Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, ranked No. 6 in 2021 by HomeSnacks. New data from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity reveals that the growth is taking place in red parts of Arizona, not blue strongholds like Tucson — which could mean Arizona is not trending blue.
“The growth is around Maricopa County,” Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ-06) told The Arizona Sun Times. “Maricopa County, which leans Republican, already dominates the state. This will give it even more power.” Currently, 62% of the population lives there.
Between June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021, the biggest growth in the state was in and around the Republican-leaning south-central portion of Arizona known as the valley, which centers around Phoenix and includes Maricopa County. Many people are choosing the suburbs outside of Phoenix instead of the city itself due to its higher cost of living and lack of available homes. Queen Creek in the East Valley grew the most in the entire state, by over 10%. An older Republican community in the West Valley, grew 3.8%. Phoenix itself, which is composed of slightly more Democrats than Republicans, grew a slight 1.2%.
Tucson grew by only 0.5%, and South Tucson shrunk by 0.3%. However, the Republican-leaning areas near Tucson grew significantly; Marana grew by 4.8% and Oro Valley 2.1%. Liberal Nogales, south of Tucson near the border with Mexico, grew by only 0.7%, super liberal Sedona in the center of Arizona grew by 1%, and liberal Tempe had no growth at all. Another staunchly liberal area, Guadalupe, barely grew 0.1%.
In conservative enclaves farther north of Phoenix, Prescott Valley grew by 2.1% and Prescott 1.8%. Kingman, a conservative stronghold in northwest Arizona, grew 2.6%. Coolidge, a solidly conservative town located between Phoenix and Tucson, grew 7.1%.
There were some exceptions to this trend. One of the fastest-growing cities in the state, Buckeye in the West Valley, is more moderate politically and grew by 8.9%. Of course, people may be moving there since it’s a more affordable part of the valley around Phoenix. Flagstaff in northern Arizona, which leans Republican, lost 0.4%.
Conservative Arizonans complain about liberals from California moving to their state and turning it blue, but there may be more California Republicans moving to Arizona than Democrats. A 2019 UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll found that the biggest predictor of whether a California resident wants to move out of the state is political affiliation. Republicans were nearly twice as likely to be considering leaving California — 71% of Republicans compared to 38% of Democrats.
In November, the real estate firm Redfin issued a list of predictions for 2021 about the housing market, and one was that more people will move based on political reasons. A Redfin poll asked people whether they would live in an area that conflicted with their political views, and a notable minority said they would not. One of the questions was about abortion. About 1 in 7 people (15%) said they would not live in a place where abortion is fully legal. Similarly, 12% said they would only live where abortion is fully legal.
Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, acknowledged that moving due to political views can be broken down to the county level, addressing the flight of Republicans from blue areas. “We know people are leaving blue counties and moving to red counties,” he said.
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