Blog Post

Insight: Migration’s Contributions to Population Growth

By: Mike Hollingshaus

A new fact sheet explores net migration’s cumulative effects on Utah’s projected population growth – without it, Utah’s population would include 1.4 million fewer residents in 2060. Natural increase (births minus deaths) and net migration are the two sources of growth. Both have been important in Utah’s past, but recently net migration has become more prominent. That trend will likely continue, though our  projections maintain positive natural increase in Utah through 2060.

This narrative tells a simple and compelling story, but reality is more complicated. Migration and natural increase are intertwined. One frequently overlooked fact is that today’s migrants are often tomorrow’s parents. A “zero-migration” simulation demonstrates this phenomenon. This simulation is an experiment designed to answer the question: if all Utah migration ceased, what would happen to the future population? Figure 1 shows the basic results from this experiment.

While this scenario is unlikely to occur, and the model relies upon strong assumptions, it illustrates some important points.

    • Utah’s future growth is highly contingent upon bo