Maricopa Country — the central county within regional Phoenix, Arizona — topped the nation’s list for the highest population growth in 2016. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 81,000 people moved here in 2016 – that’s 222 people per day!
Phoenix supplanted Harris County in Houston, Texas as the top spot. A major feat, as Harris County had experienced eight years of growth due to an oil industry boom.
Phoenix, Arizona Population Growth has been Mounting
When compared to the rest of the country, Phoenix is the 13th-largest metropolitan area. Maricopa County, in particular, is home to more than 4 million people and is the fourth most populous county in the country.
The city is no stranger to making the top of lists. And it has been for some time now. In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked four of Maricopa County’s municipalities in the top ten fastest-growing in the nation. That was 10 years ago. So, it’s not entirely surprising to see it take the top spot a decade later.
The Phoenix Job Market & Economic Factors
Phoenix is known for its sprawling city, but the downtown area is growing just as fast. There’s new high-rise and building construction. And there’s Phoenix light rail, which opened nearly a decade ago and has provided much-needed connectivity between the downtown corridor, Tempe, Mesa, and other communities. It has also created $9 billion of investment along the lines.
And that brings jobs.
In an Arizona Republic Op-Ed about the 2016 population growth, Steve Chucri, Maricopa County Supervisor for District 2, also noted that “regional pro-growth policies” led to nearly 8,000 jobs in 2016 and “help explain why some of our biggest employers are doubling down on their investments in our fine county.”
Top Technology Marketplace
And the technology industry is certainly doubling down in the Valley. Phoenix technology jobs have grown 188 percent year over year, according to Money magazine. This landed our region as #3 on the publication’s list of the 20 hottest cities for technology jobs. Other major publications have also taken note. Forbes, Fortune and the New York Times have all recently featured the Valley as a technology powerhouse.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s State of the City speech echoed these sentiments, noting the number of tech companies has nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone. Once-vacant structures in Phoenix’s Warehouse District now house more than 60 tech start-ups. Intel, Raytheon and Lucid are hiring thousands. Boeing just announced its moving hundreds of jobs to Arizona. The list goes on and on.
A retiree hotspot, it makes sense that Phoenix would have some of the best healthcare facilities in the world. And new ones are being added all the time. Since 2012, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus has added a world-class cancer center and two other research buildings. There’s also what’s now known as the Arizona Biomedical Corridor near Desert Ridge. In partnership with the city and Mayo Clinic, Arizona State University is developing its $75-million Health Solutions Innovation Center. It is slated to begin construction next year and will be in the same vicinity as Mayo’s 7-story hospital. These projects have created thousands of healthcare jobs, bringing new doctors, researchers and students to the region.
The Phoenix Lifestyle: Sun, Scenery & So Much More
In addition to a strong job market and local economy, people are certainly moving for the Phoenix lifestyle. It has proven to be an attractive lifestyle for people of all ages and interests.
Tons of sunshine. There’s over 200 days of sunshine. Even in winter months, you will find the sun streaming into your window.
Incredible landscapes. The scenery here is unlike anywhere else. There’s Sonoran Desert that stretches as far as the eye can see. Bright orange-and-pink sunsets. Famous mountain peaks.
Affordable living. Phoenix’s low cost of living makes your dollar go further. There’s great pay. In the tech industry, early career median pay is $58,400 and mid-career median pay comes in close to $100,000, according to Money magazine. And housing is accessible. The median rent is around $1,300 and median home prices are just over $200,000.
Outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, golfing, mountain climbing. You name it, Phoenix has it. You can even drive an hour or two out of the city and find ski slopes. While the metro Phoenix area is spread out, the city is focused on making individual communities bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Arcadia is a great example of this.
Major events. It goes without saying: There is a lot to do here. Just in the last two years, Phoenix has hosted the Super Bowl, the College Football National Championship, and the Final Four. This has brought millions to the city, sparking economic growth and renewed interest in the Valley of the Sun. This isn’t even including other annual sporting events, like the PGA Tour Waste Management Open and MLB Spring Training, which are also big draws.
Nation’s Highest Population Growth in 2016 & Future Opportunity
It’s impossible to sum up all of the Phoenix attractions. But the population growth speaks for itself: It is one of the best places to live in the country. It is also a great place — not to mention, a great time — to be a homeowner or real estate investor in Phoenix, Arizona. The growth is not slowing down anytime soon. And as the Valley’s population continues to grow, so, too, does its opportunity.