Forget the suddenly mediocre football team in Foxborough. Or the latest failed bid for the White House by a Massachusetts pol.

The region has quietly suffered an even bigger dent to its standing. For the first time in decades, if not all of US history, Greater Boston has lost its perch among the top 10 largest US metro areas. Knocked aside by the booming Phoenix metro area.

Thomas Vicino, a political science professor at Northeastern University, said while Greater Boston getting bumped from 10th to 11th is a trivial move, the region’s ranking does “highlight some challenges that our region faces” and poses an obvious question: Why is the population growing more rapidly elsewhere? The region, he said, continues to wrestle with familiar and longstanding issues: a high cost of living, a shortage of affordable housing, and — at least before the pandemic — terrible traffic.

“These sorts of issues are bread and butter issues for people when they think about where they’re going to live,” he said.


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