Utah is growing and a recently published study shows Summit and Wasatch counties are near the top of that growth curve. The Kem C. Gardener Institute at the University of Utah publishes state and county population estimates. The data establishes a baseline count that will be used to predict population changes moving into the next decade.
The Institute receives funding from the Utah legislature to gather population data and predict growth. Since the last census in 2010, Utah’s population has increased from 2.8 million people to 3.2 million. The organization measures births, deaths and migration.
In the last 10 years, Summit County has added 5500 new people which is an increase of just more than 15%. In the same time. Wasatch County’s population increased by 9300 people which represents nearly a 40% increase.
Institute Demographer Emily Harris explains that Wasatch County continues to be the fastest growing county in the state and one of the fastest in the country.
“When we look at absolute growth. So, just the total raw number of people, Utah County has the highest growth since the last census. They’ve grown by 26% and that’s about 134,000 people. When we look at percent change, Wasatch County is the definite frontrunner in terms of fastest growth. I mean they’ve added about 9000 people since 2010 but when you translate that into a percentage that’s almost 40%.
They don’t collect data that identifies seasonal workers or visitors which is when Summit and Wasatch Counties populations explode.
We do know that a lot of people live in the surrounding counties and commute into Summit County to work particularly in a lot of those service industry jobs that are really popular and important in the winter. You know they’re not the total number of people that are in a county on a given day. It’s the number of people that go home in the evening to that county and sleep in that County basically the nighttime population is what we call it.”
Harris says state and municipal agencies use the population numbers for planning purposes and to make calculations for managing growth. They also work with the census bureau to compare estimates and provide feedback to the national census.
“We produce our own population estimates that are based off of the decennial census. but we use public school enrollment data. We use Utah tax Commission data so IRS exemption. We get church membership data and then we also get housing data as well. And then we pair that with the birth and death data that we get from the Utah Department of Health to provide a really whole view of Utah’s context and situation in their population estimate.”
Learn more at gardner.utah.edu
Read the original story at KPCW.org