Located in southern Arizona, Yuma is a city of true Western American history. After its incorporation as Arizona City in 1871, the city was renamed Yuma in 1873. Yuma stands alone as an isolated but modern Arizona community. The city's more than 93,000 residents - a population that nearly doubles between January and March - enjoy its self-reliance, numerous housing developments and hot climate, and those searching for Yuma apartments for rent are certain to discover what many locals already know - that there is more to Yuma than meets the eye.
Yuma's location on the banks of the Colorado River helped it develop over time. Yuma Crossing became the safest place to cross the river during the time of Western exploration, thanks to a number of dams throughout the area. The area was first explored by Spanish settlers Hernando de Alarcon and Melchior Diaz, who predated New England's pilgrims by more than 50 years. The settlers encountered Native Americans, natural wonders and pristine beauty. In 1774, Juan Bautista de Anza established contact with the local Native Americans and began to bring more intense European influence to the area. In the century that followed, numerous wars over Mexican lands predominated the area. Arizona City, whose name was later changed to Yuma, was finally settled as an American city in 1871.
Yuma residents and visitors tend to enjoy the area's numerous outdoor recreation opportunities. Bird watchers love the area for its more than 400 bird species, which find sanctuary in the nearby Kofa, Imperial and Cibola national wildlife refuges. The city's East Wetlands restoration area is also a prime area to catch sight of winged wonders. If bird watching isn't your style, numerous hiking, hunting, camping and water sport opportunities are located in the area.
Those who prefer to stay indoors may consider Yuma's shopping and dining scene. Though Yuma is largely a family-oriented city, it has a bit of nightlife to offer for those who desire it. Incoming residents should note, however, that Yuma is 185 miles from Phoenix and 173 miles from San Diego, so shopping options are largely restricted to the Yuma area.
Arizona Western College is located in Yuma and enrolls about 2,600 students per year. Apart from Arizona Western College, the closest institute of higher learning is Imperial Valley College, which is located 53 miles away in Imperial, Calif. There are no other colleges or universities closer than 100 miles from Yuma.
Yuma is the surrounding area's largest city, so many regional residents commute to Yuma for work daily. In fact, the city's population grows about 6 percent on workdays due to commuting. According to Yuma's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are Marine Corps Air Station, U.S Army Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma School District 1, Yuma County, Growers Company and the United States Border Patrol.
Those searching for Yuma rentals will be happy to note that the city's cost of living index is 88.8, which is 11.2 percent lower than the U.S. average. New residents will also want to consider air-conditioning costs when planning their monthly budgets, as Yuma is notorious for its sweltering summer heat. The median gross rent in Yuma is $872 per month.
Throughout the most popular months, Yuma hosts numerous farmers markets and community events. One of the area's most widely anticipated events is Yuma Lettuce Days, which celebrates the region's agricultural heritage. Special activities include lettuce carvings, food stands, beer tastings and more.
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