Benson serves as the western gateway to the scenic and historic attractions of Cochise County and has copyrighted the name “Home of Kartchner Caverns State Park.” Located in the historical San Pedro Valley, it offers proximity to both Tucson and Sierra Vista. Its rugged mountains, grassy valleys, moderate climate and proximity to many historical sites makes it a popular tourist attraction. The City of Benson was founded in 1880, when the Southern Pacific Railroad came through southern Arizona. Until 1910, Benson was the railroad hub of southern Arizona. It was named for Judge William B. Benson of California, a friend of Charles Crocker, then-president of the railroad.

Principal Economic Activities

Benson is situated along several trade routes: Interstate 10, U.S. 80, State Highway 90 and the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad. AEPCO and Apache Nitrogen Products are major employers, while many residents work in Tucson or Sierra Vista. Both retail chain and specialty stores are available. The city supports a large retired population and is a winter refuge for people from colder climates. Its nearby historic and scenic sites are increasingly popular with tourists.

Scenic Attractions

Cochise County, land of the great Apache chiefs Cochise and Geronimo, was truly “the last frontier,” subject to raids by the Chiricahua Apaches until the late 1880s. Nearby are the world famous Kartchner Caverns State Park and Old Tucson's Mescal movie site. Other attractions include: Tombstone, 20 miles from Benson; Gammon's Gulch Movie Set & Museum; historic Fort Huachuca, with its 1880s buildings and an Indian war days museum; the Amerind Museum which features remnants of prehistoric Indian cultures; and the Holy Trinity Monastery along the San Pedro Riparian Area. In addition, there are numerous mountain ranges that provide rockhounding, photography, picnicking, hiking, camping, bird watching and hunting opportunities.

Community Facilities

Benson offers a broad range of community facilities including four parks, one golf course, a community pool, a skate park, a library, a community center and many baseball, football, track and soccer fields. There is also a museum/gallery.

Basic Information

Founded 1880 Incorporated 1924
Elevation 3,585 ft. Location Cochise County
Distance to major cities:
Phoenix 160 miles San Diego 454 miles
Tucson 46 miles Los Angeles 532 miles
Las Vegas 453 miles  


2000 2010 2023 (est.)
Benson 4,711 5,098 5,365
Cochise County 117,755 131,436 126,463
State of Arizona 5,130,632 6,401,569 7,285,370

Office of Economic Opportunity

Arizona Dept. of Revenue & Arizona Tax Research Foundation


Benson 3.50%
Cochise County 0.50%
State 5.60%

Arizona Dept. of Revenue & Arizona Tax Research Foundation

Labor Force

2000 2010 2022
Civilian Labor Force 2,008 1,900 1,982
Unemployed 163 209 59
Unemployment Rate 8.1% 11.0% 3.0%

Office of Economic Opportunity

Workforce Education Attainment

Count Share
Less than high school 381 10.4%
High school or equivalent, no college 1,120 30.6%
Some college or Associate degree 1,209 33.1%
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 946 25.9%

American Community Survey

Industry (ranked by employment)

  Count Share
Education, health care & social assistance 446 24.5%
Retail trade 360 19.8%
Transportation, warehousing, & utilities 298 16.4%
Arts, entertainment, food & recreation services 196 10.8%
Finance, insurance & real estate 126 6.9%
Professional, scientific, & administrative services 126 6.9%
Public administration 106 5.8%
Manufacturing 85 4.7%
Construction 41 2.3%
Other services, except public administration 38 2.1%
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, & mining 0 0.0%
Information 0 0.0%
Wholesale trade 0 0.0%

American Community Survey

This profile was prepared by the Arizona Commerce Authority in cooperation with local sources. For further information, please contact:

City of Benson
Vicki Vivian
P.O. Box 2223
120 W. 6th
Benson, AZ 85602
Phone: 520-720-6311
Email: [email protected]
Southeast Arizona Economic
Development Group

George Scott
168 E. 4th Street
Benson, AZ 85602
Phone: 520-265-6058
Email: [email protected]
Benson Economic Development
P.O. Box 2223
Benson, AZ 85602
Phone: 520-586-2842
Email: [email protected]

Local First Arizona
407 E. Roosevelt St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: 602-956-0909
Email: [email protected]
Arizona Commerce Authority
Statewide Economic Development Group
100 N. 7th Ave., Suite 400
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: 602-845-1200
Email: [email protected]

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