Surprise, Arizona

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Surprise, Arizona

Introduction to Surprise, Arizona

Surprise, Arizona is 6 miles NW of Peoria, Arizona and 19 miles NW of Phoenix, Arizona. It is in Maricopa county. The city is part of the Phoenix - Mesa metropolitan area. The population of Surprise is 30,848.

Surprise History

Real estate developer and state legislator Homer C. Ludden founded the city of Surprise in 1938. The community was named after his hometown of Surprise, Nebraska. Initially, there were only a few houses and a gas station in the area. However, Surprise experienced dramatic growth over the following years and was officially incorporated as a city in 1960. Sun City Grand, an age-restricted resort-like community, was built in the city by the Del Webb property development firm. In the 1990s and early 2000s, many retirees moved to the city to live in this community.

Surprise and nearby Attractions

  • Bead Museum
  • West Valley Art Museum
  • Lake Pleasant
  • Cerreta Candy Factory
  • White Tank Regional Park

Things To Do In Surprise

The Bead Museum showcases many exhibits about the global history of beads, some of which are over 30,000 years old. The West Valley Art Museum also provides valuable information about the local history and culture of the area. While in Surprise, one can also pay a visit to the Bard Ranch, Calderwood Station, Waddell Substation and the Surprise Town Hall. The Centennial Friendship Park and Surprise Park provide a host of recreational facilities for both residents and visitors.

Surprise Transportation

Luke AFB Airport provides facilities for air transportation.

Surprise Higher Education

Opportunities for higher education are provided by Phoenix College, Paradise Valley Community College, Gateway Community College and Glendale Community College.

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High Points

Surprise strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Arizona):

Category Trophy
Affordability of Property Taxes
(vs. Peers)
Top 12% Surprise Affordability of Property Taxes
People in Middle Class or Better
(vs. State)
Top 19% Surprise People in Middle Class or Better
Low Rate of Poverty
(vs. State)
Top 19% Surprise Low Rate of Poverty

Comparative Profile of Surprise, Arizona

Comparing Surprise to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Arizona (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Age of the Population 10 9
Senior Citizens 10 9
Male Share of the Population 7 5
Children Under 5 Years Old 7 5
Racial Diversity 6 8
Female Share of the Population 4 6
Well-Paid Single Men 2 6
Well-Paid Single Women 2 6


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Portion of People Married 10 9
Average Household Size 4 3


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
People Above Poverty 6 9
People in Middle Class or Better 6 9
Median Family Income 5 8
College Educated Adults 4 7

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Working at Home 8 6
Walking and Biking to Work 6 4
Public Transportation Use 3 8
Short Commute Times 2 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Housing Recently Built 10 10
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 10 9
Affordability of Property Taxes 9 5
Affordability of Rents 5 3
People Living Alone 2 3
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 1 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Violent Crime 6 8
Low Property Crime 2 4

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Surprise Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 6 miles NW of Peoria, Arizona (center to center)
Nearest Large City 19 miles NW of Phoenix, Arizona
County Maricopa
Metro Area Phoenix - Mesa
Standard Zip Codes 85374, 85379, 85387
P.O. Box Zip Codes 85378
Phone Area Codes 623
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city does not observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 33.63
Longitude -112.332

Surprise Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 2.8 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 68 F
Apr Temp 54 to 86 F
Jul Temp 79 to 108 F
Oct Temp 59 to 90 F
Annual Precip 9 inches
Distance 9.2 miles
Jan Temp 37 to 67 F
Apr Temp 51 to 86 F
Jul Temp 75 to 108 F
Oct Temp 55 to 90 F
Annual Precip 8.6 inches
Distance 14.7 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 66 F
Apr Temp 51 to 83 F
Jul Temp 77 to 104 F
Oct Temp 57 to 87 F
Annual Precip 7.7 inches
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Surprise Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 30,848 100%
Male 15,158 49.1%
Female 15,690 50.9%
Under 18 6,135 19.9%
18+ 24,713 80.1%
65+ 7,843 25.4%
Median Age 46.1
Average Family Size 2.75
White 26,521 86%
African-American 806 2.6%
Asian 329 1.1%
American Indian & Alaskan 134 0.4%
Other 2,427 7.9%
Mixed Race 615 2%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 7,184 23.3%

Estimated Surprise Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 74,411
Growth 43,563
Growth % 141.2%

Surprise Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 30.8%
German 15.8%
English 10.3%
Irish 7.8%
US/American 6.7%
Italian 5.6%
Polish 3%
Norwegian 2.3%
Swedish 1.9%
French (except Basque) 1.7%
Scotch-Irish 1.6%
Dutch 1.3%
Scottish 1.3%
European 1.3%
Welsh 0.6%
French Canadian 0.6%
Romanian 0.6%
Russian 0.6%
Danish 0.6%
Hungarian 0.6%
Finnish 0.4%
British 0.4%
Swiss 0.3%
Croatian 0.3%
Ukrainian 0.3%
Portuguese 0.3%
Canadian 0.3%
Greek 0.2%
Scandinavian 0.2%
Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac 0.2%
African 0.2%
Slovak 0.2%
Austrian 0.2%
Lithuanian 0.2%
Czech 0.2%
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Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Surprise, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Dysart Retail (85374)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Surprise 30,848 $47,899
El Mirage 7,609 $33,468
Glendale 218,812 $51,162
Litchfield Park 3,810 $84,691
Peoria 108,364 $58,388
Tolleson 4,974 $43,894
Youngtown 3,010 $29,329

Starbucks in Surprise

(As of 2005)
16750 W Bell Rd
Bell & Grand
13706 W. Bell Road
Safeway-Sun City West
14505 W Grand Ave
13828 W Waddell Rd
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Featured Colleges in the Surprise Area (QuickSchools™)

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

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Surprise High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 858 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.6

A Charter School.
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 175 students.

16025 N. DYSART RD. 100
A Charter School.
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 132 students.

15688 W ACOMA
A Charter School.
Serves 15 students.

Surprise Colleges

(List of Arizona Colleges)

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City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. St. Cloud, Florida 84.4   23.5% 17.4% 13.8% 30 $41,211 6.7% 9.7% 20,074 8.1% 47.6 5.4% 6.8
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