U of U projection: Utah population 5.4 million by 2060

Jan 19, 2022, 11:56 AM
population million...
Chart from the U of U's Gardner Institute shows Utah's population reaching 5.4 million in 2060, even as the rate of growth is slowing down. (Photo: Gardner Institute)
(Photo: Gardner Institute)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new report shows that although Utah’s long-term growth rate is slowing, the population could increase by 2 million in the next few decades.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah released a recent report on Utah’s population growth. The report shows the state’s population could reach 3.8 million people by 2030 and 5.4 million by 2060. But that represents a slowing in the long-term growth rate compared to previous decades.

Mallory Bateman, the institute’s Director of Demographic Research, says the trend of population growth appears to be going down.

Immense population growth expected, even as growth rate slows

“We were the fastest-growing state,” she told reporters Wednesday morning, “Nationwide, this past decade was the slowest growth rate since the 1930’s.”

Over the next four decades, the proportion of Utahns over 65 years old is expected to double, from about 11% of the population today to more than 22% in 2060.

Birth rates in Utah have also been going down, but Senior Demographer Emily Harris said we still expect to have a lot of kids, especially in the short term.

“What we’re anticipating, probably in the next ten years,” she said, “is, even as fertility rates decline, we will still have a large concentration of people in child-bearing ages.”

Population growth by county

The report also projects strong economic growth in the coming decades, with much of that concentrated in Salt Lake County.

population million

Population growth projections by county. Photo: Kem C.Gardner Policy Institute, 2020–2060 Projections

“So if you look at Salt Lake and Utah County,” said Senior Research Associate Max Backlund, “you can see that Utah County is the leader for population growth, but it still trails Salt Lake County for employment growth by about 200,000 jobs.”

Salt Lake and Summit counties are the only two in the state where the number of new jobs is expected to exceed total population growth.

The report is available on the Gardner Institute website.

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U of U projection: Utah population 5.4 million by 2060