It’s no secret that America’s most popular cities from a century ago, like New York and Chicago, have actually been shrinking in recent years, but even newer destinations like Los Angeles are also falling from their peak populations. Instead, U.S. residents are flocking to up-and-coming hotspots in the South and West and Phoenix, Buckeye, and Goodyear are growing at record-setting rates.
According to new data from the 2020 census, Phoenix is growing at a faster rate than any other major city in the last decade, officially surpassing Philadelphia as the nation’s fifth largest city. Phoenix grew by more than 160,000 people from 2010 to 2020, an increase of 11.2%.
Phoenix is growing: By the numbers
West Valley hot spots Buckeye and Goodyear are both among the 10 fastest-growing cities in the United State with populations of at least 50,000, in the nation, according to Census data. Buckeye grew faster than any other city in the nation, with population growing nearly 80% in the last decade to reach more than 91,000. Goodyear’s population went from 65,275 in 2010 to 95,294 in 2020, a 46% increase.
A hundred years ago, U.S. Census figures show that 91.3% of the nation lived outside the Western states, but now the West is more populous than both the Midwest and Northeast. Meanwhile, the South is currently the fastest-growing region of the country after stagnating for much of the last century. Census figures for 2020 show the composition of the current U.S. population to be 38.1% in the South, 23.7% in the West, 20.8% in the Midwest, and 17.4% in the Northeast.
More plentiful and higher-quality job opportunities have been among the driving forces for the move south and west. Seattle has been a prime example of the renaissance in tech jobs out west, and Austin’s growth as a new high-tech hub in Texas has earned it the nickname of the “new Silicon Valley.” Outdoor recreational opportunities and more favorable weather have also factored in strongly, as well as lower costs of living.
Even more recently, new migration trends have dispersed residents from traditional western destinations like Los Angeles and San Francisco to other places, particularly neighboring states. Over the last decade, California stands out as a notable exception in the fast-growing West; people are leaving California in droves and heading to Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. In fact, 6 of the 10 fastest-growing states benefited most from California residents, according to Census data that identified the most common origin for recent movers.
In the South, the primary beneficiaries of recent growth have been Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas. On the other end of the spectrum, the Midwest has become less popular, led by an exodus from Illinois. Outside of moves to neighboring states, which is by far the most common phenomenon for domestic migration, lots of movers also went from New York to Florida, California to Texas, Florida to Tennessee, and New York to California.
Metro Phoenix ranks third for growth
To pinpoint which metropolitan areas across the country are growing the fastest, researchers at Inspection Support Network compiled U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2015 and 2020, then compared the difference in population. The results are right in line with state-level trends. Idaho has several leading midsize and small metros on the lists, Las Vegas and Phoenix are in the top five, and cities in Florida and Texas are commonplace throughout.
The analysis found that between 2015 and 2020, the Phoenix metro area added 479,564 residents, representing an increase of 10.5% to the total population. Overall, Phoenix is the 3rd fastest-growing large metropolitan area in the United States. Here is a summary of the data for the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ metro area:
• Percentage change in population (2015–2020): 10.5%
• Total change in population (2015–2020): 479,564
• Population 2020: 5,059,909
• Most common origin for recent movers: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.