[ Welcome to Surprise, Arizona ]
Surprise is in Maricopa County, Arizona. The population was 30,848 at the 2000 census; however, rapid growth has boosted the city's population to 117,517 at the 2010 census, an increase of 281%. As such, it is the second fastest-growing municipality in the greater PHOENIX metropolitan area (after Gilbert). Between 1990 and 2000, it was the sixth fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona.
The city has a 10,562-square-foot (981.2 m2) Aquatics Center, Maricopa County's northwest regional library, a $5.5 million, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) library, and a 100.3 cost of living index.
The city was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Statler, who named it Surprise as she "would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much". Surprise officials previously thought the city was founded by Statler's husband, real estate developer and state legislator Homer C. Ludden, but in 2010 property records were discovered which listed Statler owning the land before she met Ludden.
Although there were only a few houses and a gas station on the one-mile (1.6 km) square parcel of land when it was subdivided to build inexpensive houses for agricultural workers, Surprise has experienced tremendous growth in the years since. It incorporated into a city in 1960.
Tens of thousands of retirees moved to the city in the 1990s and early 2000s to live in Sun City Grand, an age-restricted resort-like community, with homes built by the property development firm Del Webb. Surprise is about five miles (8 km) northwest of Del Webb's original Sun City development and adjacent to Sun City West.
Sun City Grand has become a large contributor to the city's population, which more than septuplet from 10,187 to about 75,000 in 2004. Rapid growth has led city officials to estimate the population at over 103,000 as of 2007, a figure the city maintains in spite of more conservative population estimates by the Census Bureau. Thirty-two of the state's top 50 homebuilders cater to new homebuyers, who are attracted by the city's modestly priced homes, its relative proximity to Phoenix, and by the property taxes, which the city claims are among the lowest in the state.
Surprise is located at 33°38'19”N 112°21'02”W (33.638632, -112.350434). It is about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of PHOENIX.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 69.5 square miles (180.0 km2), of which, 69.5 square miles (180.0 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2) of it (0.03%) is water.
Historical populations Population: 1970 -2,427 | 1980 - 3,723 | 1990 - 7,122 | 2000 - 30,848 | 2010 - 117,517
As of the census of 2000, there were 30,848 people, 12,484 households, and 9,725 families residing in the city. The population density was 443.9 people per square mile (171.4/km2). There were 16,260 housing units at an average density of 234.0 per square mile (90.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.97% White, 2.61% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 1.07% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.87% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. 23.29% of the populations were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In recent years, the racial makeup has varied due to the rapid growth of the city.
There were 12,484 households out of which 21.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.5% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.75 people.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 25.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,156, and the median income for a family was $47,899. Males had a median income of $33,079 versus $26,347 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,451. About 5.6% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those ages 65 or over.
In 2010 Surprise had a population of 117,517. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 71.2% non-Hispanic white, 5.1% black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.1% non-Hispanic reporting some other race, 3.8% two or more races, and 18.5% Hispanic or Latino.
Largest regional shopping center
In February 2007, the Surprise City Council unanimously approved an infrastructure reimbursement agreement with Westcor, facilitating construction of the largest regional mall in Arizona, Prasada. The agreement calls for Westcor to bear the cost of construction and installation of up to $240 million in infrastructure at the Prasada site, along SR303 in Surprise.
The city will assume ownership of the infrastructure and reimburse Westcor for the cost by rebating sales taxes generated by Prasada itself. At full build out, the city expects to realize $60 million per year in sales taxes and projects that Prasada will create more than 20,000 jobs for local residents.
The city is the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers baseball teams. These Major League Baseball teams use Surprise Stadium for their activities. The city also hosted a Golden Baseball League team in 2005, the Surprise Fighting Falcons and the Recreation Campus ballpark and is the home city for a team in the Arizona Fall League, the Surprise Rafters. It also hosted ESPN Sports Center 50 States in 50 Days segment on August 11, 2005.
As part of the city's Recreation Campus, Surprise is also home to the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex (STRC). Since its opening in August 2007, the complex has received numerous awards. Most recently, it was named the 2008 Outstanding Facility of the year award by the USTA. The complex hosts various professional events throughout the year, including the Outback Champion Series tour, a USTA Pro Circuit event, and many USTA regional and sectional events. In 2009 the complex has been chosen as the site for the Fed Cup Quarter Final between the USA and Argentina.