State Capitol News
9:33 am
Wed December 23, 2009

Arizona's population boom slows

Phoenix, AZ – Well, it's official: Those boom times for population growth in
the Grand Canyon State are over. Arizona Public Radio's Howard
Fischer explains.

New figures from the Census Bureau show that year-over year
growth for the period ending July 1st totaled less than 147,000.
That's just a 1.5 percent increase from the prior year. That
compares to a 3.7 percent annual growth rate just four years
earlier.

One big factor is that people just aren't moving here
from other states the way they once were. Four years ago the net
domestic in-migration to Arizona was almost 124,000. The figure
now stands at barely more than 15,000. have been saying for
months that people can't move to Arizona until they are able sell
their homes elsewhere.

At the same time, the recession has
decimated the retirement savings plans of many, meaning they have
to keep their jobs, postponing that retirement move to Arizona.
But there's another factor at work: Actual births in the state
are down, too. Economist Marshall Vest from the University of
Arizona has some theories.

"There's an economic aspect of it. The uncertainty of your income
stream may very well cause people to delay their decision to have
a family."

And Vest said the state has lost much of its illegal immigrant
population as jobs in certain industries dried up and families
moved on. And the birth rate of Hispanics is twice as high as
other segments of the population.