Tucson is the county seat of the County of Pima in the state of Arizona and is also the home of the University of Arizona. The city’s population as of the 2010 United States Census was 520,116, making it Arizona’s second most populated city following Phoenix, with both cities serving as anchor to the Arizona Sun Corridor. Tucson is situated 60 miles north of the United States-Mexico border and 118 miles southeast of Phoenix, and is the 52nd largest metropolitan area and 32nd biggest city in the whole of the United States.
Tucson has earned the nickname ‘Optics Valley’ due to the fact that there are approximately 150 companies in the city that are involved in the design and manufacture of optics and optoelectronics systems. Some of the city’s major incorporated suburbs include Marana and Oro Valley, which are situated northwest of the city, and Sahuarita, which is situated south of the city. Located in an enclave south of downtown is South Tucson. There are also a number of communities located in the vicinity of Tucson, including Casas Adobes, Flowing Wells, Tortolita, Vail, Catalina Foothills, Tanque Verde and New Pascua. Towns that are situated outside of the Tucson metropolitan area include Benson to the southeast, Green Valley to the south, and Oracle and Catalina, which are located to the north.
Tucson is an English name derived from the Spanish name for the city, tuk’son, which was itself borrowed from the O’odham moniker, Cuk Son, which means (at the) base of the black (hill). This is a reference to a volcanic mountain that is adjacent to the city. Tucson is also sometimes referred to under the nickname ‘The Old Pueblo’.
7,531 people lived in the city as of the year 1900. More and more people began to move there, however, and by 1910 there had been enough in the way of relocation for the population to grow to 13,913. The population continued to grow in the following years, reaching 20,292 by 1920; by 1940 it had risen to 36,818. As of 2006, the population of Pima County, where Tucson is situated, had over one million people living there, while the population of the City of Tucson itself was 535,000.
Tucson has a land area of 226.71 square miles, according to figures from the United States Census Bureau. Tucson’s elevation is 2,643 feet over sea level. Situated on an alluvial plain located in the Sonoran desert, Tucson is surrounded by five relatively minor mountain ranges: the Rincon Mountains to the east, the Tortolita Mountains and the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Tucson Mountains to the west, and the Santa Rita Mountains to the south.
The climate of Tucson is desert, with just two major seasons – winter and summer – as well as three minor seasons in the form of fall, spring and monsoon. It has temperate winters and hot summers. In summer, daytime temperatures often exceed 37C.