Cochise County, Arizona

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Cochise County, Arizona
Cochise County courthouse, Bisbee, Arizona.jpg
The art deco county courthouse in Bisbee
Seal of Cochise County, Arizona
Map of Arizona highlighting Cochise County
Location in the U.S. state of Arizona
Map of the United States highlighting Arizona
Arizona's location in the U.S.
Founded February 1, 1881
Named for Cochise
Seat Bisbee
Largest city Sierra Vista
 • Total 6,219 sq mi (16,107 km2)
 • Land 6,166 sq mi (15,970 km2)
 • Water 53 sq mi (137 km2), 0.9%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 127,448
 • Density 21/sq mi (8/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7

Cochise County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 131,346 at the 2010 census.[1] The county seat is Bisbee.[2]

Cochise County comprises the Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county borders southwestern New Mexico and northwestern Sonora in Mexico.


Cochise County was created on February 1, 1881, out of the eastern portion of Pima County.[3] It took its name from the legendary Chiricahua Apache war chief Cochise.[4][5] The county seat was Tombstone until 1929 when it moved to Bisbee. Notable men who once held the position of County Sheriff were Johnny Behan, who served as the first sheriff of the new county, and who was one of the main characters during the events leading to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Later, in 1886, Texas John Slaughter became sheriff. Lawman Jeff Milton and lawman/outlaw Burt Alvord both served as deputies under Slaughter.

A syndicated television series which aired from 1956 to 1958, Sheriff of Cochise starring John Bromfield, was filmed in Bisbee. The Jimmy Stewart movie Broken Arrow and subsequent television show of the same name starring John Lupton, which also aired from 1956 to 1958, took place (but was not filmed) in Cochise County.

J.A. Jance's Joanna Brady mystery series takes place in Cochise County, with Brady being the sheriff.

Beginning in the late 1950s, the small community of Miracle Valley was the site of a series of bible colleges and similar religious organizations, originally founded by television evangelist A. A. Allen. In 1982, Miracle Valley and neighboring Palominas were the site of a series of escalating conflicts between a newly arrived religious community and the county sheriff and deputies that culminated in the Miracle Valley shootout.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,219 square miles (16,110 km2), of which 6,166 square miles (15,970 km2) is land and 53 square miles (140 km2) (0.9%) is water.[6] Cochise County is closely the size of the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.

Adjacent counties and municipios

Protected areas

The Big Room in Kartchner Caverns
Fort Bowie site near Apache Pass.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 6,938
1900 9,251 33.3%
1910 34,591 273.9%
1920 46,465 34.3%
1930 40,998 −11.8%
1940 34,627 −15.5%
1950 31,488 −9.1%
1960 55,039 74.8%
1970 61,910 12.5%
1980 85,686 38.4%
1990 97,624 13.9%
2000 117,755 20.6%
2010 131,346 11.5%
Est. 2014 127,448 [7] −3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790–1960[9] 1900–1990[10]
1990–2000[11] 2010–2014[1]


The percent of ethnic groups as tallied by the 2010 U.S. Census:


As of the 2000 census, there were 117,755 people, 43,893 households, and 30,768 families residing in the county. The population density was 19 people per square mile (7/km²). There were 51,126 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 76.66% White, 4.52% Black or African American, 1.15% Native American, 1.65% Asian, 0.26% Pacific Islander, 12.05% from other races, and 3.72% from two or more races. 30.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.35% reported speaking Spanish at home, while 1.31% speak German [1].

There were 43,893 households out of which 32.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.10% were married couples living together, 11.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.90% were non-families. 25.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.30% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 101.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,105, and the median income for a family was $38,005. Males had a median income of $30,533 versus $22,252 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,988. About 13.50% of families and 17.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.80% of those under age 18 and 10.40% of those age 65 or over.

In 2000, the largest denominational group was the Catholics (with 25,837 adherents) and Evangelical Protestants (with 12,548 adherents).[12] The largest religious bodies were The Catholic Church (with 25,837 members) and The Southern Baptist Convention (with 5,999 members).[12]


Cochise County leans strongly towards the Republican Party in Presidential elections. Although Bill Clinton carried the county narrowly in 1992, it has supported the Republican candidate by large margins in each of the subsequent elections. Although the county includes the relatively liberal town of Bisbee, as well as the city of Douglas, which has a large Latino population, this is outweighed by the heavily Republican tilt of the more populous Sierra Vista, which is adjacent to Fort Huachuca and thus has a heavy military presence.

In the United States House of Representatives, the county is part of Arizona's 2nd congressional district, which is represented by Republican Martha McSally; the majority of the district's population is in Tucson and its suburbs, which tend to be more moderate than Cochise County. In the Arizona Legislature, the county is part of the 14th district and is represented by Republican Gail Griffin in the State Senate and Republicans David Gowan and David Stevens in the State House of Representatives. This district also includes the entirety of Graham County and Greenlee County, as well as portions of Pima County.


Major highways

State Route 80 seen towards north in Tombstone


Bisbee Municipal Airport is owned by the City of Bisbee and located five nautical miles (9 km) southeast of its central business district[13]

Sierra Vista Municipal Airport (IATA: FHU, ICAO: KFHU, FAA LID: FHU), a joint-use civil-military airport which shares facilities with Libby Army Airfield, is located on Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, a city and U.S. Army installation in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. The airport has three runways and one helipad. It is mostly used for military aviation for the surrounding military base.

There are no commercial flights out of Cochise County; the nearest commercial airport is at Tucson approximately 70 miles from Sierra Vista.


Map of incorporated areas and unincorporated areas in Cochise County.



Census-designated places

Other places

Military sites

County population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Cochise County.[14][15]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Sierra Vista 43,888 City 1956
2 Douglas 17,378 City 1905
3 Sierra Vista Southeast 14,797 CDP
4 Bisbee 5,575 City 1902
5 Benson 5,105 City 1880 (founded)
6 Willcox 3,757 City 1915
7 Whetstone 2,617 CDP
8 Huachuca City 1,853 Town 1958
9 Mescal 1,812 CDP
10 Pirtleville 1,744 CDP
11 St. David 1,699 CDP
12 Tombstone 1,380 City 1881
13 Naco 1,046 CDP
14 Miracle Valley 644 CDP
15 Elfrida 459 CDP
16 Bowie 449 CDP
17 Sunizona 281 CDP
18 McNeal 238 CDP
19 Palominas 212 CDP
20 Dragoon 209 CDP
21 San Simon 165 CDP

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. "Arizona Cultural Inventory Project". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  4. "Cochise County Arizona". County Website. Cochise County. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  5. "Reminiscence of Early Days" (jpg). Tombstone (AZ) Weekly Epitaph. 27 Oct 1912. p. 4. Retrieved 28 Jul 2015 – via I feel a paternal pride in Cochise county, for one Sunday 31 years ago, in the little law office of Will Hunsaker and myself in Tombstone, the committee selected the name, and I was one of the godfathers at the christening. Harry Wood, editor of the Tombstone Nugget, suggested the name in honor of the territorial Apache chief as a fitting companion to the dismal name of its county seat.  open access publication - free to read
  6. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  10. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "County Membership Reports". Retrieved 2011-08-22.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "thearda" defined multiple times with different content
  13. FAA Airport Master Record for P04 (Form 5010 PDF)
  14. Center for New Media and Promotions(C2PO). "2010 Census". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  15. Geographic Products Branch. "2010 Census Block Maps - Geography - U.S. Census Bureau". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 

External links

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