Newsroom | We’re Still Young in the Maricopa Region, But Getting

MAG News

Valley growth comes as no surprise to longtime Phoenix-area residents, but changes in demographics show some interesting new patterns.

We’re Still Young in the Maricopa Region, But Getting Older
Analysis also finds we’re more diverse, better educated, and experiencing less poverty

Census

Valley growth comes as no surprise to longtime Phoenix-area residents, but changes in demographics show some interesting new patterns.

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) examined data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to see how the Valley has changed over the past decade.

The first point that stands out in the analysis is how much faster the Phoenix metropolitan area is growing as compared to the nation as a whole. Between the two periods in question, the Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which is made up of Maricopa County and Pinal County, grew by nearly 10 percent, while the United States grew by 3.4 percent.

The median age of our region grew slightly between the two periods, from 35.4 to 36.7, but the metro area still remained younger than the overall U.S., which saw its median age grow from 37.4 to 38.1. On a related note, Arizona, although famous for its retirees, has the 14th lowest median age in the U.S.

The Region Is Still Young, But Growing Older

The Region Is Still Young, But Growing Older

Analysis also found that the Phoenix MSA became more diverse, better educated, and saw a decline in population living in poverty between the two five-year periods. For example:

  • Between the two periods, the MSA’s minority population increased from 42% to 45%, and remained higher than the nation, which saw its minority population grow from 37% to 39%.
  • The MSA saw the number of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher increase from 810,000 to just under 1 million, a 23% increase. This is a faster increase than the U.S. as a whole, which increased by 16%.
  • The percentage of population living in poverty in the MSA fell by almost 12%, which was slightly faster than the nation with 11%.

The ACS is a continuously rolling survey conducted nationwide to collect demographic data not captured by the decennial census. At the end of each year, the Census Bureau releases averages of the previous five-year’s worth of surveys. The ACS has been conducted long enough now that there are non-overlapping five-year periods that can be examined (2010 to 2014 and 2015 to 2019). These two datasets can tell us how the region has changed over the past decade. It should be noted that all of this data is from before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top 10 Valley Cities in Growth and Percent Growth (2014-2019)

Top 10 Cities in Growth and Percentage Growth 2014-2019

For more information, please visit MAG's Community Profiles webpage.

Published April 19, 2021

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The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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