Growth and Change: Utah’s Constant Companion

BY MALLORY BATEMAN

Utah’s population and demographics stand out in the national picture. Our young and growing workforce, emerging diverse communities, and increasing global interconnectedness combine to present opportunities for innovative collaborations.

  • An estimated 3.1 million people currently call Utah home. Between 2016 and AK 2017, Utah was the third HI fastest growing state in the nation behind intermountain PR neighbors Idaho and Nevada. Much of the growth is occurring in the greater Wasatch Front metropolitan region as well and in Utah’s southwestern region, catalyzed by Washington County.

    In the words of Dr. Pamela S. Perlich, “In Utah, growth and change are our constant companions.” Population has grown every decade since statehood, even in times of economic downturns. Historically growth was 1.0% largely fueled by high fertility rates, as births consistently exceeded deaths. People moving to and from Utah was driven by what was happening in the economy.

Over the past 20 years, the balance has shifted. Although natural increase (births minus deaths) is still a significant contributor to growth, migration is playing a larger and more stable role. Utah’s relatively strong economy continues to bring new people to our state.

While Utah maintains its signature demographics, it is trending with the nation towards increasing median age and declining household sizes. The increasing influence of migration also adds to a diversifying population in the state. People from all over the world come to Utah to study, work, live, and play. With those motivators, our newcomers are typically younger. They are a crucial addition to our tight labor market where demand for talent exceeds what we can provide internally.

The continued addition of new Utahns, whether by birth or moving in, creates new opportunities for us to interact with each other and our communities. Let’s embrace the sentiment of the 1996 chart topper, “Utah, This Is the Place,” and continue to work together to ensure it will continue to be a great place to be.

Mallory Bateman is the State Data Center coordinator and research analyst at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

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