The Five C’s of Arizona


Ask any native Arizonan and chances are they’ll be able to rattle off the “Five Cs of Arizona” without hesitation: copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate. These vital industries helped grow the Arizona economy and assisted in driving the population and business growth of our young state.

Today, the Five Cs account for nearly $1.3 billion in annual GDP for Arizona. Brush up on your 5 Cs knowledge and learn about the industries that were pivotal in the development of Arizona.


Predominantly used to manufacture wiring and coins, copper was one of the initial industries in Arizona. In 1863, roughly one in four people in the state were miners and today its mining and refining provide more than 10,000 jobs. Arizona yields more copper than any other state and has held that distinction since 1910.

Copper mine and refinery in Ajo, Arizona. Credit: Freeport-McMoRan



With more than 6,000 cattle farms and ranches across the state, Arizona was once a large market for cattle. In 1918, the state was home to approximately 1,750,000 cows – in relation, Arizona’s population was roughly 320,000 during the same period of time. Today, the industry is still thriving, but the number of cattle is now closer to 875,000. In 2016, cattle and calf sales surpassed $1 billion!



If you drive along many rural and suburban areas across the Valley, it’s common to see some of Arizona’s 200,000 acres of cotton farms. With each farm producing hundreds of thousands of cotton bales a year (enough cotton for at least one pair of jeans for every person in the United States), Arizona is one of the top 10 leading producers of cotton in the USA.

Fun fact: In 1917, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company bought land to cultivate long staple cotton for airplane tires, leading to the eventual founding of the city of Goodyear, which is the home of our beautiful Estrella community.



Arizona is one of four powerhouse states that produce citrus for the United States and beyond. Along with Florida, Texas, and California, Arizona grows grapefruit, lemons, limes, and oranges across more than 20,000 acres of citrus farms. Additionally, 95% of the nation’s entire lemon supply comes from Arizona and California!

Acres of Citrus farms at the base of Camelback Mountain, circa 1956


With more than 300 days of sunshine, mild winters and little to no threat from large natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes, Arizona’s climate has been a large driver of the state’s growth. With its attractive climate many businesses and residents have made Arizona home, despite the heat during the summer months. Our mild winters bring numerous seasonal residents and tourists looking to escape the snow and harsh cold weather of their hometown. While not an industry or export like the other Cs, Arizona’s climate has been crucial in driving business, tourism, and real estate development.


Together, these five factors lured people to the Southwest in search of fortune and a better life. In fact, the 5 Cs played such a crucial role in Arizona’s livelihood that each one is represented in the state’s official seal. While the 5 Cs are not as critical today to Arizona’s economy as they once were, each is still a vital part of the state’s present and its future.