PHOENIX – Queen Creek grew faster in the past year than any other community in Arizona, placing it among the top 15 nationwide for population increases, U.S. Census Bureau figures show.
The numbers, released May 18, cover July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022, and ranked “large cities,” those with 50,000 or more residents.
Queen Creek saw its population grow to 70,734 from 66,318, a 6.7% jump.
Much of what is in the new national report is no surprise. The fastest-growing communities tend to be on the edge of existing cities. And most of them are in the south or west and other the edges of major urban areas.
For example, Maricopa came in closely behind Queen Creek in the latest count with a population of 66,290, a 6.2% increase from the prior year.
Decades ago, it was communities like Glendale and Mesa that grew by leaps and bounds. These communities rapidly filled up.
At the same time, additional freeways were built, widened and extended. And that promoted living farther out as it cut down commute times for those who need to travel into the main city for work to acceptable levels.
Queen Creek proves the point.
Not only did the state - much of it with county tax dollars - complete the Loop 202 freeway into the Southeast Valley, it now is building and extending what had been a one-mile stretch of State Route 24 from the 202 into Pinal County.
And that's just the beginning: The new budget signed earlier this month by Gov. Katie Hobbs gives Queen Creek $87.5 million to further extend SR 24, including a traffic interchange at Ironwood Road.
Other communities in -- and beyond -- the fringes of the Phoenix area also racked up strong year-over-year population increases including 4.6% for Casa Grande, 3.8% for Goodyear and nearly as much for adjacent Buckeye.
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