Utah grew by more than 52,660 people in 2018, even as births and migration slowed, according to new estimates from the Utah Population Committee.
“The growth rate has slowed down a little bit since last year, but we’re continuing to see more people move into the state than move out,” said Pam Perlich, director of demographic research with the institute.
Perlich said she was surprised by the continued decline in the birth rate, a trend that has been happening nationally as younger women delay having children.
“Births, the number of babies born, peaked in 2008, and has been going down” since, she said. “In fact, fertility is going down and is almost at replacement level here in Utah, which is pretty amazing.”
While Utah maintains one of the highest fertility rates of any state, births were at their lowest level since 2000 with 47,310.
“This definitely is a generational shift, a cultural shift — both within the Mormon cultural region — and of course we have new people moving to the state and bringing characteristics from the outside world,” she said.
Net migration — the number of people moving into the state minus the number of people moving out — also decreased slightly, ending a five-year streak of increases. Net migration is usually seen as an indicator of economic growth.
“If anything, maybe we’re seeing that economic expansion moderate just a bit, but it’s still very strong,” she said. “You get north of 20,000 people moving to the state, net, that’s a lot of increase in demand for housing and jobs.”
Other highlights from the report include strong growth in southwestern Utah, which has the state’s highest rate of growth. Utah County added roughly 15,847 new residents, the highest of any area.