The area around what is now Jerome was mined for silver and copper since the Spanish colonial era when Arizona was part of New Spain.
A mining camp named named Jerome was established atop "Cleopatra Hill" in 1883. It was named for Eugene Murray Jerome, a New York investor who owned the mineral rights and financed mining there. Eugene Jerome never visited his namesake town. Jermoe was incorporated as a town on 8 March, 1889. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was said to produce over 1 billion dollars in ore over the next 70 years.
Jerome was reincorporated as a city in 1899 and a building code specifying brick or masonry construction instituted to end the frequent fires that had repeatedly burned up sections of the town previously.
In 1915 the population of Jerome was estimated at 2,500.
Starting in May of 1917 there was a series of miners strikes, in part organized by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). On 10 July of that year armed agents of the mine owners roughly rounded up all the labor union organizers and unionized miners on to railroad cattle cars, on 12 July letting them out near Kingman, Arizona after they were warned not to return to Jerome if they valued their lives. This incident is known as the Jerome Deportation.
In 1918 fires spread out of control over 22 miles of underground mines. This prompted the end of underground mining in favor of open pit mining. For decades dynamite was used to open up pits in the area, frequently shaking the town and sometimes damaging or moving buildings; after one blast in the 1930s the city jail slid one block down hill intact.
In the late 1920s Jerome's population was over 15,000.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 329 people, 182 households, and 84 families residing in the town. The population density is 178.9/km² (462.1/mi²). There are 215 housing units at an average density of 116.9/km² (302.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 91.79% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 2.43% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 2.13% from other races, and 3.04% from two or more races. 8.21% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 182 households out of which 17.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.1% are married couples living together, 9.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 53.8% are non-families. 41.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 1.81 and the average family size is 2.37.
In the town the population is spread out with 12.8% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 41.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 46 years. For every 100 females there are 103.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $27,857, and the median income for a family is $27,222. Males have a median income of $23,750 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the town is $19,967. 15.1% of the population and 4.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 23.3% are under the age of 18 and 6.9% are 65 or older.