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Phoenix leads in growth, but wealth disparity is wide, report shows

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Posted at 8:54 AM, Feb 26, 2021

Phoenix has consistently been one of the fastest-growing large metros in the country, but new data from the Brookings Institution shows prosperity has not kept up with the growing population.

Brookings Metro Monitor ranked Phoenix 19th out of 53 very large metros on growth and 46th on prosperity using data from 2009 to 2019. He notes that although there has been much effort put in over that decade to grow and diversify the area’s economy, that has not yet come to fruition.

“The statistics indicate that Phoenix continued to grow pretty rapidly in the 2010s, but didn’t, on average, become a more valuable economy,” said Alan Berube, senior fellow and deputy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program with Brookings.

Arizona has put in the effort to remedy the situation by attracting higher value sectors, he said, but some of the effort had not yet produced results enough to reverse losses from the Great Recession.

According to Brookings data, in 2019, 52% of families with children in the Phoenix metro did not earn high enough wages to make ends meet. In order to move half of those families, about 126,755 families, to self-sufficiency, the region needs to add more than 168,000 more jobs that pay at least $24.84 per hour.

Read more of this subscription-only story from the Business Journal.