By SHELLEY K. MESCH, The Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Although they predict a slower rate of growth over the next few decades, researchers at the University of Utah still predict a population increase over the next 40 years.
Utah had the highest growth rate of any state from 2010 to 2020, according to census data, adding 18% more residents to its population over the decade. By 2060, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute predicts an additional 66%.
The coming decades will also see a major demographic shift as the current population ages and the state’s fertility rate declines.
“Overall, the population aged 65 and over is going to increase from about 12% of the total population to about 23% by 2060,” the institute’s director of demographic research, Mallory Bateman, told the Times. Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s a big change for our youngest state in the country given the different implications it could have in all sorts of areas of politics and decision-making.”
By analyzing current trends and predicted events, such as coal-fired power plant shutdowns and further Olympics in Salt Lake City, institute researchers expect Salt Lake and Utah account for the greatest growth – more than half of the state’s total growth.
These two counties will also see the most new jobs, accounting for two-thirds of the state’s growth. Construction, professional and technical services, and healthcare will create the most new jobs, as manufacturing is likely to become a smaller part of Utah’s economy.
“This is a significant change in the economy,” said economist Max Backlund. “Historically, we’ve been a goods-producing, manufacturing-type economy…You can see now that there’s more of a shift towards these professional and technical service industries,” which include jobs like engineers, accountants and lawyers.
That’s not to say other counties won’t see impressive growth as well, though most of the growth will still be centered in northern Utah. Davis County could add more than 200,000, Weber County more than 100,000, and Cache County just under 100,000.
“Those neighboring counties on the Wasatch front, so places like Tooele and Wasatch that have been fast-growing counties, traditionally continue to see strong growth,” Bateman said. “They should almost double their population.”
Although Salt Lake and Utah counties will see the highest population growth in numbers, southwestern Utah – Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties – has the fastest growth rate. raised.
The region will more than double its population by adding a projected 330,000 new residents, with Washington County accounting for more than three-quarters of that population.
Projections could change – the institute creates a new projection every four years – under significant circumstances, such as policy changes or major investments or even an increase in birth rates like another baby boom.
“What we project is based on the trends we see, the patterns that seem most likely,” said researcher Michael Hogue, “but there’s no way to predict the course of a strange event.”
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