Diverse Performance: Tucson in the 2020 Census

Valorie Rice, Senior Specialist, Business Information

What part of the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)/Pima County has grown the most over the last decade? The answer can be found in recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This article will provide information from the recent 2020 Census release for the Tucson MSA, which is Pima County, as well as its five municipalities, unincorporated Pima County, the Census Designated Places (CDPs) within the county.  It will also compare to the U.S. and Arizona.

The Census Bureau released population and housing information down to small levels of geography in August. Redistricting data, known as P.L. 94-171, used to redraw congressional, legislative and other local district boundaries provides data including population down to small levels of geography as well as race and ethnicity data, voting-age population, occupied and vacant housing units and group quarters data. These data are also the first to be released using differential privacy, a method that the Census Bureau has applied to the data to further protect confidentiality (more information on this can be found in a recent White Paper and MAP Talk). We can look forward to more detailed population data releases in the coming months.

The city of Tucson retained its place as the 33rd largest city in the U.S. for 2020 with a population of 542,629. It grew 4.3% between 2010 and 2020 but that was not even close to the fastest growing place within the metropolitan area. Corona de Tucson CDP posted a 62.8% population growth between 2010 and 2020, by far the largest population increase in the Tucson MSA. Marana at 48.5% and Sahuarita at 35.1%, both of which have seen a great deal of growth over the last two decades, were the second and third fastest growing places. Vail CDP also had notable growth of 33.3%. Despite the amazing growth for CDPs Corona de Tucson and Vail, the unincorporated portion of the county exhibited a gain of only 2.8 percent. Pima County grew 6.4% overall, which was less than both the state at 11.9% and U.S. at 7.4%. As noted in Figure 1, the foothills area north of Tucson held the largest amount of population outside of the city of Tucson with Casas Adobes CDP and Catalina Foothills CDP followed by the cities of Marana and Oro Valley rounding out the five places with the largest population in the Tucson MSA.  

Figure 1: 2020 Census Population and Change From 2010

Place 2020 Census Total Population Numerical Change 2010 to 2020 Percent Change 2010 to 2020
United States 331,449,281 22,703,743 7.4%
Arizona 7,151,502 759,485 11.9%
Pima County 1,043,433 63,170 6.4%
Marana 51,908 16,947 48.5%
Oro Valley 47,070 6,059 14.8%
Sahuarita 34,134 8,875 35.1%
South Tucson 4,613 -1,039 -18.4%
Tucson 542,629 22,513 4.3%
Unincorporated Portion of Pima County 680,354 9,815 2.8%
Ajo CDP 3,039 -265 -8.0%
Casas Adobes CDP 70,973 4,178 6.3%
Catalina CDP 7,551 -18 -0.2%
Catalina Foothills CDP 52,401 1,605 3.2%
Corona de Tucson CDP 9,240 3,565 62.8%
Drexel Heights CDP 27,523 -226 -0.8%
Flowing Wells CDP 15,657 -762 -4.6%
Green Valley CDP 22,616 1,225 5.7%
Picture Rocks CDP 9,551 -12 -0.1%
Tanque Verde CDP 16,250 -651 -3.9%
Vail CDP 13,604 3,396 33.3%

Marana had the largest percent change in the number of housing units with an increase of 46.1%, followed by Corona de Tucson CDP with 44.9%. In comparison, housing units increased 6.6% in the Tucson MSA, 8.3% in Arizona, and 6.7% in the U.S. While Corona de Tucson and Vail CDPs had rather large increases in housing units, the rest of unincorporated Pima County grew at a slower pace with an increase of housing units at 2.2%. Sahuarita and Oro Valley both had double-digit gains in the number of houses at 26.5% and 14.6%, respectively. The city of Tucson had a 5.7% increase. There were several places, including the city of South Tucson, with losses in the number of housing units, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: 2020 Census Housing Unit Totals and Change from 2010

Place 2020 Census Total Housing Units Numerical Change 2010 to 2020 Percent Change 2010 to 2020
United States 140,498,736 8,794,006 6.7%
Arizona 3,082,000 237,474 8.3%
Pima County 470,132 29,223 6.6%
Marana 21,521 6,795 46.1%
Oro Valley 23,303 2,963 14.6%
Sahuarita 13,426 2,811 26.5%
South Tucson 2,116 -21 -1.0%
Tucson 242,798 13,036 5.7%
Unincorporated Portion of Pima County 166,968 3,639 2.2%
Ajo CDP 2,051 -124 -5.7%
Casas Adobes CDP 31,939 1,575 5.2%
Catalina CDP 3,427 137 4.2%
Catalina Foothills CDP 27,623 412 1.5%
Corona de Tucson CDP 3,137 972 44.9%
Drexel Heights CDP 9,785 101 1.0%
Flowing Wells CDP 7,129 -376 -5.0%
Green Valley CDP 16,974 -348 -2.0%
Picture Rocks CDP 4,299 122 2.9%
Tanque Verde CDP 7,287 -53 -0.7%
Vail CDP 5,024 1,270 33.8%

Corona de Tucson CDP had the highest number of persons per household in 2020 at 3.07 and was the only place to have an increase in persons per household over the decade. The smallest number of persons per household was in Green Valley CDP at 1.64 while the figure for the Tucson MSA was 2.38. Most people reside in households, but a small portion of people live in what are considered group quarters. Group quarters can be college dorms, military barracks, nursing homes, prisons or a number of other communal living settings. In the Tucson MSA, 2.6% of the population lives at group quarters, which is similar to the U.S. at 2.5%.

In 2020, exactly 20 percent of the population in Pima County was below the age of 18. That is a bit lower than the state, at 22.5%, and the nation at 22.1%. Between 2010 and 2020 the under age 18 population declined 1.4% in the U.S. and 1.2% in Arizona; however, Pima County had a decrease of 7.2% (Figure 3). 

Figure 3: Population Below 18 Years Old

The Tucson MSA had a higher percentage of Hispanic or Latino population than the state or nation.  South Tucson was the place within the Tucson MSA that had the highest percentage of people who identify as Hispanic or Latino at 76.5% while Green Valley CDP had the lowest at 6.5%. Green Valley CDP had the largest percentage of White alone, non-Hispanic population in 2020 at 90.1% followed by Tanque Verde CDP at 80.8%. This was much higher than the U.S. at 57.8%, Arizona at 53.4% and the Tucson MSA at 51.5%.

The Tucson MSA had a much smaller percentage of Black or African American non-Hispanic population than the nation (3.5% compared to 12.1%), though the inverse can be said of the American Indian and Alaska Native population. Only 0.7% of the U.S. identified as American Indian non-Hispanic in 2020 while 2.3% of the population in the Tucson MSA did. An even higher percentage in unincorporated Pima County were American Indian at 3.7%, the same as the state of Arizona. South Tucson (7.7%) and Ajo CDP (6.1%) had the highest percentage of American Indian or Alaska Native population in the areas covered for this article.

Asian alone was combined with Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone for this analysis, both non-Hispanic. The Tucson MSA had 3.0% of the population identify as Asian or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander while Catalina Foothills had twice that at 6.3%. This was similar to the nation at 6.1% while the city of Tucson was similar to the metropolitan area at 3.3%.

The greatest change in race and ethnicity over the decade for most areas of the nation was an increase in the percent of people who indicated they were two or more races (Figure 4). In the Tucson MSA, 4.0% of the population indicated Some Other Race combined with Two or More Races non-Hispanic in 2020 compared to 2.0% in 2010. In 2020, the places with the highest percentage indicating Some Other Race combined with Two or More Races were Corona de Tucson CDP at 6.5%, Vail CDP at 5.7% and Picture Rocks CDP at 4.9%. The places with the smallest percentage were South Tucson at 1.8% and Green Valley and Drexel Heights CDPs both at 2.0%.

Figure 4: Distribution of Population by Race & Ethnicity (2020)

Note that the Census asks two separate questions, one for Hispanic or Latino origin and then one for race, since a person who is Hispanic or Latino can be of any race. Figure 4 exhibits the percent of the total population that are Hispanic or Latino or not Hispanic or Latino and by each race alone, not Hispanic or Latino.