Arizona, which joined the USA as the last of the continental states in 1948, stands like no other for the American Southwest with its deserts, rocks, warm temperatures and most of all with its impressive sceneries. Bordering the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora in the south, Arizona’s image is mostly stamped by dry desert regions, but the Grand Canyon State also has extensive forests and, in its northern half, even mountain ranges that are used as ski areas.
Apart from tourism, an important economic factor thanks to the warm climate and many natural sights - Grand Canyon alone draws some 5 million annual visitors - Arizona’s economy is based on the exploitation of the rich copper reserves and on agricultural products such as citrus fruit and cotton.
Arizona has continuously been one of the fastest growing US states in recent years. The Greater Phoenix area alone has now grown to a population of more than 4.3 million people. The steady flow of new Arizonans has caused problems for the state, especially in terms of providing inhabitants with the scarce good of water. By now, some 30% of Arizonans designate themselves as Hispanics, but there are also, mostly in the northern half, sizable Native American populations.
The metropolitan area around Phoenix forms the center point of the state, more than 60% of the population live here. Smaller centers are the regions around Tucson in the south, where also more than 1 million people live and the areas around Flagstaff in the north and Yuma in the West.