Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located southeast of Phoenix, within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World”, Gilbert is currently the most populous incorporated town in the United States. Gilbert encompasses 76 square miles (197 km2) and has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area. In the last three decades, Gilbert has grown at an extremely high rate, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 208,453 as of the 2010 census.
Gilbert owes its beginnings to William “Bobby” Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Ayer’s Grocery Store, the first store in Gilbert, opened in 1910 and became the location of the first post office in 1912. The location of the town post office moved several times before settling on the east side of Gilbert Road in downtown, where it still stands today. In 1912, many Mormons who had fled the Mormon colonies in Mexico due to the actions of the forces of Pancho Villa settled in Gilbert. By 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward.
Incorporated in July 1920, Gilbert was primarily a farming community fueled by the rail line and construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern and Consolidated Canals. It remained an agricultural town for many years and was known as the “Hay Capital of the World” from 1911 until the late 1920s.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in the 2000 Census, the town had an estimated area of 40 square miles (104 km2). As of 2009, and due to annexations the current Municipal Planning Area of Gilbert has a total area of 76.0 square miles (197 km2), of which, 75.76 square miles (196.2 km2) of it is land and 0.24 square miles (0.6 km2) of it is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 208,453 people, 74,147 housing units, and 3.01 persons per household.
- Fastest growing municipality in the United States from 1990-2003. U.S. Census Bureau
- Currently the 4th fastest growing municipality in the United States. U.S. Census Bureau – 2009
- Ranked by CNN’s Money magazine in 2008 as one of the best places to live in the United States.
- One of the top 25 safest cities in the United States.
- 34.5% of Gilbert residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Highest household median income in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area with Population 50,000+ U.S. Census Bureau 2005
2009 According to Nielsens Claritas Demographics, in 2009 the racial makeup of the town was:
- 15.39%Hispanics or Latinos
- 3.08% Black or African American
- 0.79% Native American
- 4.70% Asian
- 0.23% Pacific Islander
- 5.97% from other races
- 3.73% from two or more races
2009 Estimated Population Data by Gender/Age:
- 31.37 Average Age Male/Female
- 50.22% Male
- 30.03 Est. Average Age
- 49.78% Female
- 31.82 Est. Average Age
- 37.14% Population Under 21
- 33.25% Population Under 18
- 70.01% Population Over 16
- 66.76% Population Over 18
- 62.86% Population Over 21
- 5.30% Population Over 65
2009 Estimated Population Age 15+ by Marital Status:
- 20.87% Never Married
- 66.71% Married, Spouse Present
- 2.23% Married, Spouse absent
- 2.11% Widowed
- 8.07% Divorced
2009 Estimated Population Age 25+ Educational Attainment:
- 92.33% High School/GED or Higher
- 37.5% Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
- 10.46% Master’s Degree or Higher
2009 Estimated Households by Household Income:
- $109,213 Average Household Income
- $89,077 Median Household Income
- $35,559 Per Capita Income
- 2.28% of Families are Below the Poverty Level