State Capitol News
3:38 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

New Census Figures in Today

Phoenix, AZ – We learned last December that the statewide population of fewer
than 6.4 million was far less than anticipated. These new numbers
provide a city-by-city and county-by-county breakdown. As a
whole, they show the suburbs grew far faster than the urban
centers. And, generally speaking, the farther from the urban
core, the faster the growth. For example, Phoenix grew by less
than 10 percent since the 2000 census. Chandler grew by about a
third. Gilbert shot up by 83 percent. And Queen Creek ballooned
from 4,400 in 2000 to more than 26,000 now. This pattern of
suburban growth plays out elsewhere. Prescott Valley wasn't even
a city until 1978. By the time of the census there were more than
38,000 people living there -- only about 1,000 less than the
long-established community of Prescott. The numbers also showed
another surprise: The collapse of the Hispanic growth rate. The
Census Bureau reports that over the decade, the number of
Hispanics grew nearly three times faster than the rest of the
population. But economist Tom Rex of the W.P. Carey School of
Business at Arizona State University said most of that growth was
in the first half of the decade, before all the laws aimed at
illegal immigrants.

(If I were someone in Mexico that was looking to come to the
United States for work, probably had been waiting awhile now
because of the economy, so where would I go? I would be hard
pressed to think that anyone would consider Arizona with the
employer sanctions law that no one else has, with all the other
anti-immigrant laws and sentiment.)

In fact, Rex said perhaps 250,000 Hispanics have left the state
in the last few years. The new numbers are important for more
than local bragging rights. Cities and counties get some of their
federal and state dollars based on their population. That's great
news for Maricopa which went from 15-hundred residents in 2000 to
more than 43,000 now. And communities like Flagstaff which kept
pace with the state's 24.6 percent growth will at least stay
even. But if you're Winslow with a 1.4 percent growth rate -- or
Bisbee which lost population -- then some money is going to
disappear. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.