Three Arizona cities named most prosperous, one most distressed

Sep 28, 2017, 4:16 AM | Updated: Sep 29, 2017, 4:19 pm
An aerial shot of the water tower in Gilbert, Arizona. (Facebook/GilbertNow)...
An aerial shot of the water tower in Gilbert, Arizona. (Facebook/GilbertNow)

PHOENIX — Three cities in Arizona have been ranked among the most prosperous in the country, while one Arizona city has been ranked as the most distressed city in the nation, according to a study from the Economic Innovation Group.

Gilbert was ranked as the most prosperous city — or the strongest city economically — in the country, while Chandler came in at No. 4 and Scottsdale ranked at tenth in the nation.

But on the other end of the economic spectrum was Tucson, which ranked as the most distressed city in the nation.

The study broke down data from more than 26,000 ZIP codes, ranking cities based on their economic well-being: Prosperous, comfortable, mid-tier, at risk and distressed.

According to the study, one in six Americans are living in ZIP codes that are considered economically distressed, while one in four are living in communities that are considered prosperous.

Gilbert was ranked as the most prosperous city in the nation because 99.9 percent of its total population of 230,780 people were living in prosperous ZIP codes. Chandler, for comparison, only had 64.9 percent of its 250,000 population who lived prosperously.

Scottsdale barely made the top ten cities, with 60.9 percent of its population of 227,470 people who lived in prosperous ZIP codes.

The cities that joined Gilbert, Chandler and Scottsdale in the top 10 most prosperous cities nationwide were Plano, Texas; Irvine, California; San Francisco, California; Henderson, Nevada; Seattle, Washington; San Jose, California and Austin, Texas.

In a statement, John Lettieri, EIG’s senior director for policy and strategy said there is a “strong, booming, disproportionate amount of growth” happening in top communities, while cities at the bottom are going in the opposite direction.

Tucson ranked as the most distressed city, with 58.6 percent of its population of 528,370 living in distressed ZIP codes.

Cleveland, Ohio; Neward, New Jersey; Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Stockton, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also joined Tucson as the most distressed.

The company said the reason for the large gap between the most prosperous and most distressed cities is simple: Jobs. Some job markets, like Cleveland, Detroit and Stockton, simply never recovered from the Great Recession of 2008, leaving people to move away from these cities in search of opportunity.

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Three Arizona cities named most prosperous, one most distressed