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Phoenix is the capital of the state of Arizona in the Southwestern United States. It is Arizona's largest city and the Phoenix metropolitan area is the largest metro area in the state, with well over half of the total state population. Phoenix is located in the center of the state, 118 miles northwest of Tucson. It was incorporated as a city on February 25, 1881 and is called Hoozdo, or "the place is hot", in the Navajo language and Fiinigis in the Western Apache language.
Phoenix is the sixth-largest city in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest estimates. The 2000 U.S. Census reported the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the fourteenth-largest in the U.S., with a population of 3,251,876. The city's MSA grew to an estimated 3,790,000 by 2004. Between 1990 and 2000, the metropolitan area grew by 34 percent, making it the eighth fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S.
Phoenix is the largest capital city in the United States, with a greater population than any other state capital or Washington, D.C., the national capital. Only the state capitals Juneau, Alaska and Oklahoma City are larger in area than Phoenix. Phoenix residents are referred to as Phoenicians.
The Phoenix area is surrounded by the McDowell Mountains to the northeast, the White Tank Mountains to the west, the Superstition Mountains far to the east, and the Sierra Estrella to the southwest. Within the city are the Phoenix Mountains and South Mountains.
Phoenix's arid climate is characterized by some of the hottest seasonal temperatures anywhere. In fact, out of the world's large urban areas, only some cities around the Persian Gulf, such as Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad, Iraq have higher average summer temperatures. The temperature reaches or exceeds 100 degrees F on an average of 89 days during the year, including most days from early June through early September. On June 26, 1990, the temperature reached an all-time high of 122 degrees F. The dry Arizona air makes the hot temperatures more tolerable early in the season, however, the influx of monsoonal moisture in July significantly raises moisture levels. On the other hand, mild, sunny weather in the winter months makes the area a mecca for golfers and others seeking to escape the cold typical of the northern U.S and enjoy the out doors.
Phoenix sees some 300 sunny days per year and scant rainfall, the average annual total at Sky Harbor International Airport being 8.4 inches. March is the wettest month of the year (1.07 inches). Rain is particularly scarce from April through June. Although thunderstorms occur on occasion during every month of the year, they are most common during the monsoon from July to mid-September as humid air surges in from the Gulf of California.
Phoenix is currently home to two major Fortune 500 companies: electronics corporation Avnet and mining company Phelps Dodge Corporation. Phoenix also is a de facto home base for several Fortune 100 companies such as Honeywell, Intel, Motorola, and American Express. Honeywell hosts many factories for the building of military grade engines, as well as their company network gateway in Phoenix. American Express hosts their financial transactions, customer information, and their entire website in Phoenix. The area is also home to US Airways Group, Fortune 500 company located in Tempe). Nearby Scottsdale is also home to Allied Waste Industries, Inc., the second largest non-hazardous solid waste management company in the United States.
Phoenix is also a popular location for filming, whether it's a full-length feature film, television commercial, or a print ad. The city government operates a film office that provides an array of services for motion picture and advertising companies that are interested in filming at city-owned sites or other locations throughout the metropolitan area. Some of the major feature films that have been filmed in the area include The Gauntlet, Psycho, Raising Arizona, Waiting to Exhale, Jerry Maguire, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Nutty Professor (1963 version with Jerry Lewis; the college exteriors were shot on the campus of Arizona State University), Terminal Velocity, Taxi, and The Banger Sisters.
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