In 2000, Maricopa officially had a population of 1,040. Then the big land developers moved in, incorporated the city and proceeded to build some major housing developments. The estimated population of Maricopa in 2007 is 37,863. However, the New York Times ran a major article about Maricopa on April 6, 2008, and ABC's Nightline did a "Reality Check" segment on Maricopa on May 7, 2008. Essentially, both stories alluded to Maricopa being the "poster child of the housing crisis" brought on by the subprime mortgage crisis and the local housing market correction.

In the mid-1800's, Maricopa Wells (about 8 miles north of present-day Maricopa) was a stage stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Maricopa Wells was at the place where the Vekol, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Washes ran into the Gila River. This meant there was plenty of water in all seasons. Also nearby were the farmlands of the peaceful Pima and Maricopa Tribes. Throughout the 1870's, Maricopa Wells was a prosperous and busy crossroads, relay station and trading center in the early days of Arizona settlement.

In the early 1880's, the Maricopa & Phoenix Railroad was built with the terminus in Maricopa adjacent to the main Southern Pacific Railroad line connecting Yuma and Tucson. Today's City of Maricopa grew up around that railroad terminus. Today, Maricopa is the closest stop to Phoenix if you're taking Amtrak's Texas Eagle or Sunset Limited trains.