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Welcome! Simply, welcome!

That seems the most appropriate way to respond to news that Utah's population continues to grow by leaps and bounds. According to demographers, 84,425 people joined our ranks last fiscal year - the largest one-year population jump in the state's history. About half of the newcomers actually moved into the state, while the rest, not surprisingly, arrived as newborns. Utahns still are prolific and have a lot of babies.

For perspective, that's the equivalent of ten new residents per hour. In total, it's enough people to populate a city the size of Ogden.

The growth is not surprising in view of Utah's vibrant economy. Jobs are plentiful, the lifestyle is phenomenal and the natural setting is both stunning and inviting. Utah really is a "pretty great state."

That said, such dramatic growth presents enormous challenges. It amplifies concerns about having enough water in this semi-arid climate, keeping the expanding populous mobile through building costly transportation projects, and having the means to effectively educate all of the children. Culturally, it brings greater diversity along with special challenges, but also opportunities for discovering common ground.

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