December 8, 2021 (Salt Lake City) – Population estimates for July 1, 2021, released today by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, indicate the state added approximately 71,936 people since the 2020 census, reaching an estimated 3,343,552 Utahns. From July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, the population grew by 58,729 people. This annual growth rate of 1.8% is the highest since 2017.
“Utah started the decade with a year of solid growth, averaging 160 new residents per day,” said Emily Harris, Senior Demographer at the Gardner Institute and lead author of the report. “The state also experienced the second-highest recorded net migration and the lowest natural increase since 1975. This year’s estimates indicate a slight rebound as Utahns move through a global pandemic and attempt to find a new normal.”
Key results from the report include the following:
Natural Increase – Since July 1, 2010, Utah has experienced an annual decline in natural increase due to annual births decreasing while annual deaths increase. National trends during this same period depict a declining fertility rate significantly impacted by the Great Recession. Utah’s total fertility rate (TFR) fell from 2.45 in 2010 to below replacement level (1.99 in 2019), moving from the highest TFR in the nation to the third highest.
Net Migration – Utah’s 2021 net migration is 34,858, almost 10,000 more than last year’s estimate. This estimate is the highest net migration since 2005 and is the 7th consecutive year that net migration has been above 20,000. Net migration contributed 59% of Utah’s population growth over the past year, up from 49% of state growth the year before.
Region and County-Level Results – Iron County had the fastest growth at 6.2%, followed by Tooele County (4.1%), Washington County (4.0%), and Utah County (2.9%). Utah County had the highest natural increase, net migration, and population growth in the state, far exceeding Salt Lake County’s 0.8% growth. One-third of statewide growth between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 came from Utah County residents. Salt Lake County contributed 15.9% of growth and Washington County was responsible for 12.5% of growth. Davis, Weber, Cache, Iron, and Tooele counties contributed between 7.7% and 5.1% each to the state’s growth. Garfield County was the only county to lose population in 2021.
Impacts of COVID-19 – Although the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on births were not apparent in the data, the significant increase in deaths changed how the state and many counties grew. Net migration became the driver of growth statewide, increasing by 15% over the previous year and driving growth in three-quarters of counties. While net migration varies annually in Utah, natural increase (outside of a global pandemic) typically does not. Once COVID-19 related deaths subside, there is an expectation that natural increase will stabilize.
The full estimates are now available online.