Census Bureau Puts Utah Population Growth at 2 Percent

Census Bureau Puts Utah Population Growth at 2 Percent

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Census Bureau puts Utah's population growth at 2 percent for the year ended July 1, while state demographers estimate the growth at 3.2 percent.

The Census Bureau estimates the state's population grew to 2.47 million in the year.

It said the five fastest-growing states were, in order: Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Florida and Utah.

Nevada grew by 3.5 percent to 2.4 million people. Arizona and Idaho grew by 3.5 and 2.4 percent, respectively.

The Census Bureau estimates population change since the most recent census using births, deaths, administrative records and survey data.

The census estimated Utah's growth at 10.6 percent -- or 236,387 people, since 2000.

The Utah Population Estimates Committee believes the census underestimates Utah's population.

Robert Spendlove, manager of demographic and economic analysis for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, said a big part of the difference is in the state's migration, estimated at about 27 percent of the state's one-year growth by the Census Bureau and at about half by UPEC.

The Census Bureau said Utah gained an estimated 35,611 people through natural growth -- the difference between births and deaths.

"Our forecasts are for continued strong population growth," Spendlove said, attributing much of Utah's growth to relatively low housing prices and a strong economy.

"The state has a very strong economy right now; our employment growth is also fifth in the nation -- over twice the national average," he said. "Pretty much every sector of the economy is growing."

While migration is accounting for a large portion of Utah's population growth now, Spendlove said that during the past 50 years, three-fourths of the state's population growth has been due to natural increase.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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