Town & County

Not all new Utah residents may exactly be new

Over 800,000 California residents moved to a new state in the past year — and nearly 18,000 of them came to Utah

UTAH — Utah’s population was 3,380,800 in July 2022, up from 3,271,614 in April 2020, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. So, where are these new residents coming from?

Over 18,000 California residents moved to the Beehive State in 2022, according to the 2022 American Community Survey.

While that’s a large number, with more than an estimated 800,000 California residents having moved to a new state in the past year, Utah didn’t rank anywhere near the top three states in terms of new residents from the West Coast. Over 102,000 Californians moved to Texas, over 74,000 moved to Arizona, and over 50,000 moved to Florida.

Other states also contributed to Utah’s 2022 population growth, although none quite so drastically as California. Nearly 9,000 new residents moved from Washington State, over 8,000 from Idaho, and just over 7,000 from Texas.

However, not all new Utah residents are actually all that new. According to a monograph published earlier this month by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, in 2021 nearly 27% of those that had moved to Utah were actually born here.

According to the monograph, entitled “The New Utah,” Utah has gained more population from in-migration than internal growth (births minus deaths) over the past two years.

While public opinion on the pros and cons of external growth is typically mixed, Utah’s population is undeniably aging as fertility rates remain well below replacement level. This trend is expected to continue, with even greater impacts in the coming years.

In-migration has also led to Utah’s population becoming more multicultural. In 1990, nearly one in 10 Utahns was a racial or ethnic minority. Now that number is nearly one in four, and that number is expected to increase over time.

“Utah faces a critical inflection point,” Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, said in a press release. “Demographic and economic changes have created a New Utah, which requires state and local government to be more effective, responsive, speedy, and innovative to keep Utah thriving. The New Utah requires bold action.”

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