MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — As most other big metropolitan areas lost residents last year, Maricopa County gained a huge cohort of new people looking to take up residence in the Valley.
According to numbers released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, Maricopa County was the top U.S. county for population growth between July 2020 and July 2021.
The county gained more than 58,000 during the one-year span, surpassing other growing metropolitan areas like Dallas or Austin.
Los Angeles County reported losing over 159,000 residents, making it the top county for population loss. Illinois' Cook County, which includes Chicago, also reported losing a significant amount of residents.
At least 46,000 of Maricopa County's new residents were the result of domestic migration, meaning they came from another county in the U.S.
About 58% of the nation's counties gained new residents in 2021, according to the census.
The huge population gains in the Valley come at a time when the metro area is grappling with a housing crisis that's inflated rents and property prices. The county also recently reported a major spike in homelessness.
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How big is Maricopa County?
Maricopa County is the United States’ 4th largest county in terms of population with 4,485,414 people, according to the 2020 Census.
The county contains around 63% of Arizona’s population and is 9,224 square miles. That makes the county larger than seven U.S. states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).
One of the largest park systems in the nation is also located in Maricopa County. The county has an estimated 120,000 acres of open space parks that includes hundreds of miles of trails, nature centers and campgrounds.
The county’s seat is located in Phoenix, which is also the state capital and the census-designated 5th most populous city in the United States.
The county was named after the Maricopa, or Piipaash, Native American Tribe.