Living in Utah, I am always hearing things like “Utah is growing very fast” on the news. I have always been curious about why this is, and also whether or not this will affect what Utah is like in the future. I have always suspected that the growth is due to the high birth rate since the majority of the state is Mormon, but there might be other reasons. I was also curious about the reasons for Utah’s growth, and what might change about Utah in the future.
According to theatlantic.com, Utah is the fastest growing state in the country based on 2016 census estimates. This is caused by lots of migration to Utah, due to the booming economy. In fact, large companies such as Ebay and Adobe have large business centers here. But the biggest reason for Utah’s rapid growth is the high birth rate. The majority of Utah’s population are members of the LDS Church, and according to the article the average Mormon mother has 3.4 children, compared to 2.2 for mainline Christian mothers. More than 3 children were born for every resident who died.
At gardner.utah.edu, there is a graph that shows Utah’s projected population over the next 50 years. Utah’s population is projected to exceed 4 million in 2032, it will be more than 5.5 million by 2065. This is approximately the size of the state of Minnesota today. Utah will grow at more than double the rate of the rest of the U.S. There will be a major shift to an aging population during this period, with the number of centenarians (greater than 100) growing by a factor of 20, and the median age of the population will increase from 30 to 39 years. This will cause a considerable shift in Utah’s policy, and Utah will likely shift from a children-focused state to an older people-focused state. It will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.