Hindsight 2020: 100 Years of Growth

My, how we’ve grown.

Gilbert is turning 100 in 2020 and there’s a lot to celebrate. In the past century, thousands of people chose Gilbert as their home.

We’re feeling sentimental on this milestone birthday. So, let’s reflect on the past, present, and future.

Gilbert’s Current Population is 259,386.

In the last three decades, Gilbert’s population increased 770.3% from 29,805 in 1990 to 259,386 in 2019.

The growth didn’t happen overnight. It all started in 1920 with 865 people. Back then, Gilbert was an agricultural community but quickly evolved into an economically-diverse community.

The dark boxes you see below are agricultural farms.

Source: Historical Aerial Photography

Gilbert started to take its shape in the 1970s. The Town Council realized that Gilbert would eventually grow and develop much like the neighboring communities of Chandler, Mesa, and Tempe. They approved a strip annexation that encompassed 53 square miles of land, which brought the new grand total of Gilbert to 72.6 square miles. This forward-looking decision helped position Gilbert for growth in the 1980s and beyond.

In the slider image below, you can start to see that growth in the north part of Gilbert in 1979 compared to 1953.

The Growth is Not Over.

Gilbert is expecting to reach a population of 330,000 by the time the community is fully built out.

Similar to 1970, it’s time for us to make decisions that prepare Gilbert for future growth. We’re on the mission to become the City of the Future over the next 100 years, which focuses on Gilbert becoming a prosperous community, developing a strong economy, and building an exceptional environment.

We can’t do this without the help of the community. Learn more about our efforts to become the City of the Future and how to get involved by watching the video below or visit gilbertaz.gov/mission.

Happy Birthday, Gilbert! We can’t wait for the next 100 years!  

Growth and Development


3 Responses to “Hindsight 2020: 100 Years of Growth”

    • Hi, Jean! You are correct that the Loop 202 did not exist in 1979. What you’re seeing on the slider is the aerial view from 1979 with an overlay of the streets and freeways as they are today. Unfortunately, we don’t have digital map geometry for the streets and street names from 1953 and 1979 so we had to overlay a map from today with the street names. It gets a little lost in the coloring so we’ll try and update that to make it more clear. If you drag the slider all the way to the right, you’ll actually see that the Loop 202 still stays on the map and it definitely wasn’t around back then! Thanks for your comment!

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