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Phoenix on the Rise: The City of Growth

[I wasn't going to publish this post because it's all about Arizona, by someone who loves this state. As I found the city of Phoenix absolutely beautiful and enjoyed this piece -- I thought that you may also enjoy it.]

Arizona is home to 6.9 million people, with Phoenix being the nation's sixth largest city in the US and the most populated state capital, having 1.6 million people. There are about 4 million people in the metro area which is half the size in population to New York city. Phoenix is bigger in land space, however, than New York City with it's 8 1/2 million people. Phoenix averages 211 days of sunshine per year. It has the sun shining 85 percent of its daylight hours.

The Valley of the Sun and Forests

Most people know about the 200+ golf courses, but few realize that one fourth of the state is forested, having 11.2 million acres of National Forest, six National Forests, and six lakes within a 75 minute drive of Phoenix.

The state of Arizona has seen tremendous growth and innovation in the five years. As a result, Phoenix is quickly becoming a hotbed for venture capital, innovation, and startups. Just since 2015, there have been more than 35 articles chronicling the growth and success of Phoenix. Consider the following facts:

Fast Facts

Chief Executive Magazine has rated Arizona has #9 in the country as best state for business in 2015. The favorable business development programs, low taxes and regulations, good weather, and high quality of living attract and keep big-name businesses.

The Arizona Republic reported in 2016 that Arizona had a zero chance of recession after the historical Great Recession. Arizona was ranked as having a zero percent chance of falling into recession in the near term and has been expected to grow at a solid rate of 2.5 percent in economic output.

Startups are moving to Arizona in record numbers.

According to the online publication Thought Catalog in 2016. The cost of living is low, the cost of gasoline and transportation is low, and the cost of doing business is low. The business climate encourages success by having a government that supports business activity instead of stalling business activity.

Not only that, the beautiful year-end weather encourages a balance between playing and working. There is more productivity time in Arizona because there is no daylight savings, and the (no daylight savings), the infrastructure is well-developed so traffic isn’t nearly as bad as LA, and the diverse and growing talent pool contributes to thriving companies.

Phoenix ties San Francisco for best high-tech job growth two years in a row. 

According to the Phoenix Business Journal in 2016, Phoenix added 12,662 new high-tech jobs from 2012 to 2014. That is a 42.7 percent increase for the Valley’s tech sector, tying San Francisco for the top spot among the 30 largest North American markets.

In terms of percentage growth, Phoenix had a higher rate than the likes of Austin (33 percent), Silicon Valley (27 percent), New York (22.6 percent) and Seattle (18.3 percent). Phoenix also added more overall tech jobs than Chicago (10,192), Austin (9,313), Boston (7,755), Los Angeles (3,799 and Dallas (8,193) over the two-year time frame.

Arizona has the second fastest job growth in the country and is the second best state in which to find a job, according to Kiplinger Magazine in 2016.

Arizona is one of the best states for future job growth in the United States, according to Forbes in 2016. Arizona’s projected job growth is 3.1 percent annually through 2019, the best in the U.S.

In addition, net migration into the state is projected to total 679,000 over the next five years. Only Nevada is expected to enjoy a faster migration rate.

Arizona is ranked third behind San Francisco and Silicon Valley as best state for information technology jobs, says Forbes in 2016.

The desert city’s information workforce has expanded by 39.29 percent since 2010, the third highest increase of any metropolitan area, just behind the Bay Area.

U.S. News reported in 2016 that three of the ten best high schools in America are located in Arizona. Contrary to popular belief, education is strongly supported in Arizona, with half of the state’s budget being committed to education. Arizona is the national leader is school choice, which provides students and parents the freedom to choose where their child goes to school.

The Startup City

The success of a city largely depends on three factors: the cultural framework, the legal framework, and the economic framework. If a city, wants to grow and innovate, then it needs to pursue policies and behaviors that encourage a cultural, legal, and economic setting that allows entrepreneurs, startups, and companies to thrive.

Phoenix is less than a two-hour flight from San Jose, yet it stands in stark contrast to the Silicon Valley that is always experiencing a growth spurt. Hotbeds of innovation and wonder are beginning to reach many other cities in the US and in the world. What these new cities have in common with Silicon Valley is a belief that the cultural, legal, and economic frameworks of a city should allow the city to thrive. 

Image: Getty Images

[If you like pieces like this, about other cities stats, please let me know. deanna@startupgrind.com and I will curate more like this for you].

[1] Coffin, J. (2016). 2015 Best & Worst States for. Chief Executive Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[2] Hansen, Ronald J. (March 2016). Economists: Zero chance of Arizona recession. azcentral. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[3] Park, Daehee & Marino, JT. (2016).  If You’re Building A Startup You Need To Move To Phoenix (Not Silicon Valley). Thought Catalog. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[4] Sunnucks, Mike. (2015). Phoenix ties San Francisco for job growth in high tech. Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[5] 15 Best States to Find a Job in 2016. (2016). www.kiplinger.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[6] Badenhausen, Kurt. (2016). The Best States For Future Job Growth. Forbes.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[7] Kotkin, Joel. (2016). The Cruel Information Economy: The U.S. Cities Winning In This Critical Sector. Forbes.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

[8] The Best High Schools in America, Ranked. (2016). Usnews.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.