SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Utah’s population is projected to grow by 66% in the next four decades, according to a new report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.
“These long-term planning projections indicate Utah’s history of population growth and change will continue, growing from 3.3 million in 2020 to 5.5 million in 2060. Statewide, projected population growth pairs with a doubling of households, from under 1.1 million in 2020 to nearly 2.2 million in 2060,” the authors state.
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The Gardner Institute projects Summit County’s population to be 59,603 in 2060, a 40.6% increase from a projected 2020 population of 42,394. It ranks #16 out of all counties statewide for the highest projected population growth rate between the years 2020-2060.
Wasatch County ranks second overall, with an estimated population growth rate in that time period of 131.9%. Washington County in the southwest is expected to grow by roughly 155% in the next four decades, leading the entire state.
In 2060, Salt Lake County is expected to remain the largest county in the state (projected 2060 population: 1,672,102). However, Utah County is projected to gain the most residents by 2060 (projected residents gained 2020-2060: 673,964), accounting for over 30% of the state’s population growth.
A look at household growth — Summit and Wasatch Counties aren’t expected to see growth more than 2%:
“An aging population will play a role in a projected decrease in household size, from 3.0 people per household in 2020 to 2.3 in 2060,” the report notes.
“The combined impacts of decreasing fertility rates, increasing life expectancy, and migration patterns result in an increase in the statewide median age from 32.1 in 2020 to 42.1 in 2060…Washington, Kane, and Summit counties have the oldest projected median ages in 2060, all at 51 or older.”
In 2021, natural increase (births minus deaths) was at the lowest level in Utah since 1975. Net migration (migrants moving in minus migrants moving out) has played a consistent role in recent decades in the state, and that role is set to become larger.
By 2060, the report says that net migration will drive nearly three-quarters of Utah’s population growth.
In the last decade (2010-2020), Utah led the United States in population growth, adding 18% more residents during the ten-year period.
“Continued employment growth and industry diversification result in the addition of 1.3 million new jobs. This continuation of a strong economy plays a role in net migration becoming the driver of statewide growth.”
Summit County is expected to gain more than 21,000 jobs by 2060.
The Institute says that Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Washington, and Weber Counties will account for over 88% of the anticipated job growth.