Doing Business in Greater Phoenix, U.S.A. - Chapter 2: Introducing Arizona



Arizona officially became the 48th state on February 14, 1912. The state was rural and its economy was primarily agricultural in nature from statehood until the end of the World War II. During that war, the federal government moved aerospace and defense assets to Arizona from California for national security reasons, and state policymakers acted to ensure this industry would remain in the state after the war had ended. A proactive state government, led by some of the state’s most historic leaders like Carl Hayden, Barry Goldwater, John Rhodes, Paul Fannin and others, worked to make Arizona a business-friendly state with a unique quality of life. Their efforts helped make Arizona an attractive place for businesses and residents. In 1950, the city of Phoenix had a little more than 100,000 residents; today, it is the capital city of Arizona and is the sixth largest city in the U.S., boasting more than 1.4 million people.

Legislators continued to make Arizona attractive for business throughout the 1950s and 1960s by lowering taxes, investing in education institutions and promoting opportunities for doing business in the state. The investments came to fruition as Arizona became a hub for aerospace and defense companies and their research and development activities. The same effort that helped foster the development of the aerospace industry was used to build Arizona’s strength in semiconductors, which still impacts the state today: Arizona is home to Intel, Freescale Semiconductor, ON Semiconductor, ST Microelectronics and hundreds more. Over the last few decades, Arizona’s corporate base in semiconductor and the talent that came with it grew to include clusters in hightech electronics, IT, renewable energy and personalized medicine among others. Today, Arizona continues to attract people from all over the globe who are looking to grow their business in a growing, thriving metropolitan market.


Arizona is the sixth largest state by total land size in the United States and is located in the Southwest region. It is bordered by California to the west, Nevada to the northwest, Utah to the north, New Mexico to the east and Mexico to the south. The state offers easy access to hundreds of major domestic and international markets. The Phoenix area boasts 14 airports, punctuated by the bustling Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, one of the country’s top ten hubs for air traffic. Its strategic location is within a day’s drive to tens of millions of people in the Southwest.

Arizona offers a low-risk environment for natural disasters. It is not susceptible to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or tornadoes. Much of the southern part of the state is covered by arid desert, including the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts. The state’s three largest cities – Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa – are located in the desert regions. The northern part of the state is higher in altitude and has a climate that is semi-arid and continental with cold, snowy winters. The state’s climatological diversity provides year-round opportunities for outdoor activities, such as visiting Grand Canyon National Park or one of the 21 other national parks located within Arizona’s borders; snow skiing at resorts near Tucson, Flagstaff, and in Northeastern Arizona; hiking, boating, rock climbing and more. Arizona’s mild winters and more than 300 days of sun annually are also a major draw to many visitors and part-time residents.

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