or older. Females made up about 49.5% of the population.

Since the 2010 census, the population of Nevada had a natural increase of 87,581 (the net difference between 222,508 births and 134,927 deaths); and an increase due to net migration of 146,626 (of which 104,032 was due to domestic and 42,594 was due to international migration).[34]

The center of population of Nevada is in southern Nye County.[35] In this county, the unincorporated town of Pahrump, 60 miles (97 km) west of Las Vegas on the California state line, has grown very rapidly from 1980 to 2010. At the 2010 census, the town had 36,441 residents.[36] Las Vegas grew from a gulch of 100 people in 1900 to 10,000 by 1950 to 100,000 by 1970, and was America’s fastest-growing city and metropolitan area from 1960 to 2000.

From about the 1940s until 2003, Nevada was the fastest-growing state in the US percentage-wise. Between 1990 and 2000, Nevada’s population increased 66%, while the US’s population increased 13%. Over two thirds of the population of the state lives in Clark County, which is coextensive with the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Thus, in terms of population, Nevada is one of the most centralized states in the nation.

Henderson and North Las Vegas are among the top 20 fastest-growing U.S. cities with populations of over 100,000. The rural community of Mesquite 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Las Vegas was an example of micropolitan growth in the 1990s and 2000s. Other desert towns like Indian Springs and Searchlight on the outskirts of Las Vegas have seen some growth as well.

Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel their state is being “Californicated”.[37]

The table below shows the racial composition of Nevada’s population as of 2016.

Nevada racial composition of population[38]
Race Population (2016 est.) Percentage
Total population 2,839,172 100%
White 1,933,057 68.1%
  Non-Hispanic White 1,455,508 51.3%
  White Hispanic 477,549 16.8%
Black or African American 243,552 8.6%
American Indian and Alaska Native 31,927 1.1%
Asian 222,612 7.8%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 18,334 0.6%
Some other race 260,654 9.2%
Two or more races 129,036 4.5%

According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 27.8% of Nevada’s population were of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican (21.3%), Puerto Rican (0.9%), Cuban (0.9%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (4.7%).[38] The five largest non-Hispanic White ancestry groups were: German (11.3%), Irish (9.0%), English (6.9%), Italian (5.8%), and American (4.7%).[39]

In 1980, non-Hispanic whites made up 83.3% of the state’s population.[40]

Nevada historical racial composition
Racial composition 1970[40] 1990[40] 2000[41] 2010[42]
White 86.7% 78.7% 65.2% 66.2%
Black 5.7% 6.6% 6.8% 8.1%
Asian 0.7% 3.2% 4.5% 7.2%
Native 1.6% 1.6% 1.3% 1.2%
Other race 0.3% 4.4% 8.0% 12.0%
Two or more races 3.8% 4.7%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 5.6% 10.4% 19.7% 26.5%

As of 2011, 63.6% of Nevada’s population younger than age 1 were minorities.[43]. Las Vegas is a minority majority city. According to the United States Census Bureau estimates, as of July 1, 2017, non-Hispanic Whites made up 49.1% of Nevada’s population.[44] This would make Nevada a majority minority state joining California, Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.[45]

In Douglas, Mineral, and Pershing counties, a plurality of residents are of Mexican ancestry. In Nye County and Humboldt County, residents are mostly of German ancestry; Washoe County has many Irish Americans. Americans of English descent form pluralities in Lincoln County, Churchill County, Lyon County, White Pine County, and Eureka County.

Asian Americans lived in the state since the California Gold Rush of the 1850s brought thousands of Chinese miners to Washoe county. They were followed by a few hundred Japanese farm workers in the late 19th century. By the late 20th century, many immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam came to the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The city now has one of America’s most prolific Asian American communities, with a mostly Chinese and Taiwanese area known as “Chinatown” west of I-15 on Spring Mountain Road. Filipino Americans form the largest Asian American group in the state, with a population of more than 113,000. They comprise 56.5% of the Asian American population in Nevada and constitute about 4.3% of the entire state’s population.[46][citation needed]

Largely African American sections of Las Vegas and Reno can be found. Many current African-American Nevadans are newly transplanted residents from California.[citation needed]

Las Vegas was a major destination for immigrants from South Asia and Latin America seeking employment in the gaming and hospitality industries during the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, but farming and construction are the biggest employers of immigrant labor.

The religious makeup of Nevadans includes large communities of Mormons, Roman Catholics, and Evangelicals; each is known for higher birth rates and a younger than national average age. American Jews represent a large proportion of the active adult retirement community.[citation needed]

Birth data

Note: Births within the table do not add up, due to Hispanics being counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.

Live Births by Single Race/Ethnicity of Mother
Race 2013[47] 2014[48] 2015[49] 2016[50]
White: 27,293 (77.9%) 27,638 (77.1%) 27,648 (76.2%)
> Non-Hispanic White 14,951 (42.7%) 15,151 (42.2%) 14,937 (41.2%) 13,918 (38.4%)
Black 4,215 (12.0%) 4,603 (12.8%) 4,803 (13.2%) 4,205 (11.6%)
Asian 3,097 (8.8%) 3,145 (8.8%) 3,337 (9.2%) 2,666 (7.3%)
Pacific Islander 308 (0.8%)
American Indian 425 (1.2%) 475 (1.3%) 510 (1.4%) 303 (0.8%)
Hispanic (of any race) 12,718 (36.3%) 13,006 (36.3%) 13,225 (36.4%) 13,391 (36.9%)
Total Nevada 35,030 (100%) 35,861 (100%) 36,298 (100%) 36,260 (100%)
  • Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Settlements

The Winnemucca Sand Dunes, north of Winnemucca

Downtown Reno

East Las Vegas suburbs

A small percentage of Nevada’s population lives in rural areas. The culture of these places differs significantly from the major metropolitan areas. People in these rural counties tend to be native Nevada residents, unlike in the Las Vegas and Reno areas, where the vast majority of the population was born in another state. The rural population is also less diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. Mining plays an important role in the economies of the rural counties, with tourism being less prominent.[52] Ranching also has a long tradition in rural Nevada.[53]

Locations by GDP per capita

Ranked by per capita income in 2000
Rank Place GDP per capita County
1 Incline Village-Crystal Bay $52,521 Washoe
2 Kingsbury $41,421 Douglas
3 Mount Charleston $38,821 Clark
4 Verdi-Mogul $38,233 Washoe
5 Zephyr Cove-Round Hill Village $37,218 Douglas
6 Summerlin South $33,017 Clark
7 Blue Diamond $30,479 Clark
8 Minden $30,405 Douglas
9 Boulder City $29,770 Clark
10 Spanish Springs $26,908 Washoe

Religion

Religion in Nevada[54]
religion percent
Protestant
35%
No religion
28%
Catholic
25%
Mormon
4%
Jewish
2%
Buddhist
0.5%
Hindu
0.1%
Muslim
0.1%

Church attendance in Nevada is among the lowest of all U.S. states. In a 2009 Gallup poll only 30% of Nevadans said they attended church weekly or almost weekly, compared to 42% of all Americans (only four states were found to have a lower attendance rate than Nevada).[55]

Major religious affiliations of the people of Nevada are: Protestant 35%, no religion 28%, Roman Catholic 25%, Latter-day Saint 4%, Jewish 2%, Hindu less than 1%, Buddhist 0.5% and Islam less than 0.1%. Parts of Nevada (in the eastern parts of the state) are situated in the Mormon Corridor.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 451,070; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 175,149; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 45,535; Buddhist congregations 14,727; Bahá’í 1,723; and Muslim 1,700.[56] The Jewish community is represented by The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and Chabad.[57][58]

Economy

Nevada quarter

MGM Grand, with sign promoting it as The City of Entertainment

Lake Tahoe on the Nevada-California border

Goldstrike (Post-Betze) Mine in the Carlin Trend, the largest Carlin-type deposit in the world, containing more than 35,000,000 troy ounces (1,100 t) gold.[59]

Cattle near the Bruneau River in Elko County

Ranching in Washoe County

The economy of Nevada is tied to tourism (especially entertainment and gambling related), mining, and cattle ranching. Nevada’s industrial outputs are tourism, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment. The Bureau of Economic Analysis[60][61] estimates Nevada’s total state product in 2010 was $126 billion. The state’s per capita personal income in 2009 was $38,578, ranking nineteenth in the nation.[62] Nevada’s state debt in 2012 was calculated to be $7.5 billion, or $3,100 per taxpayer.[63] As of December 2014, the state’s unemployment rate was 6.8%.[64]

The economy of Nevada has long been tied to vice industries. “[Nevada was] founded on mining and refounded on sin—beginning with prizefighting and easy divorce a century ago and later extending to gaming and prostitution”, said the August 21, 2010 issue of The Economist.[65]

Mining

In portions of the state outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas mining plays a major economic role. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral mined. In 2004, 6,800,000 ounces (190,000,000 g) of gold worth $2.84 billion were mined in Nevada, and the state accounted for 8.7% of world gold production (see Gold mining in Nevada). Silver is a distant second, with 10,300,000 ounces (290,000,000 g) worth $69 million mined in 2004 (see Silver mining in Nevada).[66] Other minerals mined in Nevada include construction aggregates, copper, gypsum, diatomite and lithium. Despite its rich deposits, the cost of mining in Nevada is generally high, and output is very sensitive to world commodity prices.

Cattle ranching

Cattle ranching is a major economic activity in rural Nevada. Nevada’s agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, alfalfa, dairy products, onions, and potatoes. As of January 1, 2006, there were an estimated 500,000 head of cattle and 70,000 head of sheep in Nevada.[67] Most of these animals forage on rangeland in the summer, with supplemental feed in the winter. Calves are generally shipped to out-of-state feedlots in the fall to be fattened for market. Over 90% of Nevada’s 484,000 acres (196,000 ha) of cropland is used to grow hay, mostly alfalfa, for livestock feed.

Largest employers

The largest employers in the state, as of the first fiscal quarter of 2011, are the following, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation:[68]

Rank Employer
1 Clark County School District
2 Washoe County School District
3 Clark County
4 Wynn Las Vegas
5 Bellagio LLC
6 MGM Grand Hotel/Casino
7 Aria Resort & Casino LLC
8 Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
9 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
10 Caesars Palace
11 University of Nevada, Las Vegas
12 The Venetian Casino Resort
13 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
14 The Mirage Casino-Hotel
15 University of Nevada, Reno
16 University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
17 The Palazzo Casino Resort
18 Flamingo Las Vegas Operating Company LLC
19 Encore Las Vegas
20 Luxor Las Vegas

Transportation

State route shield

U.S. Route 50, also known as “The Loneliest Road in America”

Road from Carrara, Nevada towards the marble quarry in the background.

Amtrak’s California Zephyr train uses the Union Pacific’s original transcontinental railroad line in daily service from Chicago to Emeryville, California, serving Elko, Winnemucca, and Reno. Las Vegas has had no passenger train service since Amtrak’s Desert Wind was discontinued in 1997. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches provide connecting service from Las Vegas to trains at Needles, California, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, California; and from Stateline, Nevada, to Sacramento, California. There have been a number of proposals to re-introduce service to either Los Angeles or Southern California.

The Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and south of Nevada. Greyhound Lines provide some bus service to the state.

Interstate 15 passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. I-215 and spur route I-515 also serve the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Interstate 80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, roughly following the path of the Humboldt River from Utah in the east and the Truckee River westward through Reno into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several U.S. highways: US 6, US 50, US 93, US 95 and US 395. There are also 189 Nevada state routes. Many of Nevada’s counties have a system of county routes as well, though many are not signed or paved in rural areas. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that does not have a continuous interstate highway linking its two major population centers—the road connection between the Las Vegas and Reno areas is a combination of Interstate and U.S. highways.

The state is one of just a few in the country to allow semi-trailer trucks with three trailers—what might be called a “road train” in Australia. But American versions are usually smaller, in part because they must ascend and descend some fairly steep mountain passes.

RTC Transit is the public transit system in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The agency is the largest transit agency in the state and operates a network of bus service across the Las Vegas Valley, including the use of The Deuce, double-decker buses, on the Las Vegas Strip and several outlying routes. RTC RIDE operates a system of local transit bus service throughout the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area. Other transit systems in the state include Carson City’s JAC. Most other counties in the state do not have public transportation at all.

Additionally, a 4-mile (6.4 km) monorail system provides public transportation in the Las Vegas area. The Las Vegas Monorail line services several casino properties and the Las Vegas Convention Center on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, running near Paradise Road, with a possible future extension to McCarran International Airport. Several hotels also run their own monorail lines between each other, which are typically several blocks in length.

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is the busiest airport serving Nevada. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (formerly known as the Reno Cannon International Airport) is the other major airport in the state.

Law and government

Government

A view of the Nevada State Legislative Building in Carson City

Under the Constitution of the State of Nevada, the powers of the Nevada government are divided among three separate departments: the Executive consisting of the Governor of Nevada and their cabinet along with the other elected constitutional officers; the Legislative consisting of the Nevada Legislature, which includes the Assembly and the Senate; and the Judicial consisting of the Supreme Court of Nevada and lower courts.

The Governor of Nevada is the chief magistrate of Nevada,[69] the head of the executive department of the state’s government,[69] and the commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces.[70] The current Governor of Nevada is Steve Sisolak, a Democract.

The Nevada Legislature is a bicameral body divided into an Assembly and Senate. Members of the Assembly serve for 2 years, and members of the Senate serve for 4 years. Both houses of the Nevada Legislature will be impacted by term limits starting in 2010, as Senators and Assemblymen/women will be limited to a maximum of 12 years service in each house (by appointment or election which is a lifetime limit)—a provision of the constitution which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Nevada in a unanimous decision. Each session of the Legislature meets for a constitutionally mandated 120 days in every odd-numbered year, or longer if the Governor calls a special session.

On December 18, 2018, Nevada the first in the United States with a female majority in its legislature. Females hold nine of the 21 seats in the Nevada Senate, and 23 of the 42 seats in the Nevada Assembly.[71]

The Supreme Court of Nevada is the state supreme court and the head of the Nevada Judiciary. Original jurisdiction is divided between the district courts (with general jurisdiction), and justice courts and municipal courts (both of limited jurisdiction). Appeals from District Courts are made directly to the Nevada Supreme Court, which under a deflective model of jurisdiction, has the discretion to send cases to the Court of Appeals for final resolution.[72]

Incorporated towns in Nevada, known as cities, are given the authority to legislate anything not prohibited by law. A recent movement has begun to permit home rule in incorporated Nevada cities to give them more flexibility and fewer restrictions from the Legislature. Town Boards for unincorporated towns are limited local governments created by either the local county commission, or by referendum, and form a purely advisory role and in no way diminish the responsibilities of the county commission that creates them.

State agencies

State departments and agencies:

  • Attorney General
  • Department of Business & Industry
  • Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
  • Consumer Health Assistance
  • Controller’s Office
  • Department of Corrections
  • Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Nevada Commission on Economic Development
  • Department of Education
  • Nevada Secretary of State, Election Division
  • Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation
  • Gaming Control Board
  • Governor’s Office
  • Nevada Film Office
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Information Technology
  • Department of Justice
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Nevada Military Department
  • Division of Minerals, Commission on Mineral Resources
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Department of Personnel
  • Advisory Council for Prosecuting Attorneys
  • Public Employees Benefit Program
  • Public Employees Retirement System
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Nevada Public Utilities Commission
  • Department of Secretary of State
  • Department of Taxation
  • Commission on Tourism
  • Department of Transportation
  • Nevada State Treasurer
  • Universities and Community Colleges of Nevada
  • Nevada Office of Veterans’ Services
  • Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
  • Nevada Department of Wildlife

Law

The courthouse of the Supreme Court of Nevada

In 1900, Nevada’s population was the smallest of all states and was shrinking, as the difficulties of living in a “barren desert” began to outweigh the lure of silver for many early settlers. Historian Lawrence Friedman has explained what happened next:

Nevada, in a burst of ingenuity, built an economy by exploiting its sovereignty. Its strategy was to legalize all sorts of things that were illegal in California … after easy divorce came easy marriage and casino gaming. Even prostitution is legal in Nevada, in any county that decides to allow it. Quite a few of them do.[73]

With the advent of air conditioning for summertime use and Southern Nevada’s mild winters, the fortunes of the state began to turn around, as it did for Arizona, making these two states the fastest growing in the Union.

Prostitution

Nevada is the only state where prostitution is legal (under the form of licensed brothels).

Prostitution is specifically illegal by state law in the state’s larger jurisdictions, which include Clark County (which contains Las Vegas), Washoe County (which contains Reno), and the independent city of Carson City. Otherwise, it is legal in those counties which specifically vote to permit it. When permitted, brothels are only in rural or isolated parts of counties.

Divorce

Nevada’s early reputation as a “divorce haven” arose from the fact that, before the no-fault divorce revolution in the 1970s, divorces were difficult to obtain in the United States. Already having legalized gambling and prostitution, Nevada continued the trend of boosting its profile by adopting one of the most liberal divorce statutes in the nation. This resulted in Williams v. North Carolina (1942), 317 U.S. 287 (1942), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled North Carolina had to give “full faith and credit” to a Nevada divorce. The Court modified its decision in Williams v. North Carolina (1945), 325 U.S. 226 (1945), by holding a state need not recognize a Nevada divorce unless one of the parties was domiciled there at the time the divorce was granted and the forum state was entitled to make its own determination.

As of 2009, Nevada’s divorce rate was above the national average.[74]

Taxes

Nevada’s tax laws are intended to draw new residents and businesses to the state. Nevada has no personal income tax or corporate income tax.[75] Since Nevada does not collect income data it cannot share such information with the federal government, the IRS.[76]

The state sales tax (similar to VAT or GST) in Nevada is variable depending upon the county. The statewide tax rate is 6.85%, with five counties (Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, and Mineral) charging this amount. Counties may impose additional rates via voter approval or through approval of the state legislature; therefore, the applicable sales tax will vary by county from 6.85% to 8.1% (Clark County). In Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, imposes four separate county option taxes in addition to the statewide rate – 0.25% for flood control, 0.50% for mass transit, 0.25% for infrastructure, and 0.25% for more cops. In Washoe County, which includes Reno, the sales tax rate is 7.725 percent, due to county option rates for flood control, the ReTRAC train trench project, mass transit, and an additional county rate approved under the Local Government Tax Act of 1991.[77] The minimum Nevada sales tax rate changed on July 1, 2009.[78]

The lodging tax rate in unincorporated Clark County, which includes the Las Vegas Strip, is 12%. Within the boundaries of the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson, the lodging tax rate is 13%.

Corporations such as Apple Inc. allegedly have set up investment companies and funds in Nevada to avoid paying taxes.[79]

Gay rights

In 2009, the Nevada Legislature passed a bill creating a domestic partnership registry that enables gay couples to enjoy the same rights as married couples. As of 2019, gay marriage is legal in Nevada.

Incorporation

Nevada provides friendly environment for the formation of corporations, and many (especially California) businesses have incorporated in Nevada to take advantage of the benefits of the Nevada statute. Nevada corporations offer great flexibility to the Board of Directors and simplify or avoid many of the rules that are cumbersome to business managers in some other states. In addition, Nevada has no franchise tax, although it does require businesses to have a license for which the business has to pay the state.

Financial institutions

Similarly, many U.S. states have usury laws limiting the amount of interest a lender can charge, but federal law allows corporations to ‘import’ these laws from their home state.

Alcohol and other drugs

Nevada has very liberal alcohol laws. Bars are permitted to remain open 24 hours, with no “last call”. Liquor stores, convenience stores and supermarkets may also sell alcohol 24 hours per day, and may sell beer, wine and spirits.

In 2016, Nevada voters approved Question 2, which legalized the possession, transportation and cultivation of personal use amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 years and older, and authorized the creation of a regulated market for the sale of marijuana to adults age 21 years and older through state-licensed retail outlets.[80] Nevada voters had previously approved medical marijuana in 2000, but rejected marijuana legalization in a similar referendum in 2006. Marijuana in all forms remains illegal under federal law.

Aside from cannabis legalization, non-alcohol drug laws are a notable exception to Nevada’s otherwise libertarian principles. It is notable for having the harshest penalties for drug offenders in the country. Nevada remains the only state to still use mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for possession of drugs.[81]

Smoking

Nevada voters enacted a smoking ban (“The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act”) in November 2006 that became effective on December 8, 2006. It outlaws smoking in most workplaces and public places. Smoking is permitted in bars, but only if the bar serves no food, or the bar is inside a larger casino. Smoking is also permitted in casinos, certain hotel rooms, tobacco shops, and brothels.[82] However, some businesses do not obey this law and the government tends not to enforce it.[83] In 2011, smoking restrictions in Nevada were loosened for certain places which allow only people age 21 or older inside.[84]

Crime

In 2006, the crime rate in Nevada was about 24% higher than the national average rate, though crime has since decreased. Property crimes accounted for about 85% of the total crime rate in Nevada, which was 21% higher than the national rate. The remaining 20.3% were violent crimes.[85] A complete listing of crime data in the state for 2013 can be found here:[86]

Politics

Qualified political parties in Nevada [87]
Party Status
Democratic Major
Republican Major
Libertarian Minor
Green Minor
Independent American Minor
Transhumanist Minor
Nevada registered voters as of October 2017[88]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 636,935 38.88%
Republican 537,500 32.80%
Nonpartisan 355,676 21.70%
Independent American 73,735 4.49%
Libertarian 16,120 0.98%
Other 18,651 1.13%
Total 1,638,617 100%

State politics

Party registration by county (November 2018):

  Democrat >= 40%
  Republican >= 30%
  Republican >= 40%
  Republican >= 50%
  Republican >= 60%

Due to heavy growth in the southern portion of the state, there is a noticeable divide between politics of northern and southern Nevada. The north has long maintained control of key positions in state government, even while the population of southern Nevada is larger than the rest of the state combined. The north sees the high population south becoming more influential and perhaps commanding majority rule. The south sees the north as the “old guard” trying to rule as an oligarchy. This has fostered some resentment, however, due to a term limit amendment passed by Nevada voters in 1994, and again in 1996, some of the north’s hold over key positions will soon be forfeited to the south, leaving northern Nevada with less power.

Historically, northern Nevada has been very Republican. The more rural counties of the north are among the most conservative regions of the country. Carson City, the state’s capital, is a Republican-leaning swing city/county. Washoe County, home to Reno, has historically been strongly Republican, but now has become more of a Democratic-leaning swing county. Clark County, home to Las Vegas, has been a stronghold for the Democratic Party since it was founded in 1909, having voted Republican only six times and once for a third party candidate.
Clark and Washoe counties have long dominated the state’s politics. Between them, they cast 87 percent of Nevada’s vote, and elect a substantial majority of the state legislature. The last Republican to carry Clark County was George H.W. Bush in 1988, and the last Republican to carry Washoe County was George W. Bush in 2004. The great majority of the state’s elected officials are either from Las Vegas or Reno.

National politics

Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election.

Presidential election results
Year Democratic Republican
2016 47.92% 539,260 45.50% 512,058
2012 52.36% 531,373 45.68% 463,567
2008 55.15% 533,736 42.65% 412,827
2004 47.88% 397,190 50.47% 418,690
2000 45.94% 279,978 49.49% 301,575
1996 45.60% 203,388 44.55% 198,775
1992 37.41% 189,148 34.71% 175,828

Nevada voted for the winner in every presidential election from 1912 to 2012, except in 1976 when it voted for Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter. This includes Nevada supporting Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960 and 1964, respectively. Republican Richard Nixon in 1968 and in 1972, Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980 and in 1984, Republican George H.W. Bush in 1988, Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and Democrat Barack Obama winning the state in both 2008 and 2012. This gives the state status as a political bellwether. From 1912 to 2012, Nevada has been carried by the presidential victor the most out of any state (26 of 27 elections). In 2016, Nevada lost its bellwether status when it narrowly cast its votes for Hillary Clinton. Nevada was one of only three states won by John F. Kennedy in the American West in the election of 1960, albeit narrowly.[89]

The state’s U.S. Senators are Democrats Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen. The Governorship is held by Steve Sisolak, a Democrat.

Voting

Nevada is the only U.S. state to have a none of the above option available on its ballots. Officially called None of These Candidates, the option was first added to the ballot in 1975 and is used in all statewide elections, including president, US Senate and all state constitutional positions. In the event “None of These Candidates” receives a plurality of votes in the election, the candidate with the next-highest total is elected.[90]

Education

Education in Nevada is achieved through public and private elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges and universities.

A May 2015 educational reform law expanded school choice options to 450,000 Nevada students who are at up to 185% of the federal poverty level. Education savings accounts (ESAs) are enabled by the new law to help pay the tuition for private schools. Alternatively, families “can use funds in these accounts to also pay for textbooks and tutoring.”[91][92]

Public school districts

Public school districts in Nevada include:

  • Carson City School District
  • Churchill County School District
  • Clark County School District, the fifth largest school district in the United States
  • Douglas County School District
  • Elko County School District
  • Esmeralda County School District
  • Eureka County School District
  • Humboldt County School District
  • Lander County School District
  • Lincoln County School District
  • Lyon County School District
  • Mineral County School District
  • Nye County School District
  • Pershing County School District
  • Storey County School District
  • Washoe County School District
  • White Pine County School District

Colleges and universities

  • Nevada System of Higher Education

    • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
    • University of Nevada, Reno (Nevada)
    • Nevada State College
    • Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC)
    • Great Basin College
    • College of Southern Nevada (CSN)
    • Western Nevada College (WNC)
  • Sierra Nevada College
  • Touro University Nevada
  • Roseman University of Health Sciences

Research institutes

  • Desert Research Institute

The Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame provides educational resources and promotes the aerospace and aviation history of the state.[93]

Parks and recreation areas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Calico basin

Great Basin National Park

The quartzite of Jeff Davis Peak in Great Basin National Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Mount Charleston

Recreation areas maintained by the federal government

Northern Nevada

  • California National Historic Trail
  • Humboldt National Forest
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail

Southern Nevada

  • Ash Meadows National Wildlife Preserve
  • Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park
  • Toiyabe National Forest
  • Inyo National Forest
  • Mount Charleston and the Mount Charleston Wilderness
  • Spring Mountains and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • Death Valley National Park

Wilderness

There are 68 designated wilderness areas in Nevada, protecting some 6,579,014 acres (2,662,433 ha) under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.[94]

State parks

The Nevada state parks comprise protected areas managed by the state of Nevada, including state parks, state historic sites, and state recreation areas. There are 24 state park units, including Van Sickle Bi-State Park which opened in July 2011 and is operated in partnership with the state of California.[95]

Culture

Entertainment and tourism

Resort areas like Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Laughlin attract visitors from around the nation and world. In FY08 the total of 266 casinos with gaming revenue over $1m for the year, brought in revenue of $12 billion in gaming revenue, and $13 billion in non-gaming revenue. A review of gaming statistics can be found at Nevada gaming area.

Nevada has by far the most hotel rooms per capital in the United States. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, there were 187,301 rooms in 584 hotels (of 15 or more rooms). The state is ranked just below California, Texas, Florida, and New York in total number of rooms, but those states have much larger populations. Nevada has one hotel room for every 14 residents, far above the national average of one hotel room per 67 residents.[96]

Prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada in licensed brothels, but only counties with populations under 400,000 have the option to legalize it. Although prostitution is not a major part of the Nevada economy, employing roughly 300 women as independent contractors, it is a very visible endeavor. Of the 14 counties permitted to legalize prostitution under state law, 8 have chosen to legalize brothels. State law prohibits prostitution in Clark County (which contains Las Vegas), and Washoe County (which contains Reno). However, prostitution is legal in Storey County, which is part of the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area.

Sports

Nevada is not well known for its professional sports teams, mainly because major league sports in the past feared having direct involvement with the sports gambling industry. However, this situation lessened after they embraced daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2014. The Las Vegas Valley is home to the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League who began play in the 2017-18 NHL season at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. The Golden Knights are the only major North American professional sports franchise in Nevada.

They will be joined by the Oakland Raiders who at the start of the 2016 NFL season expressed interest in moving their team to Las Vegas, and announced in January 2017 they would do so in either 2019 or 2020.

Nevada takes pride in college sports, most notably its college football. College teams in the state include the Nevada Wolf Pack (representing the University of Nevada, Reno) and the UNLV Rebels (representing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), both in the Mountain West Conference (MW).

UNLV is most remembered for its men’s basketball program, which experienced its height of supremacy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Coached by Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin’ Rebels became one of the most elite programs in the country. In 1990, UNLV won the Men’s Division I Championship by defeating Duke 103–73, which set tournament records for most points scored by a team and largest margin of victory in the national title game.

In 1991, UNLV finished the regular season undefeated, a feat that would not be matched in Division I men’s basketball for more than 20 years. Forward Larry Johnson won several awards, including the Naismith Award. UNLV reached the Final Four yet again, but lost their national semifinal against Duke 79–77. The Runnin’ Rebels were the Associated Press pre-season No. 1 back to back (1989–90, 1990–91). North Carolina is the only other team to accomplish that (2007–08, 2008–09).

The state’s involvement in major-college sports is not limited to its local schools. In the 21st century, the Las Vegas area has become a significant regional center for college basketball conference tournaments. The MW, West Coast Conference, and Western Athletic Conference all hold their men’s and women’s tournaments in the area, and the Pac-12 holds its men’s tournament there as well. The Big Sky Conference, after decades of holding its men’s and women’s conference tournaments at campus sites, began holding both tournaments in Reno in 2016.

Las Vegas has hosted several professional boxing matches, most recently at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with bouts such as Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II, Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao and at the newer T-Mobile Arena with Canelo Álvarez vs. Amir Khan.

Along with significant rises in popularity in mixed martial arts (MMA), a number of fight leagues such as the UFC have taken interest in Las Vegas as a primary event location due to the number of suitable host venues. The Mandalay Bay Events Center and MGM Grand Garden Arena are among some of the more popular venues for fighting events such as MMA and have hosted several UFC and other MMA title fights. The city has held the most UFC events with 86 events.

The state is also home to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which hosts the Kobalt Tools 400. Two venues in the immediate Las Vegas area host major annual events in rodeo. The Thomas & Mack Center, built for UNLV men’s basketball, hosts the National Finals Rodeo. The PBR World Finals, operated by the bull riding-only Professional Bull Riders, was also held at the Thomas & Mack Center before moving to T-Mobile Arena in 2016. Finally, Sam Boyd Stadium, home to the UNLV football team, also hosts the country’s biggest rugby event, the USA Sevens tournament in the World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as the AMA Supercross Championship.

The state is also home to one of the most famous tennis players of all time, Andre Agassi, and current baseball superstar Bryce Harper.

List of teams

Major professional teams
Team Sport League Venue (capacity) Established Titles
Las Vegas Raiders Football NFL Las Vegas Stadium (65,000) 2020 (planned) 0
Vegas Golden Knights Ice hockey NHL T-Mobile Arena (17,500) 2017 0
Las Vegas Aces Basketball WNBA Mandalay Bay Events Center (12,000) 2018 0
Minor professional teams
Team Sport League Venue (capacity) Established Titles
Las Vegas Aviators Baseball MiLB (AAA-PCL) Las Vegas Ballpark (10,000) 1983 2
Reno Aces Greater Nevada Field (9,013) 2009 2
Mesquite Desert Dogs Basketball TBL Rising Star Sports Ranch (600) 2018 0
Las Vegas Lights FC Soccer USLC Cashman Field (9,334) 0
Reno 1868 FC Greater Nevada Field (9,013) 2015 0
Reno Express Indoor football AWFC Reno Events Center (7,000) 2019 (planned) 0
Amateur teams
Team Sport League Venue (capacity) Established Titles
Las Vegas Jesters Ice hockey MWHL City National Arena (600) 2012 0
Nevada Coyotes FC Soccer UPSL Rio Vista Sports Complex 2016 0
Summerlin Red Rocks FC 2018 0
College teams
School Team League Division Conference
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) UNLV Rebels NCAA NCAA Division I Mountain West
University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Nevada Wolf Pack
College of Southern Nevada (CSN) CSN Coyotes NJCAA NJCAA Division I Scenic West
Western Nevada College (WNC) WNC Wildcats

Military

Several United States Navy ships have been named USS Nevada in honor of the state. They include:

  • USS Nevada (1865)
  • USS Nevada (BM-8)
  • USS Nevada (BB-36)
  • USS Nevada (SSBN-733)

Area 51 is near Groom Lake, a dry salt lake bed. The much smaller Creech Air Force Base is in Indian Springs, Nevada; Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne; the Tonopah Test Range near Tonopah; and Nellis AFB in the northeast part of the Las Vegas Valley. Naval Air Station Fallon in Fallon; NSAWC, (pronounced “EN-SOCK”) in western Nevada. NSAWC consolidated three Command Centers into a single Command Structure under a flag officer on July 11, 1996. The Naval Strike Warfare Center (STRIKE “U”) based at NAS Fallon since 1984, was joined with the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (TOPDOME) which both moved from NAS Miramar as a result of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision in 1993 which transferred that installation back to the Marine Corps as MCAS Miramar. The Seahawk Weapon School was added in 1998 to provide tactical training for Navy helicopters.

These bases host a number of activities including the Joint Unmanned Aerial Systems Center of Excellence, the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Nevada Test and Training Range, Red Flag, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the United States Air Force Warfare Center, the United States Air Force Weapons School, and the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School.

Future issues

Nevada enjoys many economic advantages, and the southern portion of the state enjoys mild winter weather, but rapid growth has led to some overcrowded roads and schools. Nevada has the nation’s 5th largest school district in the Clark County School District (projected fall 2007 enrollment is 314,000 students grades K-12).[97]

Coyote Springs is a proposed community for 240,000 inhabitants in Clark and Lincoln counties. It would be Nevada’s largest planned city. The town is being developed by Harvey Whittemore and has generated some controversy because of environmental concerns and allegations of political favoritism.[98]

State symbols

Playa areas of Nevada

  • State animal: desert bighorn sheep
  • State artifact: Tule duck decoy
  • State bird: mountain bluebird
  • State colors: silver and blue
  • State fish: Lahontan cutthroat trout
  • State flower: sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
  • State fossil: ichthyosaur
  • State grass: Indian ricegrass
  • State march: “Silver State Fanfare” by Gerald G. Willis[99]
  • State metal: silver (Ag)
  • State mottos: “Battle Born” and “All For Our Country”
  • State precious gemstone: Virgin Valley black fire opal
  • State semiprecious gemstone: Nevada turquoise
  • State slogan: “The Battle Born State”
  • State song: “Home Means Nevada” by Bertha Raffetto
  • State reptile: desert tortoise
  • State rock: sandstone
  • State soil: Orovada series
  • State tartan: A particular tartan designed for Nevada by Richard Zygmunt Pawlowski
  • State trees: single-leaf pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) and bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva)

See also

  • Index of Nevada-related articles
  • Outline of Nevada – organized list of topics about Nevada

Notes

  1. ^ The distinction of highest point in Nevada goes to the summit of Boundary Peak, so named because it is very near the Nevada-California border, at the northern terminus of the White Mountains. However, Boundary Peak can be considered a subsidiary summit of Montgomery Peak, whose summit is in California, since the topographic prominence of Boundary Peak is only 253 feet (77 m), which falls under the often used 300-foot (91 m) cutoff for an independent peak. Also, Boundary Peak is less than 1 mile (1.6 km) away from its higher neighbor. Hence Boundary Peak can be described as not being wholly within Nevada. By contrast, the prominence of Wheeler Peak, 13,063 feet (3,982 m), is quite large and in fact it is the twelfth largest in the contiguous United States. Wheeler Peak is the highest point in a radius of more than 200 square miles (520 km2) and is entirely within the state of Nevada.

References

  1. ^ “Nevada: Population estimates”. U.S. Census Bureau. July 1, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
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  4. ^ ab “Elevations and Distances in the United States”. United States Geological Survey. 2001. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  5. ^ ab Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
  6. ^ Also sometimes placed in the Mountain West and Southwestern United States.
  7. ^ “Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (CBSA-EST2011-01)”. 2011 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. December 24, 2012. Archived from the original (CSV) on April 27, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
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  20. ^ ab National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, N.C., and Storm Phillips, Stormfax, Inc.
  21. ^ Osborn, Liz. “Driest states”. Currentresults.com. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  22. ^ “Nevada climate averages”. Weatherbase. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  23. ^ Federal Writers’ Project (1940). Nevada: a guide to the Silver state. US History Publishers. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-60354-027-8.
  24. ^ ab “Political History of Nevada”. Nevada State Library and Archives. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
  25. ^ “Visitors”. Clarkcountynv.gov. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  26. ^ Laws of the Territory of Nevada passed at the first regular session of the Legislative Assembly. San Francisco, CA: Valentine & Co. 1862. pp. 289–291. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  27. ^ “Nevada’s Census Population By County For 2000 and 2010” (PDF). Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  28. ^ “Explorers and Settlers in Nevada” (PDF). Washoe County School District. p. 2. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  29. ^ “Online Etymology Dictionary”. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  30. ^ Rocha Guy, Historical Myth a Month: Why Did Nevada Become A State? Archived January 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Moe, Al W. Nevada’s Golden Age of Gambling, Puget Sound Books, 2002, p.18
  32. ^ Resident Population Data. “Resident Population Data – 2010 Census”. 2010.census.gov. Archived from the original on December 20, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  33. ^ ab “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (NST-EST2016-01)” (xlsx). U.S. Census Bureau. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  34. ^ “Cumulative Estimates of the Components of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (NST-EST2016-04)” (xlsx). U.S. Census Bureau. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  35. ^ “Download the Centers of Population by State: 2010” (txt). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  36. ^ “Pahrump CDP QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau”. Quickfacts.census.gov. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  37. ^ doug (August 8, 2008). “People keep moving to Nevada…”. gach.co. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  38. ^ ab “2016 American Community Survey – Demographic and Housing Estimates”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  39. ^ “2016 American Community Survey – Selected Social Characteristics”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  40. ^ abc “Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States”. Census.gov. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2014.

    “Table 43. Nevada – Race and Hispanic Origin: 1860 to 1990”. (PDF)
  41. ^ “Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000” (PDF). United States Census Bureau
  42. ^ 2010 Census Data. “2010 Census Data”. Census.gov. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  43. ^ “Americans under age 1 now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot”. The Plain Dealer. June 3, 2012.
  44. ^ “U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Nevada”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  45. ^ “U.S. whites will soon be the minority in number, but not power – Baltimore Sun”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  46. ^ “Nevada – Selected Population Profile in the United States”. Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  47. ^ “data” (PDF). www.cdc.gov.
  48. ^ “data” (PDF). www.cdc.gov.
  49. ^ “data” (PDF). www.cdc.gov.
  50. ^ “data” (PDF). www.cdc.gov.
  51. ^ “Nevada (USA): State, Major Cities, & Places”. City Population. February 19, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  52. ^ “$1.3 billion for 288 jobs: The failure of government-subsidized renewable energy”. Nevadabusiness.com. October 1, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  53. ^ REVIEW-JOURNAL, JENNIFER ROBISON LAS VEGAS (May 3, 2014). “Before mining and gambling, ranching shaped Nevada’s culture”.
  54. ^ “Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life”. Religions.pewforum.org. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  55. ^ “Mississippians Go to Church the Most; Vermonters, Least”. Gallup.com. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  56. ^ “The Association of Religion Data Archives | State Membership Report”. www.thearda.com. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  57. ^ “Summerlin Area Community Events Calendar, Oct. 22-28, 2015”. GateHouse Media, Inc. LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL.
  58. ^ Chabad of Summerlin (December 26, 2012). “Are you an Ethical Person?”. Las Vegas Sun.
  59. ^ Frank, Dave. “Western Region Gold Deposits (completed project)”.
  60. ^ “Bureau of Economic Analysis”. Bea.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  61. ^ “GDP by State”. Greyhill Advisors. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  62. ^ “BEA : Gross Domestic Product by State”. Bea.gov. June 2, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  63. ^ “statedatalab.org: “The 34th worst state” Truth in Accounting” (PDF). Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  64. ^ “Local Area Unemployment Statistics”. BLS. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  65. ^ The Economist, August 21, 2010, p. 35
  66. ^ Nevada Mining Association, Economic Overview of the Nevada Mining Industry 2004 Archived May 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  67. ^ United States Department of Agriculture Nevada State Agriculture Overview – 2005 Archived May 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  68. ^ “Nevada’s Largest Employers – Statewide Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.” Nevada Workforce Informer. Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
  69. ^ ab NV Const. art. V, § 1.
  70. ^ NV Const. art. V, § 5.
  71. ^ Price, Michelle L. (2018-12-18). “Click to copyhttps://apnews.com/8bebc3041f564d449365feff713bf7a4”. Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-12-20. External link in |title= (help)
  72. ^ “Court of Appeals”. Nevada Judiciary. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  73. ^ Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), pp. 596–597.
  74. ^ “Nevada’s divorce rate exceeds national average – News – ReviewJournal.com”. Lvrj.com. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  75. ^ “The Tax Foundation – Tax Research Areas > Nevada”. Tax Foundation. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  76. ^ Nicholas Shaxson: Treasure Islands, Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World; The Bodley Head, London, 2011
  77. ^ “Sales Tax Map” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 29, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  78. ^ “Taxation Publications”. Tax.state.nv.us. Archived from the original on August 13, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  79. ^ “The Agony and Ecstasy—and ‘Disgrace’—of Steve Jobs”. The Nation. November 9, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  80. ^ “Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana”. Nevada Secretary of State. April 23, 2014. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  81. ^ “Las Vegas, Nevada “Possession of a Controlled Substance (Drug)” Laws”. www.shouselaw.com. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  82. ^ “State smoking ban sparks zone-change request for Gardnerville parcel Nevada Appeal serving Carson City, Nevada”. Nevadaappeal.com. October 6, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  83. ^ “Have Nevada bars given up the smoking habit?”. Kvbc.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  84. ^ “Black & LoBello smoking ban loosened Archives ” Black & LoBello”. Blacklobellolaw.com. June 17, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  85. ^ “Overview of Nevada’s CorrectionalSystem”. NICIC. January 4, 2009. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  86. ^ “2013 Crime In Nevada Annual Report” (PDF). NV Repository. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  87. ^ “Nevadan political parties” (aspx). Nevada Secretary of State / Party & Committee Information / Organized political parties. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  88. ^ “Office of Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske October 2017 Voter Registration Statistics Total Voters by County and Party”.
  89. ^ southdem (November 9, 2012). “2012 vs 1960”. Daily Kos. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  90. ^ “Not a fan of any candidate? In Nevada, you can vote for ‘None of These Candidates“. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  91. ^
    “School Choice: Full Education Competition Comes To Nevada”. Investors Business Daily. June 1, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  92. ^ “Nevada – Education Savings Accounts”. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  93. ^ “Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame”. Nvahof.org. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  94. ^ “Wilderness.net”. Wilderness.net. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  95. ^ O’Daly Lisa. “Van Sickle Bi-State Park – Sierra Nevada Geotourism MapGuide”. Sierranevadageotourism.org. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  96. ^ “State-by-State Fact Sheets on Lodging Industry”. Archived from the original on May 2, 2010.
  97. ^ “Clark County School District: Overview”. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  98. ^ Brean, Henry (July 6, 2006). “Lovefest’ for Coyote Springs”. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on July 17, 2006. Retrieved July 6, 2006.
  99. ^ NRS 235.035

External links

  • “Nevada” (official state website).
  • “Nevada State Guide”. Library of Congress.
  • “Nevada State Databases”. ALA. Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Nevada state agencies and compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association.
  • State Tourism website
  • Nevada State Library and Archives
  • Energy Profile for Nevada
  • USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Nevada
  • US Census Bureau
  • 1875 County Map at Texas Tech Southwest Collection
  • County Maps of Nevada Full color maps. List of cities, towns and county seats
  • Nevada State Facts from USDA
  • Forgotten Nevada – Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Nevada
  • Nevada’s Historical Markers
  • Navada State Seal
  • Nevada at Curlie
  • Geographic data related to Nevada at OpenStreetMap
  • Online Nevada Encyclopedia, Nevada Humanities

Preceded by
West Virginia
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on October 31, 1864 (36th)
Succeeded by
Nebraska

Coordinates: 39°N 117°W / 39°N 117°W / 39; -117


Arizona

state of the United States of America

State of Arizona
Flag of Arizona State seal of Arizona
Flag Seal
Nickname(s):

The Grand Canyon State;
The Copper State;
The Valentine State
Motto(s): Ditat Deus (God enriches)
State song(s): “The Arizona March Song” and “Arizona
Map of the United States with Arizona highlighted
Official language English
Spoken languages As of 2010

  • English 74.1%
  • Spanish 19.5%
  • Navajo 1.9%
  • Other 4.5 %
Demonym Arizonan[1]
Capital
.mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}
(and largest city)
Phoenix
Largest metro Greater Phoenix
Area Ranked 6th
 • Total 113,990[2] sq mi
(295,234 km2)
 • Width 310 miles (500 km)
 • Length 400 miles (645 km)
 • % water 0.35
 • Latitude 31°  20′ N to 37° N
 • Longitude 109°  03′ W to 114°  49′ W
Population Ranked 14th
 • Total 7,016,270 (2017 est.)[3]
 • Density 57/sq mi  (22/km2)
Ranked 33rd
 • Median household income $52,248 [4] (33rd)
Elevation
 • Highest point Humphreys Peak[5][6][7]
12,637 ft (3852 m)
 • Mean 4,100 ft  (1250 m)
 • Lowest point Colorado River at the Sonora border[6][7]
72 ft (22 m)
Before statehood Arizona Territory
Admission to Union February 14, 1912 (48th)
Governor Doug Ducey (R)
Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R)
Legislature Arizona Legislature
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R)
Jon Kyl (R)
U.S. House delegation 5 Republicans
4 Democrats (list)
Time zones  
 • most of state Mountain: UTC −7 (no DST)
 • Navajo Nation Mountain: UTC −7/−6
ISO 3166 US-AZ
Abbreviations AZ, Ariz.
Website www.az.gov
Arizona state symbols
Flag of Arizona.svg

The Flag of Arizona
Arizona-StateSeal.svg

The Seal of Arizona
Living insignia
Amphibian Arizona tree frog
Bird Cactus wren
Butterfly Two-tailed swallowtail
Fish Apache trout
Flower Saguaro cactus blossom
Mammal Ring-tailed cat
Reptile Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake
Tree Palo verde
Inanimate insignia
Colors Blue, old gold
Firearm Colt Single Action Army revolver
Fossil Petrified wood
Gemstone Turquoise
Mineral Fire agate
Rock Petrified wood
Ship USS Arizona
Slogan The Grand Canyon State
Soil Casa Grande
State route marker
Arizona state route marker
State quarter
Arizona quarter dollar coin

Released in 2008
Lists of United States state symbols

Saguaro cactus flowers and buds after a wet winter. This is Arizona’s official state flower.

Arizona (/ˌærɪˈznə/ (About this soundlisten); Navajo: Hoozdo Hahoodzo Navajo pronunciation: [xòːztò xɑ̀xòːtsò]; O’odham: Alĭ ṣonak Uto-Aztecan pronunciation: [ˡaɺi ˡʂonak]) is a U.S. 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, one of the Four Corners states, is bordered by New Mexico to the east, Utah to the north, Nevada and California to the west, and Mexico to the south, as well as the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona’s border with Mexico is 389 miles (626 km) long, on the northern border of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. Historically part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees; the Colorado Plateau; some mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments.

About one-quarter of the state[8] is made up of Indian reservations that serve as the home of 27 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest in the state and the United States, with more than 300,000 citizens. Although federal law gave all Native Americans the right to vote in 1924, Arizona excluded those living on reservations in the state from voting until the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Native American plaintiffs in Trujillo v. Garley (1948).[9][10]

Contents

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 History

    • 2.1 20th century to present
  • 3 Geography and geology

    • 3.1 Earthquakes
    • 3.2 Adjacent states
  • 4 Climate
  • 5 Demographics

    • 5.1 Race and ethnicity
    • 5.2 Languages
    • 5.3 Cities and towns
    • 5.4 Religion
  • 6 Economy

    • 6.1 Employment
    • 6.2 Largest employers
    • 6.3 Taxation
  • 7 Transportation

    • 7.1 Highways

      • 7.1.1 Interstate highways
      • 7.1.2 U.S. routes
    • 7.2 Public transportation, Amtrak, and intercity bus
    • 7.3 Aviation
  • 8 Law and government

    • 8.1 Capitol complex
    • 8.2 State legislative branch
    • 8.3 State executive branch
    • 8.4 State judicial branch
    • 8.5 Counties
    • 8.6 Federal representation
    • 8.7 Political culture
    • 8.8 Same-sex marriage and Civil unions
  • 9 Education

    • 9.1 Elementary and secondary education
    • 9.2 Higher education
    • 9.3 Public universities in Arizona
    • 9.4 Private colleges and universities in Arizona
    • 9.5 Community colleges
  • 10 Art and culture

    • 10.1 Visual arts and museums
    • 10.2 Film
    • 10.3 Music
    • 10.4 Sports

      • 10.4.1 College sports
      • 10.4.2 Baseball
  • 11 Miscellaneous topics

    • 11.1 Notable people
    • 11.2 State symbols
  • 12 See also
  • 13 Notes
  • 14 References
  • 15 Further reading
  • 16 External links

Etymology

The state’s name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O’odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning “small spring”, which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora.[11][12][13][14] To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like “Arissona”.[15] The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O’odham language.[16] Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona (“the good oak”), as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area.[17][18][19]

There is a misconception that the state’s name originated from the Spanish term Árida Zona (“Arid Zone”).[15]

History

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon

For thousands of years before the modern era, Arizona was home to numerous Native American tribes. Hohokam, Mogollon and Ancestral Puebloan cultures were among the many that flourished throughout the state. Many of their pueblos, cliffside dwellings, rock paintings and other prehistoric treasures have survived, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

The first European contact by native peoples was with Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, in 1539. He explored parts of the present state and made contact with native inhabitants, probably the Sobaipuri. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–1542 during its search for Cíbola. Few Spanish settlers migrated to Arizona. One of the first settlers in Arizona was José Romo de Vivar.[20]

Father Kino was the next European in the region. A member of the Society of Jesus (“Jesuits”), he led the development of a chain of missions in the region. He converted many of the Indians to Christianity in the Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 18th century. Spain founded presidios (“fortified towns”) at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775.

When Mexico achieved its independence from the Kingdom of Spain and its Spanish Empire in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of its Territory of Nueva California, (“New California”), also known as Alta California (“Upper California”).[21] Descendants of ethnic Spanish and mestizo settlers from the colonial years still lived in the area at the time of the arrival of later European-American migrants from the United States.

Mexico in 1824. Alta California is the northwestern-most state.

During the Mexican–American War (1847–1848), the U.S. Army occupied the national capital of Mexico City and pursued its claim to much of northern Mexico, including what later became Arizona Territory in 1863 and later the State of Arizona in 1912. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) specified that, in addition to language and cultural rights of the existing inhabitants of former Mexican citizens being considered as inviolable, the sum of US$15 million dollars in compensation (equivalent to $424,961,538.46 in 2017.) be paid to the Republic of Mexico.[22] In 1853, the U.S. acquired the land south below the Gila River from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase along the southern border area as encompassing the best future southern route for a transcontinental railway.

What is now known as the state of Arizona was initially administered by the United States government as part of the Territory of New Mexico until the southern part of that region seceded from the Union to form the Territory of Arizona.[23] This newly established territory was formally organized by the Confederate States government on Saturday, January 18, 1862, when President Jefferson Davis approved and signed An Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona,[24] marking the first official use of the name “Territory of Arizona”. The Southern territory supplied the Confederate government with men, horses, and equipment. Formed in 1862, Arizona scout companies served with the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. Arizona has the westernmost military engagement on record during the Civil War with the Battle of Picacho Pass.

Geronimo (far right) and his Apache warriors fought against both Mexican and American settlers.

The Federal government declared a new U.S. Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of earlier New Mexico Territory, in Washington, D.C., on February 24, 1863. These new boundaries would later form the basis of the state. The first territorial capital, Prescott, was founded in 1864 following a gold rush to central Arizona.[25]

Although names including “Gadsonia,” “Pimeria,” “Montezuma” and “Arizuma” had been considered for the territory,[26] when 16th President Abraham Lincoln signed the final bill, it read “Arizona,” and that name was adopted. (Montezuma was not derived from the Aztec emperor, but was the sacred name of a divine hero to the Pima people of the Gila River Valley. It was probably considered—and rejected—for its sentimental value before Congress settled on the name “Arizona.”)

Brigham Young, patriarchal leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City in Utah, sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid- to late 19th century. They founded Mesa, Snowflake, Heber, Safford, and other towns. They also settled in the Phoenix Valley (or “Valley of the Sun”), Tempe, Prescott, and other areas. The Mormons settled what became northern Arizona and northern New Mexico. At the time these areas were located in a part of the former New Mexico Territory.

Children of Depression-era migrant workers, Pinal County, 1937

20th century to present

During the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, several battles were fought in the Mexican towns just across the border from Arizona settlements. Throughout the revolution, numerous Arizonans enlisted in one of the several armies fighting in Mexico. Only two significant engagements took place on U.S. soil between U.S. and Mexican forces: Pancho Villa’s 1916 Columbus Raid in New Mexico, and the Battle of Ambos Nogales in 1918 in Arizona. The Americans won the latter.

After U.S. soldiers were fired on by Mexican federal troops, the American garrison launched an assault into Nogales, Mexico. The Mexicans eventually surrendered after both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few months earlier, just west of Nogales, an Indian War battle had occurred, considered the last engagement in the American Indian Wars, which lasted from 1775 to 1918. U.S. soldiers stationed on the border confronted Yaqui Indians who were using Arizona as a base to raid the nearby Mexican settlements, as part of their wars against Mexico.

Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted.

Eleanor Roosevelt at the Gila River relocation center, April 23, 1943

Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona’s most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression. But during the 1920s and even the 1930s, tourism began to develop as the important Arizonan industry it is today. Dude ranches, such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to take part in the flavor and activities of the “Old West.” Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws. They include the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936).

Arizona was the site of German POW camps during World War II and Japanese-American internment camps. Because of wartime fears of Japanese invasion of the West Coast, the government authorized the removal of all Japanese-American residents from western Washington, western Oregon, all of California, and western Arizona. From 1942 to 1945, they were forced to reside in internment camps built in the interior of the country. Many lost their homes and businesses in the process. The camps were abolished after World War II.

The Phoenix-area German P.O.W. site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family (of major home appliance fame). It was developed as the site of the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese-American internment camp was located on Mount Lemmon, just outside the state’s southeastern city of Tucson. Another POW camp was located near the Gila River in eastern Yuma County.

Arizona was also home to the Phoenix Indian School, one of several federal Indian boarding schools designed to assimilate Native American children into mainstream European-American culture. Children were often enrolled into these schools against the wishes of their parents and families. Attempts to suppress native identities included forcing the children to cut their hair, to take and use English names, to speak only English, and to practice Christianity rather than their native religions.[27]

Numerous Native Americans from Arizona fought for the United States during World War II. Their experiences resulted in a rising activism in the postwar years to achieve better treatment and civil rights after their return to the state. After Maricopa County did not allow them to register to vote, in 1948 veteran Frank Harrison and Harry Austin, of the Mojave-Apache Tribe at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, brought a legal suit, Harrison and Austin v. Laveen, to challenge this exclusion. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in their favor.[10]

Arizona’s population grew tremendously with residential and business development after World War II, aided by the widespread use of air conditioning, which made the intensely hot summers more comfortable. According to the Arizona Blue Book (published by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office each year), the state population in 1910 was 294,353. By 1970, it was 1,752,122. The percentage growth each decade averaged about 20% in the earlier decades, and about 60% each decade thereafter.

In the 1960s, retirement communities were developed. These were special age-restricted subdivisions catering exclusively to the needs of senior citizens; they attracted many retirees who wanted to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest and the Northeast. Sun City, established by developer Del Webb and opened in 1960, was one of the first such communities. Green Valley, south of Tucson, was another such community, designed as a retirement subdivision for Arizona’s teachers. Many senior citizens from across the U.S. and Canada come to Arizona each winter and stay only during the winter months; they are referred to as snowbirds.

In March 2000, Arizona was the site of the first legally binding election ever held over the internet to nominate a candidate for public office.[28] In the 2000 Arizona Democratic Primary, under worldwide attention, Al Gore defeated Bill Bradley. Voter turnout in this state primary increased more than 500% over the 1996 primary.

Three ships named USS Arizona have been christened in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.

Geography and geology

Köppen climate types of Arizona

The Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River

West Mitten at Monument Valley

Blue Mesa at Petrified Forest National Park

The Grand Canyon

The San Francisco Peaks seen from Bellemont

Sonoran Desert at Saguaro National Park

Cathedral Rock near Red Rock Crossing in Sedona

See also lists of counties, islands, rivers, lakes, state parks, national parks, national forests, and volcanic craters.

Arizona is in the Southwestern United States as one of the Four Corners states. Arizona is the sixth largest state by area, ranked after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state’s 113,998 square miles (295,000 km2), approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservations.

Arizona is well known for its desert Basin and Range region in the state’s southern portions, which is rich in a landscape of xerophyte plants such as the cactus. This region’s topography was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by the cooling-off and related subsidence. Its climate has exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. The state is less well known for its pine-covered north-central portion of the high country of the Colorado Plateau (see Arizona Mountains forests).

Like other states of the Southwest United States, Arizona has an abundance of mountains and plateaus. Despite the state’s aridity, 27% of Arizona is forest,[29] a percentage comparable to modern-day France or Germany[citation needed]. The world’s largest stand of ponderosa pine trees is in Arizona.[30]

The Mogollon Rim, a 1,998-foot (609 m) escarpment, cuts across the state’s central section and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau. In 2002, this was an area of the Rodeo–Chediski Fire, the worst fire in state history.

Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a colorful, deep, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River. The canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is largely contained in the Grand Canyon National Park—one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of designating the Grand Canyon area as a National Park, often visiting to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery. The canyon was created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, and is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6 to 29 km) and attains a depth of more than 1 mile (1.6 km). Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateau uplifted.

Arizona is home to one of the most well-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. Created around 50,000 years ago, the Barringer Meteorite Crater (better known simply as “Meteor Crater”) is a gigantic hole in the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Winslow. A rim of smashed and jumbled boulders, some of them the size of small houses, rises 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the surrounding plain. The crater itself is nearly 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) wide, and 570 feet (170 m) deep.

Arizona is one of two U.S. states that does not observe Daylight Saving Time (the other being Hawaii). The exception is within the large Navajo Nation (which observes Daylight Saving Time), in the state’s northeastern region.

Earthquakes

Generally, Arizona is at low risk of earthquakes, except for the southwestern portion which is at moderate risk due to its proximity to southern California. On the other hand, northern Arizona is at moderate risk due to numerous faults in the area. The regions near and west of Phoenix have the lowest risk.[31]

The earliest Arizona earthquakes were recorded at Fort Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River. They were centered near the Imperial Valley, or Mexico, back in the 1800s. Residents in Douglas felt the 1887 Sonora earthquake with its epicenter 40 miles to the south in the Mexican state of Sonora.[32] The first damaging earthquake known to be centered within Arizona occurred on January 25, 1906, also including a series of other earthquakes centered near Socorro, New Mexico. The shock was violent in Flagstaff.

In September 1910, a series of 52 earthquakes caused a construction crew near Flagstaff to leave the area. In 1912, the year Arizona achieved statehood, on August 18, an earthquake caused a 50-mile crack in the San Francisco Range. In early January 1935, the state experienced a series of earthquakes, in the Yuma area and near the Grand Canyon. Arizona experienced its largest earthquake in 1959, with a tremor of a magnitude 5.6. It was centered near Fredonia, in the state’s northwest near the border with Utah. The tremor was felt across the border in Nevada and Utah.[32]

Adjacent states

  • Utah (north)
  • Colorado (northeast)
  • Nevada (northwest)
  • Sonora, Mexico (south)
  • Baja California, Mexico (southwest)
  • New Mexico (east)
  • California (west)

Climate

Due to its large area and variations in elevation, the state has a wide variety of localized climate conditions. In the lower elevations, the climate is primarily desert, with mild winters and extremely hot summers. Typically, from late fall to early spring, the weather is mild, averaging a minimum of 60 °F (16 °C). November through February are the coldest months, with temperatures typically ranging from 40 to 75 °F (4 to 24 °C), with occasional frosts.[33]

About midway through February, the temperatures start to rise, with warm days, and cool, breezy nights. The summer months of June through September bring a dry heat from 90 to 120 °F (32 to 49 °C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding 125 °F (52 °C) having been observed in the desert area.[33] Arizona’s all-time record high is 128 °F (53 °C) recorded at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994, and July 5, 2007; the all-time record low of −40 °F (−40 °C) was recorded at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.

Due to the primarily dry climate, large diurnal temperature variations occur in less-developed areas of the desert above 2,500 ft (760 m). The swings can be as large as 83 °F (46 °C) in the summer months. In the state’s urban centers, the effects of local warming result in much higher measured night-time lows than in the recent past.

Arizona has an average annual rainfall of 12.7 in (323 mm),[34] which comes during two rainy seasons, with cold fronts coming from the Pacific Ocean during the winter and a monsoon in the summer.[35] The monsoon season occurs toward the end of summer. In July or August, the dewpoint rises dramatically for a brief period. During this time, the air contains large amounts of water vapor. Dewpoints as high as 81 °F (27 °C)[36] have been recorded during the Phoenix monsoon season. This hot moisture brings lightning, thunderstorms, wind, and torrential, if usually brief, downpours. These downpours often cause flash floods, which can turn deadly. In an attempt to deter drivers from crossing flooding streams, the Arizona Legislature enacted the Stupid Motorist Law. It is rare for tornadoes or hurricanes to occur in Arizona.

Arizona’s northern third is a plateau at significantly higher altitudes than the lower desert, and has an appreciably cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers, though the climate remains semiarid to arid. Extremely cold temperatures are not unknown; cold air systems from the northern states and Canada occasionally push into the state, bringing temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) to the state’s northern parts.

Indicative of the variation in climate, Arizona is the state which has both the metropolitan area with the most days over 100 °F (38 °C) (Phoenix), and the metropolitan area in the lower 48 states with the most days with a low temperature below freezing (Flagstaff).[37]

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Arizona[38]
Location July (°F) July (°C) December (°F) December (°C)
Phoenix 106/83 41/28 66/45 19/7
Tucson 100/74 38/23 65/39 18/4
Yuma 107/82 42/28 68/46 20/8
Flagstaff 81/51 27/11 42/17 6/–8
Prescott 89/60 32/16 51/23 11/–5
Kingman 98/66 37/19 56/32 13/0

Demographics

A population density map of Arizona

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,482
1870 9,658 49.0%
1880 40,440 318.7%
1890 88,243 118.2%
1900 122,931 39.3%
1910 204,354 66.2%
1920 334,162 63.5%
1930 435,573 30.3%
1940 499,261 14.6%
1950 749,587 50.1%
1960 1,302,161 73.7%
1970 1,745,944 34.1%
1980 2,718,215 55.7%
1990 3,665,228 34.8%
2000 5,130,632 40.0%
2010 6,392,017 24.6%
Est. 2017 7,016,270 9.8%
Sources: 1910–2010[39]
2015 estimate[40]
Note that early censuses
may not include
Native Americans in Arizona

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Arizona was 7,016,270 on July 1, 2017, a 9.8% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[40]

Arizona remained sparsely settled for most of the 19th century.[41] The 1860 census reported the population of “Arizona County” to be 6,482, of whom 4,040 were listed as “Indians”, 21 as “free colored”, and 2,421 as “white”.[42][43] Arizona’s continued population growth puts an enormous stress on the state’s water supply.[44] As of 2011[update], 61.3% of Arizona’s children under the age of 1 belonged to minority groups.[45]

The population of metropolitan Phoenix increased by 45.3% from 1991 through 2001, helping to make Arizona the second fastest-growing state in the U.S. in the 1990s (the fastest was Nevada).[46] As of July 2017[update], the population of the Phoenix area is estimated to be over 4.7 million.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Arizona had a population of 6,392,017. In 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 7.9% of the population. This was the second highest percentage of any state in the U.S.[47][48]

Metropolitan Phoenix (4.7 million) and Tucson (1 million) are home to about five-sixths of Arizona’s people (as of the 2010 census). Metro Phoenix alone accounts for two-thirds of the state’s population.

Race and ethnicity

In 1980, the Census Bureau reported Arizona’s population as 16.2% Hispanic, 5.6% Native American, and 74.5% non-Hispanic white.[49] In 2010, the racial makeup of the state was:

  • 73.0% White
  • 4.6% Native American and Alaska Native
  • 4.1% Black or African American
  • 2.8% Asian
  • 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
  • 11.9% from some other race
  • 3.4% from two or more races.

Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 29.6% of the state’s population. Non-Hispanic whites formed 57.8% of the total population.[50]

Arizona racial breakdown of population
Racial composition 1970[51] 1990[51] 2000[52] 2010[53]
White 90.6% 80.8% 75.5% 73.0%
Native 5.4% 5.5% 5.0% 4.6%
Black 3.0% 3.0% 3.1% 4.1%
Asian 0.5% 1.5% 1.8% 2.8%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1% 0.2%
Other race 0.5% 9.1% 11.6% 11.9%
Two or more races 2.9% 3.4%

Arizona’s five largest ancestry groups, as of 2009[update], were:[54]

  1. Mexican (27.4%);
  2. German (16.0%);
  3. Irish (10.8%);
  4. English (10.1%);
  5. Italian (4.6%).

Languages

Top 10 non-English languages spoken in Arizona
Language Percentage of population
(as of 2010)[55]
Spanish 20.80%
Navajo 1.48%
German 0.39%
Chinese (including Mandarin) 0.39%
Tagalog 0.33%
Vietnamese 0.30%
Other North American indigenous languages (especially indigenous languages of Arizona) 0.27%
French 0.26%
Arabic 0.24%
Apache 0.18%
Korean 0.17%

Extent of the Spanish language in the state of Arizona

As of 2010[update], 72.90% (4,215,749) of Arizona residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 20.80% (1,202,638) spoke Spanish, 1.48% (85,602) Navajo, 0.39% (22,592) German, 0.39% (22,426) Chinese (which includes Mandarin), 0.33% (19,015) Tagalog, 0.30% (17,603) Vietnamese, 0.27% (15,707) Other North American Indigenous Languages (especially indigenous languages of Arizona), and French was spoken as a main language by 0.26% (15,062) of the population over the age of five. In total, 27.10% (1,567,548) of Arizona’s population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.[55]

Arizona is home to the largest number of speakers of Native American languages in the 48 contiguous states, as over 85,000 individuals reported speaking Navajo,[56] and 10,403 people reported Apache, as a language spoken at home in 2005.[56] Arizona’s Apache County has the highest concentration of speakers of Native American Indian languages in the United States.[57]

Cities and towns

View of suburban development in Scottsdale, 2006

Art Deco doors of the Cochise County Courthouse in Bisbee

Phoenix, located in Maricopa County, is the capital and the largest city in Arizona. Other prominent cities in the Phoenix metro area include Mesa (the third largest city in Arizona), Chandler (the fourth largest city in Arizona), Glendale, Peoria, Buckeye, Sun City, Sun City West, Fountain Hills, Surprise, Gilbert, El Mirage, Avondale, Tempe, Tolleson and Scottsdale, with a total metropolitan population of just over 4.3 million.[58] The average high temperature in July, 106 °F (41 °C), is one of the highest of any metropolitan area in the United States, offset by an average January high temperature of 67 °F (19 °C), the basis of its winter appeal.

Tucson, with a metro population of just over one million, is the state’s second-largest city. It is located in Pima County, approximately 110 miles (180 km) southeast of Phoenix. Tucson was incorporated in 1877, making it the oldest incorporated city in Arizona. It is home to the University of Arizona. Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, Sahuarita south of the city, and South Tucson in an enclave south of downtown. It has an average July temperature of 100 °F (38 °C) and winter temperatures averaging 65 °F (18 °C). Saguaro National Park, just west of the city in the Tucson Mountains, is the locale of the largest collection of Saguaro cacti in the world.

The Prescott metropolitan area includes the cities of Prescott, Cottonwood, Camp Verde and numerous other towns spread out over the 8,123 square miles (21,000 km2) of Yavapai County area. With 212,635 residents, this cluster of towns forms the third largest metropolitan area in the state. The city of Prescott (population 41,528) lies approximately 100 miles (160 km) northwest of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Situated in pine tree forests at an elevation of about 5,500 feet (1,700 m), Prescott enjoys a much cooler climate than Phoenix, with average summer highs around 88 °F (31 °C) and winter temperatures averaging 50 °F (10 °C).

Yuma is center of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Arizona. Located in Yuma County, it is near the borders of California and Mexico. It is one of the hottest cities in the United States, with an average July high of 107 °F (42 °C). (The same month’s average in Death Valley is 115 °F (46 °C).) The city features sunny days about 90% of the year. The Yuma Metropolitan Statistical Area has a population of 160,000. Yuma attracts many winter visitors from all over the United States.

Flagstaff, in Coconino County, is the largest city in northern Arizona, and is at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m). With its large Ponderosa pine forests, snowy winter weather and picturesque mountains, it is a stark contrast to the desert regions typically associated with Arizona. It is sited at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona, which contain Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m). Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to numerous tourist attractions including: Grand Canyon National Park, Sedona, and Oak Creek Canyon. Historic U.S. Route 66 is the main east-west street in the town. The Flagstaff metropolitan area is home to 134,421 residents and the main campus of Northern Arizona University.

Lake Havasu City, in Mohave County, known as “Arizona’s playground,” was developed on the Colorado River and is named after Lake Havasu. Lake Havasu City has a population of about 53,000 people. It is famous for huge spring break parties, sunsets and the London Bridge, relocated from London, England. Lake Havasu City was founded by real estate developer Robert P. McCulloch in 1963.[59] It has two colleges, Mohave Community College and ASU Colleges in Lake Havasu City.[60]

Religion

The Spanish mission of San Xavier del Bac, founded in 1700

Religion in Arizona (2014)[62]
Religion Percent
Protestant
39%
None
27%
Catholic
21%
Mormon
5%
Jewish
2%
Jehovah’s Witness
1%
Hindu
1%
Buddhist
1%
Muslim
1%
Other
2%

As of the year 2010, the Association of Religion Data Archives reported that the three largest denominational groups in Arizona were the Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and non-denominational Evangelical Protestants. The Catholic Church has the highest number of adherents in Arizona (at 930,001), followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 410,263 members reported[63] and then non-denominational Evangelical Protestants, reporting 281,105 adherents.[64] The religious body with the largest number of congregations is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with 836 congregations[65]) followed by the Southern Baptist Convention (with 323 congregations).

According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the fifteen largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 and 2000 were:[66][67]

Religion 2010 Population 2000 Population
Catholic Church 930,001 974,884
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 410,263 251,974
Non-denominational Christian 281,105 63,885[nb 1]
Southern Baptist Convention 126,830 138,516
Assemblies of God 123,713 82,802
United Methodist Church 54,977 53,232
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 48,386 33,162
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 42,944 69,393
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod 26,322 24,977
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 26,078 33,554
Episcopal Church (United States) 24,853 31,104
Seventh-day Adventist Church 20,924 11,513
Church of the Nazarene 16,991 18,143
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ 14,350 0
Churches of Christ 14,151 14,471

Regarding non-Christian denominations, Hinduism became the largest non-Christian religion (when combining all denominations) in 2010, with over 32,000 adherents in several denominations, followed by Judaism with over 20,000 in three denominations, and Buddhism with over 19,000 adherents in several denominations.[66][68][69]

Economy

Arizona’s Meteor Crater is a tourist attraction.

The 2011 total gross state product was $259 billion. This figure gives Arizona a larger economy than such countries as Ireland, Finland, and New Zealand. The composition of the state’s economy is moderately diverse; although health care, transportation and the government remain the largest sectors.

The state’s per capita income is $40,828, ranking 39th in the U.S. The state had a median household income of $50,448, making it 22nd in the country and just below the U.S. national mean.[70] Early in its history, Arizona’s economy relied on the “five C’s”: copper (see Copper mining in Arizona), cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). Copper is still extensively mined from many expansive open-pit and underground mines, accounting for two-thirds of the nation’s output.

Employment

The state government is Arizona’s largest employer, while Banner Health is the state’s largest private employer, with over 39,000 employees (2016). As of March 2016[update], the state’s unemployment rate was 5.4%.[71]

The top employment sectors in Arizona are (August 2014, excludes agriculture):

Sector Employees (thousands)
Trade, transportation, and utilities 488.6
Government 408.5
Education and health services 392.1
Professional and business services 384.2
Leisure and hospitality 286.4
Financial activities 193.2
Manufacturing 156.0
Construction 118.2
Other services 88.2
Information 41.8
Mining and logging 13.7

Largest employers

According to The Arizona Republic, the largest private employers in the state as of 2016[update] were:[72]

Rank Company Employees Industry
1 Banner Health 39,781 Health care
2 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 34,856 Discount retailer
3 Kroger Co. 16,856 Grocery stores
4 McDonald’s Corp. 15,781 Food service
5 Wells Fargo & Co. 15,071 Financial services
6 Albertsons Inc. 14,490 Grocery stores, retail drugstores
7 Intel Corp. 11,300 Semiconductor manufacturing
8 HonorHealth 10,600 Health care
9 (tie) American Airlines 10,000 Airline
Home Depot Inc. 10,000 Retail home improvement
Honeywell International Inc. 10,000 Aerospace manufacturing
12 Bank of America Corp. 9,800 Financial services
13 Raytheon Co. 9,600 Defense (missile manufacturing)
14 JP Morgan Chase & Co. 9,500 Financial services
15 Bashas’ Supermarkets 8,525 Grocery stores
16 Target Corp. 8,241 Discount retailer
17 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. 8,030 Mining
18 Dignity Health 8,000 Health care
19 CVS Health 7,200 Pharmaceutical services (including retail drugstores)
20 American Express Co. 7,079 Financial services
21 Circle K Corp. 6,800 Convenience stores
22 UnitedHealthcare 6,000 Health care
23 Pinnacle West Capital Corp. 6,407 Electric utility
24 Mayo Foundation 6,274 Health care
25 Amazon.com 6,000 Online Shopping

Taxation

Arizona collects personal income taxes in five brackets: 2.59%, 2.88%, 3.36%, 4.24% and 4.54%.[73] The state transaction privilege tax is 5.6%; however, county and municipal sales taxes generally add an additional 2%.

The state rate on transient lodging (hotel/motel) is 7.27%. The state of Arizona does not levy a state tax on food for home consumption or on drugs prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. However, some cities in Arizona do levy a tax on food for home consumption.

All fifteen Arizona counties levy a tax. Incorporated municipalities also levy transaction privilege taxes which, with the exception of their hotel/motel tax, are generally in the range of 1-to-3%. These added assessments could push the combined sales tax rate to as high as 10.7%.

Single Tax rate Joint Tax rate
0 – $10,000 2.590% 0 – $20,000 2.590%
$10,000 – $25,000 2.880% $20,001 – $50,000 2.880%
$25,000 – $50,000 3.360% $50,001 – $100,000 3.360%
$50,000 – $150,001 4.240% $100,000 – $300,001 4.240%
$150,001 + 4.540% $300,001 + 4.540%

Transportation

Entering Arizona on I-10 from New Mexico

Highways

Interstate highways

I-8 | I-10 | Future I-11 | I-15 | I‑17 | I‑19 | I-40

U.S. routes

US 60 | US 64 | US 70 | US 89 | US 91 | US 93 | US 95 | US 160 | US 163 | US 180 | US 191

Main interstate routes include I-17, and I-19 traveling north-south, I-8, I-10, and I-40, traveling east-west, and a short stretch of I-15 traveling northeast–southwest through the extreme northwestern corner of the state. In addition, the various urban areas are served by complex networks of state routes and highways, such as the Loop 101, which is part of Phoenix’s vast freeway system.

Public transportation, Amtrak, and intercity bus

The Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are served by public bus transit systems. Yuma and Flagstaff also have public bus systems. Greyhound Lines serves Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and several smaller communities statewide.

A Navajo man on horseback in Monument Valley

A light rail system, called Valley Metro Rail, was completed in December 2008; it connects Central Phoenix with the nearby cities of Mesa and Tempe.

In Tucson, the Sun Link streetcar system travels through the downtown area, connecting the main University of Arizona campus with Mercado San Agustin on the western edge of downtown Tucson. Sun Link, loosely based on the Portland Streetcar, launched in July 2014.[74]

Amtrak Southwest Chief route serves the northern part of the state, stopping at Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams and Kingman. The Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited routes serve South-Central Arizona, stopping at Tucson, Maricopa, Yuma and Benson. Phoenix lost Amtrak service in 1996 with the discontinuation of the Desert Wind, and now an Amtrak bus runs between Phoenix and the station in Maricopa.

Aviation

Airports with regularly scheduled commercial flights include: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX, ICAO: KPHX) in Phoenix (the largest airport and the major international airport in the state); Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUS, ICAO: KTUS) in Tucson; Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IATA: AZA, ICAO: KIWA) in Mesa; Yuma International Airport (IATA: NYL, ICAO: KNYL) in Yuma; Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) in Prescott; Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (IATA: FLG, ICAO: KFLG) in Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon National Park Airport (IATA: GCN, ICAO: KGCN, FAA: GCN), a small, but busy, single-runway facility providing tourist flights, mostly from Las Vegas. Phoenix Sky Harbor is currently 7th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movements, and 17th for passenger traffic.[75][76]

Other significant airports without regularly scheduled commercial flights include Scottsdale Municipal Airport (IATA: SCF, ICAO: KSDL) in Scottsdale, and Deer Valley Airport (IATA: DVT, ICAO: KDVT, FAA: DVT) home to two flight training academies and the nation’s busiest general aviation airport.[77]

Law and government

Capitol complex

The original Arizona State Capitol, Phoenix

The state capital of Arizona is Phoenix. The original Capitol building, with its distinctive copper dome, was dedicated in 1901 (construction was completed for $136,000 in 1900), when the area was still a territory. Phoenix became the official state capital with Arizona’s admission to the union in 1912.

The House of Representatives and Senate buildings were dedicated in 1960, and an Executive Office Building was dedicated in 1974 (the ninth floor of this building is where the Office of the Governor is located). The original Capitol building was converted into a museum.

The Capitol complex is fronted and highlighted by the richly landscaped Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, named after Wesley Bolin, a governor who died in office in the 1970s. Numerous monuments and memorials are on the site, including the anchor and signal mast from the USS Arizona (one of the U.S. Navy ships sunk in Pearl Harbor) and a granite version of the Ten Commandments.

State legislative branch

The Arizona Legislature is bicameral (like the legislature of every other state except Nebraska) and consists of a thirty-member Senate and a 60-member House of Representatives. Each of the thirty legislative districts has one senator and two representatives. Legislators are elected for two-year terms.

Each Legislature covers a two-year period. The first session following the general election is known as the first regular session, and the session convening in the second year is known as the second regular session. Each regular session begins on the second Monday in January and adjourns sine die (terminates for the year) no later than Saturday of the week in which the 100th day from the beginning of the regular session falls. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, by rule, may extend the session up to seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can only be extended by a majority vote of members present of each house.

The current majority party is the Republican Party, which has held power in both houses since 1993.

Arizona state senators and representatives are elected for two-year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms in a chamber, though there is no limit on the total number of terms. When a lawmaker is term-limited from office, it is not uncommon for him or her to run for election in the other chamber.

The fiscal year 2006–07 general fund budget, approved by the Arizona Legislature in June 2006, is slightly less than $10 billion. Besides the money spent on state agencies, it also includes more than $500 million in income- and property tax cuts, pay raises for government employees, and additional funding for the K–12 education system.

State executive branch

State of Arizona elected officials
Governor Doug Ducey (R)
Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R)
Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R)
State Treasurer Eileen Klein (R)
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas (R)
State Mine Inspector Joe Hart (R)
Corporation Commissioner
  • Thomas Forese (R)
  • Bob Burns (R)
  • Andy Tobin (R)
  • Boyd Dunn (R)
  • Justin Olson (R)

Arizona’s executive branch is headed by a governor, who is elected to a four-year term. The governor may serve any number of terms, though no more than two in a row. Arizona is one of the few states that does not maintain a governor’s mansion. During office the governors reside within their private residence, and all executive offices are housed in the executive tower at the state capitol. The current governor of Arizona is Doug Ducey (R).

Former Governor Jan Brewer assumed office after Janet Napolitano had her nomination by Barack Obama for Secretary of Homeland Security confirmed by the United States Senate.[78] Arizona has had four female governors, more than any other state.

Other elected executive officials include the Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Mine Inspector and a five-member Corporation Commission. All elected officials hold a term of four years, and are limited to two consecutive terms (except the office of the State Mine Inspector, which is limited to 4 terms[79]).

Arizona is one of seven states that do not have a specified lieutenant governor. The secretary of state is the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of death, disability, resignation, or removal from office. The line of succession also includes the attorney general, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. Since 1977, four secretaries of state and one attorney general have risen to Arizona’s governorship through these means.

State judicial branch

The Arizona Supreme Court is the highest court in Arizona. The court currently consists of one chief justice, a vice chief justice, and three associate justices. Justices are appointed by the governor from a list recommended by a bipartisan commission, and are re-elected after the initial two years following their appointment. Subsequent re-elections occur every six years. The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction in death penalty cases, but almost all other appellate cases go through the Arizona Court of Appeals beforehand. The court has original jurisdiction in a few other circumstances, as outlined in the state constitution. The court may also declare laws unconstitutional, but only while seated en banc. The court meets in the Arizona Supreme Court Building at the capitol complex (at the southern end of Wesley Bolin Plaza).

The Arizona Court of Appeals, further divided into two divisions, is the intermediate court in the state. Division One is based in Phoenix, consists of sixteen judges, and has jurisdiction in the Western and Northern regions of the state, along with the greater Phoenix area. Division Two is based in Tucson, consists of six judges, and has jurisdiction over the Southern regions of the state, including the Tucson area. Judges are selected in a method similar to the one used for state supreme court justices.

Each county of Arizona has a superior court, the size and organization of which are varied and generally depend on the size of the particular county.

Counties

Arizona is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. There are 15 counties in the state, ranging in size from 1,238 square miles (3,210 km2) to 18,661 square miles (48,330 km2).

Arizona counties
County name County seat Year founded 2010 population[80] Percent of total Area (sq. mi.) Percent of total
Apache St. Johns 1879 71,518 1.12 % 11,218 9.84 %
Cochise Bisbee 1881 131,346 2.05 % 6,219 5.46 %
Coconino Flagstaff 1891 134,421 2.10 % 18,661 16.37 %
Gila Globe 1881 53,597 0.84 % 4,796 4.21 %
Graham Safford 1881 37,220 0.58 % 4,641 4.07 %
Greenlee Clifton 1909 8,437 0.13 % 1,848 1.62 %
La Paz Parker 1983 20,489 0.32 % 4,513 3.96 %
Maricopa Phoenix 1871 3,817,117 59.72 % 9,224 8.09 %
Mohave Kingman 1864 200,186 3.13 % 13,470 11.82 %
Navajo Holbrook 1895 107,449 1.68 % 9,959 8.74 %
Pima Tucson 1864 980,263 15.34 % 9,189 8.06 %
Pinal Florence 1875 375,770 5.88 % 5,374 4.71 %
Santa Cruz Nogales 1899 47,420 0.74 % 1,238 1.09 %
Yavapai Prescott 1864 211,033 3.30 % 8,128 7.13 %
Yuma Yuma 1864 195,751 3.06 % 5,519 4.84 %
Totals: 15 6,392,017 113,997

Federal representation

Arizona’s two United States Senators are Jeff Flake (R) and Jon Kyl (R). Kyl was appointed by Governor Ducey on September 5, 2018, to fill the spot formerly occupied by the late six-term senior Senator John McCain, who died August 25, 2018. Senator Kyl, who previously served as the state’s junior Senator from 1995 to 2013, will serve in office until a special election in 2020.

As of the start of the 115th Congress, Arizona’s representatives in the United States House of Representatives are Tom O’Halleran (D-1), Martha McSally (R-2), Raul Grijalva (D-3), Paul Gosar (R-4), Andy Biggs (R-5), David Schweikert (R-6), Ruben Gallego (D-7), Debbie Lesko (R-8), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-9). Arizona gained a ninth seat in the House of Representatives due to redistricting based on Census 2010.

Political culture

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2016 49.15% 1,240,656 45.35% 1,144,709
2012 53.65% 1,233,654 44.59% 1,025,232
2008 53.60% 1,230,111 45.12% 1,034,707
2004 54.87% 1,104,294 44.40% 893,524
2000 50.95% 781,652 44.67% 685,341
1996 44.29% 622,073 46.52% 653,288
1992 38.47% 572,086 36.52% 543,050
1988 59.95% 702,541 38.74% 454,029
1984 66.42% 681,416 32.54% 333,854
1980 60.61% 529,688 28.24% 246,843
1976 56.37% 418,642 39.80% 295,602
1972 61.64% 402,812 30.38% 198,540
1968 54.78% 266,721 35.02% 170,514
1964 50.45% 242,535 49.45% 237,753
1960 55.52% 221,241 44.36% 176,781

See also: Elections in Arizona, Political party strength in Arizona

Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 28, 2016[update][81]
Party Number of voters Percentage
Republican 1,239,614 34.54%
Independent 1,219,297 33.98%
Democratic 1,091,323 30.41%
Libertarian Party 31,358 0.87%
Green Party 6,894 0.19%
Total 3,588,466 100%

Party registration by county:

  Democrat >= 30%
  Democrat >= 40%
  Democrat >= 50%
  Republican >= 30%
  Republican >= 40%
  Unaffiliated—<30%

From statehood through the late 1940s, Arizona was primarily dominated by the Democratic Party. During this time period, the Democratic candidate for the presidency carried the state each election, with the only exceptions being the elections of 1920, 1924 and 1928—all three of which were national Republican landslides.

In 1924, Congress had passed a law granting citizenship and suffrage to all Native Americans, some of whom had previously been excluded as members of tribes on reservations. Legal interpretations of Arizona’s constitution prohibited Native Americans living on reservations from voting, classifying them as being under “guardianship.”[10] This interpretation was overturned as being incorrect and unconstitutional in 1948 by the Arizona Supreme Court, following a suit by World War II Indian veterans Frank Harrison and Harry Austin, both of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The landmark case is Harrison and Austin v. Laveen. After the men were refused the opportunity to register in Maricopa County, they filed suit against the registrar. The National Congress of American Indians, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the American Civil Liberties Union all filed amicus curiae (friends of the court) briefs in the case. The State Supreme Court established the rights of Native Americans to vote in the state; at the time, they comprised about 11% of the population.[10] That year, a similar provision was overturned in New Mexico when challenged by another Indian veteran in court. These were the only two states that had continued to prohibit Native Americans from voting.[9][10]

Since the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, the majority of state voters have favored Republicans in presidential elections. Arizona voted Republican in every presidential election from 1952 to 1992, with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan winning the state by particularly large margins. During this forty-year span, it was the only state not to be carried by a Democrat at least once.

Democrat Lyndon Johnson, in 1964, lost the state by less than 5,000 votes to Arizona Senator and native Barry Goldwater. (This was the most closely contested state in what was otherwise a landslide victory for Johnson that year.) Democrat Bill Clinton ended this streak in 1996, when he won Arizona by a little over two percentage points (Clinton had previously come within less than two percent of winning Arizona’s electoral votes in 1992). Since then, the majority of the state has continued to support Republican presidential candidates by solid margins.

Since the late 20th century, the Republican Party has also dominated Arizona politics in general. The fast-growing Phoenix and Tucson suburbs became increasingly friendly to Republicans from the 1950s onward. During this time, many “Pinto Democrats,” or conservative Democrats from rural areas, became increasingly willing to support Republicans at the state and national level. While the state normally supports Republicans at the federal level, Democrats are often competitive in statewide elections. Two of the last five governors have been Democrats.

On March 4, 2008, Senator John McCain effectively clinched the Republican nomination for 2008, becoming the first presidential nominee from the state since Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Arizona politics are dominated by a longstanding rivalry between its two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima—home to Phoenix and Tucson, respectively. The two counties have almost 75 percent of the state’s population and cast almost 80 percent of the state’s vote. They also elect a substantial majority of the state legislature.

Maricopa County is home to almost 60 percent of the state’s population, and most of the state’s elected officials live there. It has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1948. This includes the 1964 run of native son Barry Goldwater; he would not have carried his home state without his 20,000-vote margin in Maricopa County. Similarly, while McCain won Arizona by eight percentage points in 2008, aided by his 130,000-vote margin in Maricopa County.

In contrast, Pima County, home to Tucson, and most of southern Arizona have historically voted more Democratic. While Tucson’s suburbs lean Republican, they hold to a somewhat more moderate brand of Republicanism than is common in the Phoenix area.

Arizona rejected a same-sex marriage ban in a referendum as part of the 2006 elections. Arizona was the first state in the nation to do so. Same-sex marriage was not recognized in Arizona, but this amendment would have denied any legal or financial benefits to unmarried homosexual or heterosexual couples.[82] In 2008, Arizona voters passed Proposition 102, an amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. It passed by a more narrow majority than similar votes in a number of other states.[83]

In 2010, Arizona passed SB 1070, called the toughest illegal immigration legislation in the nation. A fierce debate erupted between supporters and detractors of the law.[84]

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments March 18, 2013, regarding the validity of the Arizona law, which requires individuals to show documents proving U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote in national elections.[85]

Same-sex marriage and Civil unions

In 2006, Arizona became the first state in the United States to reject a proposition, Prop 107, that would have banned same-sex marriage and civil unions.[86] However, in 2008, Arizona voters approved of Prop 102, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.[87] Prior to same-sex marriage being legal, the City of Bisbee became the first jurisdiction in Arizona to approve of civil unions.[88] The state’s Attorney General at the time, Tom Horne, threatened to sue, but rescinded the threat once Bisbee amended the ordinance; Bisbee approved of civil unions in 2013.[89] The municipalities of Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, and Tucson also passed civil unions.[90]

A November 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 44% of Arizona voters supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 45% opposed it and 12% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 72% of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 40% supporting same-sex marriage, 32% supporting civil unions, 27% opposing all legal recognition and 1% not sure. Arizona Proposition 102, known by its supporters as the Marriage Protection Amendment, appeared as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Arizona, where it was approved: 56.2%–43%. It amended the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.[91]

On October 17, 2014, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced that his office would no longer object to same-sex marriage, in response to a U.S. District Court Ruling on Arizona Proposition 102. On that day, each county’s Clerk of the Superior Court began to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and Arizona became the 31st state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Education

Elementary and secondary education

Public schools in Arizona are separated into about 220 local school districts which operate independently, but are governed in most cases by elected county school superintendents; these are in turn overseen by the Arizona State Board of Education (a division of the Arizona Department of Education) and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (elected in partisan elections every even-numbered year when there is not a presidential election, for a four-year term). In 2005, a School District Redistricting Commission was established with the goal of combining and consolidating many of these districts.

Higher education

The University of Arizona (the Mall) located in Tucson

Arizona State University (a biodesign building) located in Tempe

Northern Arizona University (The Skydome) located in Flagstaff

Arizona is served by three public universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. These schools are governed by the Arizona Board of Regents.

Private higher education in Arizona is dominated by a large number of for-profit and “chain” (multi-site) universities.[92]

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott and Prescott College are Arizona’s only non-profit four-year private colleges.[93]

Arizona has a wide network of two-year vocational schools and community colleges. These colleges were governed historically by a separate statewide Board of Directors but, in 2002, the state legislature transferred almost all oversight authority to individual community college districts.[94] The Maricopa County Community College District includes 11 community colleges throughout Maricopa County and is one of the largest in the nation.

Public universities in Arizona

  • Arizona State University, (Sun Devils) Tempe/Phoenix/Mesa/Glendale/Lake Havasu
  • Northern Arizona University, (Lumberjacks) Flagstaff/Yuma/Prescott
  • University of Arizona, (Wildcats) Tucson/Sierra Vista, M.D. college in downtown Phoenix and UA Agricultural Center in Yuma/Maricopa

Private colleges and universities in Arizona

  • American Indian College
  • Carrington College
  • Argosy University
  • Arizona Christian University
  • Art Center College of Design
  • Art Institute of Tucson
  • Art Institute of Phoenix
  • A.T. Still University
  • Brookline College
  • Brown Mackie College
  • Collins College
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • International Baptist College
  • Midwestern University
  • Northcentral University
  • Ottawa University
  • University of Phoenix
  • Penn Foster College[95]
  • Phoenix School of Law
  • Prescott College
  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • University of Advancing Technology
  • Western Governors University
  • Western International University

Community colleges

  • Arizona Western College
  • Central Arizona College
  • Cochise College
  • Coconino Community College
  • Diné College
  • Eastern Arizona College
  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College
  • Estrella Mountain Community College
  • GateWay Community College
  • Glendale Community College
  • Maricopa County Community College District
  • Mesa Community College
  • Mohave Community College
  • Northland Pioneer College
  • Paradise Valley Community College
  • Phoenix College
  • Pima Community College
  • Rio Salado Community College
  • Scottsdale Community College
  • South Mountain Community College
  • Yavapai College

Art and culture

Visual arts and museums

Phoenix Art Museum, located on the historic Central Avenue corridor in Phoenix, is the Southwest’s largest collection of visual art from across the world. The museum displays international exhibitions alongside the museum’s collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. With a community education mandate since 1951, Phoenix Art Museum holds a year-round program of festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs. The museum also has PhxArtKids, an interactive space for children; photography exhibitions through the museum’s partnership with the Center for Creative Photography; the landscaped Sculpture Garden and dining at Arcadia Farms.

Arizona is a recognized center of Native American art, with a number of galleries showcasing historical and contemporary works. The Heard Museum, also located in Phoenix, is a major repository of Native American art. Some of the signature exhibits include a full Navajo hogan, the Mareen Allen Nichols Collection containing 260 pieces of contemporary jewelry, the Barry Goldwater Collection of 437 historic Hopi kachina dolls, and an exhibit on the 19th century boarding school experiences of Native Americans. The Heard Museum has about 250,000 visitors a year.

Sedona, Jerome, and Tubac are known as a budding artist colonies, and small arts scenes exist in the larger cities and near the state universities.

Film

View of Monument Valley from John Ford’s Point

Several major Hollywood films, such as Billy Jack, U Turn, Waiting to Exhale, Just One of the Guys, Can’t Buy Me Love, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Scorpion King, The Banger Sisters, Used Cars, and Raising Arizona have been made there (as have many Westerns). The 1993 science fiction movie Fire in the Sky, based on a reported alien abduction in the town of Snowflake, was set in Snowflake. It was filmed in the Oregon towns of Oakland, Roseburg, and Sutherlin.

The 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, for which Ellen Burstyn won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and also starring Kris Kristofferson, was set in Tucson. The climax of the 1977 Clint Eastwood film The Gauntlet takes place in downtown Phoenix. The final segments of the 1984 film Starman take place at Meteor Crater outside Winslow. The Jeff Foxworthy comedy documentary movie Blue Collar Comedy Tour was filmed almost entirely at the Dodge Theatre. Some of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho was shot in Phoenix, the ostensible home town of the main character.

Some of the television shows filmed or set in Arizona include The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Medium, Alice, The First 48, Insomniac with Dave Attell, Cops, and America’s Most Wanted. The TV sitcom Alice, which was based on the movie was set in Phoenix. Twilight had passages set in Phoenix at the beginning and the end of the film.

Music

Arizona is prominently featured in the lyrics of many Country and Western songs, such as Jamie O’Neal’s hit ballad “There Is No Arizona”. George Strait’s “Oceanfront Property” uses “ocean front property in Arizona” as a metaphor for a sucker proposition. The line “see you down in Arizona Bay” is used in a Tool song in reference to the possibility (expressed as a hope by comedian Bill Hicks) that Southern California will one day fall into the ocean. Glen Campbell, a notable resident, popularized the song “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”.

Standin’ on the Corner Park and mural in Winslow, Arizona

“Arizona” was the title of a popular song recorded by Mark Lindsay. Arizona is mentioned by the hit song “Take It Easy”, written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey and performed by the Eagles. Arizona is also mentioned in the Beatles’ song “Get Back”, credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney; McCartney sings: “JoJo left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass.” “Carefree Highway”, released in 1974 by Gordon Lightfoot, takes its name from Arizona State Route 74 north of Phoenix.[96]

Carefree Highway

Arizona’s budding music scene is helped by emerging bands, as well as some well-known artists. The Gin Blossoms, Chronic Future, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Jimmy Eat World, Caroline’s Spine, and others began their careers in Arizona. Also, a number of punk and rock bands got their start in Arizona, including JFA, The Feederz, Sun City Girls, The Meat Puppets, The Maine, The Summer Set, and more recently Authority Zero and Digital Summer.

Arizona also has many singers and other musicians. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Michelle Branch is from Sedona. The late Chester Bennington, the former lead vocalist of Linkin Park, and mash-up artist DJ Z-Trip are both from Phoenix. One of Arizona’s better known musicians is shock rocker Alice Cooper, who helped define the genre. Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, calls the town of Cornville his current home.

Other notable singers include country singers Dierks Bentley and Marty Robbins, folk singer Katie Lee, Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, CeCe Peniston, Rex Allen, 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and Linda Ronstadt.

Arizona is also known for its heavy metal scene, which is centered in and around Phoenix. In the early to mid-1990s, it included bands such as Job for a Cowboy, Knights of the Abyss, Greeley Estates, Eyes Set To Kill, blessthefall, The Word Alive, The Dead Rabbitts, and Abigail Williams. The band Soulfly calls Phoenix home and Megadeth lived in Phoenix for about a decade. Beginning in and around 2009, Phoenix began to host a burgeoning
desert rock and sludge metal underground, (ala’ Kyuss in 1990s California) led by bands like Wolves of Winter, Asimov and Dead Canyon.

American composer Elliott Carter composed his first String Quartet (1950–51) while on sabbatical (from New York) in Arizona. The quartet won a Pulitzer Prize and other awards and is now a staple of the string quartet repertoire.[citation needed]

Sports

Professional sports teams in Arizona include:

Club Sport League Championships
Arizona Cardinals American football National Football League 2 (1925, 1947)
Phoenix Suns Basketball National Basketball Association 0
Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Major League Baseball 1 (2001)
Arizona Coyotes Ice hockey National Hockey League 0
Arizona Rattlers Indoor football Indoor Football League 6 (1994, 1997, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017)
Phoenix Rising FC Soccer United Soccer League 0
Phoenix Mercury Basketball Women’s National Basketball Association 3 (2007, 2009, 2014)
Tucson Roadrunners Ice hockey American Hockey League 0
Northern Arizona Suns Basketball NBA G League 1

The University of Phoenix stadium hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008, and Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.

Due to its numerous golf courses, Arizona is home to several stops on the PGA Tour, most notably the Phoenix Open, held at the TPC of Scottsdale, and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana.

Auto racing is another sport known in the state. Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale is home to NASCAR race weekends twice a year. Firebird International Raceway near Chandler is home to drag racing and other motorsport events.

College sports

College sports are also prevalent in Arizona. The Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats belong to the Pac-12 Conference while the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks compete in the Big Sky Conference and the Grand Canyon Antelopes compete for in the Western Athletic Conference. The rivalry between Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats predates Arizona’s statehood, and is the oldest rivalry in the NCAA.[97] The Territorial Cup, first awarded in 1889 and certified as the oldest trophy in college football,[98] is awarded to the winner of the annual football game between the two schools.

Arizona also hosts several college football bowl games. The Fiesta Bowl, originally held at Sun Devil Stadium, is now held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The Fiesta Bowl is part of the new College Football Playoff (CFP). University of Phoenix Stadium was also home to the 2007 and 2011 BCS National Championship Games.

A spring training game between the Cubs and White Sox at HoHoKam Park

Baseball

Arizona is a popular location for Major League Baseball spring training, as it is the site of the Cactus League. Spring training was first started in Arizona in 1947, when Brewers owner Veeck sold them in 1945 but went onto purchase the Cleveland Indians in 1946. He decided to train the Cleveland Indians in Tucson and convinced the New York Giants to give Phoenix a try. Thus the Cactus League was born.[99]

On March 9, 1995, Arizona was awarded a franchise to begin play for the 1998 season. A $130 million franchise fee was paid to Major League Baseball and on January 16, 1997, the Diamondbacks were officially voted into the National League.

Since their debut, the Diamondbacks have won five National League West titles, one National League Championship pennant, and the 2001 World Series.

Miscellaneous topics

Notable people

Some notable Arizonans involved in politics and government include:

  • Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
  • Former Surgeon General of the United States Richard Carmona
  • Former United States Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters[100]
  • Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor[101]
  • Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist[102]
  • Former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini[103]
  • Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio[citation needed]
  • Former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack[citation needed]
  • National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel[104]
  • Junior Republican Senator Jon Kyl, former Senate Minority Whip.[105]
  • Presidential candidate (2000, 2008) and former U.S. Senator John McCain[106]
  • Presidential candidate (1964) and former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater[107]
  • Former governor, Secretary of the Interior, and presidential candidate (1988) Bruce Babbitt[108]
  • Presidential candidate (1976) and former Arizona congressman Mo Udall and his brother Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall[citation needed]
  • Former U.S. Senator Carl Hayden[citation needed]
  • Former United States Solicitor General Rex E. Lee.[109]
  • Former Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration Janet Napolitano[110]
  • Former State Senator Jack Taylor also served as mayor of Mesa and was for one two-year term a member of the Arizona House of Representatives.[111]

Arizona notables in culture and the arts include:

  • Labor leader and civil rights pioneer Cesar Estrada Chavez was from San Luis, near Yuma[112]
  • Actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale
  • Actress Gail Edwards resides in Sedona
  • Author Zane Grey
  • Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Disc sports (Frisbee) pioneer Ken Westerfield currently lives in Bisbee
  • Film director Steven Spielberg was raised in Phoenix and attended Arcadia High School
  • Actor David Spade was raised in Scottsdale and graduated from Arizona State University
  • Actress Lynda Carter, star of Wonder Woman, is from Phoenix and attended Arizona State University
  • Horse owner and trainer Bob Baffert.
  • Musicians Chester Bennington of Linkin Park (Phoenix), Alice Cooper (Phoenix), Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac (Phoenix), (Jerome), Linda Ronstadt (Tucson), Michelle Branch (Sedona), Nate Ruess of Fun. (Glendale)
  • Musicians in the bands Meat Puppets (Phoenix/Tempe), Authority Zero (Mesa), Gin Blossoms (Tempe), Chronic Future (Scottsdale), Jimmy Eat World (Mesa), The Format (Glendale), Stellar Kart (Phoenix), Malignus Youth (Sierra Vista), and Job for a Cowboy (Glendale).
  • Poet Jim Simmerman of Flagstaff
  • Frederick Sommer, an artist/photographer, moved to Tucson in 1931 and lived in Prescott from 1935 to 1999
  • Rancher and political insider John G.F. Speiden – Jay Six Ranch
  • Author Diana Gabaldon mostly known for Outlander was born in and resides in Arizona
  • Musician Zella Day is originally from Pinetop, Arizona

State symbols

Cactus wren, the Arizona state bird

  • Arizona state amphibian: Arizona treefrog (Hyla eximia)
  • Arizona state bird: cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
  • Arizona state butterfly: two-tailed swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)
  • Arizona state colors: federal blue and old gold
  • Arizona state dinosaur: Sonorasaurus[113]
  • Arizona state fish: Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache)[114]
  • Arizona state flag: Flag of the State of Arizona
  • Arizona state flower: saguaro blossom (Carnegiea gigantea)
  • Arizona state fossil: petrified wood
  • Arizona state gemstone: turquoise
  • Arizona state mammal: ring-tailed cat (Bassariscus astutus)
  • Arizona state motto: Ditat Deus (Latin God enriches)
  • Arizona state neckwear: bolo tie
  • Arizona state reptile: Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)
  • Arizona state seal: Great Seal of the State of Arizona
  • Arizona state slogan: Grand Canyon State
  • Arizona state songs: “Arizona March Song” (by Margaret Rowe Clifford) and “Arizona” (by Rex Allen, Jr.)[115]
  • Arizona state tree: palo verde (Parkinsonia)
  • Arizona state gun: Colt Single Action Army revolver[116]

See also

  • Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona portal
  • Outline of Arizona – organized list of topics about Arizona
  • Index of Arizona-related articles

Notes

  1. ^ In 2000, this designation was broken into two groups: Independent, Non-Charismatic Churches (34,130 adherents) and Independent, Charismatic Churches (29,755 adherents)

References

  1. ^ “Arizona – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary”. Merriam-webster.com. April 25, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2011..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ “2010 Census State Area Measurements and Internal Point Coordinates”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  3. ^ “Arizona: Population estimates”. U.S. Census Bureau. July 1, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  4. ^ “Median Annual Household Income”. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  5. ^ “Frisco”. NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  6. ^ ab “Elevations and Distances in the United States”. United States Geological Survey. 2001. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  7. ^ ab Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
  8. ^ All about Arizona. sheppardsoftware.com. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  9. ^ ab Dr. Dean Chavers, “History of Indian voting rights and why it’s important” Archived July 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Indian Country Today, October 29, 2012; accessed July 17, 2016. See Trujillo v. Garley (1948)
  10. ^ abcde Harrison v. Laveen, July 1948, Arizona Supreme Court
  11. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, p. 47
  12. ^ Kitt, E. O.; Pearce, T. M. (1952). “Arizona Place Name Records”. Western Folklore. 11 (4): 284–287. doi:10.2307/1496233. JSTOR 1496233.
  13. ^ Harper, Douglas. “Arizona”. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  14. ^ McClintock, James (1916). Arizona, Prehistoric, Aboriginal, Pioneer, Modern: The Nation’s Youngest Commonwealth within a Land of Ancient Culture. Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co.
  15. ^ ab Thompson, Clay (February 11, 2007). “No, ‘arid zone’ not the basis of state’s name”. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  16. ^ Saxton, Dean, Saxton, Lucille, & Enos, Susie. (1983). Dictionary: Tohono O’odham/Pima to English, English to Tohono O’odham/Pima. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press
  17. ^ Thompson, Clay (February 25, 2007). “A sorry state of affairs when views change”. The Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on August 1, 2007. Retrieved March 3, 2007.
  18. ^ Jim Turner. “How Arizona did NOT Get its Name”. Arizona Historical Society. Archived from the original on August 2, 2007. Retrieved March 3, 2007.
  19. ^ Donald Garate, 2005, “Arizonac, a twentieth-century myth”, Journal of Arizona History 46(2), pp. 161–184
  20. ^ Martínez Laínez, Fernando and Canales Torres, Carlos. Banderas lejanas: La exploración, conquista y defensa por parte de España del Territorio de los actuales Estados Unidos (in Spanish: Far flags. The exploration, conquest and defense by Spain of the Territory of the present United States). Page 145-46. Fourth edition: September 2009.
  21. ^ Timothy Anna et al., Historia de México. Barcelona: Critica, 2001, p. 10.
  22. ^ Mexican–American War as accessed on March 16, 2007, at 7:33 MST AM
  23. ^ “Arizona Ordinance of secession presented by the Col. Sherod Hunter Camp 1525, SCV, Phoenix, Arizona”. Members.tripod.com. July 23, 2007. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  24. ^ United States. Cong. Senate (1904) [1st pub. Confederate States. Cong.:1861–1862]. Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861–1865. Volume I. 58th Cong. 2d sess. S. Doc. 234. Washington: Government Printing Office. p. 691. LCCN 05012700 – via Internet Archive.
  25. ^ Henson, Pauline (1965). Founding a Wilderness Capital, Prescott, A. T., 1864. Flagstaff, Arizona: Northland Press. pp. passim.
  26. ^ “Preserving Cultural and Historic Resources – A Conservation Objective of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan”. pima.gov. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  27. ^ “Archaeology of the Phoenix Indian School”. Archaeology.org. March 27, 1998. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  28. ^ “Arizona Democrats authorize Internet Voting for March 11 Advisory Primary”, The Green Papers
  29. ^ “Urban and Community Forestry Division”. Arizona State Forestry Division. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  30. ^ “Prescott Overview”. Ncsu.edu. May 15, 2002. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  31. ^ “Arizona”. USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Earthquake.Usgs.Gov. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  32. ^ ab “Arizona”. USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Earthquake.Usgs.Gov. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  33. ^ ab “Arizona Climate”. Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center, Reno, Nevada. December 7, 2001. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  34. ^ Climate Assessment for the Southwest (December 1999). “The Climate of the Southwest”. University of Arizona. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2006.
  35. ^ United States Geological Survey (September 2005). “Hydrologic Conditions in Arizona During 1999–2004: A Historical Perspective” (PDF). Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  36. ^ “History for Phoenix, AZ”. Weather Underground. August 31, 2006.
  37. ^ Mean number of Days with Minimum Temperature Below 32F National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Retrieved March 24, 2007″. Lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov. August 20, 2008. Archived from the original on December 17, 2001. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  38. ^ “Arizona climate averages”. Weatherbase. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  39. ^ Resident Population Data – 2010 Census Archived October 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ ab “American FactFinder”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  41. ^ Arizona (state, United States). Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  42. ^ “Arizona – Race and Hispanic Origin: 1860 to 1990.” (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived February 9, 2018, at the Wayback Machine..
  43. ^ Census.gov Arizona – Race and Hispanic Origin: 1860 to 1990 Archived January 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  44. ^ “Arizona at a crossroads over water and growth”. The Arizona Republic. March 9, 2008.
  45. ^ “Americans under age 1 now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot”. The Plain Dealer. June 3, 2012.
  46. ^ “Ranking Tables for Metropolitan Areas: 1990 and 2000.” United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved on July 8, 2006.
  47. ^ Slevin, Peter (April 30, 2010). “New Arizona law puts police in ‘tenuous’ spot”. Washington Post. Washington, DC. p. A4. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  48. ^ second to Nevada with 8.8% in 2010
  49. ^ “Arizona – Race and Hispanic Origin: 1860 to 1990”. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008.
  50. ^ American FactFinder – Results Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  51. ^ ab Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States Archived December 24, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
    “Table 17. Arizona – Race and Hispanic Origin: 1860 to 1990”. (PDF)
  52. ^ “Population of Arizona – Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts – CensusViewer”. censusviewer.com.
  53. ^ “2010 Census Data”.
  54. ^ American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. “Arizona – Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2007–2009”. Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  55. ^ ab “Arizona”. Modern Language Association. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  56. ^ ab 2005 American Community Survey. Retrieved from the data of the MLA, July 13, 2010
  57. ^ Arizona has most Indian language speakers. upi.com Accessed December 12, 2011.
  58. ^ Phoenix Business Journal, September 2, 2011, page 4
  59. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on August 23, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  60. ^ “Home | Colleges at Lake Havasu”. Havasu.asu.edu. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  61. ^ “Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – State – Place, 2010 Census Summary File 1”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  62. ^ “Religious Landscape Study”. May 11, 2015.
  63. ^ “LDS Facts and Statistics USA-Arizona”. Mormon Newsroom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  64. ^ “The Association of Religion Data Archives | State membership Report”. www.Thearda.com. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  65. ^ “Facts and Statistics USA-Arizona”. lds.org. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  66. ^ ab “Arizona – Religious Traditions, 2010”. Association of Religion Data Archives. Archived from the original on August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  67. ^ “Arizona – Religious Traditions, 2010”. Association of Religion Data Archives. Archived from the original on August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  68. ^ “How Hindus Grew into Second-Largest Faith in Arizona & Delaware”. NBC News. June 24, 2014. Archived from the original on August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  69. ^ “U.S. Religion Census 2010: Summary Findings” (PDF). Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. May 1, 2012. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  70. ^ “News Release” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 21, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  71. ^ “Arizona Economy at a Glance”. Bls.gov. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  72. ^ “Arizona Republic 100: State’s biggest employers”. The Arizona Republic.
  73. ^ “Arizona Income Tax Rates for 2017”. www.tax-rates.org.
  74. ^ “Tucson: Streetcar Plan Wins With 60% of Vote”. Lightrailnow.org. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  75. ^ World’s busiest airports by traffic movements
  76. ^ World’s busiest airports by passenger traffic
  77. ^ “Deer Valley Airport”. Phoenix.gov. Archived from the original on April 23, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  78. ^ “Ariz. GOP would gain if Napolitano gets Obama post”. KTAR. Associated Press. November 20, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  79. ^ “Format Document”. Azleg.gov. January 1, 1993. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  80. ^ “Table 1. The Counties and the Most Populous Incorporated Places in 2010 in Arizona: 2000 and 2010”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2012. Archived October 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  81. ^ “Voter Registration Statistics” (PDF). Arizona Secretary of State Elections Bureau. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  82. ^ “Arizona stands alone against marriage ban – Queer Lesbian Gay News”. Gay.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  83. ^ Ban on gay unions solidly supported in most of Arizona Archived November 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  84. ^ Archibold, Randal C. (April 23, 2010). “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  85. ^ “High court to weigh Arizona voter registration case”. Reuters. March 15, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  86. ^ “Why Arizona Flipped On Gay Marriage”. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  87. ^ McKinley, Jesse; Goodstein, Laurie (2008-11-05). “Bans in 3 States on Gay Marriage”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  88. ^ “Arizona city poised to pass state’s first civil union ordinance”. Reuters. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  89. ^ Press, Associated (2013-06-05). “Bisbee, Arizona same-sex marriage: Council approves civil unions measure”. KNXV. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  90. ^ “Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships” (PDF). samesexrelationshipguide.com. August 31, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  91. ^ “AZ pro-civil unions, remembers Goldwater fondly” (PDF).
  92. ^ “College Navigator – Search Results”. nces.ed.gov.
  93. ^ “College Navigator – Prescott College”. nces.ed.gov.
  94. ^ 2002 Legislature – HB 2710, which later became ARS 15-1444
  95. ^ “AZ Private Postsecondary Institutions”. Azhighered.org. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  96. ^ Crawdaddy (April 1975). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  97. ^ Knauer, Tom (November 22, 2006). “What is the Territorial Cup?”. The Wildcat Online. Archived from the original on October 8, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2007.
  98. ^ Official 2007 NCAA Division I Football Records Book (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 25, 2008.
  99. ^ “Buckhorn Baths: A unique Mesa landmark”. www.azcentral.com.
  100. ^ “Mary Peters”. ntl.bts.gov/. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  101. ^ “Sandra Day O’Connor”. .law.cornell.edu. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  102. ^ “William Rehnquist”. Directory of Federal Judges. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  103. ^ “Dennis DeConcini”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  104. ^ “Dennis Van Roekel”. National Education Association. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  105. ^ “Jon Kyl”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  106. ^ “John McCain”. MProject Vote Smart. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  107. ^ “Barry Goldwater”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  108. ^ “Bruce Babbitt”. The Washington Post Company. December 15, 1999. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  109. ^ “Rex E. Lee”. Deseret News. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  110. ^ “Janet Napolitano”. MProject Vote Smart. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  111. ^ “Jerald Jackson Taylor”. apnewsarchive.com. April 3, 1995. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  112. ^ “The Story of Cesar Chavez”. UFW. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  113. ^ “Sonorasaurus officially named Arizona’s state dinosaur”. April 11, 2018.
  114. ^ Carter, Julie Meka. “Apache Trout Recovery: A Wildlife Success Story”. Wildlife & Conservation. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  115. ^ “Kids’ Page – Arizona State Songs”.
  116. ^ “Arizona Gets an Official State Gun – And It’s Manufactured in Connecticut”. Retrieved April 15, 2017.

Further reading

  • Bayless, Betsy, 1998, Arizona Blue Book, 1997–1998. Phoenix, Arizona.
  • McIntyre, Allan J., 2008, The Tohono O’odham and Pimeria Alta. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. (
    ISBN 978-0-7385-5633-8).
  • Miller, Tom (editor), 1986, Arizona: The Land and the People. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (
    ISBN 978-0-8165-1004-7).
  • Officer, James E., 1987, Hispanic Arizona, 1536–1856. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (
    ISBN 978-0-8165-0981-2).
  • Thomas, David M. (editor), 2003, Arizona Legislative Manual. In Arizona Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona Legislative Council. Google Print. Retrieved January 16, 2006.
  • Trimble, Marshall, 1998, Arizona, A Cavalcade of History. Treasure Chest Publications, Tucson, Arizona. (
    ISBN 978-0-918080-43-1).
  • Woosley, Anne I., 2008, Early Tucson. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. (
    ISBN 978-0-7385-5646-8).

External links

Official state government website

  • Official Website of the State of Arizona

Other reference links

  • Arizona State Guide, from the Library of Congress
  • Arizona Regional Accounts Data at the Wayback Machine (archived August 19, 2002)
  • Arizona Demographic Data from FedStats
  • Arizona USDA State Fact Sheet
  • Arizona Indicators, state’s central resource for information on a wide range of topics
  • Energy Data & Statistics for Arizona
  • Arizona State Databases – Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Arizona state agencies and compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association.
  • Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
  • Arizona at Ballotpedia
  • Arizona at Curlie
  • Geographic data related to Arizona at OpenStreetMap

Tourism information links

  • Official Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Arizona Game & Fish Department (Hunting, Boating & Fishing)
  • Arizona State Parks
  • American Southwest, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
  • Arizona at Curlie

Preceded by
New Mexico
List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
Admitted on February 14, 1912 (48th)
Succeeded by
Alaska

Coordinates: 34°N 112°W / 34°N 112°W / 34; -112


Texas

State of Texas
Flag of Texas State seal of Texas
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Lone Star State
Motto(s): Friendship
State song(s): “Texas, Our Texas
Map of the United States with Texas highlighted
Official language No official language
(see Languages spoken in Texas)
Spoken languages Predominantly English;
Spanish is spoken by a sizable minority[1]
Demonym Texan
Texian (archaic)
Tejano (usually only used for Hispanics)
Capital Austin
Largest city Houston
Largest metro Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex
Area Ranked 2nd
 • Total 268,581[2] sq mi
(696,241 km2)
 • Width 773[3] miles (1,244 km)
 • Length 790 miles (1,270 km)
 • % water 2.5
 • Latitude 25° 50′ N to 36° 30′ N
 • Longitude 93° 31′ W to 106° 39′ W
Population Ranked 2nd
 • Total 28,304,596 (2017 est.)[4]
 • Density 108/sq mi  (40.6/km2)
Ranked 26th
 • Median household income $56,473[5] (26th)
Elevation
 • Highest point Guadalupe Peak[6][7][8]
8,751 ft (2667.4 m)
 • Mean 1,700 ft  (520 m)
 • Lowest point Gulf of Mexico[7]
Sea level
Before statehood Republic of Texas
Admission to Union December 29, 1845 (28th)
Governor Greg Abbott (R)
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R)
Legislature Texas Legislature
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R)
Ted Cruz (R)
U.S. House delegation 25 Republicans
11 Democrats (list)
Time zones  
 • most of state Central: UTC −6/−5
 • El Paso, Hudspeth, and northwestern Culberson counties Mountain: UTC −7/−6
ISO 3166 US-TX
Abbreviations TX, Tex.
Website texas.gov
Texas state symbols
Flag of Texas.svg

The Flag of Texas
Seal of Texas.svg

The Seal of Texas
Living insignia
Bird Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Fish Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii)
Flower Bluebonnet (Lupinus spp., namely Texas bluebonnet, L. texensis)
Insect Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Mammal Texas longhorn, nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
Reptile Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)
Tree Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
Inanimate insignia
Food Chili
Instrument Guitar
Shell Lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi)
Ship USS Texas
Slogan The Friendly State
Soil Houston Black
Sport Rodeo
Other Molecule: Buckyball (For more, see article)
State route marker
Texas state route marker
State quarter
Texas quarter dollar coin

Released in 2004
Lists of United States state symbols

Texas (/ˈtɛksəs/, locally /ˈtɛksɪz/;[9]Spanish: Texas or Tejas [ˈtexas]) is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the U.S., while San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U.S. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the U.S., and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed “The Lone Star State” to signify its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texan state seal.[10] The origin of Texas’s name is from the word taysha, which means “friends” in the Caddo language.[11]

Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes common to both the U.S. Southern and Southwestern regions.[12] Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S. southwestern deserts, less than 10% of Texas’s land area is desert.[13] Most of the population centers are in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.

The term “six flags over Texas”[note 1] refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845,[14] Texas joined the union as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that led to the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.

Historically four major industries shaped the Texas economy prior to World War II: cattle and bison, cotton, timber, and oil.[15] Before and after the U.S. Civil War the cattle industry, which Texas came to dominate, was a major economic driver for the state, thus creating the traditional image of the Texas cowboy. In the later 19th century cotton and lumber grew to be major industries as the cattle industry became less lucrative. It was ultimately, though, the discovery of major petroleum deposits (Spindletop in particular) that initiated an economic boom which became the driving force behind the economy for much of the 20th century. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2015, it is second on the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with 54.[16] With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the U.S. in state export revenue since 2002, and has the second-highest gross state product. If Texas were a sovereign state, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world.

Contents

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Geography

    • 2.1 Geology
    • 2.2 Wildlife
  • 3 Climate

    • 3.1 Storms
    • 3.2 Greenhouse gases
  • 4 History

    • 4.1 Pre-European era
    • 4.2 Colonization
    • 4.3 Republic
    • 4.4 Statehood
    • 4.5 Civil War and Reconstruction (1860–1900)
    • 4.6 Earlier 20th century
    • 4.7 Economic and political change (1950–present)
  • 5 Government and politics

    • 5.1 State government
    • 5.2 Politics

      • 5.2.1 Political history
      • 5.2.2 Texas politics today
    • 5.3 Administrative divisions
    • 5.4 Criminal law
  • 6 Economy

    • 6.1 Taxation
    • 6.2 Agriculture and mining
    • 6.3 Energy
    • 6.4 Technology
    • 6.5 Commerce
  • 7 Demographics

    • 7.1 Ethnicity
    • 7.2 Cities and towns
    • 7.3 Languages
    • 7.4 Religion
  • 8 Culture

    • 8.1 Texas self-perception
    • 8.2 Arts
  • 9 Education

    • 9.1 Higher education
  • 10 Healthcare

    • 10.1 Behavior and environmental health

      • 10.1.1 Obesity

        • 10.1.1.1 Consequences of obesity
        • 10.1.1.2 Obesity treatment
        • 10.1.1.3 Obesity prevention
        • 10.1.1.4 Obesity policy
    • 10.2 Alcohol Use

      • 10.2.1 Legislative Responses
    • 10.3 Infant health

      • 10.3.1 Rates of infant mortality
      • 10.3.2 Common complications

        • 10.3.2.1 Preterm birth
        • 10.3.2.2 Low birth weight
        • 10.3.2.3 Prenatal care
      • 10.3.3 Vaccinations
    • 10.4 Medical research
  • 11 Transportation

    • 11.1 Highways
    • 11.2 Airports
    • 11.3 Ports
    • 11.4 Railroads
  • 12 Sports
  • 13 See also
  • 14 Notes
  • 15 References
  • 16 Bibliography
  • 17 External links

Etymology

The name Texas, based on the Caddo word táyshaʼ (/t’ajʃaʔ/) “friend”, was applied, in the spelling Tejas or Texas,[17] by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves, specifically the Hasinai Confederacy,[18] the final -s representing the Spanish plural.[19]
The Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was completed near the Hasinai village of Nabedaches in May 1690, in what is now Houston County, East Texas.[20]

During Spanish colonial rule, in the 18th century, the area was known as
Nuevo Reino de Filipinas “New Kingdom of the Philippines”, or as provincia de los Tejas “province of the Tejas“,[21] later also provincia de Texas (or de Tejas), “province of Texas”.[22][23]
It was incorporated as provincia de Texas into the Mexican Empire in 1821, and declared a republic in 1836.
The Royal Spanish Academy recognizes both spellings, Tejas and Texas, as Spanish-language forms of the name of the US State of Texas.[24]

The English pronunciation with /ks/ is unetymological, and based in the value of the letter x in historical Spanish orthography. Alternative etymologies of the name advanced in the late 19th century connected the Spanish teja “rooftile”, the plural tejas being used to designate indigenous Pueblo settlements.[25] A 1760s map by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin shows a village named Teijas on Trinity River, close to the site of modern Crockett.[25]

Geography

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Texas Hill Country

Texas is the second-largest U.S. state, after Alaska, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2). Though 10% larger than France and almost twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size. If it were an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Chile and Zambia.

Texas is in the south central part of the United States of America. Three of its borders are defined by rivers. The Rio Grande forms a natural border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south. The Red River forms a natural border with Oklahoma and Arkansas to the north. The Sabine River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the east. The Texas Panhandle has an eastern border with Oklahoma at 100° W, a northern border with Oklahoma at 36°30′ N and a western border with New Mexico at 103° W. El Paso lies on the state’s western tip at 32° N and the Rio Grande.[26]

With 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions and 11 distinct ecological regions, regional classification becomes problematic with differences in soils, topography, geology, rainfall, and plant and animal communities.[27] One classification system divides Texas, in order from southeast to west, into the following: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Basin and Range Province.

The Gulf Coastal Plains region wraps around the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast section of the state. Vegetation in this region consists of thick piney woods. The Interior Lowlands region consists of gently rolling to hilly forested land and is part of a larger pine-hardwood forest.

Lake Alan Henry

Steinhagen Reservoir

The Great Plains region in central Texas is in spans through the state’s panhandle and Llano Estacado to the state’s hill country near Austin. This region is dominated by prairie and steppe. “Far West Texas” or the “Trans-Pecos” region is the state’s Basin and Range Province. The most varied of the regions, this area includes Sand Hills, the Stockton Plateau, desert valleys, wooded mountain slopes and desert grasslands.

Texas has 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers,[28][29] with the Rio Grande as the largest. Other major rivers include the Pecos, the Brazos, Colorado, and Red River. While Texas has few natural lakes, Texans have built over 100 artificial reservoirs.[30]

The size and unique history of Texas make its regional affiliation debatable; it can be fairly considered a Southern or a Southwestern state, or both. The vast geographic, economic, and cultural diversity within the state itself prohibits easy categorization of the whole state into a recognized region of the United States. Notable extremes range from East Texas which is often considered an extension of the Deep South, to Far West Texas which is generally acknowledged to be part of the interior Southwest.[31]

Geology

Palo Duro Canyon

Franklin Mountains State Park

Big Bend National Park

Texas is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. The continental crust forms a stable Mesoproterozoic craton which changes across a broad continental margin and transitional crust into true oceanic crust of the Gulf of Mexico. The oldest rocks in Texas date from the Mesoproterozoic and are about 1,600 million years old.

These Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks underlie most of the state, and are exposed in three places: Llano uplift, Van Horn, and the Franklin Mountains, near El Paso. Sedimentary rocks overlay most of these ancient rocks. The oldest sediments were deposited on the flanks of a rifted continental margin, or passive margin that developed during Cambrian time.

This margin existed until Laurasia and Gondwana collided in the Pennsylvanian subperiod to form Pangea. This is the buried crest of the Appalachian Mountains–Ouachita Mountains zone of Pennsylvanian continental collision. This orogenic crest is today buried beneath the Dallas–Waco—Austin–San Antonio trend.

The late Paleozoic mountains collapsed as rifting in the Jurassic period began to open the Gulf of Mexico. Pangea began to break up in the Triassic, but seafloor spreading to form the Gulf of Mexico occurred only in the mid and late Jurassic. The shoreline shifted again to the eastern margin of the state and the Gulf of Mexico passive margin began to form. Today 9 to 12 miles (14 to 19 km) of sediments are buried beneath the Texas continental shelf and a large proportion of remaining US oil reserves are here. At the start of its formation, the incipient Gulf of Mexico basin was restricted and seawater often evaporated completely to form thick evaporite deposits of Jurassic age. These salt deposits formed salt dome diapirs, and are found in East Texas along the Gulf coast.[32]

East Texas outcrops consist of Cretaceous and Paleogene sediments which contain important deposits of Eocene lignite. The Mississippian and Pennsylvanian sediments in the north; Permian sediments in the west; and Cretaceous sediments in the east, along the Gulf coast and out on the Texas continental shelf contain oil. Oligocene volcanic rocks are found in far west Texas in the Big Bend area. A blanket of Miocene sediments known as the Ogallala formation in the western high plains region is an important aquifer.[33] Located far from an active plate tectonic boundary, Texas has no volcanoes and few earthquakes.[34]

Wildlife

A wide range of animals and insects live in Texas. It is the home to 65 species of mammals, 213 species of reptiles and amphibians, and the greatest diversity of bird life in the United States—590 native species in all.[35] At least 12 species have been introduced and now reproduce freely in Texas.[36]

Texas plays host to several species of wasps. Texas is one of the regions that has the highest abundance of Polistes exclamans.[37] Additionally, Texas has provided an important ground for the study of Polistes annularis.

During the spring Texas wildflowers such as the state flower, the bluebonnet, line highways throughout Texas. During the Johnson Administration the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, worked to draw attention to Texas wildflowers.

Climate

Köppen climate types in Texas

The large size of Texas and its location at the intersection of multiple climate zones gives the state highly variable weather. The Panhandle of the state has colder winters than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation patterns. El Paso, on the western end of the state, averages 8.7 inches (220 mm) of annual rainfall,[38] while parts of southeast Texas average as much as 64 inches (1,600 mm) per year.[39] Dallas in the North Central region averages a more moderate 37 inches (940 mm) per year.

Snow falls multiple times each winter in the Panhandle and mountainous areas of West Texas, once or twice a year in North Texas, and once every few years in Central and East Texas. Snow falls south of San Antonio or on the coast in rare circumstances only. Of note is the 2004 Christmas Eve snowstorm, when 6 inches (150 mm) of snow fell as far south as Kingsville, where the average high temperature in December is 65 °F.[40]

Maximum temperatures in the summer months average from the 80s °F (26 °C) in the mountains of West Texas and on Galveston Island to around 100 °F (38 °C) in the Rio Grande Valley, but most areas of Texas see consistent summer high temperatures in the 90 °F (32 °C) range.

Night-time summer temperatures range from the upper 50s °F (14 °C) in the West Texas mountains[41] to 80 °F (27 °C) in Galveston.[42]

The table below consists of averages for August (generally the warmest month) and January (generally the coldest) in selected cities in various regions of the state. El Paso and Amarillo are exceptions with July and December respectively being the warmest and coldest months respectively, but with August and January only being narrowly different.

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Texas[43]
Location August (°F) August (°C) January (°F) January (°C)
Houston 94/75 34/24 63/54 17/12
San Antonio 96/74 35/23 63/40 17/5
Dallas 96/77 36/25 57/37 16/3
Austin 97/74 36/23 61/45 16/5
El Paso 92/67 33/21 57/32 14/0
Laredo 100/77 37/25 67/46 19/7
Amarillo 89/64 32/18 50/23 10/–4
Brownsville 94/76 34/24 70/51 21/11

Storms

Thunderstorms strike Texas often, especially the eastern and northern portions of the state. Tornado Alley covers the northern section of Texas. The state experiences the most tornadoes in the United States, an average of 139 a year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle.[44] Tornadoes in Texas generally occur in the months of April, May, and June.[45]

Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have impacted Texas. A hurricane in 1875 killed about 400 people in Indianola, followed by another hurricane in 1886 that destroyed the town. These events allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city. The 1900 Galveston hurricane subsequently devastated that city, killing about 8,000 people or possibly as many as 12,000. This makes it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.[46] In 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport as a Category 4 Hurricane, causing significant damage there. The storm stalled over land for a very long time, allowing it to drop unprecedented amounts of rain over the Greater Houston area and surrounding counties. The result was widespread and catastrophic flooding that inundated hundreds of thousands of homes. Harvey ultimately became the costliest hurricane worldwide, causing an estimated $198.6 billion in damage, surpassing the cost of Hurricane Katrina.[47]

Other devastating Texas hurricanes include the 1915 Galveston hurricane, Hurricane Audrey in 1957 which killed over 600 people, Hurricane Carla in 1961, Hurricane Beulah in 1967, Hurricane Alicia in 1983, Hurricane Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Tropical storms have also caused their share of damage: Allison in 1989 and again during 2001, and Claudette in 1979 among them.

Greenhouse gases

Texas emits the most greenhouse gases in the U.S.[48][49][50] The state emits nearly 1.5 trillion pounds (680 billion kg) of carbon dioxide annually. As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world’s seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases.[49] Causes of the state’s vast greenhouse gas emissions include the state’s large number of coal power plants and the state’s refining and manufacturing industries.[49] In 2010, there were 2,553 “emission events” which poured 44.6 million pounds of contaminants into the Texas sky.[51]

History

Pre-European era

Texas lies between two major cultural spheres of Pre-Columbian North America: the Southwestern and the Plains areas. Archaeologists have found that three major indigenous cultures lived in this territory, and reached their developmental peak before the first European contact. These were:[52]

  • the Pueblo from the upper Rio Grande region, centered west of Texas;
  • the Mississippian culture, also known as Mound Builders, which extended along the Mississippi River Valley east of Texas; and
  • the civilizations of Mesoamerica, centered south of Texas. Influence of Teotihuacan in northern Mexico peaked around AD 500 and declined over the 8th to 10th centuries.

When Europeans arrived in the Texas region, there were several races of Native peoples divided into many smaller tribes. They were Caddoan, Atakapan, Athabaskan, Coahuiltecan & Uto-Aztecan. The Uto-Aztecan Puebloan peoples lived neared the Rio Grande in the western portion of the state, the Athabaskan-speaking Apache tribes lived throughout the interior, the Caddoans controlled much of the Red River region & the Atakapans were mostly centered along the Gulf Coast. At least one tribe of Coahuiltecans, the Aranama, lived in southern Texas. This entire culture group, primarily centered in northeastern Mexico, is now extinct. It is difficult to say who lived in the northwestern region of the state originally. By the time the region came to be explored, it belonged to the fairly well-known Comanche, another Uto-Aztecan people who had transitioned into a powerful horse culture, but it is believed that they came later and did not live there during the 16th century. It may have been claimed by several different peoples, including Uto-Aztecans, Athabaskans, or even Dhegihan Siouans.

No culture was dominant in the present-day Texas region, and many peoples inhabited the area.[52] Native American tribes that lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include the Alabama, Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Aranama, Comanche, Choctaw, Coushatta, Hasinai, Jumano, Karankawa, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita.[53][54] The name Texas derives from táyshaʔ, a word in the Caddoan language of the Hasinai, which means “friends” or “allies”.[2][55][56][57][58]

The region was primarily controlled by the Spanish for the first couple centuries of contact, until the Texas Revolution. They were not particularly kind to their native populations—even less so with the Caddoans, who were not trusted as their culture was split between the Spanish & the French. When the Spanish briefly managed to conquer the Louisiana colony, they decided to switch tactics and attempt being exceedingly friendly to the Indians, which they continued even after the French took back the colony. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the United States inherited this odd circumstance. The Caddoans preferred the company of Americans & almost the entire population of them migrated into the states of Louisiana & Arkansas. The Spanish felt jilted after having spent so much time & effort and began trying to lure the Caddo back, even promising them more land. Seemingly without actually knowing how they came by it, the United States (who had begun convincing tribes to self-segregate from whites by selling everything and moving west ever since they gained the Louisiana Purchase) faced an overflow of native peoples in Missouri & Arkansas & were able to negotiate with the Caddoans to allow several displaced peoples to settle on unused lands in eastern Texas. They included the Muscogee, Houma Choctaw, Lenape & Mingo Seneca, among others, who all came to view the Caddoans as saviors, making those peoples highly influential.[59][60]

Whether a Native American tribe was friendly or warlike was critical to the fates of European explorers and settlers in that land.[61] Friendly tribes taught newcomers how to grow indigenous crops, prepare foods, and hunt wild game. Warlike tribes made life difficult and dangerous for Europeans through their attacks and resistance to the newcomers.[62]

During the Texas Revolution, the U.S. became heavily involved. Prior treaties with the Spanish forbade either side from militarizing its native population in any potential conflict between the two nations. At that time, several sudden outbreaks of violence between Caddoans & Texans started to spread. The Caddoans were always clueless when questioned, The Texan & American authorities in the region could never find hard evidence linking them to it & often it was so far flung from Caddoan lands, it barely made any sense. It seems most likely that these were false-flag attacks meant to start a cascading effect to force the natives under Caddoan influence into armed conflict without breaking any treaties—preferably on the side of the Spanish. While no proof was found as to who the culprit was, those in charge of Texas at the time attempted multiple times to publicly blame and punish the Caddoans for the incidents with the U.S. government trying to keep them in check. Furthermore, the Caddoans never turned to violence because of it, excepting cases of self-defense.[59]

By the 1830s, the U.S. had drafted the Indian Removal Act, which was used to facilitate the Trail of Tears. Fearing retribution of other native peoples, Indian Agents all over the eastern U.S. began desperately trying to convince all their native peoples to uproot and move west. This included the Caddoans of Louisiana & Arkansas. Following the Texas Revolution, the Texans chose to make peace with their Native peoples, but did not honor former land claims or agreements. This began the movement of Native populations north into what would become Indian Territory—modern day Oklahoma.[59]

Colonization

Flags of the six nations that have had sovereignty over some or all of the current territory of Texas

The first historical document related to Texas was a map of the Gulf Coast, created in 1519 by Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda.[63] Nine years later, shipwrecked Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his cohort became the first Europeans in what is now Texas.[64][65] Cabeza de Vaca reported that in 1528, when the Spanish landed in the area, “half the natives died from a disease of the bowels and blamed us.”[66] Cabeza de Vaca also made observations about the way of life of the Ignaces Natives of Texas:

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They went about with a firebrand, setting fire to the plains and timber so as to drive off the mosquitos, and also to get lizards and similar things which they eat, to come out of the soil. In the same manner they kill deer, encircling them with fires, and they do it also to deprive the animals of pasture, compelling them to go for food where the Indians want.[67]

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado describes his 1541 encounter with:

Two kinds of people travel around these plains with the cows; one is called Querechos and the others Teyas; they are very well built, and painted, and are enemies of each other. They have no other settlement or location than comes from traveling around with the cows. They kill all of these they wish, and tan the hides, with which they clothe themselves and make their tents, and they eat the flesh, sometimes even raw, and they also even drink the blood when thirsty. The tents they make are like field tents, and they set them up over some poles they have made for this purpose, which come together and are tied at the top, and when they go from one place to another they carry them on some dogs they have, of which they have many, and they load them with the tents and poles and other things, for the country is so level, as I said, that they can make use of these, because they carry the poles dragging along on the ground. The sun is what they worship most.[68]

European powers ignored the area until accidentally settling there in 1685. Miscalculations by René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle resulted in his establishing the colony of Fort Saint Louis at Matagorda Bay rather than along the Mississippi River.[69] The colony lasted only four years before succumbing to harsh conditions and hostile natives.[70]

A 1718 map of Texas by Guillaume de L’Isle. Approximate state area highlighted, northern areas indefinite.

In 1690 Spanish authorities, concerned that France posed competitive threat, constructed several missions in East Texas.[71] After Native American resistance, the Spanish missionaries returned to Mexico.[72] When France began settling Louisiana, mostly in the southern part of the state, in 1716 Spanish authorities responded by founding a new series of missions in East Texas.[73] Two years later, they created San Antonio as the first Spanish civilian settlement in the area.[74]

Nicolas de La Fora’s 1771 map of the northern frontier of New Spain clearly shows the Provincia de los Tejas.[75]

Hostile native tribes and distance from nearby Spanish colonies discouraged settlers from moving to the area. It was one of New Spain’s least populated provinces.[76] In 1749, the Spanish peace treaty with the Lipan Apache[77] angered many tribes, including the Comanche, Tonkawa, and Hasinai.[78] The Comanche signed a treaty with Spain in 1785[79] and later helped to defeat the Lipan Apache and Karankawa tribes.[80] With more numerous missions being established, priests led a peaceful conversion of most tribes. By the end of the 18th century only a few nomadic tribes had not converted to Christianity.[81]

Stephen F. Austin was the first American empresario given permission to operate a colony within Mexican Texas.

Mexico in 1824. Coahuila y Tejas is the northeastern-most state.

When the United States purchased Louisiana from France in 1803, American authorities insisted the agreement also included Texas. The boundary between New Spain and the United States was finally set at the Sabine River in 1819, at what is now the border between Texas and Louisiana.[82] Eager for new land, many United States settlers refused to recognize the agreement. Several filibusters raised armies to invade the area west of the Sabine River.[83] In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence included the Texas territory, which became part of Mexico.[84] Due to its low population, Mexico made the area part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas.[85]

Hoping more settlers would reduce the near-constant Comanche raids, Mexican Texas liberalized its immigration policies to permit immigrants from outside Mexico and Spain.[86] Under the Mexican immigration system, large swathes of land were allotted to empresarios, who recruited settlers from the United States, Europe, and the Mexican interior. The first grant, to Moses Austin, was passed to his son Stephen F. Austin after his death.

Austin’s settlers, the Old Three Hundred, made places along the Brazos River in 1822.[87] Twenty-three other empresarios brought settlers to the state, the majority of whom were from the United States.[88] The population of Texas grew rapidly. In 1825, Texas had about 3,500 people, with most of Mexican descent.[89] By 1834, the population had grown to about 37,800 people, with only 7,800 of Mexican descent.[90] Most of these early settlers who arrived with Austin and soon after were persons less than fortunate in life, as Texas was devoid of the comforts found elsewhere in Mexico and the United States during that time. Early Texas settler David B. Edwards described his fellow Texans as being “banished from the pleasures of life”.[91]

Many immigrants openly flouted Mexican law, especially the prohibition against slavery. Combined with United States’ attempts to purchase Texas, Mexican authorities decided in 1830 to prohibit continued immigration from the United States.[92] New laws also called for the enforcement of customs duties angering both native Mexican citizens (Tejanos) and recent immigrants.[93]

The Anahuac Disturbances in 1832 were the first open revolt against Mexican rule and they coincided with a revolt in Mexico against the nation’s president.[94]Texians sided with the federalists against the current government and drove all Mexican soldiers out of East Texas.[95] They took advantage of the lack of oversight to agitate for more political freedom. Texians met at the Convention of 1832 to discuss requesting independent statehood, among other issues.[96] The following year, Texians reiterated their demands at the Convention of 1833.[97]

Republic

Within Mexico, tensions continued between federalists and centralists. In early 1835, wary Texians formed Committees of Correspondence and Safety.[98] The unrest erupted into armed conflict in late 1835 at the Battle of Gonzales.[99] This launched the Texas Revolution, and over the next two months, the Texians defeated all Mexican troops in the region.[100] Texians elected delegates to the Consultation, which created a provisional government.[101] The provisional government soon collapsed from infighting, and Texas was without clear governance for the first two months of 1836.[102]

William Henry Huddle: Surrender of Santa Anna (1886; Texas State Capitol, Austin)

During this time of political turmoil, Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna personally led an army to end the revolt.[103] The Mexican expedition was initially successful. General José de Urrea defeated all the Texian resistance along the coast culminating in the Goliad massacre.[104] Santa Anna’s forces, after a thirteen-day siege, overwhelmed Texian defenders at the Battle of the Alamo. News of the defeats sparked panic among Texas settlers.[105]

The present-day outlines of the U.S. states superimposed on the boundaries of the 1836–1845 Republic of Texas

The newly elected Texian delegates to the Convention of 1836 quickly signed a Declaration of Independence on March 2, forming the Republic of Texas. After electing interim officers, the Convention disbanded.[106] The new government joined the other settlers in Texas in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing from the approaching Mexican army.[105] After several weeks of retreat, the Texian Army commanded by Sam Houston attacked and defeated Santa Anna’s forces at the Battle of San Jacinto.[107] Santa Anna was captured and forced to sign the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war.[108]

While Texas had won its independence, political battles raged between two factions of the new Republic. The nationalist faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans, and the expansion of the Republic to the Pacific Ocean. Their opponents, led by Sam Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful co-existence with Native Americans. The conflict between the factions was typified by an incident known as the Texas Archive War.[109]

Mexico launched two small expeditions into Texas in 1842. The town of San Antonio was captured twice and Texans were defeated in battle in the Dawson massacre. Despite these successes, Mexico did not keep an occupying force in Texas, and the republic survived.[110] The republic’s inability to defend itself added momentum to Texas’s eventual annexation into the United States.

Statehood

As early as 1837, the Republic made several attempts to negotiate annexation with the United States.[111] Opposition within the republic from the nationalist faction, along with strong abolitionist opposition within the United States, slowed Texas’s admission into the Union. Texas was finally annexed when the expansionist James K. Polk won the election of 1844.[112] On December 29, 1845, Congress admitted Texas to the U.S. as a constituent state of the Union.[113]

The population of the new state was quite small at first and there was a strong mix between the English-speaking American settlers that dominated in the state’s eastern/northeastern portions and the Spanish-speaking former Mexicans that dominated in the state’s southern and western portions. Statehood brought many new settlers. Because of the long Spanish presence in Mexico and various failed colonization efforts by the Spanish and Mexicans in northern Mexico, there were large herds of Longhorn cattle that roamed the state. Hardy by nature but also suitable for slaughtering and consumption, they represented an economic opportunity many entrepreneurs seized upon, thus creating the cowboy culture for which Texas is famous. While in the early days of the republic cattle and bison were slaughtered for their hides, soon a beef industry was established with cattle being shipped all over the U.S. and the Caribbean (within a few decades, beef had become a staple of the American diet).

After Texas’s annexation, Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the United States. While the United States claimed Texas’s border stretched to the Rio Grande, Mexico claimed it was the Nueces River. While the former Republic of Texas could not enforce its border claims, the United States had the military strength and the political will to do so. President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor south to the Rio Grande on January 13, 1846. A few months later Mexican troops routed an American cavalry patrol in the disputed area in the Thornton Affair starting the Mexican–American War. The first battles of the war were fought in Texas: the Siege of Fort Texas, Battle of Palo Alto and Battle of Resaca de la Palma. After these decisive victories, the United States invaded Mexican territory ending the fighting in Texas.[114]

Proposals of 1850 for Texas northwestern boundary

After a series of United States victories, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the two-year war. In return, for US$18,250,000, Mexico gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, ceded the Mexican Cession in 1848, most of which today is called the American Southwest, and Texas’s borders were established at the Rio Grande.[114]

The Compromise of 1850 set Texas’s boundaries at their present form. U.S. Senator James Pearce of Maryland drafted the final proposal[26] where Texas ceded its claims to land which later became half of present-day New Mexico, a third of Colorado, and small portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming to the federal government, in return for the assumption of $10 million of the old republic’s debt.[26] Post-war Texas grew rapidly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state.[115]

They also brought or purchased enslaved African Americans, whose numbers tripled in the state from 1850 to 1860, from 58,000 to 182,566.[116]

Civil War and Reconstruction (1860–1900)

Civil war monument in Galveston, Texas

Texas was at war again after the election of 1860. At this time, blacks comprised 30 percent of the state’s population, and they were overwhelmingly enslaved.[117] When Abraham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Five other Lower South states quickly followed. A State Convention considering secession opened in Austin on January 28, 1861. On February 1, by a vote of 166–8, the Convention adopted an Ordinance of Secession from the United States. Texas voters approved this Ordinance on February 23, 1861. Texas joined the newly created Confederate States of America on March 4, 1861 ratifying the permanent C.S. Constitution on March 23.[2][118]

Not all Texans favored secession initially, although many of the same would later support the Southern cause. Texas’s most notable Unionist was the state Governor, Sam Houston. Not wanting to aggravate the situation, Houston refused two offers from President Lincoln for Union troops to keep him in office. After refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, Houston was deposed as governor.[119]

While far from the major battlefields of the American Civil War, Texas contributed large numbers of men and equipment to the rest of the Confederacy.[120] Union troops briefly occupied the state’s primary port, Galveston. Texas’s border with Mexico was known as the “backdoor of the Confederacy” because trade occurred at the border, bypassing the Union blockade.[121] The Confederacy repulsed all Union attempts to shut down this route,[120] but Texas’s role as a supply state was marginalized in mid-1863 after the Union capture of the Mississippi River. The final battle of the Civil War was fought near Brownsville, Texas at Palmito Ranch[122] with a Confederate victory.

Texas descended into anarchy for two months between the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and the assumption of authority by Union General Gordon Granger. Violence marked the early months of Reconstruction.[120]Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston by General Gordon Granger, almost two and a half years after the original announcement.[123][124] President Johnson, in 1866, declared the civilian government restored in Texas.[125] Despite not meeting reconstruction requirements, Congress resumed allowing elected Texas representatives into the federal government in 1870. Social volatility continued as the state struggled with agricultural depression and labor issues.[126]

Like most of the South, the Texas economy was devastated by the War. However, since the state had not been as dependent on slaves as other parts of the South it was able to recover more quickly. The culture in Texas during the later 19th century exhibited many facets of a frontier territory. The state became notorious as a haven for people from other parts of the country who wanted to escape debt, criminal prosecution, or other problems. Indeed, “Gone to Texas” was a common expression for those fleeing the law in other states. Nevertheless, the state also attracted many businessmen and other settlers with more legitimate interests as well.

The cattle industry continued to thrive though it gradually became less profitable. Cotton and lumber became major industries creating new economic booms in various regions of the state. Railroad networks grew rapidly as did the port at Galveston as commerce between Texas and the rest of the U.S. (and the rest of the world) expanded. As with some other states before, the lumber industry quickly decimated the forests of Texas such that by the early 20th century the majority of the forest population in Texas was gone (later conservation efforts restored some of it, but never to the level it once was).

Earlier 20th century

Spindletop, the first major oil gusher

In 1900, Texas suffered the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history during the Galveston hurricane.[46] On January 10, 1901, the first major oil well in Texas, Spindletop, was found south of Beaumont. Other fields were later discovered nearby in East Texas, West Texas, and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting “oil boom” transformed Texas.[127] Oil production eventually averaged three million barrels per day at its peak in 1972.[128]

In 1901, the Democratic-dominated state legislature passed a bill requiring payment of a poll tax for voting, which effectively disenfranchised most blacks, and many poor whites and Latinos. In addition, the legislature established white primaries, ensuring minorities were excluded from the formal political process. The number of voters dropped dramatically, and the Democrats crushed competition from the Republican and Populist parties.[129][130] The Socialist Party became the second-largest party in Texas after 1912,[131] coinciding with a large socialist upsurge in the United States during fierce battles in the labor movement and the popularity of national heroes like Eugene V. Debs. The Socialists’ popularity soon waned after their vilification by the United States government for their opposition to US involvement in World War I.

The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl dealt a double blow to the state’s economy, which had significantly improved since the Civil War. Migrants abandoned the worst hit sections of Texas during the Dust Bowl years. Especially from this period on, blacks left Texas in the Great Migration to get work in the Northern United States or California and to escape the oppression of segregation.[117] In 1940, Texas was 74 percent Anglo, 14.4 percent black, and 11.5 percent Hispanic.[132]

World War II had a dramatic impact on Texas, as federal money poured in to build military bases, munitions factories, POW detention camps and Army hospitals; 750,000 young men left for service; the cities exploded with new industry; the colleges took on new roles; and hundreds of thousands of poor farmers left the fields for much better paying war jobs, never to return to agriculture.[133][134] Texas manufactured 3.1 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking eleventh among the 48 states.[135]

Texas modernized and expanded its system of higher education through the 1960s. The state created a comprehensive plan for higher education, funded in large part by oil revenues, and a central state apparatus designed to manage state institutions more efficiently. These changes helped Texas universities receive federal research funds.[136]

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.[137]

Economic and political change (1950–present)

Beginning around the mid-20th century, Texas began to transform from a rural and agricultural state to one urban and industrialized.[138] The state’s population grew quickly during this period, with large levels of migration from outside the state.[138] As a part of the Sun Belt Texas experienced strong economic growth, particularly during the 1970s and early 1980s.[138] Texas’s economy diversified, lessening its reliance on the petroleum industry.[138] By 1990, Hispanics overtook blacks to become the largest minority group in the state.[138]

During the late 20th century, the Republican Party replaced the Democratic Party as the dominant party in the state, as the latter became more politically liberal and as demographic changes favored the former.[138]

Government and politics

The current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876. Like many states, it explicitly provides for a separation of powers. The state’s Bill of Rights is much larger than its federal counterpart, and has provisions unique to Texas.[139]

State government

The Texas State Capitol at night

Texas has a plural executive branch system limiting the power of the governor, which is a weak executive compared to some other states. Except for the Secretary of State, voters elect executive officers independently; thus candidates are directly answerable to the public, not the governor.[140] This election system has led to some executive branches split between parties and reduced the ability of the governor to carry out a program. When Republican President George W. Bush served as Texas’s governor, the state had a Democratic lieutenant governor, Bob Bullock. The executive branch positions consist of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State.[140]

The bicameral Texas Legislature consists of the House of Representatives, with 150 members, and a Senate, with 31 members. The Speaker of the House leads the House, and the lieutenant governor, the Senate.[141] The Legislature meets in regular session biennially for just over 100 days, but the governor can call for special sessions as often as desired (notably, the Legislature cannot call itself into session).[142] The state’s fiscal year spans from the previous calendar year’s September 1 to the current year’s August 31. Thus, the FY 2015 dates from September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015.

The judiciary of Texas is one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers and overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, for civil cases, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except for some municipal benches, partisan elections select judges at all levels of the judiciary; the governor fills vacancies by appointment.[143] Texas is notable for its use of capital punishment, having led the country in executions since capital punishment was reinstated in the Gregg v. Georgia case (see Capital punishment in Texas).

The Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption. They have acted as riot police and as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a paramilitary force both for the republic and the state. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835. The Rangers were integral to several important events of Texas history and some of the best-known criminal cases in the history of the Old West.[144]

The Texas constitution defines the responsibilities of county governments, which serve as agents of the state. What are called commissioners court and court judges are elected to serve as the administrative arm. Most cities in the state, those over 5,000 in population, have home-rule governments. The vast majority of these have charters for council-manager forms of government, by which voters elect council members, who hire a professional city manager as operating officer.

Politics

Texas Presidential elections results[145]
Year Republican Democratic
2016 52.23% 4,685,047 43.24% 3,877,868
2012 57.15% 4,569,843 41.37% 3,308,124
2008 55.39% 4,479,328 43.63% 3,528,633
2004 61.09% 4,526,917 38.30% 2,832,704
2000 59.30% 3,799,639 38.11% 2,433,746
1996 48.80% 2,736,166 43.81% 2,459,683
1992 40.61% 2,496,071 37.11% 2,281,815
1988 56.01% 3,036,829 43.41% 2,352,748
1984 63.58% 3,433,428 36.18% 1,949,276
1980 55.30% 2,510,705 41.51% 1,881,148

Political history

Lyndon B. Johnson, Texan and 36th president of the United States

In the 1870s, white Democrats wrested power back in the state legislature from the biracial coalition at the end of Reconstruction. In the early 20th century, the legislature passed bills to impose poll taxes, followed by white primaries; these measures effectively disfranchised most blacks, poor whites and Mexican Americans.[129][130] In the 1890s, 100,000 blacks voted in the state; by 1906, only 5,000 could vote.[146] As a result, the Democratic Party dominated Texas politics from the turn of the century, imposing racial segregation and white supremacy. It held power until after passage in the mid-1960s of national civil rights legislation enforcing constitutional rights of all citizens.

Although Texas was essentially a one-party state during this time and the Democratic primary was viewed as “the real election,” the Democratic Party had conservative and liberal factions, which became more pronounced after the New Deal.[147] Additionally, several factions of the party briefly split during the 1930s and 1940s.[147]

The state’s conservative white voters began to support Republican presidential candidates by the mid-20th century. After this period, they supported Republicans for local and state offices as well, and most whites became Republican Party members.[148] The party also attracted some minorities, but many have continued to vote for Democratic candidates. The shift to the Republican Party is much-attributed to the fact the Democratic Party became increasingly liberal during the 20th century, and thus increasingly out-of-touch with the average Texas voter.[149] As Texas was always a conservative state, voters switched to the GOP, which now more closely reflected their beliefs.[149][150] Commentators have also attributed the shift to Republican political consultant Karl Rove, who managed numerous political campaigns in Texas in the 1980s and 1990s.[150] Other stated reasons included court-ordered redistricting and the demographic shift in relation to the Sun Belt that favored the Republican Party and conservatism.[138]

The 2003 Texas redistricting of Congressional districts led by Republican Tom DeLay, was called by The New York Times “an extreme case of partisan gerrymandering”.[151] A group of Democratic legislators, the “Texas Eleven”, fled the state in a quorum-busting effort to prevent the legislature from acting, but was unsuccessful.[152] The state had already redistricted following the 2000 census. Despite these efforts, the legislature passed a map heavily in favor of Republicans, based on 2000 data and ignoring the estimated nearly one million new residents in the state since that date. Career attorneys and analysts at the Department of Justice objected to the plan as diluting the votes of African American and Hispanic voters, but political appointees overrode them and approved it.[151] Legal challenges to the redistricting reached the national Supreme Court in the case League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006), but the court ruled in favor of the state (and Republicans).[153]

In the 2014 Texas elections, the Tea Party movement made large gains, with numerous Tea Party favorites being elected into office, including Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor,[154][155]Ken Paxton as attorney general,[154][156] in addition to numerous other candidates[156] including conservative Republican Greg Abbott as governor.[157]

Texas politics today

Texas voters lean toward fiscal conservatism, while enjoying the benefits of huge federal investment in the state in military and other facilities achieved by the power of the Solid South in the 20th century. They also tend to have socially conservative values.[158][159]

Since 1980, most Texas voters have supported Republican presidential candidates. In 2000 and 2004, Republican George W. Bush won Texas with respectively 59.3 and 60.1 percent of the vote, partly due to his “favorite son” status as a former governor of the state. John McCain won the state in 2008, but with a smaller margin of victory compared to Bush at 55 percent of the vote. Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio consistently lean Democratic in both local and statewide elections.

Residents of counties along the Rio Grande closer to the Mexico-United States border, where there are many Latino residents, generally vote for Democratic Party candidates, while most other rural and suburban areas of Texas have shifted to voting for Republican Party candidates.[160][161]

As of the general elections of 2014, a large majority of the members of Texas’s U.S. House delegation are Republican, along with both U.S. Senators. In the 114th United States Congress, of the 36 Congressional districts in Texas, 24 are held by Republicans and 11 by Democrats. One seat is vacant. Texas’s Senators are John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Since 1994, Texans have not elected a Democrat to a statewide office. The state’s Democratic voters are made up primarily by liberal and minority groups in Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio as well as minority voters in East and South Texas.

United States presidential election in Texas, 2016[162]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican Donald Trump Mike Pence 4,685,047 52.23% 36
Democratic Hillary Clinton Tim Kaine 3,877,868 43.24% 0
Libertarian Gary Johnson William Weld 283,492 3.16% 0
Green Jill Stein Ajamu Baraka 71,558 0.80% 0
Write-in Various candidates Various candidates 51,261 0.57% 0
Republican John Kasich[a] Carly Fiorina[a] 0 0.0% 1
Libertarian Ron Paul[a] Mike Pence 0 0.0% 1
Totals 8,969,226 100.00% 38
Voter turnout (voting age population)

Administrative divisions

Texas has 254 counties— the most nationwide. Each county runs on Commissioners’ Court system consisting of four elected commissioners (one from each of four precincts in the county, roughly divided according to population) and a county judge elected at large from the entire county. County government runs similar to a “weak” mayor-council system; the county judge has no veto authority, but votes along with the other commissioners.

Although Texas permits cities and counties to enter “interlocal agreements” to share services, the state does not allow consolidated city-county governments, nor does it have metropolitan governments. Counties are not granted home rule status; their powers are strictly defined by state law. The state does not have townships— areas within a county are either incorporated or unincorporated. Incorporated areas are part of a municipality. The county provides limited services to unincorporated areas and to some smaller incorporated areas. Municipalities are classified either “general law” cities or “home rule”.[163] A municipality may elect home rule status once it exceeds 5,000 population with voter approval.

Texas also permits the creation of “special districts”, which provide limited services. The most common is the school district, but can also include hospital districts, community college districts, and utility districts (one utility district near Austin was the plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case involving the Voting Rights Act).

Municipal, school district, and special district elections are nonpartisan,[164] though the party affiliation of a candidate may be well-known. County and state elections are partisan.

Criminal law

Texas has a reputation of very harsh criminal punishment for criminal offenses. It is one of the 32 states that practice capital punishment, and since the US Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976, 40% of all US executions have taken place in Texas.[165] As of 2008, Texas had the 4th highest incarceration rate in the US.[166] Texas also has strong self defense laws, allowing citizens to use lethal force to defend themselves, their families, or their property.[167]

Economy

Astronaut training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston

As of 2017, Texas had a gross state product (GSP) of $1.696 trillion, the second highest in the U.S.[168] Its GSP is greater than the GDPs of Canada, South Korea, Russia and Australia, which are the world’s 10th-, 11th-, 12th- and 13th-largest economies, respectively[169]. Texas’s economy is the fourth-largest of any country subdivision globally, behind England (as part of the UK), California, and Japan’s Kantō region. Its per capita personal income in 2009 was $36,484, ranking 29th in the nation.[170]

A geomap depicting the income, by county, in Texas as of 2014

Texas’s large population, abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state’s economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry. In recent times, urban centers of the state have increased in size, containing two-thirds of the population in 2005. The state’s economic growth has led to urban sprawl and its associated symptoms.[170]

As of April 2013, the state’s unemployment rate is 6.4 percent.[171]

In 2010, Site Selection Magazine ranked Texas as the most business-friendly state in the nation, in part because of the state’s three-billion-dollar Texas Enterprise Fund.[172] Texas has the joint-highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the United States, along with California.[173][174]

In 2010, there were 346,000 millionaires in Texas, constituting the second-largest population of millionaires in the nation.[175][176]

Taxation

Texas has a “low taxes, low services” reputation.[158] According to the Tax Foundation, Texans’ state and local tax burdens rank among the lowest in the nation, 7th lowest nationally; state and local taxes cost $3,580 per capita, or 8.4 percent of resident incomes.[177] Texas is one of seven states that lack a state income tax.[177][178]

Instead, the state collects revenue from property taxes (though these are collected at the county, city, and school district level; Texas has a state constitutional prohibition against a state property tax) and sales taxes. The state sales tax rate is 6.25 percent,[177][179] but local taxing jurisdictions (cities, counties, special purpose districts, and transit authorities) may also impose sales and use tax up to 2 percent for a total maximum combined rate of 8.25 percent.[180]

Texas is a “tax donor state”; in 2005, for every dollar Texans paid to the federal government in federal income taxes, the state got back about $0.94 in benefits.[177] To attract business, Texas has incentive programs worth $19 billion per year (2012); more than any other US state.[181][182]

Agriculture and mining

Cotton modules after being harvested in West Texas

An oil well

Brazos Wind Farm in the plains of West Texas

Electronic Data Systems headquarters in Plano

Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States. The state is ranked No. 1 for revenue generated from total livestock and livestock products. It is ranked No. 2 for total agricultural revenue, behind California.[183] At $7.4 billion or 56.7 percent of Texas’s annual agricultural cash receipts, beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of Texas agriculture. This is followed by cotton at $1.9 billion (14.6 percent), greenhouse/nursery at $1.5 billion (11.4 percent), broilers at $1.3 billion (10 percent), and dairy products at $947 million (7.3 percent).[184]

Texas leads the nation in the production of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, wool, mohair and hay.[184] The state also leads the nation in production of cotton[183][185] which is the number one crop grown in the state in terms of value.[186] The state grows significant amounts of cereal crops and produce.[183] Texas has a large commercial fishing industry. With mineral resources, Texas leads in creating cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand and gravel.[183]

Texas throughout the 21st century has been hammered by drought. This has cost the state billions of dollars in livestock and crops.[187]

Energy

Ever since the discovery of oil at Spindletop, energy has been a dominant force politically and economically within the state.[188] If Texas were its own country it would be the sixth largest oil producer in the world.[189]

The Railroad Commission of Texas, contrary to its name, regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and surface coal and uranium mining. Until the 1970s, the commission controlled the price of petroleum because of its ability to regulate Texas’s oil reserves. The founders of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) used the Texas agency as one of their models for petroleum price control.[190]

Texas has known petroleum deposits of about 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3), which makes up about one-fourth of the known U.S. reserves.[191] The state’s refineries can process 4.6 million barrels (730,000 m3) of oil a day.[191] The Port Arthur Refinery in Southeast Texas is the largest refinery in the U.S.[191] Texas also leads in natural gas production, producing one-fourth of the nation’s supply.[191] Several petroleum companies are based in Texas such as: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Marathon Oil, Tesoro, and Valero, Western Refining.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Texans consume, on average, the fifth most energy (of all types) in the nation per capita and as a whole, following behind Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Iowa.[191]

Unlike the rest of the nation, most of Texas is on its own alternating current power grid, the Texas Interconnection. Texas has a deregulated electric service. Texas leads the nation in total net electricity production, generating 437,236 MWh in 2014, 89% more MWh than Florida, which ranked second.[192][193] As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world’s eleventh-largest producer of electricity, after South Korea, and ahead of the United Kingdom.

The state is a leader in renewable energy commercialization; it produces the most wind power in the nation.[191][194] In 2014, 10.6% of the electricity consumed in Texas came from wind turbines.[195] The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, is one of the world’s largest wind farms with a 781.5 megawatt (MW) capacity.[196] The Energy Information Administration states the state’s large agriculture and forestry industries could give Texas an enormous amount biomass for use in biofuels. The state also has the highest solar power potential for development in the nation.[191]

Technology

With large universities systems coupled with initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a wide array of different high tech industries have developed in Texas. The Austin area is nicknamed the “Silicon Hills” and the north Dallas area the “Silicon Prairie”. Texas has the headquarters of many high technology companies, such as Dell, Inc., Texas Instruments, Perot Systems, Rackspace and AT&T.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA JSC) in Southeast Houston, sits as the crown jewel of Texas’s aeronautics industry. Fort Worth hosts both Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics division and Bell Helicopter Textron.[197][198] Lockheed builds the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter program, and its successor, the F-35 Lightning II in Fort Worth.[199]

Commerce

Texas’s affluence stimulates a strong commercial sector consisting of retail, wholesale, banking and insurance, and construction industries. Examples of Fortune 500 companies not based on Texas traditional industries are AT&T, Kimberly-Clark, Blockbuster, J. C. Penney, Whole Foods Market, and Tenet Healthcare.[200]
Nationally, the Dallas–Fort Worth area, home to the second shopping mall in the United States, has the most shopping malls per capita of any American metropolitan area.[201]

Mexico, the state’s largest trading partner, imports a third of the state’s exports because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has encouraged the formation of controversial maquiladoras on the Texas–Mexico border.[202]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 212,592
1860 604,215 184.2%
1870 818,579 35.5%
1880 1,591,749 94.5%
1890 2,235,527 40.4%
1900 3,048,710 36.4%
1910 3,896,542 27.8%
1920 4,663,228 19.7%
1930 5,824,715 24.9%
1940 6,414,824 10.1%
1950 7,711,194 20.2%
1960 9,579,677 24.2%
1970 11,196,730 16.9%
1980 14,229,191 27.1%
1990 16,986,510 19.4%
2000 20,851,820 22.8%
2010 25,145,561 20.6%
Est. 2017 28,304,596 12.6%
1910 – 2010 census[203]
2016 Estimate[204]

Texas population density map

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Texas was 27,469,114 on July 1, 2015, a 9.24 percent increase since the 2010 United States Census.[204]

As of 2004, the state had 3.5 million foreign-born residents (15.6 percent of the state population), of which an estimated 1.2 million are illegal immigrants. Texas from 2000 to 2006 had the fastest growing illegal immigration rate in the nation.[205] In 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 6.0 percent of the population. This was the fifth highest percentage of any state in the country.[206][207] In 2015, the population of illegal immigrants living in Texas was around 800,000.[208]

Texas’s Rio Grande Valley has seen significant migration from across the U.S.–Mexico border. During the 2014 crisis, many Central Americans, including unaccompanied minors traveling alone from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, reached the state, overwhelming Border Patrol resources for a time. Many sought asylum in the United States.[209][210]

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimated 1.68 million illegal immigrants lived in Texas.[211] While the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. has declined since 2009, in Texas there was no change in population between 2009 and 2014.[212]

Texas’s population density is 90.5 people per square mile (34.9/km2) which is slightly higher than the average population density of the U.S. as a whole, at 80.6 people per square mile (31.1/km2). In contrast, while Texas and France are similarly sized geographically, the European country has a population density of 301.8 people per square mile (116.5/km2).

Two-thirds of all Texans live in a major metropolitan area such as Houston. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area is the largest in Texas. While Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is larger than Houston.

Ethnicity

As of the 2015 Texas Population Estimate Program, the population of the state was 27,469,114; non-Hispanic whites 11,505,371 (41.9%); Black Americans 3,171,043 (11.5%); other races 1,793,580 (6.5%); and Hispanics and Latinos (of any race) 10,999,120 (40.0%).[213]

According to the 2010 United States census, the racial composition of Texas was the following:[214]

  • White American 70.4 percent (Non-Hispanic whites 45.3 percent)
  • Black or African American: 11.8 percent
  • American Indian: 0.7 percent
  • Asian: 3.8 percent (1.0 percent Indian, 0.8 percent Vietnamese, 0.6 percent Chinese, 0.4 percent Filipino, 0.3 percent Korean, 0.1 percent Japanese, 0.6 percent other Asian)
  • Pacific Islander: 0.1 percent
  • Some other race: 10.5 percent
  • Two or more races: 2.7 percent

In addition, 37.6 percent of the population are Hispanic or Latino (of any race) (31.6 percent Mexican, 0.9 percent Salvadoran, 0.5 percent Puerto Rican, 0.4 percent Honduran, 0.3 percent Guatemalan 0.3 percent Spaniard, 0.2 percent Colombian, 0.2 percent Cuban)[215]

As of 2011, 69.8% of the population of Texas younger than age 1 were minorities (meaning they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white).[216]

Texas racial breakdown of population
Racial composition 1970[217] 1990[217] 2000[218] 2010[219]
White 86.8% 75.2% 71.0% 70.4%
Black 12.5% 11.9% 11.5% 11.9%
Asian 0.2% 1.9% 2.7% 3.8%
Native 0.2% 0.4% 0.6% 0.7%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1% 0.1%
Other race 0.4% 10.6% 11.7% 10.5%
Two or more races 2.5% 2.7%

War on the plains. Comanche (right) trying to lance Osage warrior. Painting by George Catlin, 1834

German, Irish, and English Americans are the three largest European ancestry groups in Texas. German Americans make up 11.3 percent of the population, and number over 2.7 million members. Irish Americans make up 8.2 percent of the population, and number over 1.9 million members. There are roughly 600,000 French Americans and 472,000 Italian Americans residing in Texas; these two ethnic groups make up 2.5 percent and 2.0 percent of the population respectively. In the 1980 United States Census the largest ancestry group reported in Texas was English with 3,083,323 Texans citing they were of English or mostly English ancestry making them 27 percent of the state at the time.[220] Their ancestry primarily goes back to the original thirteen colonies (the census of 1790 gives 48% of the population of English ancestry; together 12% Scots and Scots-Irish; 4.5% Irish South 90% were Protestant and 3% Welsh = 67.5% British; 13% were German, Swiss, Dutch and French Huguenots; 19% African-American, Colin Bonwick, The American Revolution, 1991, p. 254) and thus many of them today identify as “American” in ancestry, though they are of predominantly British stock.[221][222] There are nearly 200,000 Czech-Americans living in Texas, the largest number of any state.[223]

African Americans are the largest racial minority in Texas. Their proportion of population has declined since the early 20th century, after many left the state in the Great Migration. Blacks of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin make up 11.5 percent of the population; blacks of non-Hispanic origin form 11.3 percent of the populace. African Americans of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin number at roughly 2.7 million individuals.

Native Americans are a smaller minority in the state. Native Americans make up 0.5 percent of Texas’s population, and number over 118,000 individuals. Native Americans of non-Hispanic origin make up 0.3 percent of the population, and number over 75,000 individuals. Cherokee made up 0.1 percent of the population, and numbered over 19,400 members. In contrast, only 583 identified as Chippewa.

El Paso, founded by Spanish settlers in 1659

Asian Americans are a sizable minority group in Texas. Americans of Asian descent form 3.8 percent of the population, with those of non-Hispanic descent making up 3.7 percent of the populace. They total more than 808,000 individuals. Non-Hispanic Asians number over 795,000. Just over 200,000 Indian Americans make Texas their home. Texas is also home to over 187,000 Vietnamese and 136,000 Chinese. In addition to 92,000 Filipinos and 62,000 Koreans, there are 18,000 Japanese Americans living in the state. Lastly, over 111,000 people are of other Asian ancestry groups, such as Cambodian, Thai, and Hmong. Sugar Land, a city within the Houston metropolitan area, and Plano, within the Dallas metropolitan area, both have high concentrations of ethnic Chinese and Korean residents. The Houston and Dallas areas, and to a lesser extent, the Austin metropolitan area, all contain substantial Vietnamese communities.

Americans with origins from the Pacific are the smallest minority in Texas. According to the survey, only 18,000 Texans are Pacific Islanders; 16,400 are of non-Hispanic descent. There are roughly 5,400 Native Hawaiians, 5,300 Guamanians, and 6,400 people from other groups. Samoan Americans were scant; only 2,920 people were from this group. The city of Euless, a suburb of Fort Worth, contains a sizable population of Tongan Americans, at nearly 900 people, over one percent of the city’s population. Killeen has a sufficient population of Samoans and Guamanian, and people of Pacific Islander descent surpass one percent of the city’s population.

Multiracial individuals are also a visible minority in Texas. People identifying as multiracial form 1.9 percent of the population, and number over 448,000 people. Almost 80,000 Texans claim African and European heritage, and make up 0.3 percent of the population. People of European and American Indian ancestry number over 108,800 (close to the number of Native Americans), and make up 0.5 percent of the population. People of European and Asian ancestry number over 57,600, and form just 0.2 percent of the population. People of African and Native American ancestry were even smaller in number (15,300), and make up just 0.1 percent of the total population.

German trek on its way to New Braunfels

Hispanics and Latinos are the second-largest group in Texas after non-Hispanic European Americans. Over 8.5 million people claim Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. This group forms over 37 percent of Texas’s population. People of Mexican descent alone number over 7.9 million, and make up 31.6 percent of the population. The vast majority of the Hispanic/Latino population in the state is of Mexican descent, the next two largest groups are Salvadorans and Puerto Ricans. There are over 222,000 Salvadorans and over 130,000 Puerto Ricans in Texas. Other groups with large numbers in Texas include Hondurans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans and Cubans, among others.[224][225] The Hispanics in Texas are more likely than in some other states (such as California) to identify as white; according to the 2010 U.S. Census, Texas is home to 6,304,207 White Hispanics and 2,594,206 Hispanics of “some other race” (usually mestizo).

Welcome to Praha, Texas, “Czech Capital of Texas”.

German descendants inhabit much of central and southeast-central Texas. Over one-third of Texas residents are of Hispanic origin; while many have recently arrived, some Tejanos have ancestors with multi-generational ties to 18th century Texas. In addition to the descendants of the state’s former slave population, many African American college graduates have come to the state for work recently in the New Great Migration.[226] Recently, the Asian population in Texas has grown—primarily in Houston and Dallas. Other communities with a significantly growing Asian American population is in Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and the Sharyland area next McAllen, Texas. Three federally recognized Native American tribes reside in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe, and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.[54]

In 2010, 49 percent of all births were Hispanics; 35 percent were non-Hispanic whites; 11.5 percent were non-Hispanic blacks, and 4.3 percent were Asians/Pacific Islanders.[227] Based on Census Bureau data released on February 2011, for the first time in recent history, Texas’s white population is below 50 percent (45 percent) and Hispanics grew to 38 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, the total population growth by 20.6 percent, but Hispanics growth by 65 percent, whereas non-Hispanic whites only grew by 4.2 percent.[228] Texas has the fifth highest rate of teenage births in the nation and a plurality of these are to Hispanics.[229]

Cities and towns

Largest city in Texas by year[230]
Year(s) City
1850–1870 San Antonio[231]
1870–1890 Galveston[232]
1890–1900 Dallas[230]
1900–1930 San Antonio[231]
1930–present Houston[233]

The state has three cities with populations exceeding one million: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.[234] These three rank among the 10 most populous cities of the United States. As of 2010, six Texas cities had populations greater than 600,000 people. Austin, Fort Worth, and El Paso are among the 20 largest U.S. cities. Texas has four metropolitan areas with populations greater than a million: Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, San Antonio–New Braunfels, and Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos. The Dallas–Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas number about 6.3 million and 5.7 million residents, respectively.

Three interstate highways—I-35 to the west (Dallas–Fort Worth to San Antonio, with Austin in between), I-45 to the east (Dallas to Houston), and I-10 to the south (San Antonio to Houston) define the Texas Urban Triangle region. The region of 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) contains most of the state’s largest cities and metropolitan areas as well as 17 million people, nearly 75 percent of Texas’s total population.[235] Houston and Dallas have been recognized as beta world cities.[236] These cities are spread out amongst the state. Texas has 254 counties, which is more than any other state by 95 (Georgia).[237]

In contrast to the cities, unincorporated rural settlements known as colonias often lack basic infrastructure and are marked by poverty.[238] The office of the Texas Attorney General stated, in 2011, that Texas had about 2,294 colonias and estimates about 500,000 lived in the colonias. Hidalgo County, as of 2011, has the largest number of colonias.[239] Texas has the largest number of people of all states, living in colonias.[238]

Languages

The most common accent or dialect spoken by natives throughout Texas is sometimes referred to as Texan English, which itself is a sub-variety of a broader category of American English known as Southern American English.[241][242]Creole language is spoken in East Texas.[243] In some areas of the state—particularly in the large cities – Western American English and General American English, have been on the increase. Chicano English—due to a growing Hispanic population—is widespread in South Texas, while African-American English is especially notable in historically minority areas of urban Texas.

Top 10 Non-English languages spoken in Texas
Language Percentage of population
(as of 2010)[244]
Spanish 29.21%
Vietnamese 0.75%
Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese) 0.56%
German 0.33%
Tagalog 0.29%
French 0.25%
Korean and Urdu (tied) 0.24%
Hindi 0.23%
Arabic 0.21%
Niger-Congo languages of West Africa (Ibo, Kru, and Yoruba) 0.15%

As of 2010, 65.8% (14,740,304) of Texas residents age 5 and older spoke only English at home, while 29.2% (6,543,702) spoke Spanish, 0.75 percent (168,886) Vietnamese, and Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin) was spoken by 0.56% (122,921) of the population over the age of five.[244]

Other languages spoken include German (including Texas German) by 0.33% (73,137,) Tagalog with 0.29% (73,137) speakers, and French (including Cajun French) was spoken by 0.25% (55,773) of Texans.[244] Reportedly, Cherokee is the most widely spoken Native American language in Texas.[245]

In total, 34.2% (7,660,406) of Texas’s population aged five and older spoke a language at home other than English.[244]

Religion

Religious affiliation in Texas (2014)[246]
Affiliation % of Texas population
Christian 77 77

 

Protestant 50 50

 

Evangelical Protestant 31 31

 

Mainline Protestant 13 13

 

Black church 6 6

 

Catholic 23 23

 

Mormon 1 1

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses 1 1

 

Eastern Orthodox 0.5 0.5

 

Other Christian 1 1

 

Unaffiliated 18 18

 

Nothing in particular 13 13

 

Agnostic 3 3

 

Atheist 2 2

 

Non-Christian faiths 4 4

 

Jewish 1 1

 

Muslim 1 1

 

Buddhist 1 1

 

Hindu 0.5 0.5

 

Other Non-Christian faiths 0.5 0.5

 

Don’t know/refused answer 0.5 0.5

 

Total 100 100

 

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church (4,673,500); the Southern Baptist Convention (3,721,318); the United Methodist Church with (1,035,168); and Islam (421,972).[247]

Known as the buckle of the Bible Belt, East Texas is socially conservative.[248] The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex is home to three major evangelical seminaries and a host of Bible schools. Lakewood Church in Houston, boasts the largest attendance in the nation averaging more than 43,000 weekly.[249]

Adherents of many other religions reside predominantly in the urban centers of Texas. In 1990, the Islamic population was about 140,000 with more recent figures putting the current number of Muslims between 350,000 and 400,000.[250] The Jewish population is around 128,000.[251] Around 146,000 adherents of religions such as Hinduism and Sikhism live in Texas.[252] It is the fifth-largest Muslim-populated state in the country.[253]

Culture

The Alamo is one of the most recognized symbols of Texas.

Historically, Texas culture comes from a blend of Southern (Dixie), Western (frontier), and Southwestern (Mexican/Anglo fusion) influences, varying in degrees of such from one intrastate region to another. Texas is placed in the Southern United States by the United States Census Bureau.[254] A popular food item, the breakfast burrito, draws from all three, having a soft flour tortilla wrapped around bacon and scrambled eggs or other hot, cooked fillings. Adding to Texas’s traditional culture, established in the 18th and 19th centuries, immigration has made Texas a melting pot of cultures from around the world.

Texas has made a strong mark on national and international pop culture. The entire state is strongly associated with the image of the cowboy shown in westerns and in country western music. The state’s numerous oil tycoons are also a popular pop culture topic as seen in the hit TV series Dallas.

The internationally known slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas” began as an anti-littering advertisement. Since the campaign’s inception in 1986, the phrase has become “an identity statement, a declaration of Texas swagger”.[255]

Texas self-perception

“Texas-sized” is an expression that can be used in two ways: to describe something that is about the size of the U.S. state of Texas,[256][257] or to describe something (usually but not always originating from Texas) that is large compared to other objects of its type.[258][259][260] Texas was the largest U.S. state, until Alaska became a state in 1959. The phrase “everything is bigger in Texas” has been in regular use since at least 1950;[261] and was used as early as 1913.[262]

Arts

Big Tex presided over every Texas State Fair since 1952 until it was destroyed by fire in 2012

Houston is one of only five American cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, and The Alley Theatre.[263] Known for the vibrancy of its visual and performing arts, the Houston Theater District—a 17-block area in the heart of Downtown Houston— ranks second in the country in the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area, with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie seats.[263]

Founded in 1892, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, also called “The Modern”, is Texas’s oldest art museum. Fort Worth also has the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the Bass Performance Hall downtown. The Arts District of Downtown Dallas has arts venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.[264]

The Deep Ellum district within Dallas became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hotspot in the Southern United States. The name Deep Ellum comes from local people pronouncing “Deep Elm” as “Deep Ellum”.[265] Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in early Deep Ellum clubs.[266]

Austin, The Live Music Capital of the World, boasts “more live music venues per capita than such music hotbeds as Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or New York City”.[267] The city’s music revolves around the nightclubs on 6th Street; events like the film, music, and multimedia festival South by Southwest; the longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits; and the Austin City Limits Music Festival held in Zilker Park.[268]

Since 1980, San Antonio has evolved into “The Tejano Music Capital Of The World”.[269] The Tejano Music Awards have provided a forum to create greater awareness and appreciation for Tejano music and culture.[270]

Education

The second president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, is the Father of Texas Education. During his term, the state set aside three leagues of land in each county for equipping public schools. An additional 50 leagues of land set aside for the support of two universities would later become the basis of the state’s Permanent University Fund.[271] Lamar’s actions set the foundation for a Texas-wide public school system.[272]
Between 2006 and 2007, Texas spent $7,275 per pupil ranking it below the national average of $9,389. The pupil/teacher ratio was 14.9, below the national average of 15.3. Texas paid instructors $41,744, below the national average of $46,593. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) administers the state’s public school systems. Texas has over 1,000 school districts; all districts except the Stafford Municipal School District are independent from municipal government and many cross city boundaries.[273] School districts have the power to tax their residents and to assert eminent domain over privately owned property. Due to court-mandated equitable school financing for school districts, the state has a controversial tax redistribution system called the “Robin Hood plan”. This plan transfers property tax revenue from wealthy school districts to poor ones.[274] The TEA has no authority over private or home school activities.[275]

Students in Texas take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in primary and secondary school. STAAR assess students’ attainment of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies skills required under Texas education standards and the No Child Left Behind Act. The test replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test in the 2011–2012 school year.[276]

Although unusual in the West, school corporal punishment is not uncommon in more conservative areas of the state, with 28,569 public school students[277]paddled at least one time, according to government data for the 2011–2012 school year.[278] The rate of school corporal punishment in Texas is surpassed only by Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.[278]

Higher education

The University of Texas at Austin

The state’s two most widely recognized flagship universities are The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University, ranked as the 52nd[279] and 69th[280] best universities in the nation according to the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges”, respectively. Some observers[281] also include the University of Houston and Texas Tech University as tier one flagships alongside UT Austin and A&M.[282][283] The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) ranks the state’s public universities into three distinct tiers:[284]

  • National Research Universities (Tier 1)[285]
    • The University of Texas at Austin
    • Texas A&M University
    • Texas Tech University
    • University of Houston
  • Emerging Research Universities (Tier 2)[284]
    • The University of Texas at Arlington
    • The University of Texas at Dallas
    • The University of Texas at El Paso
    • The University of Texas at San Antonio
    • The University of North Texas
    • Texas State University
  • Comprehensive Universities (Tier 3)[284]
    • All other public universities (25 in total)

Texas’s controversial alternative affirmative action plan, Texas House Bill 588, guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class automatic admission to state-funded universities. The bill encourages demographic diversity while avoiding problems stemming from the Hopwood v. Texas (1996) case.

Texas A&M University

Thirty-six (36) separate and distinct public universities exist in Texas, of which 32 belong to one of the six state university systems.[286][287] Discovery of minerals on Permanent University Fund land, particularly oil, has helped fund the rapid growth of the state’s two largest university systems: the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M System. The four other university systems: the University of Houston System, the University of North Texas System, the Texas State System, and the Texas Tech System are not funded by the Permanent University Fund.

University of Houston

The Carnegie Foundation classifies three of Texas’s universities as Tier One research institutions: The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are flagship universities of the state of Texas. Both were established by the Texas Constitution and hold stakes in the Permanent University Fund. The state has been putting effort to expand the number of flagship universities by elevating some of its seven institutions designated as “emerging research universities”. The two expected to emerge first are the University of Houston and Texas Tech University, likely in that order according to discussions on the House floor of the 82nd Texas Legislature.[288]

Rice University

The state is home to various private institutions of higher learning—ranging from liberal arts colleges to a nationally recognized top-tier research university. Rice University in Houston is one of the leading teaching and research universities of the United States and is ranked the nation’s 17th-best overall university by U.S. News & World Report.[289]Trinity University, a private, primarily undergraduate liberal arts university in San Antonio, has ranked first among universities granting primarily bachelor’s and select master’s degrees in the Western United States for 20 consecutive years by U.S. News.[290] Private universities include Austin College, Baylor University, University of Mary Hardin–Baylor, and Southwestern University.[291][292][293]

Universities in Texas host three presidential libraries: George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at The University of Texas at Austin, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University.

Healthcare

Behavior and environmental health

Obesity

Obesity has quickly become a major health issue in Texas.[294] In 2017, 33.6% of Texas adults were obese as compared to 29.9% of U.S. adults.[295][296] In 2000 21.7% of adults were obese and in 1990 only 10.7% of adults were obese.[297] In 2016, 33% of 10-17 year olds in Texas were obese.[297] When separated out by gender, 34.6% of Texas females and 32.8% of Texas males were obese. [298]When separated out by race, 31% of White adults, 41.7% of Black adults, and 37.8% of Hispanic adults were obese in Texas in 2016.[299]Research shows that an increase in household income is correlated with a decrease in obesity rates.[300] There are educational achievement patterns as well – 39% of the Texas population with less than a high school education was obese while only 23% of college graduates were obese.[301] Living in a rural area in Texas is also correlated with higher obesity rates.[300]

Consequences of obesity

Obesity causes several chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes.[302] The three leading causes of death in Texas – heart disease, stroke, and cancer – are all linked to obesity.[302] Additionally, obesity can cause type 2 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and hypertension.[302] In 2010, Texas saw 1,261,654 cases of heart disease and is predicted to see 5,688,482 cases in 2030.[303] In 2010, Texas saw 1,962,059 cases of diabetes and is predicted to see 2,851,697 cases in 2030.[303] In 2010, Texas saw 4,300,252 cases of hypertension and is predicted to see 5,689,509 cases in 2030.[303] In 2010, Texas saw 328,379 cases of obesity-related cancer and is predicted to see 810,806 cases in 2030.

Obesity also has substantial impacts on the economy in Texas. Obesity costs Texas businesses $9.5 billion annually.[304] 41% of this is due to obesity-related healthcare costs, 17% is due to absenteeism, and 37% is due to presenteeism.[304]

Obesity treatment

Effective treatment for obesity is known to be expensive and difficult. For childhood obesity, programs tend to focus on creating lifestyle changes including a healthier diet and more exercise.[305] Studies show that obesity treatment for children should aim more at changing the behavior of the family as a whole, especially the parents.[306] Weight loss programs for children in Texas have had limited success in reducing weight. Only 20% of children finish the program and many of them are likely to gain the weight back later on.[307] For adults, surgery is an effective long-term treatment but it comes with several risks and complications.[308]

Obesity prevention

Environmental factors play a large role in obesity rates.[309] Studies have shown that people who live in the same socioeconomic contexts in Texas, regardless of race, tend to have similar rates of obesity.[310] Generally speaking, encouraging healthy habits, raising awareness, and educating people about portion sizes and nutritious requirements can help prevent obesity.[311] Childhood prevention is key – a child who was overweight at 12 years of age has a 75% chance of being overweight as an adult.[311]

Obesity policy

In 2003, the Texas School Nutrition Policy Launch set nutrition standards with the intentions of discouraging obesity.[312] This policy lowered the availability of foods of minimal nutritional value in schools, limited portion sizes, limited trans fats, and limited fried foods.[312] Texas has also required early childhood education programs to encourage breastfeeding, provide drinking water access, and provide daily physical activity.[312] The state also has a fund specifically for financing healthy food.[312] In 2013, the Obesity Prevention Program was created after merging the Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention (NPAOP) and Worksite Wellness Programs.[313] This program supports healthy eating, physical activity, and policies that promote healthier lifestyles.

Alcohol Use

The most commonly abused substance in Texas is alcohol. [314] The rate of binge drinking in males in Texas is comparable to that of males in the United States. In 2017, 22.4% of adult males in Texas reported binge drinking, as compared to 22.1% of males in the United States.[315] Less than 12% of females adults in Texas reported binge drinking. [316]Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can lead to a variety of health issues including liver damage, heart problems, cancer, and depression. [317] Further, 61% of high school students in Texas have tried alcohol and 17% of Texas high school students had their first drink before the age of 13. [318]

Notwithstanding the concentration of elite medical centers in the state, The Commonwealth Fund ranks the Texas healthcare system the third worst in the nation.[319] Texas ranks close to last in access to healthcare, quality of care, avoidable hospital spending, and equity among various groups.[319] Causes of the state’s poor rankings include politics, a high poverty rate, and the highest rate of illegal immigration in the nation.[205] In May 2006, Texas initiated the program “code red” in response to the report the state had 25.1 percent of the population without health insurance, the largest proportion in the nation.[320]Research shows that adolescents who see alcohol use in advertisements, television shows, and movies are more likely to start drinking alcohol at a younger age. Drinking at a young age is correlated with long-term alcohol abuse. [321]

Legislative Responses

The Texas Ignition Interlock Law went into effect during September 2015. This law requires judges to order ignition interlocks for all drunk-drivers with a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.15% or greater. [322] Since the passing of this law, the drunk driving related death rate in Texas has decreased by 8.5%. [323]

The Trust for America’s Health ranked Texas 15th highest in adult obesity, with 27.2 percent of the state’s population measured as obese.[324] The 2008 Men’s Health obesity survey ranked four Texas cities among the top 25 fattest cities in America; Houston ranked 6th, Dallas 7th, El Paso 8th, and Arlington 14th.[325] Texas had only one city, Austin, ranked 21st, in the top 25 among the “fittest cities” in America.[325] The same survey has evaluated the state’s obesity initiatives favorably with a “B+”.[325] The state is ranked forty-second in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise.[326]

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and the rate by which Texas women died from pregnancy related complications doubled from 2010 to 2014, to 23.8 per 100,000. A rate unmatched in any other U.S. state or economically developed country.[327]

Infant health

Texas has the seventh highest birth rate in the United States, with nearly 400,000 babies born each year. [328][329] Over half of all Texas births are paid by Medicaid, totaling over $2.2 billion per year in birth and delivery-related services for mothers and infants.[330]

Rates of infant mortality

For decades the infant mortality rate in Texas was higher than the nationwide rate but that gap has slowly closed. In 2017, the infant mortality rate in Texas was identical to the nationwide rate: 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. [331] This rate is not identical across the state of Texas and studies have found significant disparities between zip codes.[332] For example, the 76164 zip code has an infant mortality rate of 12.3 deaths per 1,000 live births while the neighboring 76107 zip code has a rate of 1.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.[333] Additionally, Black families in Texas are disproportionately burdened by these rates. In 2015, the infant mortality rate for Black babies in Texas was 10.9 deaths per 1,000 births. [334] These disparities can be explained by factors such as socioeconomic status, air pollution, and access to health care. [333]

Common complications

Studies have found that infant mortality is usually caused by birth defects, pre-term birth, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and pregnancy complications.[335] The average amount spent in the first year of life for a preterm birth with major complications (excluding extreme prematurity) is $19,059, and $4,019 for a preterm birth without major complications compared to $410 for an uncomplicated, term birth. [336]

Preterm birth

A birth is considered preterm when it takes place more than 3 weeks before the estimated due date.[337] Preterm birth rates in Texas are consistently higher than the nationwide rate. In 2016, 10.4% of live births in Texas were preterm.[338] The rate for Black mothers specifically was elevated – 13.6%.[339] Numerous factors have been associated with premature birth, including lack of prenatal care,  race, obesity, smoking, and even air pollution.[340]

Low birth weight

A low birth weight is less than 2500 grams.[341] The rate of low birth weight in Texas has always been higher than the nationwide rate. In 2016, 8.4% of live births in Texas had a low birth weight.[341] The rate for Black mothers specifically was 13.5%.[341] Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are 3 times more likely to have a low birth weight and 5 times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.[342] As for long-term complications, low birth weight babies are at a higher risk for cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and developmental delay.[343]

Prenatal care

Prenatal care is the best way to prevent preterm births and low birth weight babies.[344]  Unfortunately, in 2016 only 65% of pregnant women in Texas had access to prenatal care in their first trimester.[345] Women being unaware of their pregnancies, economic hardship due to inability to work during pregnancy, lack of knowledge or access to health services, and difficulty finding transportation are contributing factors to this alarmingly low rate.[346] Texas has also seen significant disparities in who receives prenatal care – 75% of White women and only 55% of Black women received prenatal care during their first trimester.[345] Although women covered by Medicaid are supposed to automatically transition into the Healthy Texas Women program for postpartum coverage, this transition does not always take place.[347]

Vaccinations

The recommended 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 vaccination schedule for children ages 19-35 months is designed to protect infants and children early in life when they are the most vulnerable.[348] This schedule is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. [349] It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio virus, measles, mumps, rubella, Hib, hepatitis B, varicella, and pneumonia.[349] In 2017, 67.8% of children age 35 months in Texas completed their recommended vaccination schedule.[350] The highest individual vaccine rate was for the polio virus: 93.1% of children age 35 months in Texas received this vaccine.[350] The lowest individual vaccine rate was for hepatitis A: 62.6% of children age 35 months in Texas received this vaccine. [350] Some children are under-vaccinated due to issues with accessing preventative care, vaccine delivery, or intentional refusal to complete the series.[351] Studies have shown that White married parents with higher socioeconomic status are the most likely to delay or refuse vaccines. [352] The state has started to address this issue by implementing ImmTrac, a vaccination record system that is available at no cost at all.[353]

Medical research

Texas has many research medical centers. The state has nine medical schools,[354] three dental schools,[355] and two optometry schools.[356] Texas has two Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories: one at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston,[357] and the other at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio—the first privately owned BSL-4 lab in the United States.[358]

The Texas Medical Center in Houston, holds the world’s largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions, with 47 member institutions.[359] Texas Medical Center performs the most heart transplants in the world.[360] The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is a highly regarded academic institution that centers around cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.[361]

San Antonio’s South Texas Medical Center facilities rank sixth in clinical medicine research impact in the United States.[362] The University of Texas Health Science Center is another highly ranked research and educational institution in San Antonio.[363][364]

Both the American Heart Association and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center call Dallas home. The Southwestern Medical Center ranks “among the top academic medical centers in the world”.[365] The institution’s medical school employs the most medical school Nobel laureates in the world.[365][366]

Transportation

The High Five Interchange in Dallas is a five level interchange.

Texans have historically had difficulties traversing Texas due to the state’s large size and rough terrain. Texas has compensated by building both America’s largest highway and railway systems in length. The regulatory authority, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maintains the state’s immense highway system, regulates aviation,[367] and public transportation systems.[368]

Located centrally in North America, the state is an important transportation hub. From the Dallas/Fort Worth area, trucks can reach 93 percent of the nation’s population within 48 hours, and 37 percent within 24 hours.[369] Texas has 33 foreign trade zones (FTZ), the most in the nation.[370] In 2004, a combined total of $298 billion of goods passed through Texas FTZs.[370]

Highways

“Welcome to Texas” road sign

The first Texas freeway was the Gulf Freeway opened in 1948 in Houston.[371] As of 2005, 79,535 miles (127,999 km) of public highway crisscrossed Texas (up from 71,000 miles (114,263 km) in 1984).[372] To fund recent growth in the state highways, Texas has 17 toll roads (see list) with several additional tollways proposed.[373] In central Texas, the southern section of the State Highway 130 toll road has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour (137 km/h), the highest in the nation.[374] All federal and state highways in Texas are paved.

Airports

Texas has 730 airports, second-most of any state in the nation. Largest in Texas by size and passengers served, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the second-largest by area in the United States, and fourth in the world with 18,076 acres (73.15 km2).[375] In traffic, DFW is the busiest in the state, the fourth busiest in the United States,[376] and sixth worldwide.[377]American Airlines Group’s American / American Eagle, the world’s largest airline in total passengers-miles transported and passenger fleet size,[378] uses DFW as its largest and main hub. It ranks as the largest airline in the United States by number of passengers carried domestically per year and the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried.[379]Southwest Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, has its operations at Dallas Love Field.[380]

Texas’s second-largest air facility is Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). It served as the largest hub for the former Continental Airlines, which was based in Houston; it serves as the largest hub for United Airlines, the world’s third-largest airline, by passenger-miles flown.[381][382] IAH offers service to the most Mexican destinations of any U.S. airport.[383][384] The next five largest airports in the state all serve over 3 million passengers annually; they include Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, William P. Hobby Airport, San Antonio International Airport, Dallas Love Field and El Paso International Airport. The smallest airport in the state to be designated an international airport is Del Rio International Airport.

Ports

Around 1,150 seaports dot Texas’s coast with over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of channels.[385] Ports employ nearly one-million people and handle an average of 317 million metric tons.[386] Texas ports connect with the rest of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard with the Gulf section of the Intracoastal Waterway.[385] The Port of Houston today is the busiest port in the United States in foreign tonnage, second in overall tonnage, and tenth worldwide in tonnage.[387] The Houston Ship Channel spans 530 feet (160 m) wide by 45 feet (14 m) deep by 50 miles (80 km) long.[388]

Railroads

Part of the state’s tradition of cowboys is derived from the massive cattle drives which its ranchers organized in the nineteenth century to drive livestock to railroads and markets in Kansas, for shipment to the East. Towns along the way, such as Baxter Springs, the first cow town in Kansas, developed to handle the seasonal workers and tens of thousands of head of cattle being driven.

The first railroad to operate in Texas was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, opening in August 1853.[389] The first railroad to enter Texas from the north, completed in 1872, was the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad.[390] With increasing railroad access, the ranchers did not have to take their livestock up to the Midwest, and shipped beef out from Texas. This caused a decline in the economies of the cow towns.

Since 1911, Texas has led the nation in length of railroad miles within the state. Texas railway length peaked in 1932 at 17,078 miles (27,484 km), but declined to 14,006 miles (22,540 km) by 2000. While the Railroad Commission of Texas originally regulated state railroads, in 2005 the state reassigned these duties to TxDOT.[391]

Both Dallas and Houston feature light rail systems. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) built the first light rail system in the Southwest United States, completed in 1996.[392]
The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail service, which connects Fort Worth and Dallas, is provided by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) and DART.[393] In the Austin area, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates a commuter rail service known as Capital MetroRail to the northwestern suburbs. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) operates light rail lines in the Houston area.

Amtrak provides Texas with limited intercity passenger rail service. Three scheduled routes serve the state: the daily Texas Eagle (Chicago–San Antonio); the tri-weekly Sunset Limited (New Orleans–Los Angeles), with stops in Texas; and the daily Heartland Flyer (Fort Worth–Oklahoma City).

Sports

While American football has long been considered “king” in the state, Texans enjoy a wide variety of sports.[394]

Texans can cheer for a plethora of professional sports teams. Within the “Big Four” professional leagues, Texas has two NFL teams (the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans), two Major League Baseball teams (the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers), three NBA teams (the San Antonio Spurs, the Houston Rockets, and the Dallas Mavericks), and one National Hockey League team (the Dallas Stars). The Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex is one of only twelve American metropolitan areas that hosts sports teams from all the “Big Four” professional leagues. Outside of the “Big Four” leagues, Texas also has a WNBA team, (the Dallas Wings) and two Major League Soccer teams (the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas).

Collegiate athletics have deep significance in Texas culture, especially football. The state has twelve Division I-FBS schools, the most in the nation. Four of the state’s universities, the Baylor Bears, Texas Longhorns, TCU Horned Frogs, and Texas Tech Red Raiders, compete in the Big 12 Conference. The Texas A&M Aggies left the Big 12 and joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, which led the Big 12 to invite TCU to join; TCU was previously in the Mountain West Conference. The Houston Cougars and the SMU Mustangs compete in the American Athletic Conference. The Texas State Bobcats and the UT Arlington Mavericks compete in the Sun Belt Conference. Four of the state’s schools claim at least one national championship in football: the Texas Longhorns, the Texas A&M Aggies, the TCU Horned Frogs, and the SMU Mustangs.

According to a survey of Division I-A coaches the rivalry between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Austin, the Red River Shootout, ranks the third best in the nation.[395] The TCU Horned Frogs and SMU Mustangs also share a rivalry and compete annually in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. A fierce rivalry, the Lone Star Showdown, also exists between the state’s two largest universities, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin. The athletics portion of the Lone Star Showdown rivalry has been put on hold after the Texas A&M Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) organizes most primary and secondary school competitions. Events organized by UIL include contests in athletics (the most popular being high school football) as well as artistic and academic subjects.[396]

Texans also enjoy the rodeo. The world’s first rodeo was hosted in Pecos, Texas.[397] The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world. It begins with trail rides that begin from several points throughout the state that convene at Reliant Park.[398] The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth is the oldest continuously running rodeo incorporating many of the state’s most historic traditions into its annual events. Dallas hosts the State Fair of Texas each year at Fair Park.[399]

Texas Motor Speedway hosts annual NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar Series auto races since 1997. Since 2012, Austin’s Circuit of the Americas plays host to a round of the Formula 1 World Championship[400] —the first at a permanent road circuit in the United States since the 1980 Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International—, as well as Grand Prix motorcycle racing, FIA World Endurance Championship and United SportsCar Championship races.

See also

  • Index of Texas-related articles
  • Outline of Texas – organized list of topics about Texas

Notes

  1. ^ For example, as used by the large Grand Prairie–based national and international amusement park operator Six Flags
  1. ^ abc Did not run and was not a candidate, but received one electoral vote by a faithless elector.

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