Phoenix Is the Fastest-Growing Large City

Arizona’s capital grew at the fastest rate among America’s biggest cities, vaulting it ahead of Philadelphia to officially become the fifth-biggest city in the U.S. since the last census.,

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No large city grew faster than Phoenix.

Phoenix vaulted ahead of Philadelphia to officially become the fifth-biggest city in the United States since the last census. Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times

Aug. 12, 2021, 3:08 p.m. ET

The census numbers confirmed the scorching pace of growth in Phoenix.

Arizona’s desert capital grew at the fastest rate among America’s biggest cities, vaulting it ahead of Philadelphia to officially become the fifth-biggest city in the United States since the last census.

Phoenix’s population grew from 1.4 million people in 2010 to 1.6 million in 2020, a rate of 11.2 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

The increase has been fueled not just by immigration and sun-seeking retirees but also by the arrival of tech companies and middle-class families from California and other more expensive parts of the country seeking more affordable housing.

The Phoenix metro area continued to sprawl outward into the desert, with outlying suburbs such as Buckeye growing by nearly 80 percent over the past 10 years. But Phoenix is also growing up, booming with new condo towers and rowhouses filling in the downtown.

All this growth has raised anxieties about how the region will supply enough water for all the new residents and their yards when brutal droughts and hotter summers are draining rivers and reservoirs.

The population boom across Phoenix and surrounding Maricopa County has also translated into a political shift. President Biden narrowly won Arizona’s 11 electoral votes last November, eking out a win in what had once been a reliably Republican presidential state.

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