Report pumps up Gilbert’s image - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Report pumps up Gilbert’s image

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Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 8:46 am | Updated: 5:24 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

An overwhelmingly high number of Gilbert’s children are growing up in a financially stable home.

A U.S. Census Bureau report released Monday shows Gilbert’s children are among the nation’s least likely to live in poverty, in a rental home, without an employed household member or receive state or local assistance.

Only 1 percent of Gilbert’s 37,548 children ages 18 and younger received assistance, 2.9 percent were living in poverty in 1999; 7.3 percent lived in a home without someone in the work force; and 12.7 percent resided in a rental property, according to the report "Children and the Households They Live In: 2000."

Gilbert has one of the nation’s five lowest percentages in the four categories among municipalities of more than 100,000 people. No other East Valley municipality made the list. Among cities with the highest percentages are Providence, R.I., Newark, N.J., and Hartford, Conn.

The report was released one week after the U.S. Census Bureau named Arizona the state with the nation’s highest growth rate of children younger than age 5 between April 2000 and July 2003, and less than a year after Gilbert was named the fastest-growing U.S. municipality between April 2000 and July 2002.

According to previously released 2000 U.S. Census data, about one-third of Gilbert residents are age 18 and younger, with 10 percent age 5 and younger. Families occupy 82 percent of Gilbert households, and married couples account for 70 percent. The town’s median income is $68,032.

The statistics continue to feed Gilbert’s image as a fastgrowing town of married homeowners with aboveaverage incomes and small children.

"It all fits together," Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman said. "The picture it paints of Gilbert is basically one of an upscale community."

Gilbert has grown from 5,717 residents in 1980 to 109,920 in 2000. Today’s estimated population is 156,400.

Tom Rex, research manager for the Center for Business Research at Arizona State University, said Gilbert’s new housing stock and its status as a "fringe" suburb are primary reasons for its growth and demographics.

"You can’t find cheap housing in Gilbert," Rex said. "You don’t have people in economic distress . . . except for a few homes in the old part of Gilbert."

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