By Eric Jay Toll, Special to the Greater Phoenix Chamber

For the fifth year in a row, the city of Phoenix topped the nation in population growth. We’ve got 25,194 new neighbors to greet, according to the U.S. Census July 1, 2020 population estimate.

The vast majority, one out of four, came from California.

The number of new Phoenix residents, though leading the nation again this year, is slightly below the 10-year average of 25,912, however, Phoenix continues to take the largest share of Maricopa County’s population growth, with nearly four in 10 new county residents choosing to live in the city of Phoenix.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 estimates say that Phoenix now tops 1.7 million in population and added more new residents than any other city. Phoenix’s growth rate, 1.5% lags behind the County’s 1.9%growth rate.

The city is still the fifth-largest U.S. city behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, but population losses in Chicago and Los Angeles were about the same amount that Phoenix gained, according to the Census. New York City lost the equivalent of the population of Goodyear.

Queen Creek topped Arizona in percentage population growth, 10%, with its population jumping from 55,000 in 2019 to 60,097 in 2020. That positioned the town with the seventh-fastest growing percentage in the U.S. Buckeye was second in Arizona with a 7%rate.

Phoenix also leads the country in ten-year population growth, adding almost 260,000 people since 2010, an 18.1% population increase. San Antonio’s 234,000 10-year increase is second in the nation, also an 18.1% population jump.

Although Phoenix would take decades to gain the 600,000 residents needed to pass Houston as the fourth-largest U.S. city, Houston’s growth rate has been flat since Hurricane Harvey in 2018. This year, the Texas city gained 400 residents. Chicago’s population losses, though, put Houston within striking distance of passing the Illinois city to be the nation’s third-largest city, if it returns to the pre-hurricane growth rate.

Tucson is still Arizona’s second-largest city with its population growing 0.8%to 553,571, a gain of 4,610 people. Mesa, which was the 8th-ranked city for population gains, had a 1.9% growth, pushing the population to 528,129.  At that rate, they will overtake Tucson as the second largest city within five years.

The next three most-populous Arizona cities are Chandler (265,398, up 1.6%), Scottsdale (262,647, also up 1.6%), and Gilbert (257,658, up 1.4%). In terms of percentage growth after Queen Creek and Buckeye, Marana and Casa Grande both grew 4.5% , and Maricopa and Goodyear both grew 4.4%.

Phoenix added more people than 24 states, according to the Census estimates. Maricopa County added more population than 36 states. Phoenix’s population growth also exceeded Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, combined growth numbers.

Five of the 10 cities gaining the most population were in Texas (San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin, Frisco, McKinley), two were in Arizona, and the other three were Seattle, Charlotte and Denver.


Posted by Annelise Patterson