Thursday, December 3, 2015

Republicans in Control: Arizona is Among the Most Damaged from Downturn

The Arizona Senate has been controlled by Republicans for the past 14 plus years. There has been only one Democrat Governor since 1991. 
Democrats shared a bipartisan 15-15 split with the election of 2000 that lasted only two years (because of GOP domination of the newly created Independent Redistricting Commission in 2002). Democrats last won control of the Senate chamber outright in the election of 1990.
Arizona among the most damaged from downturn
From income to home ownership to poverty levels, Arizona was among the areas most damaged in the wake of the Great Recession, newly released Census Bureau data shows.
Five full years after the downturn, Arizonans emerged poorer than usual despite relative gains in college degrees over that time. People here suffered some of the sharpest drops in home ownership in the nation. Virtually the entire state was blanketed with above-average poverty, most of which only had grown worse over time.
The figures, based on five years of data collection from every corner of the country, paint the picture of a state struggling to recover from a downturn led by housing, a signature industry here that remains withered to this day.
Jim Chang, the demographer for the Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics, said much of the state's subpar performance is attributable to the unique time periods compared: 2005-09 and 2010-14.
The first period includes the housing boom, an unusually prosperous time when the Census Bureau overestimated Arizona's population growth, Chang said. The second time frame includes a recovery that was especially slow getting started in Arizona.
The problems spotlighted in the reports are not new to most Arizonans, who have known economic challenges for years. But the Census figures, which can be compared with similar surveys beginning in 2005, do offer a sense of scale.
Metro Phoenix suffered a steep decline in median household income from 2009 to 2014.
In the 2005 period, median income was $54,713. In the 2010 period, it was $53,310. Adjusting for inflation, the 2005-09 pay is equivalent to $60,374.
Chang believes the loss of construction work may account for much of the lost earnings.
At the same time, the share of Phoenix-area residents in poverty rose to 29.7 percent from 26.5 percent.

The losses in wages and boost in poverty came as metro Phoenix made gains in educational attainment.

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