Nogales, Arizona, is a progressive city that has been able to maintain its small-town charm, rich traditions, and vibrant culture. The city is the county seat of Santa Cruz County and shares its rich heritage with Nogales, Sonora, its sister city in Mexico.
Located along Arizona’s southern boundary, the City of Nogales, Arizona, borders Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and is Arizona's largest international border City. Nogales, Arizona, is a major international gateway along the United States-Mexico border. Due to the International Border, Nogales is the economic capital of the region and serves as one of the major gateways into the United States. Visitors cross the border between both cities for site-seeing and shopping on a daily basis Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora form a single, functional and complex urban fabric in which some members of the same family may live on the United States while others may reside in Mexico, creating a sense of fluidity that impacts all aspects of life, including culture, language, heritage, character, identity, context, environment, and economy.
Referred to as Ambos Nogales, the communities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, México comprise the largest international border community in Arizona, with an estimated combined population exceeding 400,000 people.
Ambos Nogales was once an easy, friendly and relaxed two-nation border town. The urban fabric is now split in two, separated by an international border, yet still, Ambos Nogales remains heavily reliant on each other. Ambos Nogales continues to share their families, cultures, heritages, characters, and identities. The economy of Ambos Nogales is strongly intertwined. Being a community member in Ambos Nogales provides a unique opportunity to learn the languages, cultures, and traditions of both Mexico and the United States. There is a distinctive flow of people, cultures, businesses, goods, and ideas characteristic of a bi-national economy that makes Ambos Nogales unique. Members of Ambos Nogales, as well as tourists from both nations, frequent both sides of this international border creating an influx zone that is fluid and supports a natural constant movement from one side to the other much like the ebb and flow of waves on the shore.
Known in O’odham as Nowal , the name "Nogales" is derived from the Spanish word for "walnut" or "walnut tree." It refers to the large stands of walnut trees which once grew abundantly in the mountain pass between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. Walnut trees can still be found around the city.
According to 2010 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,833.