Tucson, Arizona is like a breath of fresh air for many people. But there is much more to consider for those thinking of relocating to Tucson.
The seat of Pima County, Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona. The 48th U. S. state is the birthplace of singer Linda Ronstadt and actress Barbara Eden. Nicknamed ‘The Old Pueblo, ’ Tucson is home to the University of Arizona and its nearly 30,000 full-time students. The city’s estimated population in July 2005 was 515,526 people. Since the U. S. Census of 1990, the number of Tucson residents has grown 23.4%. The metropolitan area has experienced an even greater rate of growth. In 2000, the census counted 843,746 living in the area, a 26.5% increase over the total in 1990. Just 60 miles from the Mexican border, 54% of Tucson’s population is White Non-Hispanic. The Hispanic or Latino races account for nearly 36% of the population, Black (4.3%), and American Indian (3.2%). The crime rate is statistically high. The FBI’s crime index in 2005 had Tucson at 734.7, more than doubling the national average of 325.2. In 2004, there were 55 murders and over 300 rapes in the city.
Affordable housing and a comfortable cost of living may attract those with plans on relocating to Tucson. While still very reasonable, the price tag on homes for sale in the city has risen by more than $35,000 since 2000 when the average asking price was $93,300. House values were significantly below the rest of the state at an average of $96,300. Housing starts steadily increase each year. In 2005, 2,421 buildings went up at an average cost of $147,200. Renters were paying $516 monthly gross rent in 2000. But according to the Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $707 in 2004. That same year, the city’s Cost of Living Index (99.2) was found to be just below the national average.
While Tucson is emerging in the high-tech industries, per capita income has been very low. The median income for a household was just $30,981, according to census statistics in 2000. The average family income did not fair any better at $37,344. Finding work doesn’t seem to be a problem with an unemployment rate of 4.1% recorded early in 2005. About 83% of residents held a high school degree, with 27 percent completing four or more years of college. Growth in the high-tech job market attracts a greater number of residents each year. The University of Arizona has a hand in Tucson's economic development as the city’s second largest employer. Raytheon Missile Systems is tops with 10,200 people on the payroll. Government contractors and high-tech industries are drawn to Tucson with its Air Force base and nearby center for military intelligence. Current high-tech employers include Texas Instruments, IBM, Intuit, Inc. and Universal Avionics. Tucson also relies on its culture and heritage to bolster the economy. The faithful dry and sunny climate aids the area’s $1.5 billion dollar tourism industry.
At nearly 25-hundred feet above sea level, Tucson is surrounded by mountain ranges reaching 7,000 feet. Mild winters include a yearly average temperature of 39 degrees in January. Hot summers come with an average of 78 degrees in July. And typical for Arizona, a mere 11 inches of precipitation is the annual average. With more than enough sunshine annually, Tucson's climate gives sports enthusiasts plenty to see and do. Professional baseball teams take part in spring training at Hi Corbett Field and Tucson Electric Park. The Chrysler Classic of Tucson golf championship is held annually. Skiers will trek their way up to Mount Lemmon and take to the slopes. If you are relocating to Tucson, it is one of the top cities in the country for biking. The city hosts the El Tour de Tucson cycling event each fall.
"Old Pueblo" enjoys a multicultural heritage that includes Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo influences. Tucson was a big part of the Old West where the streets hosted many gunfights, as did neighboring Tombstone. Tucson is about a two-hour drive from Phoenix. Winter residents called “snowbirds" make Tucson their winter home, purchasing property or recreating in R. V. s. Tucson International Airport welcomes seven million passengers annually with its 12 major airlines. The primary highway routes into the city bring travelers to and from Los Angeles and El Paso. Amtrak also provides passenger service as does Greyhound bus lines.
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