Utah Population Growth Shifts To People Coming For Jobs

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The Editors's picture
Utah Population Growth Shifts To People Coming For Jobs

Utah population growth is continuing and shows a shift in the sources of population growth which is putting a strain on the state's rental housing, according to a report from the Utah Population Committee at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.

Economic expansion is drawing migrants to Utah and continuing to put pressure on the housing market and rental markets in the state.

“Historically natural increase has been the mainstay of the state’s growth, a product of high birth rates and low death rates. Utah, along with the nation, has had gradual long term increases in median age and declines in fertility,” the report says.

Utah population growth will continue

“This year’s population estimates indicate that Utah has experienced sustained growth, marked by an increase in net migration and simultaneously slowing natural increase,” according to the report.

“Utah was recognized as the fastest growing state in the country in 2016 by the Census Bureau. These new population estimates for 2017 show similar growth compared to last year, and Utah will continue to be a rapidly growing state in the future.”

The report says since July 1, 2010, Utah experienced a decline in natural increase: a natural result of the combined effects of declining births and rising deaths. Overall national trends during this same period depict a declining fertility rate that has been significantly impacted by the recession. While Utah may have the highest total fertility rate in the nation, Utah women are also delaying births and on average are having fewer children as compared to the last decade. These forces all combine to result in declining births,” according to the report.

Utah Population Growth Shifts To Migrants Coming For Jobs

Birth rate still strong but going down

“Natural increase is still strong. It’s still the major share of growth. But it’s been going down steadily since the onset of the Great Recession,” Pam Perlich, director of demographics at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Perlich sees many potential causes for declining births here, even though Utah still has the nation’s top overall fertility rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For one, “We’ve seen a collapse in the fertility rates of teenage women. That’s terrific.”

She said rates have also come down significantly for women in their 20s. “You see people delaying having children until their 30s, or late 20s. And when you start later, generally you have fewer.”

Perlich told the newspaper demographers thought that would change as the economy improved after the recession and families could more easily afford more children — but it has yet to do so.

“So it’s not just the economy here. There are other factors at play,” she said. “It could be that women are asked to do more: get more higher education, go on missions. All that is good, but it takes time. So it could lead to these delays.”

Resources:

Policy brief: State and county population estimates for Utah 2017

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute University of Utah

Utah population booming — fueled by job seekers and babies

 

 

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