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Census: Lehi 11th Fastest Growing City In US

New data from the Census Bureau ranks Lehi, Utah, as the 11th fastest growing city in the U.S., a reflection of the Wasatch Front’s strong economy, particularly in the area known as Silicon Slopes.

Lehi was the only Utah city ranked in the top 15 and one of just four in the West, according to the Census Bureau’s new population estimates for 2016.


At 4.6 percent growth, Lehi now has a population of 61,130 people.


“In the way that we’ve seen the Dallas-Fort Worth area begin to merge together into one large metroplex, a similar kind of thing is happening between the Provo-Orem and the Salt Lake City area," said PamPerlich, director of demographic research with the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.


She said there's a few reasons for Lehi’s fast growth.


“One is just that the connectivity between these two counties has increased because of very significant investment in transportation infrastructure — the I-15 expansion and FrontRunner," she said.


But there’s also the fact that this area has a lot of available land where companies, many of them tech focused, are finding it cheaper and easier to move — earning it the nickname Silicon Slopes.


“It’s very, very clear that that’s an area that was previously not developed that’s becoming developed,” she said. “It’s not what you would call expansion of the urban area in the rings, it’s the filling in of the space between these centers of population and economic activity.”


Other Utah cities that saw rapid growth include South Jordan, Orem and St. George.


Logan, in Cache County to the north, was one of five cities in the nation to cross the 50,000 population mark over the last year.


In general, Perlich said, smaller western towns and southern cities are continuing to see the most growth, following a geographic trend that’s been going on for decades.


As for population decreases, Vernal, Utah, located in northeastern Uintah County, experienced the largest, shrinking by about 4 percent to just 433 people.


Top 5 fastest growing Utah cities (from 2015-2016) with populations of 50,000 or more:

  1. Lehi 4.6% - pop. 61,130

  2. South Jordan 3.8% - pop. 69,034

  3. Orem 3.4% - pop. 97,499

  4. St. George 2.7% - pop. 82,318

  5. Layton 2.1% - pop. 50,676

 Source: Kem C. Gardner Institute, Census Bureau


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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