Sonora is one of the 31 federal states of Mexico and is located in the northwest of the country. Its name comes from the Opata Xunuta, meaning "place of corn". It borders the state of Chihuahua to the east, Sinaloa to the south and Baja California to the northwest; to the north it shares an extensive border with the U.S. state of Arizona and a shorter one with New Mexico. To its west lies the Gulf of California. The state is the second largest state by area in the country, occupying 9.2% of the total area of the nation.

The territory consists of four physiographic regions: The Sierra Madre Occidental, Parallel Mountains and Valleys, the Desert, and the Coast of the Gulf of California.

Contents [hide]
1 General
2 Population
3 Government
4 Institutions of higher education
5 Political divisions
6 Geography
7 Economy
8 Tourism
9 People
10 External links

[edit] General
The state of Sonora is situated in the northwest of Mexico, in North America. Its shores are washed by the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California, which is connected to the Pacific Ocean further south. Sonora is thus linked to the so-called "Pacific Rim" that offers ample opportunities for economic development, as well as many challenges and opportunities for sustainable use of its natural resources. Its borders with the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, and California allow multiple economic, cultural and political ties with the United States.

Three Mexican states share land borders with Sonora: Baja California to the west, Chihuahua to the east, and Sinaloa to the south, while the state of Baja California Sur shares maritime boundaries with Sonora.

Sonora is located in a climactic strip in the northern hemisphere which has formed various deserts around the globe. The state is located at the same latitude as the deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and more.

An extensive network of roads, the backbone of which is a four-lane highway that crosses the state from south to north, joins Sonora with the rest of Mexico and with the United States of America.

The state is the second largest in the country, representing 9.2% of the nation's total with an area of 184,934 km². Sonora's border with the United States is 588.199 km long, which for the most part is with Arizona (568 km), and the rest with the state of New Mexico (20 km). The border with the state of Chihuahua is 592 km, and that with Sinaloa is 117 km.

The Sonoran coastline is 1,207.810 km, together with its borders with surrounding states, it gives the total perimeter of the state as 2,505 km.

[edit] Population
In 2000, the state of Sonora had 2,839,969 inhabitants, of whom 50.1% were men and 49.9% were women, representing 2.3% of the national total. Population growth has been steady, with a population increase of 703,238 persons between 1980 and 2000. As of 2000, there were 271,277 children under 5 years of age, 474,481 children aged between 5 and 14 years, 422,588 between 15 and 24 years 740,930 between 25 and 49 years, and 307,693 adults 50 years and older.

According to the last official national census that counted the racial component (1921), it was observed that 45.84% of the population was white, 40.38% was mestizo, and 13.78% was indigenous. These amounts have been changing due to the influx of indigenous and mestizo populations from the south.

The most populous cities in Sonora are:

Hermosillo 707,890
Ciudad Obregón 375,800
Nogales 290,759
Guaymas 101,505 (not counting Empalme)
Navojoa 163,312
San Luis R√*o Colorado 138,796

[edit] Government
The government of the State of Sonora is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.

The executive branch consists of a Governor elected by direct vote every six years without the possibility of re-election. The current Governor for the period 2003-2009 is José Eduardo Robinson-Bours castelo of the PRI and PVEM.

The legislative branch consists of a unicameral legislature composed of 21 deputies elected directly and 12 deputies elected by proportional representation for a period of three years with no possibility of re-election.

The judicial branch of the state of Sonora is composed of seven judges. Currently Lic. Max Gutiérrez Cohen is the President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the State.

[edit] Institutions of higher education
The main institution of higher education is the University of Sonora (UNISON), whose main campus is located in Hermosillo, with satellite campuses in Navojoa, Caborca, Santa Ana, and Nogales. UNISON is currently one of the biggest public institutions of higher education in Mexico.

Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora (ITSON)
Instituto Tecnológico de Hermosillo (ITH)
Centro de Estudios Superiores del Estado de Sonora (CESUES)
Instituto Tecnológico de Nogales (ITN)
Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Cajeme (ITESCA)
Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Cananea (ITESCAN)
Instituto Tecnologico Superior de Puerto Pe√Īasco (ITSPP)
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM-COB)
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM-CSN)
Universidad de Sonora (UNISON)
Universidad del Valle de México (UVM), formerly Universidad del Noroeste (UNO)
Universidad Kino
Universidad La Salle Noroeste (ULSA)
Universidad de Navojoa (UNAV)
Universidad TecMilenio

[edit] Political divisions

Municipalities of the State of SonoraMain article: Municipalities of Sonora
Sonora is subdivided into 72 municipalities (Spanish: municipios), each headed by a municipal president.

[edit] Geography

Valley of Sonora
[edit] Economy
Sonora's main economic activities are livestock farming, mining, fishing and agriculture.

Mining centers include Cananea, Nacozari, Tubutama, YÔŅĹ