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Top 10 Micro-Cities in North America - Surprise! Arizona

Updated on July 18, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Surprise! Arizona
Surprise! Arizona | Source

The City That Popped Up Out of Nowhere


This city was created by real estate developer after the fashion of a "planned city" that he provided for agricultural workers. Its location is the Salt River Valley in Maricopa County. The city offers a self proclaimed top-of-the-line K-12 educational system and well-kept neighborhoods that are always improving. The local mall uses the Surprise! logo.

The founder of Surprise in 1938 was Homer Ludden, a former state legislator. Reports have it that he named it after his hometown in Nebraska, but very little information is available about that village (see block to right).

Not incorporated as a city until 1960, Surprise AZ celebrates its 50th birthday in 2010 -- and Good News for job seekers: Money Magazine has declared Surprise a Top American City for new jobs every year since AD 2000.

City Hall
City Hall | Source
Surprise! Arizona:
Surprise, AZ, USA

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Upscale Retirement Communities

Sun City and Sun City West are planned retirement communities in Surprise that were built by the real estate developer Delbert E. Webb, after whom hospitals and other facilities in the area are named.

Upscale communities, these two add to the success and attractiveness of Surprise as a chief retirement center as well as a business hub. Recreation is a large contributor to this business sector development in the form of numerous local golf courses. Mid-Careerists are drawn to this area as both a place of employment and a ready retirement venue in the future, without moving cross country.


Prasada Mall and Residences, on a scale with Mall of America is under construction near Surprise AZ at this time and will bring jobs and revenue to the city. See the master plan HERE.

Surprise AZ:
Surprise, AZ, USA

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Sun City AZ:
Sun City, AZ, USA

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Phoenix AZ:
Phoenix, AZ, USA

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Important Book: The Sun City Wars

The Sun City Wars by Kevin McHugh; Patricia Gober, Daniel Borough [University of Arizona; California State University, LA]

Some researchers feel that planned communities or common interest developments (CIDs), are a hallmark of the fragmentation of American society– the isolationism of age groups, ethnic groups, professional groups or whoever can afford to construct a special interest community.

Sun City and Sun City West are two of these communities, for retirees that enjoy an above-average income in retirement. These communities are described as having restrictive covenants and deed clauses, powerful community associations, and strong citizens groups that press their political influence. At least one of these two is home also to highly politically influential older migrants.

The seniors in these two communities wield power by defeating school funding issues at the polls, controlling the Dysart Schools board, and seeking to de-annex themselves out of the district to avoid paying school taxes. While this may be the case, it is likely not unique to Arizona. However, some sociologists feel that CIDs of this sort are placing neighboring communities at risk for substandard education by defeating al the school levees.

Cougars, Sonoran Desert Museum
Cougars, Sonoran Desert Museum

Area Attractions

  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

    The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place. Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert Region with more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants.

  • Marley Park - A Celebration of Home

    Marley Park is a Celebration of Home. Learn more about our distinctive and diverse family-friendly community, located in Surprise, Arizona.

The Original Nebraska Town

According to the US Census of 2000, 22 males and 22 females lived in the original Surprise. Five were preschoolers and the remainder comprised adults under 65 years of age.

By July of 2007, the population count was down to 42!

The biggest attraction there is the Big Blue River Bridge that was built in 1898 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

A Japanese internment camp during World War II was operated by the US government in nearby Surprise!

Surprise, AZ, USA

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White Tank Mountain Park:
White Tank Mountain Regional Park, 20304 W White Tank Mountain Rd, Waddell, AZ 85355, USA

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Approximate location of a Japanese Internment Camp.

City in the Sun: The Japanese Concentration Camp

  • City of the Sun was about 50 miles west of Surprise! and a Japanese Internment Camp during World War II. This is an unfortunate story in American History of the 20th century.

Stadium a White Tank Mountain.
Stadium a White Tank Mountain. | Source

Top Three Local Industries

1. Travel: Hospitality & Tourism

2. Retail & Wholesale

3. Healthcare.

Top 10 Local Jobs Most Often Listed

With a total population 118,000+, Surprise consistently offers a pool of approximately 25,000 - 27,000 job openings within 25 miles of city center in 2016. This is an increase over the 20,00 listings generally available 2009 - 2014.

Many of these jobs are in Phoenix, just 24 miles away:

  1. Physical Therapists
  2. Registered Nurses (RNs)
  3. Mortgage Loan Closing Specialists
  4. Retail and Wholesale Sales Reps
  5. Customer Service Reps
  6. Assistant Managers
  7. Sales Managers
  8. Medical Technologists
  9. Occupational Therapists
  10. Case Managers

Within 25 miles of Surprise, the best additional top job openings include:

  1. Business Analysts
  2. Salespersons & Sales Associates
  3. Outside Sales Reps

Largest Area Companies in Revenue

  1. Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
  2. Banner Boswell Medical Center. Sun Health System
  3. US Federal Government, including military
  4. Critical Connection: Health placement service.
  5. Medical Connections: Health placement service.
  6. Banner Del Webb Medical Center: Main campus
  7. Arrowhead Hospital
  8. Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center: Second site
  9. Best Buy: Retail electronics.
  10. Kindred Hospital

Largest Employers, by size of Employee Pool

  1. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  2. St. Joseph's Hospital
  3. Mercy Healthcare AZ
  4. Banner Good Samaritan Medical
  5. Honeywell Aerospace: A partner in the NASA Commercial Crew
  6. Banner Estrella Medical Center
  7. John C. Lincoln Health
  8. National Computer System: Government
  9. Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
  10. Sun Health Boswell Hospital

Local Higher Education Opportunities

  • Arizona State University West. This state university is well known and located just outside of Surprise.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Luke AFB in Glendale AZ.
  • Estrella Mountain Community College
  • Glendale Community College, Main and North Campuses.
  • Marsyl Barber & Styling College
  • Missouri Medical College: Museum of a 19th Century medical school located just north of Surprise.
  • Park University
  • Rio Salado Community College. This community college operates inside Surprise city limits, convenient to its residents and those from surrounding cities.
  • University of Arizona
  • Webster University at Luke AFB in Glendale AZ

University of Arizona
University of Arizona | Source

Local Sports Venues

GOLF Clubs and Resorts

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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