Phoenix is the largest city and capital of the state of Arizona, and the 6th most populous city in the United States. It's also the most populous state capital and the center of the Phoenix metropolitan area (or the Valley of the Sun), which is home to over 4.5 million people in 2016.
Phoenix's population in 2016 is expected to have grown to 1.5 million.
At the last census in 2010, Phoenix had a population of 1.445 million. In 2016, the population is estimated at 1,563,025 in the city proper, which makes it the 6th most populated city in the US.
During 2012, Phoenix increased its population by 1.7%. It's believed that sometime during 2013, Phoenix passed Philadelphia in population, although in 2016, Philadelphia again surpassed Phoenix.
The Phoenix metropolitan area, meanwhile, is believed to have surpassed 4.5 million in 2015, and it's now the 12th largest metro area in the country. In 2010, the Phoenix area was 13th with a metro population of 4.19 million.
Phoenix Diversity and Religion
The most common ancestries in Phoenix were: Mexican (35.9%), German (15.3%), Irish (10.3%), English (9.4%), African American (6.5%), Italian (4.5%), American (2.7%) and Polish (2.5%).
Since the 2000 Census, the proportion of white people in Phoenix has dropped from 71% and African American proportion has grown from 5%. In 2000, Hispanics and Latinos accounted for just 34% of the population.
In 2010, the metropolitan area was 35% Catholic, 22% Evangelical Protestant, 16% LDS, 14% nondenominational, 7% Mainline Protestant, 2% Hindu, and 4% other religions.
The Hohokam people lived in the area that eventually became Phoenix for over 2,000 years, developing an extensive system of irrigation canals to make the desert area arable. Some of these canals later became used for the modern Arizona Canal and the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct. The Hohokam eventually abandoned the area between 1300 and 1450 due to floods and drought, and the Akimel O'odham settled here, as well as the Yavapai and eventually the Maricopa.
The end of the Mexican-American war in 1848 resulted in much of the land in the region passing to the US, and a fort was eventually created by the US Army in the area in 1865 to quell uprisings from local Native Americans.
Phoenix itself began with a Confederate veteran named Jack Swilling, who traveled there in the 1850s to seek wealth. When he found the abandoned river valley, he thought it would be suitable for farming, and he built a series of canals following those of the old Native American System.
The land was sold in 1870, and a church opened in 1871, as well as a store and soon a school and a courtroom. Phoenix outgrew its form of government by 1881 and incorporated, and the population experienced high growth with the railroads in the 1880s.
By 1950, Phoenix was home to 100,000 people in the city and thousands in surrounding areas, and it continued to attract new business and become a popular tourist destination. In 2007, it became the second-fastest growing metro area in the US after Las Vegas with a growth of 24%, but it was one of the hardest hit areas during the subprime mortgage crisis.
Phoenix Population Growth
In early 2013, Forbes ranked the Phoenix Metro Area as the 8th fastest-growing major city in the United States, after Austin, Houston, Dallas, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Provo. In 2015, Phoenix remained on Forbes' list but dropped to number 11.
By 2020, it's forecasted that Phoenix will become the 4th most populous city in the US, and by 2030, the US Census Bureau estimates its population will reach 2.2 million with a metropolitan area that's home to 6.3 million.