The Phoenix suburb of Gilbert ranked highest among the nation’s 100 largest cities for post-recession recovery according to a new report from the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington D.C.-based research group. The report, which tracked the uneven pace of progress nationwide following the recession, found that Gilbert is flourishing.

Residential real estate in Gilbert has been in high demand in recent years. Investors began adding Gilbert properties to their portfolios at record rates in 2017 and 2018 due to their high rental income potential.  

Family home in  Gilbert, AZ Photo: Redfin

According to the report, the recession and gradual recovery reshuffled wealth across the U.S.,e report states. To illustrate, it took less than five years on average for prosperous communities to replace jobs lost during the 2007-2009 economic slump, while distressed areas may never recover their losses.

Chandler and Scottsdale also ranked among the nation’s five least-distressed larger cities, while Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa rank close to the middle of the cities included in the report in terms of recent economic performance.

Researchers found the rate of local housing vacancies to be the best predictor of an area’s economic health.

Of the seven Arizona cities included in the study, Gilbert and Chandler had the lowest housing vacancy rates at 4.6 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.

Favorable rankings in Gilbert’s and other  East Valley cities reflect lower levels of economic distress than other cities based on criteria used by Economic Innovation Group. The criteria include:

  • Employment and unemployment rates
  • Educational levels achieved among residents
  • Housing vacancies 
  • Household incomes  
  • New business growth
  • Percentage of the local population living in poverty

Distressed cities tend to have higher concentrations of racial minorities. One measure of an area’s prosperity is it’s inclusion of lower-income residents and racial and ethnic diversity.

Gilbert’s population as more inclusive than many would expect in a small, prosperous city, based on demographic and other data tracked in the study.

Several factors contributing to the East Valley area’s recovery success include a pro-business policies, good roads and schools, plentiful jobs, a desirable  talent pool and the concentration of large public corporations and other large businesses that attract a steady stream of new residents who come here to take advantage of the metro Phoenix area’s excellent employment prospects, according to Denny Barney, president and CEO of the East Valley Partnership economic development group.

The study is based on findings from the 2018 Distressed Communities Index, a project that measures and maps the economic well-being of the country based on ZIP codes, cities, counties and congressional districts.  Researchers evaluated Census Bureau data for periods from 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016, analyzing nearly 26,000 ZIP codes that are home to almost the entire U.S. population.

View the report and accompanying data at

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Gilbert AZ is flourishing