Demographics of Tempe

Tempe, Arizona (formerly known as Hayden’s Ferry) is a city in Maricopa County, home to Arizona State University and the world-renowned Hayden Butte, which partially lies on ASU’s campus. Tempe was a settlement created to service nearby Fort McDowell and named after Charles T. Hayden who was the operator of the ferry service needed for river crossing. The city’s name was later changed to Tempe in 1879 by pioneer Darrell Duppa after he compared the Salt River Valley to the Vale of Tempe near Mount Olympus in Greece. Fifteen years later, the city was officially incorporated due to the population boom from 135 residents to over 800, an increase of over 500 percent!

As of the 2010 census, the city housed a total of 161,719 people with a density of approximately four people per square mile. The racial composition of the city is as follows based on estimates:

  • Caucasian (white) - 77%
  • African American (black) - 4%
  • Asian & Pacific Islander - 5%
  • Native American - 2%
  • Other races - 9%
  • Multi-racial - 3%

(17% of the aforementioned people identify also as Latino/Hispanic)

Tempe is one of the few cities in the U.S. where there is an almost equal percentage of men and women, and the median income for a household is $52,000. The national unemployment rate for June 2015 was reported as 5.3%, and since 2005 the city unemployment rate has remained below the national average. The largest city employer is ASU, but several companies have corporate locations in the city to include GoDaddy, Cold Stone Creamery, Safeway, Wells Fargo and Honeywell Aerospace.

The real estate industry in Tempe was not quite as devastated by the U.S. Housing Bubble which began in 2006. Sales prices have appreciated nearly 40% but continue to be affordable for residents, with starting home prices below $200,000. Current city demographics indicate a diverse influx of residents and businesses to accommodate every lifestyle and income level. For more information on employment, real estate, and leisure activities visit

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