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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

About Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson is the seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, located 118 miles (188km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles (98 km) north of the Mexican border.  As of July 1, 2005, a Census Bureau estimate put the city's population at 515,526 and the metropolitan population at 931,210.  In 2005, Tucson ranked as the 32nd largest city and 52nd largest metropolitan area in the U.S.  It is the largest city in southern Arizona and the second largest in the state after Phoenix.  
  The city is located on the Santa Cruz River, a dry river bed much of the year that floods during significant seasonal rains.  (The Santa Cruz becomes a subterranean stream part of the year although it may appear dry.)  Tucson is located along I-10, which runs through Phoenix toward Santa Monica, California in the northwest, and through El Paso, Texas toward Jacksonville, Florida in the east.  I-19, runs south from Tucson toward Nogales and the U.S.-Mexico border.
Tucson has two major seasons, summer and winter; plus three minor seasons: autumn, spring, and the monsoon.  Summer is characterized by low humidity, clear skies, and daytime high temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  The average overnight temperature ranges between 68°F and 85°F.  The monsoon season can begin any time from mid-June to late July, with an average start date around July 3.  It typically continues through August and somtimes into September.  During the monsoon the humidity is much higher than the rest of the year.  It begins with clouds building up from the south in the early afternoon followd by intense thunderstorms and rainfall, which can cause flash floods.  The evening sky at this time of year is often pierced with dramatic lightning strikes.  
  Tucson follows the "weak mayor" model of municipal government.  The 6-member city council holds exclusive legislative authority, and shares executive authority with the mayor, who is elected by the voters independently of the council.  An appointed city manager, meanwhile, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city.
Much of Tucson's economic development has been centered around the development of the University of Arizona, which is currently the second largest empoyer in the city.  Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, located on the southeastern edge of the city, also provides many jobs for Tucson residents.  Its presence, as well as the presence of a US Army Intelligence Center (Fort Huachuca, the largest employer in the region in nearby Sierra Vista), has led to the development of a significant number of high-tech industries, including government contractors, in the area.  Today, there are more than 1,200 businesses employeing over 50,000 people in the high-tech industries of Southern Arizona.  

Tucson, AZ Website Links 

Statistics and Facts:


City of Tucson, AZ


County Government


Chamber of Commerce


Area Convention and Visitors Bureau


Online News


Public Library


Schools (K- 12)


Tucson Unified School District


Private in County:


Colleges and Universities


U.S. Universities by State


U.S. Community Colleges by State

Last Modified: 8/25/2010
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