Sonora is one of the 31 federal states of Mexico and is located in the northwest of the country.
Sonora's 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," which offers ample opportunities for economic development as well as many challenges and opportunities for sustainable use of its natural resources. The Sonoran coastline is 1,208 km long.
Sonora 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 of Baja California Sur also shares a maritime boundary with Sonora.
The border with Chihuahua is 592 km, and the border with Sinaloa is 117 km. Sonora's border with Arizona is 568 km long, and its border with New Mexico is 20 km long; these borders allow for multiple economic, cultural, and political ties with the United States. The state's total perimeter is 2,505 km. Sonora is the second largest state in Mexico (184,934 km²), representing 9.2% of the nation's total area.
Sonora consists of four physiographic regions: The Sierra Madre Occidental, Parallel Mountains and Valleys, the Sonoran Desert, and the Coast of the Gulf of California. Sonora is located in a climactic strip in the northern hemisphere that 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 other regions.
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.
According to the last official national census that counted the racial component (1921), 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:
The government 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 of Sonora 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 selected 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.
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.
With a GDP per capita of US$10,534, Sonora ranks 9th among Mexican states.
The main route is Mexican Federal Highway 15 running north-south from the USA border at Nogales (connection to Interstate 19) to the state of Sinaloa.
Mexican Federal Highway 2 runs east-west from Agua Prieta, near the border with Chihuahua, to San Luis Río Colorado and eventually reaches Baja California.
Mexican Federal Highway 8 runs from Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) to Sonoyta at the USA border.
In addition to those, many state routes communicate major cities with smaller towns. One of the most important state routes is Sonora State Route 100 which runs from Hermosillo to Bahía de Kino (Kino Bay).
Several companies offer low, mid and luxury class bus services between virtually all towns and cities in Sonora and to the rest of Mexico, also international destinations such as Tucson, Phoenix and Los Angeles in the United States.
Sonora has six international airports; however, one of them, Álamos International Airport (XAL) in the colonial town of Álamos, lacks of commercial flights. Airports with regular commercial flights include:
Ciudad Obregón International Airport (CEN) in Ciudad Obregón
General Ignacio Pesqueira Garcia International Airport (HMO) in Hermosillo
General José María Yáñez International Airport (GYM) in Guaymas
Nogales International Airport (NOG) in Nogales
Puerto Peñasco International Airport (PPE) in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point)
Also, most towns have paved or dirt runways for private planes. (See Navojoa Airport)
Sonora is a premier tourist destination, especially for visitors from neighboring Arizona.
Recently, Sonora has experienced a boom in tourism, especially in the city of Puerto Peñasco, due to its being the nearest beach to many population centers in Arizona.