Newsroom | Three Years in a Row: Maricopa County Fastest Growing in Nation

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For some it’s the sunshine. For others, jobs. Whatever the reason, more people moved to Maricopa County last year than any other county in the nation.

Three Years in a Row: Maricopa County Fastest Growing in Nation


For some it’s the sunshine. For others, jobs. Whatever the reason, more people moved to Maricopa County last year than any other county in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released in April. The new numbers mark the third year in a row Maricopa County has been named the fastest-growing county in the nation.

The numbers did not come as a surprise to MAG Chair Gail Barney, mayor of the Town of Queen Creek. “We have a very attractive region, with a great climate, strong economy, and appealing quality of life. What was more surprising was how much faster we are growing than the next two counties on the list,” he said.

With an increase of 81,244 residents, Maricopa County was 68 percent higher than Clark County, Nevada, with 48,337 new residents, and 135 percent higher than Harris County, Texas, which increased its population by 34,460.

MAG Regional Analytics Director Anubhav Bagley says the growth isn’t likely to stop soon, with MAG projections showing 6.4 million people in Maricopa County by 2055, an increase of 2 million over today’s population of 4.4 million. Those numbers do not include seasonal population growth.

“The question of significance for MAG is how that growth affects our long-range planning,” stated Bagley. “How do we sustain our infrastructure, our housing, and job opportunities to best accommodate all those people?”

Since 2010, the Phoenix metropolitan area (which in this definition includes all of Maricopa and Pinal counties) grew by 665,000 people, the third highest in the nation.

“One interesting trend we are seeing this year is that metro areas not among the most populous are ranked in the top 10 for population growth,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “Though no new metro areas moved into the top 10 largest areas, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, and Orlando all experienced numeric increases in population since 2010, rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations. This trend is consistent with the overall growth we are seeing in the South and the West.” 

Out of 3,142 counties, 1,739 (55.3 percent) gained population between 2017 and 2018. Twelve counties (0.4 percent) experienced no change in population during this time, while the remaining 1,391 (44.3 percent) lost population.


Top 10 Counties in Numeric Growth: 2017 to 2018:

Rank State County April 1, 2010 
(Estimates base)

July 1, 2017 

July 1, 2018 Numeric
1 Arizona Maricopa County 3,817,359 4,329,580 4,410,824 81,244
2 Nevada Clark County 1,951,271 2,183,310 2,231,647 48,337
3 Texas Harris County 4,093,188 4,664,159 4,698,619 34,460
4 Texas Collin County 782,220 971,393 1,005,146 33,753
5 California Riverside County 2,189,765 2,417,224 2,450,758 33,534
6 Washington King County 1,931,292 2,204,229 2,233,163 28,934
7 Florida Orange County 1,145,954 1,352,933 1,380,645 27,712
8 Texas Tarrant County 1,810,655 2,057,468 2,084,931 27,463
9 Texas Bexar County 1,714,772 1,958,841 1,986,049 27,208
10 Florida Hillsborough County 1,229,178 1,410,115 1,436,888 26,773

Published May 2, 2019

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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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