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Utah's Population Surpasses 3.1 Million in 2018, Despite Dip In Births

Utah's population is estimated at 3.16 million.
Gardner Policy Institute
Utah's population is estimated to be 3.16 million.

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.

 

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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