The race is on: Which West Valley city will crack the 100,000 population marker first?
Avondale, at just under 88,000 population according to recent U.S. Census data, has the edge.
But Goodyear (86,840) grew at a nearly double rate over the last year, with a 4.8% increase, compared to the 2.6% increase that took Avondale’s population to an estimated 87,931.
And then there’s Buckeye.
In the last year, Buckeye blew away all Arizona cities, growing by a 7.1% rate to reach 79,620.
Buckeye’s growth over the last decade has been even more remarkable.
A May 21 report from the Census Bureau shows an estimated 28,769 moved to Buckeye since the official 2010 count. That made Mayor Jackie Meck’s hometown the second fastest-growing city of more than 50,000 in the nation.
Only Frisco City, Texas, grew faster at 71.1% than Buckeye’s 56.6% growth rate.
Goodyear came in No. 14 for growth with a 33.1% increase in population since the last census.
Census numbers will not be “official” again until the 2020 census figures are released some time in 2021.
Litchfield Park grew by 2.3% last year—but 31% over the last decade—to reach a population of 6,436. Tolleson’s growth was 1.4% over the last year, bringing it to a population of 7,372. Tolleson has had 12% growth in since 2010.
Buckeye’s far more rapid growth is not without its challenges and costs.
On May 19, Buckeye City Council approved an $8 million sewer expansion. “The current sewer is undersized and too shallow,” Chris Williams, a city staff member, explained to council.
“Our biggest challenge right now is securing retail shops, services and employment opportunities due to our rapid growth,” said Annie DeChance, a city spokeswoman.
But wait—there’s more. Plenty more growth to come in Buckeye, according to the city.
Buckeye still has plenty of room to grow, as only 5% of the city is developed, according to Meck.
“It’s no surprise Buckeye remains one of the fastest-growing cities,” Meck said. “Our residents enjoy an excellent quality of life while providing exceptional value for business opportunities.”
And more home building will be underway soon.
According to DeChance, in 2019, approximately 2,650 single-family residential permits were issued in Buckeye.
“So far, for the first four months in 2020, permits are exceeding that by 14%,” DeChance said.
“The most recent Maricopa Association of Governments model indicates we’ll reach 100,000 in either late 2021 or early 2022,” she added. DeChance said Buckeye estimates the current population is about 89,000.
One of the companies helping bring newcomers to the West Valley is Landsea Homes, which last week announced it bought 178 homesites at two different master-planned communities, Estrella in Goodyear and Verrado in Buckeye.
Landsea has been developing communities in Goodyear and Buckeye during the population boom of the last decade.
What is it about this area?
“Buckeye and Goodyear continue to prove themselves as prime locations to live for homebuyers at any stage of their life and provide an overall excellent quality of life,” said Greg Balen, Arizona division president of Landsea Homes.
“We have seen a majority of first-time homebuyers and retired individuals lay down roots in Buckeye and Goodyear. The homes are priced attainably; there is positive job growth and premier school districts. These are very important factors for homebuyers.”
Capitol Media Services and Cronkite News contributed to this story.