Phoenix was fastest-growing big city in US over past decade, census finds

Aug 12, 2021, 4:00 PM

Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...

Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix was the fastest-growing big city in the United States between 2010 and 2020 as it added 163,000 more residents, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Two of its suburbs — Buckeye and Goodyear in the West Valley — were among the 10 fastest-growing of all U.S. cities during the decade. Growth across the Phoenix metro area drove up Maricopa County’s population by 15.8%.

Greenlee County, on the New Mexico border, remains Arizona’s smallest county but grew by 13.3% — the second-fastest growing county — increasing to nearly 9,600 residents.

Pinal County, which has exploded with affordable housing on the outskirts of metro Phoenix, grew 13.2%, while Yavapai added just under 12% to its population. Tucson’s Pima County grew 6.4% during the decade.

While urban areas in the state grew, five rural counties shrank: Apache, Cochise, Gila, La Paz and Navajo — in line with national trends showing growth in cities, especially the suburbs, and contraction in rural areas.

The newly released Census data will allow the Independent Redistricting Commission to divide the state into nine new congressional districts and 30 legislative districts.

The release of the redistricting data culled from the 2020 census is coming more than four months later than expected due to delays caused by the pandemic.

The numbers states use for redrawing congressional and legislative districts show where white, Asian, Black and Hispanic communities grew over the past decade. It also shows which areas have gotten older or younger and the number of people living in dorms, prisons and nursing homes. The data covers geographies as small as neighborhoods and as large as states.

The share of Arizona’s population that identifies as white was 53.4%, down from nearly 58% a decade earlier. The Hispanic population grew to 30.7%, while the Black population made up 4.4%, Native Americans or Alaska Natives 3.7% and Asians 3.5% — all up slightly. The share of those identifying as more than one race more than doubled to 3.7%.

Phoenix grew 11.2%, the only one of the 10 largest U.S. cities to post double-digit population growth.

Phoenix overtook Philadelphia as the nation’s fifth-largest city in the once-a-decade count of every person living in the country. That’s hardly surprising in a city that has held the No. 5 spot since 2015 in the Census Bureau’s annual population estimates, which is based on surveys of a representative sample of residents.

Arizona’s capital city isn’t likely to climb higher on the population charts anytime soon. No. 4 Houston was the second-fastest growing big city and has 700,000 more people than Phoenix.

An earlier set of data, released in April, provided state population counts and showed the U.S. had 331 million residents last year, a 7.4% increase from 2010. Arizona’s total population in 2020 was 7,151,502, up 12% and 759,485 people from a decade earlier.

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Phoenix was fastest-growing big city in US over past decade, census finds