Census data: Phoenix, Goodyear, Buckeye among fastest growing

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%.

City officials: Goodyear saw major population increase

According to Goodyear city officials, the West Valley city grew by 46% in the past decade, based on Census data. The city now has a population of 95,294, compared to 65,275 in 2010.

"Our city is a great place to live, work, and play. Our staff and council work very hard to ensure a high quality of life for our residents, and we are thrilled to welcome those who desire to live in our great city," said Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, in a statement.

City officials say the new data comes as the city is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its founding.

Buckeye residents notice population increase

According to Census data, Buckeye's population went up by 80%, with the West Valley city now home to 91,000 people.

"It has to do with affordable housing. It has to do with lifestyle, amenities and quality of city services, a variety of different thing as far as why people are coming here," said David Roderique, Deputy Buckeye City Manager and Economic Development Director.

Roderique said despite the pandemic, Buckeye has seen steady growth, with the city averaging 300 new single family building permits per months.

There are also the ever-expanding retail spaces.

"We have retail, commercial services all coming in," said Roderique. "For example, last week, we announced Core Power is coming to Buckeye. They are going to build a million square foot facility with 3,000 jobs, and those kinds of opportunities are what people are looking for, and the reason they are coming out."

Carolyn Clay said she has noticed many changes in the last six years she has lived and worked in Buckeye.

"I think it's great. I love it, but we are still maintaining that small community feel though," said Clay.

Not everyone is happy seeing the growth in Buckeye, however. Longtime resident Joel Hanger says he is not too happy seeing so many more stores and people coming into town.

"I can't stand it. I wish people would go somewhere else. I like the rural country lifestyle, and it's just not what it used to be," said Hanger.

Some Arizona counties see population shrink

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.

New data released amid redistricting process

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.

Data shows Arizona is becoming more diverse

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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