According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 70.8 square miles (183.4 km²), of which, 70.8 square miles (183.4 km²) of it is land and 0.01% is water.
There were 3,921 households out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.9% were married couples living together, 5.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 15.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 28.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 103.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.4 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $62,307, and the median income for a family was $68,604. Males had a median income of $46,361 versus $31,610 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $25,932. About 3.6% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.
New River has largely retained its rural character; however, its future as a rural community is uncertain as the city of Phoenix expands into the region.
On October 28, 1999 New River/Desert Hills Community Association, Inc. (NR/DHCA) was officially formed by the area residents by merging two other groups -- the Desert Hills Improvement Association, Inc. (formed 1985) and New River Community Association, Inc. (also formed 1985). NR/DHCA is dedicated to the preservation of the community and its life style as reflected by the Maricopa County Land Use Plan, New River Planning Area, in existence as of July 31, 1992 NR/DHCA's website is [www.nrdhca.org]. They hold monthly meetings to keep the community informed of actions and issues that may affect their way of life. The association serves as a communication link between the citizens of the area and the various governmental groups (local, state, and federal) that have an impact on the area.
In the mid 1990s, the Del Webb Corporation proposed a residential development roughly as large as Flagstaff, Arizona's eleventh largest city (2000 census). This instigated a short-lived self-incorporation campaign which failed due to lack of popular support. Phoenix in 1995 and again in 2003 annexed in the region and Del Webb in 1998 opened the newly built Anthem.
As development of the Phoenix metropolitan area continues northward, the broad area that is defined as New River is reduced closer to New River Road. The General Plan of Phoenix includes the entire New River area, making New River's future uncertain. Residents of newly built subdivisions often do not identify with the established residents of New River, often identifying instead with Phoenix or Anthem.