Surprise, Arizona Population 2021

149,558
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Surprise is a city located in Maricopa County Arizona. With a 2020 population of 149,558, it is the 10th largest city in Arizona and the 177th largest city in the United States . Surprise is currently growing at a rate of 2.71% annually and its population has increased by 27.26% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 117,517 in 2010. Surprise reached it's highest population of 149,558 in 2021. Spanning over 108 miles, Surprise has a population density of 1,384 people per square mile.

The average household income in Surprise is $82,212 with a poverty rate of 7.34%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,349 per month, and the median house value is $239,500. The median age in Surprise is 41.4 years, 40.8 years for males, and 42.1 years for females.

Surprise is located in Maricopa County, Arizona about 30 miles northwest of Phoenix and part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Metro Phoenix has an estimated population of 4.7 million and Surprise is the 9th largest city in the area. Surprise is the second-fastest growing municipality in the metro area after Gilbert and was the 6th fastest growing city or town in the U.S. in the 1990s.

Diversity and Population Statistics

Just under 9% of the population of Surprise is foreign-born. Surprise is considered a fairly old city with an average age among residents of 46 years compared to 38 for the United States (https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/us-median-age-hits-all-time-high-38-record-86248-are-100-or-older) as a whole.

Population Growth

In 2016, Surprise was named one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. In 2019, the state was also ranked as the 3rd fastest growing in part due to shrinking wages and affordability in the area. Maricopa County has led Arizona's population growth, reporting eight straight years of population gains since 2011 (https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2019/04/18/census-maricopa-population-gains/) and adding 81,000 new residents among the 122,000 new people who moved to Arizona. While Surprise remains popular among retirees, it's also gaining attention from people in the labor force, especially those struggling to keep up with California's rising housing costs and stagnant wages.

Surprise, Arizona is a young city founded by Flora Statler in 1938. She named the city because she would be "surprised if the town ever amounted to much." The town was believed to have been founded by her husband, a real estate developer named Homer Ludden, but property records in 2010 showed Statler was the owner before she met Ludden.

In the early years, Surprise was nothing more than a gas station and affordable homes for agricultural workers but it has grown rapidly since. Surprise was incorporated in 1960 and became a popular destination for retirees beginning in the 1990s and 2000s. This led to the development of Sun City Grand, an age-restricted community which has grown from 10,000 residents to 75,000 residents in 2004.

Surprise Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Surprise was:

  • White: 84.34%
  • Black or African American: 6.44%
  • Other race: 3.07%
  • Two or more races: 2.91%
  • Asian: 2.76%
  • Native American: 0.34%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.14%
The current population of Surprise, Arizona is 149,558 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 137,717.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 117,517.

Surprise, Arizona Population 2021

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White114,23884.34%
Black or African American8,7286.44%
Some Other Race4,1573.07%
Two or More Races3,9352.91%
Asian3,7322.76%
American Indian and Alaska Native4640.34%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander1960.14%
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Surprise Population by Race

Surprise Population Pyramid $2021

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Surprise Median Age

41.4


Total

40.8


Male

42.1


Female

Surprise Adults

There are 102,403 adults, (30,569 of whom are seniors) in Surprise.

Surprise Age Dependency

88.6

Age Dependency Ratio

42.6

Old Age Dependency Ratio

46

Child Dependency Ratio

Surprise Sex Ratio

Female

70,059

51.72%

Male

65,391

48.28%

Surprise Population by Age

Surprise Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Surprise Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married82.8%17.2%
All75.9%24.1%
Male71.4%28.6%
Non Family68.2%31.8%
Female56.9%43.1%

75.9%

Rate of Home Ownership

Surprise Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All48,6182.7875.9
Married29,5963.2182.8
Non Family12,2431.2868.2
Female5,3403.6156.9
Male1,4393.4671.4

3.21

Average Family Size

2.78

Average Household Size

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Surprise Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade2,1462.31%
9th to 12th Grade4,8775.24%
High School Graduate23,68725.45%
Some College26,57028.54%
Associates Degree9,2219.91%
Bachelors Degree17,49118.79%
Graduate Degree9,0929.77%
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Surprise Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Surprise Educational Attainment by Race

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Race Total High School Bachelors
White69,34965,72621,073
Hispanic14,40011,8052,115
Black5,0474,5981,714
Asian2,7452,4081,222
Other Race2,5241,985140
2+ Races1,5611,506473
Native American28928940
Islander13513517

The highest rate of high school graduation is among native american people with a rate of 100.00%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 44.52%.

Surprise Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$42,419$50,918$35,125
Less Than 9th Grade$29,619$32,385$26,257
High School Graduate$33,689$39,880$28,829
Some College$41,296$52,051$32,445
Bachelors Degree$52,951$63,033$47,087
Graduate Degree$62,688$84,327$53,247

$42,419

Average Earnings

$50,918

Average Male

$35,125

Average Female

Surprise Earnings by Educational Attainment

Surprise Language by Age

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Surprise Language

86.41% of Surprise residents speak only English, while 13.59% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 8.50% of the population.

Surprise Language

Surprise Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White92,6646,3066.81%
Hispanic26,3732,4669.35%
Black8,6698319.59%
Other4,13543410.50%
Multiple3,9332526.41%
Asian3,7051714.62%
Native4644910.56%
Islander196126.12%

7.34%

Overall Poverty Rate

6.52%

Male Poverty Rate

8.11%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Surprise

The race most likely to be in poverty in Surprise is Native, with 10.56% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Surprise is Asian, with 4.62% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 1.17%. Among those working part-time, it was 10.14%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 10.99%.

Surprise Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade12.69%
High School9.88%
Some College5.08%
Bachelors or Greater3.20%

Surprise Poverty Rate by Education

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Rate Poverty
Female Unemployed22.47%
Male Unemployed22.33%
Female Employed4.37%
Male Employed3.11%

Surprise Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Surprise Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$69,076$82,212
Families$77,582$89,009
Married Families$84,936$96,051
Non Families$43,131$56,611
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Income by Household Type

Surprise Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

57.4%

Overall Marriage Rate

60.0%

Male Marriage Rate

55.0%

Female Marriage Rate

Surprise Married by Age and Sex

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Surprise Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

Surprise Marital Status by Race

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Surprise Marital Status

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12,032

Number of Veterans

11,205

Male Veterans

827

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam4,613
First Gulf War2,744
Second Gulf War2,266
Korea1,053
World War II279

Surprise Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
75+3,618
65 to 743,284
35 to 542,723
55 to 641,629
18 to 34778

Surprise Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
White10,65612.29%
Hispanic1,0166.01%
Black71311.59%
2+ Races27613.95%
Asian1595.09%
Other Race1514.77%
Native American7723.33%

Surprise Veterans by Race

Surprise Veterans by Education

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3.29%

Veteran Poverty Rate

28.34%

Veteran Disability Rate

Surprise Veterans by Education

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56.3%

Labor Force Participation

52.3%

Employment Rate

5.8%

Unemployment Rate

Surprise Employment by Age

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Surprise Employment by Race

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Surprise Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

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Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

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31.82%

Born in Surprise

91.52%

Native Born

8.48%

Foreign Born

2.84%

Non Citizen

5.64%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

91.52% of Surprise residents were born in the United States, with 31.82% having been born in Arizona. 2.84% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Surprise Place of Birth

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2021149,5583,9472.71%
2020145,6113,9472.79%
2019141,6643,9472.87%
2018137,7172,9362.18%
2017134,7811,9351.46%
2016132,8462,5101.93%
2015130,3362,4561.92%
2014127,8802,8452.28%
2013125,0352,7692.26%
2012122,2662,6492.21%
2011119,6171,9741.68%
2010117,64386,79514.32%
200030,84823,72615.79%
19907,1223,3996.70%
19803,7230.00%

Surprise Population by Year