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A Great Quality of Life is in the Neighborhood

If you locate your business at Santa Cruz Commerce Center and unless your business is owned by an enrolled member of the Ak‑Chin Indian Community, you and your workforce will be living off-Reservation. Luckily, there are some excellent options nearby. Data collected in the 2016 Labor Market Study for the Ak‑Chin Indian Community shows that existing employers in the Ak‑Chin Indian Community and the City of Maricopa draw their workforce primarily from Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert and Tempe in Maricopa County, and from Casa Grande and the City of Maricopa in Pinal County. Since each city offers different features that may appeal to workers of diverse ages and interests, we have gathered data separately, so you can compare communities side-by-side.

Home to a Wide Variety of Amenities

Quality of life is a concern to businesses that need skilled labor because it often impacts the ability to recruit workers from outside the local area. Ease of commuting, a range of housing options, reasonable cost of living, personal security, education quality and recreational and cultural amenities can all be critical to attracting and retaining a high quality workforce. Some of the top attributes of each community are:

  1. City of Maricopa: The most affordable housing by a significant margin based on local prices and income levels.
  2. Casa Grande: The retail center for Western Pinal County.
  3. Tempe: The most demographically, culturally and racially diverse community.
  4. Chandler: The highest secondary education graduation rates.
  5. Gilbert: The lowest overall crime rates at less than half the metro area average.
  6. Mesa: A high concentration of public and private postsecondary education institutions.

Interested in developing a project at Ak‑Chin? All Submittal Requirements are included in this downloadable PDF.

Quality of Life Data for SCCC Labor Shed Communities

The following data was collected in August 2016 by Applied Economics for the Ak-Chin Industrial Park Board. If you would like to download a copy of the original report, click here for the full PDF.


Population by Age

The size and age structure of a community is important because it usually influences a variety of other factors such as housing, amenities, etc., that appeal to a certain demographic. Mesa is the largest among the surrounding communities with over 460,000 residents. Although a city of this size usually contains a well-rounded mix of younger and older residents, both Mesa and Casa Grande have higher median ages and a significantly larger share of residents over 64. Gilbert, Chandler and Maricopa are family-oriented communities with the highest share of children under 18 and adults in the 35 to 54 (parent) age cohorts, although Gilbert has a slightly younger median age. Tempe is the youngest community, dominated by the presence of ASU students, with a median age of 28 and over 44 percent of its population in the 18 to 34 year age range.

(PLEASE NOTE: Swipe left or right to view entire table on mobile devices.)

Population by Age

Casa Grande Chandler Gilbert Maricopa Mesa Tempe
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Population by Age 51,744 100.0% 255,073 100.0% 242,875 100.0% 48,374 100.0% 460,950 100.0% 172,021 100.0%
  • Under 18
14,178 27.4% 69,635 27.3% 77,957 32.1% 14,270 29.5% 113,394 24.6% 29,072 16.9%
  • 18 to 34 years
9,831 19.0% 59,687 23.4% 53,186 21.9% 11,368 23.5% 111,550 24.2% 76,549 44.5%
  • 35-54 years
12,315 23.8% 78,307 30.7% 73,829 30.4% 13,254 27.4% 113,855 24.7% 35,092 20.4%
  • 55-64 years
6,106 11.8% 25,252 9.9% 20,400 8.4% 5,611 11.6% 51,626 11.2% 16.170 9.4%
  • Over 64 years
9,314 18.0% 22,191 8.7% 17,486 7.2% 3,870 8.0% 70,525 15.3% 15,138 8.8%
Median Age 38.0 34.6 32.6 33.8 35.8 28.0
Source: Arizona Department of Administration, Employment and Population Statistics, July 1, 2015 Population Estimates; Census Bureau American Community Survey 2014-5 Year Data.

Population by Race

Diversity is an appealing factor, particularly for younger workers seeking a more urban environment. Tempe is the most racially diverse community in general, largely due to the university, although Casa Grande has a significantly larger Hispanic population than the other communities.

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Population by Race

Casa Grande Chandler Gilbert Maricopa Mesa Tempe
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Population by Race 51,744 100.0% 255,073 100.0% 242,875 100.0% 48,374 100.0% 460,950 100.0% 172,021 100.0%
  • White Alone
39,895 77.1% 197,171 77.3% 203,757 83.9% 36,764 76.0% 389,503 84.5% 127,468 74.1%
  • Black or African American
2,639 5.1% 13,009 5.1% 8,014 3.3% 5,176 10.7% 16,133 3.5% 8,945 5.2%
  • American Indian
1,759 3.4% 3,316 1.3% 2,186 0.9% 919 1.9% 10,141 2.2% 4,645 2.7%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander
1,501 2.9% 23,212 9.1% 15,543 6.4% 1,838 3.8% 10,602 2.3% 12,386 7.2%
  • Other Race or Multiple Races
5,951 11.5% 18,365 7.2% 13,357 5.5% 3,676 7.6% 34,571 7.5% 18,578 10.8%
  • Hispanic Origin
19,870 38.4% 60,197 23.6% 37,886 15.6% 10,255 21.2% 123,535 26.8% 38,189 22.2%
Source: Arizona Department of Administration, Employment and Population Statistics, July 1, 2015 Population Estimates; Census Bureau American Community Survey 2014-5 Year Data.

Household Structure

Family and household structure is a strong indicator of the social makeup of a community and the potential fit for different types of workers. Families are defined as related individuals living together, whereas non-family households include singles living alone or multiple un-related individuals living together. Gilbert and Maricopa have the highest share of married couple households and the highest share of married households with children. Over 60 percent of all households in Gilbert and Maricopa are married, whereas about half of households in Casa Grande and Mesa are married households. Casa Grande, Tempe and Mesa have a slightly higher share of single parent households at 18 to 20 percent; whereas Casa Grande and Chandler have a higher share of single person households at about one quarter of total households. Mesa also has an above average share of single-person households, many of them retirees. Tempe has a different household structure all together with over half of households made up of singles or un-related individuals, and only 11 percent of households married with children.

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Household and Family Structure

Casa Grande Chandler Gilbert Maricopa Mesa Tempe
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total Households 17,672 100.0% 86,853 100.0% 71,614 100.0% 14,481 100.0% 167,609 100.0% 63,523 100.0%
  • Married‐couple family
9,002 51% 46,074 53% 44,822 63% 8,895 61% 78,316 47% 19,600 31%
    • With children under 18
3,110 18% 22,876 26% 24,643 34% 4,455 31% 29,794 18% 7,286 11%
    • No children under 18
5,892 33% 23,198 27% 20,179 28% 4,440 31% 48,522 29% 12,314 19%
  • Single parent household
3,588 20% 14,623 17% 10,906 15% 2,138 15% 30,833 18% 11,195 18%
    • With children under 18
2,240 13% 8,616 10% 6,618 9% 1,254 9% 17,681 11% 9,095 14%
    • No children under 18
1,348 8% 6,007 7% 4,288 6% 884 6% 13,152 8% 2,100 3%
  • Non-family households
5,082 29% 26,156 30% 15,886 22% 3,448 24% 58,460 35% 32,728 52%
    • Single person households
4,304 24% 20,088 23% 11,549 16% 2,531 17% 46,651 28% 21,110 33%
Average household size 2.83 2.82 3.11 3.13 2.68 2.47
Source: Census Bureau American Community Survey 2014-5 Year Data.


Housing is another important consideration for employees in terms of both prices and type of housing available in the community. Maricopa has the highest share of homeowners versus renters at 78 percent, and the highest share of single family housing at 97 percent. Gilbert is also more predominately single family housing at 86 percent of total inventory, and about 71 percent of households are homeowners rather than renters. Mesa, Chandler and Casa Grande offer a mix of single and multi-family housing, with about 30 to 40 percent of residents renting. Tempe is significantly different than the other communities with an almost equal inventory of single and multi-family housing and about 57 percent of all households renting their home.
Population churn is an interesting measure of the stability and character of a community. Although the recession reduced mobility rates nationwide, the improved economy has allowed people to buy new homes or relocate for employment and other reasons. Healthy growing communities tend to have a larger influx of in-migrants. The share of newcomers shown in Figure 4 is the percent of households that lived in a different house last year. Tempe has a higher level of population churn due to the university and the higher share of renters, with about a third of the population living in a different home than in the previous year. The rest of the communities are all relatively similar, with about 18 to 20 percent of residents having moved in the last year. Maricopa falls slightly below that with 16 percent newcomers.

Housing prices are significantly lower in Maricopa and Casa Grande and highest in Chandler and Gilbert. The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical household in each community earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on an average priced home. An index of less than 100 indicates that the typical household cannot afford an average priced home in that community. An index of more than 100 indicates that a household earning the median income has more than enough to qualify for a mortgage on an average-priced home. All of the communities except Tempe offer housing that is affordable based on average income levels. Maricopa has the most affordable housing by a significant margin based on local prices and income levels. Casa Grande, Chandler and Gilbert offer housing that is affordable for the types of households in those communities, while Mesa is slightly less affordable due to lower average household incomes.

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Housing Characteristics

Casa Grande Chandler Gilbert Maricopa Mesa Tempe
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total Households 17,672 86,853 71,614 14,481 167,609 63,523
  • Own
11,911 67% 54,196 62% 51,061 71% 11,295 78% 101,403 61% 27,061 43%
  • Rent
5,761 33% 32,657 38% 20,553 29% 3,186 22% 66,206 40% 36,462 57%
Newcomers (less than 1 year) 3,110 18% 16,763 19% 13,320 19% 2,245 16% 32,684 20% 20,073 32%
Housing Inventory
  • Single family
14,619 67% 67,722 74% 66,459 86% 17,391 97% 106,066 53% 31,023 43%
  • Townhome and duplex
676 3% 4,023 4% 2,229 3% 276 2% 13,925 14% 6,093 9%
  • Multi-family
2,918 13% 17,995 20% 8,141 11% 70 0% 51,503 26% 32,522 45%
  • Mobile home
3,549 16% 1,858 2% 409 1% 276 2% 28,664 14% 1,970 3%
Average Home Price $161,722 $290,000 $284,000 $158,000 $227,900 $267,500
Housing Affordability Index* 146 132 152 218 112 95
Source: Census Bureau American Community Survey 2014-5 Year Data; Homesnap Real Estate Statistics, August 2016; Swee Ng (realtor), Phoenix East Valley Housing Market Trends Report, June 2016.
*Based on ratio of qualifying income for average priced home with a 20% down payment and 4.25% interest rate versus average household income.
Secondary Education

Secondary Education

Education quality is another important factor for workers with children. Most Arizona communities offer a variety of district, charter and private school options. Access to high quality local schools is essential to attracting and retaining a quality work force. Figure 5 includes class sizes, graduation rates, share of students enrolling in higher education and ranked schools.

Average class sizes tend to be lower in Gilbert Schools at only 16, versus 18 to 20 in most other locations, which is comparable to the state average. Tempe Union and Maricopa Unified have larger average class sizes at about 22 students. Graduation rates are highest in the Chandler, Higley and Gilbert districts, at 89 to 93 percent, and well above the state average of 76 percent. These districts also have a higher share of students enrolling in post-secondary education within 16 months of graduation, although none of the districts in the region are significantly below average in this measure.

Another way to assess school quality compared to other schools across the country is to look at rankings. U.S. News and World report provides an annual ranking of best high schools in the country based on how well they prepare students for college. The rankings include both district schools and charter schools. Arizona College Prep in Chandler and Gilbert Classical Academy both ranked in the top 10 for Arizona. The Chandler Unified District has 3 schools in the top 25 in Arizona, and Gilbert and Mesa Unified each have one. In addition, Tempe and Mesa have the highest concentrations of postsecondary education institutions with 10 two and four-year colleges in Tempe and nine in Mesa

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Secondary Education Quality

District Class Size Graduation Rate % Graduates Enrolled in Post-Secondary Education US News & World Report Best High Schools
Casa Grande Unified High School District 20.4 71% 66% Casa Verde HS
Florence Unified School District 18.7 81% 57% Florence HS; Poston Butte HS
Maricopa Unified School District 21.8 71% 59%
Chandler Unified School District 18.9 92% 68% AZ College Prep-Erie Campus*; Hamilton HS; Basha HS; Chandler HS; Perry HS; BASIS Chandler*; Great Hearts-Chandler Prep*; Paragon Science Academy*
Gilbert Unified School District 16.1 89% 67% Higley HS; Williams Field HS
Higley Unified School District 19.8 93% 60% Gilbert Classical Academy; Campo Verde HS; Highland HS; Gilbert Early College*
Mesa Unified School District 19.1 76% 62% Mesa HS; Mountain View HS; Red Mountain HS; Dobson HS; Skyline HS; AZ Agribusiness & Equine Center Red-M*; Great Hearts-Mesa Prep.*
Tempe Union High School District 22.0 81% 69% Desert Vista HS; McClintock HS; Tempe HS; James Madison Prep; Grand Canyon College Prep*; New School for the Arts*; Tempe Prep.*
Queen Creek Unified High School District 20.6 89% 59% Queen Creek HS
State Average 18.6 76% 58%
Source: AZ Office of the Auditor General, “Arizona School District Spending – Fiscal Year 2015”; AZ Department of Education, “High School Graduates College Enrollment, State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Postsecondary Indicator ( c ) ( 11 )”, 2010-2011; US News and World Report, “2016 Best High Schools Rankings”.
* Denotes non-district charter school.
Crime Rates

Crime Rates

A sense of physical security affects both residents and businesses. All of the communities, except for Tempe and Casa Grande, are below the metro area average in terms of crime rates. Maricopa and Gilbert have the lowest overall crime rates at less than half the metro area average. Chandler is also well below average, while Mesa is about the same as the metro area property average, but with a significantly higher rate of violent crime.

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Crime Rates

Rate per 100,000 Population
Violent Property Total
Metro Phoenix Total 392 2,906 3,298
Casa Grande 478 3,575 4,053
Chandler 185 2,236 2,421
Gilbert 89 1,475 1,564
Maricopa 172 1,240 1,412
Mesa 459 2,800 3,259
Tempe 471 4,737 5,208
Source: FBI 2014 Uniform Crime Report; Arizona Department of Public Safety, Crime in Arizona 2015.
Attractions and Events

Attractions & Events

The communities within the Santa Cruz Commerce Center primary laborshed offer a variety of recreational and cultural amenities, many of which attract visitors as well as residents. These include museums and historical sites, performance venues, recreational facilities and attractions, and a variety of annual events.

(PLEASE NOTE: Swipe left or right to view entire table on mobile devices.)

Area Attractions and Events

Casa Grande Chandler Gilbert Maricopa/Ak-Chin Mesa Tempe
Museums & Historical Sites
Casa Grande Valley Historical Museum Huhugam Heritage Center Gilbert Historical Museum Dwarf Car Museum AZ Museum of Natural History AZ Heritage Center
Casa Grande Art Museum AZ Railway Museum Gilbert 911 Memorial Him-Dak Eco-Museum AZ Museum for Youth Salt River Project Museum
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Chandler Museum California Zephyr Silver Horizon Mesa Historical Museum Tempe History Museum
Heritage Hall Museum Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum ASU Art Museum, Lunar Exploration Museum, & Gallery of Scientific Exploration
IDEA Museum Hall of Flame Fire Museum
Performance Venues
Paramount Theatre Chandler Center for the Arts Higley Center for the Performing Arts Maricopa Community Theatre Mesa Amphitheatre Tempe Center for the Arts
Wild Horse Pass Festival Park & Ovations Showroom Hale Centre Theatre Mesa Arts Center Gammage Auditorium
Tuscany Theatre Barleens Arizona Opry Dinner Show Marquee Theater
Tempe Improv
Recreational Facilities
Faldo Gold Academy Rawhide Western Town & Events Center Gilbert Riparian Preserve & Observatory Ak-Chin Southern Dunes & The Duke Golf Courses Hohokam Park (Oakland A’s) Tempe Town Lake
Grande Sports World Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Greenfield Lakes & Kokopelli Golf Courses Copper Sky Recreational Complex Sloan Park (Chicago Cubs) ASU Sun Devil Stadium & Wells Fargo Arena
Bear Creek Golf Complex Big League Dream Complex Pacana Park Dobson Ranch Golf Course Diablo Stadium (LA Angels)
Consolidated Canal Multi-Use Trail Consolidated Canal Multi-Use Trail UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle Consolidated Canal Multi-Use Trail ASU Marston Exploration Theater (3-D planetarium)
Cosmo Dog Park Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Park of the Canals ASU Karsten Golf Course
Water Tower Plaza Papago Park
Kiwanis Park
AZ Open Chili Championship Tumbleweek Festival & Parade of Lights Art Walk & Downtown Concert Series Stagecoach Days Phoenix Marathon IRONMAN Arizona
Art in the Alley Ostrich Festival Global Village Festival Fishing Derby Tough Mudder Tour de Fat
Cactus Fly-In Jazz Festival Riparian After Dark Mud Run El Tour de Mesa Fall Festival of the Arts
Cowboy & Indian Days Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua Races KA-POW! Superhero Adventure Run Concert Series in the Park AZ Celebration of Freedom Annual Healing Field
Viva Case Grande Indian Art Market Ourdoors Expo Salsa Festival Festival Forest AZ Dragon Boat Festival
Party in the Park Concert Series Chuckwagon Cook-Off Gilbert Days Events & Rodeo Mysterious Mansion Mayhem Celebrate Mesa PF Chang’s Rock N’ Roll Marathon
Trunk’R Treat & Family Fright Night Chandler Golf Challenge Merry Copa Holiday Festival Mesa Adventure Challenge Oktoberfest
Desert Grand Triathlon & Duathlon Multicultural Festival Copa Color Fun Run and Food Truck Festival Copperstate Fly-In Fantasy of Lights Parade
Downtown Winter Wonderland & Electric Light Parade Great American BBQ & Beer Festival Pecan Pride Celebration Mesa Music Festival Spring Festival of the Arts
Downtown Block Party & Art Walk Maricopa Music Circle Winter Seranade & Spring Musicale Merry Main Street
Source: Various community websites, 2016.

custom leasing solutions in a native environment

Latest News

New Hydroponics Operation to Grow its Business at Ak-Chin

On July 19, Ibarra Family Farms broke ground on its first U.S. hydroponic operation at Santa Cruz Commerce Center, the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s industrial park. The wholesale operation will produce leafy greens for farmers markets, supermarkets and local restaurants. Phase1 will consist solely of the installation of a 16,128 SF pre-engineered/pre-fabricated greenhouse manufactured by Cravo […]

What do our enterprise partners say?

Never in our twenty years have we worked with a group so determined for excellence … I am honored to be a part of Ak-Chin’s history and to work with a team of such high character and dedication to growth.

Alan GrossbergPresident and CEOUltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle

Caesars Entertainment is proud of our 20-year relationship with the Ak-Chin Indian Community. As the only tribal gaming enterprise in Arizona with an international management partner, we value and commend the Community’s continued commitment to bringing quality entertainment to the Valley.

Tom JenkinGlobal President of Destination Markets, Caesar’s EntertainmentHarrahs Ak-Chin

With a shared heritage in farming, Ak-Chin and Hickman’s have cultivated a strong partnership. In an environment committed to product excellence, long-term environmental sustainability, and high standards for food safety, our business has been able to grow and expand.

Billy HickmanVice PresidentHickmans Family Farms

The Ak-Chin Indian Community has been a tremendous partner for Troon Golf. Their support in making substantial investments in Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club has created a wonderful asset of immense value not only to the Ak-Chin community but for the golf community as a whole. Their vision of elevating the facility to national prominence demonstrates the strong commitment they have for the project.

Jim BellingtonSenior Vice President, Troon Operations & DevelopmentAk-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club