New 50-year projections from the Gardner Policy Institute show continued growth and structural shifts for the state

(Salt Lake City) July 17, 2017 – New long-term demographic and economic projections, prepared by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, project Utah’s population will increase to 5.8 million by the year 2065. All Utah counties are projected to grow over the next 50 years, with Utah County experiencing the largest numeric increase in population, adding more than 1 million new residents.

“It’s fascinating to see how the unique demographic characteristics and dynamics of each county play out in these projections,” said Dr. Pamela Perlich, director of demographic research at the Gardner Policy Institute. “The growth dynamic of the urban area is clearly shifting to Utah County, which is evolving into a more diversified economic and demographic place.”

Highlights from the projections include:

  • Cumulatively, over the next 50 years, 37 percent of the state’s population growth is projected to be in Utah County. This means nearly four of every 10 new Utah residents will live in Utah County.
  • Salt Lake County is projected to remain the most populous in the state, reaching nearly 1.7 million people by 2065.
  • Washington County is projected to have the most rapid growth rate among all counties: 229 percent increase over the next 50 years, growing to more than half a million residents.
  • The population of the metropolitan area is projected to expand beyond the four Wasatch Front urban counties into four accessible surrounding counties: Wasatch, Juab, Morgan and Tooele Counties.
  • The fastest-growing industries between 2015 and 2065 are projected to be construction, professional and scientific services, health care, education and arts, entertainment and recreation.
  • Washington County is projected to have the largest percent increase in households (270 percent), followed by Wasatch (255 percent), Juab (239 percent), and Utah Counties (233 percent).

“The increase in population is projected to account for more than 1.2 million new households in Utah, a 126 percent increase,” said Jim Wood, Ivory-Boyer senior fellow at the Gardner Policy Institute. “The projected acceleration of population and household growth will increase demand and prices in the housing market over the next few years.”

The projections have been completed in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, the Utah Association of Governments, and other research entities. The initial research brief is available here and additional products are available at gardner.utah.edu.