What factors led to high population growth in Maricopa County?

Maricopa County had the highest population growth in 2022, more than any other county in the United States.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:00 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona is the place to be, according to the latest census data. It showed Maricopa County had the highest population growth in 2022, more than any other county in the United States. However, some ask if the growth could impact the cost of living. Housing prices skyrocketed in Maricopa County last year, but the market has since cooled off.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Maricopa County at the top of the list for growth among counties in the U.S. Arizona also ranks fourth in the most populous county in the United States with just under 4.5 million people. This does not include metropolitan areas like Manhattan or Chicago, but only counties. But what is leading to all this growth? Who is coming here, and will it impact the cost of living?

“We’ve seen a diversification of the economy. We’ve had a lot of job growth, particularly in the tech sector. They love coming here for the weather. People are tired of living where it snows or where there are hurricanes or tornadoes all the time. But honestly, we don’t really have a great answer for what the future holds, but we have seen prices go up. Last year we saw prices skyrocketing. We heard anecdotes of 10, 12 offers on a house or houses being sold before they even go up on the market,” said Scott Wilken of the Maricopa Association of Governments.

He adds that Arizona also has a reputation for being the land of retirees, but that narrative is changing. Most people moving to the state are in their mid to late twenties and early thirties. They also tend to have a higher income and education level than people already living here.

But is Maricopa County keeping up with all the people moving here? Over 31,000 residential homes were built last year, while 56,000 people moved here. However, population growth is still out-pacing the housing market. State officials say Arizona is short a couple hundred thousand homes, and a lack of affordable homes are the biggest concern.