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Utah population grows by nearly 60K; Wasatch County sees fastest rise

Utah population grows by nearly 60K; Wasatch County sees fastest rise


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s population continues to grow, with central and southwestern Utah experiencing the largest population change from 2016 to 2017, according to a new state population estimate released Wednesday.

Utah’s population increased by 59,045 to a total of 3,114,039 from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, according to a report released by the Utah Population Committee. In all, it’s a 1.9 percent increase in population.

The growth was nearly split in half between natural increase (annual births minus annual deaths) and net migration, which is the calculation of new people moving into the state. About 54 percent of the increase came from births, while net migration accounted for 46 percent, according to the report.

“The increased net in-migration is evidence of the relative economic strength of the state. Salt Lake County has attracted the largest percentage of the net in-migration flow, with a surge in multi-family residential units,” Dr. Pamela Perlich, director of demographic research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and chair of the Utah Population Committee, said in a news release.

Coming as no surprise, Salt Lake County remains the highest-populated county with 500,000 more than any other county. With a state-leading 19,372-person increase, it grew to just shy of 1.13 million residents.

The fastest-growing county by percentage, however, came east of Salt Lake. Wasatch County’s population jumped 4.1 percent to 31,224 residents. That was followed by Washington County in southern Utah with a 3.3 percent increase to 165,601 residents and Iron County with a 3 percent increase to 52,280.

Tooele County (2.8 percent) and Utah County (2.4 percent) rounded out the top five counties in the state with the fastest growing populations.

Daggett County in northeastern Utah experienced the largest percentage decrease at -5.1 percent. Kane County (-0.3 percent) also experience a population decrease from 2016 to 2017.

A graph of percentage changes for Utah counties from July 2016 to July 2017. (Graph: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)
A graph of percentage changes for Utah counties from July 2016 to July 2017. (Graph: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

The report concluded the 2017 population estimate shows similar growth to 2016, when it surpassed 3 million for the first time and was recognized by the Census Bureau as the fasted-growing state in the country. The committee also estimated that trend will continue in the future.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 estimated population, noted a rise in population in the western U.S. region, with Utah topping the list in state growth by percentage. Nevada and Idaho were second and third in 2016. In all, Western states accounted for seven of the top 10 fastest growing states in that category.

The 2017 report by the Census Bureau is expected in December.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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