Tucson has a robust temporary population, which grows and recedes seasonally. Much of the city's economy is centered on the University of Arizona, which is the city's second largest employer, as well as tourism, with over 3.5 million people visiting the city each year. Along with vacationers, there are a large number of winter residents (snowbirds) who come for the mild winters — many own second homes in the area.
Tucson Population Growth
Tucson has always had a seasonal population as migratory retirees have spent their winters in the city. During the recession, Tucson went from being one of the hottest real estate markets to one of the most troubled, and the city is now one of the poorest big cities in the United States with a per capita income of just over $20,000. Water shortage has also become an issue as the city's population grows. Despite the problems, the region is expected to see its population double in the next 30 years to around 2 million people.
Paleo-Indians first inhabited Tucson, and recent archaeological work has found a village dating to 2100 BC. The area was first used for farming with extensive irrigation canals. In 1692, Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the area and founded a mission eight years later upstream of present-day Tucson. A second settlement was established downstream. Hugo O'Connor, the founding father of Tucson, authorized the construction of a military fort called Presidio San Agustin del Tucson in 1775.
The town was eventually known as Tucson and became a part of Mexico after Mexico gained independence. It was then captured by the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican-American War and was later returned to Mexico. The city was not included in the Mexican Cession, but it became a part of the United States in 1853, with formal control taken in 1856.
Tucson was briefly the western capital of the Confederate Arizona Territory, although the Confederate forces were driven out of the state in 1862. The city and all of present-day Arizona was part of New Mexico Territory until 1863 when it became a part of Arizona. The city was incorporated in 1877 as the first incorporated city in Arizona.