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2021 saw Utah's largest migration increase in over a decade

Infrastruture Growing Gridlock Utah
Posted at 10:31 AM, Dec 08, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study shows that 2021 saw the largest migration surge to Utah in over a decade.

Through net migration this year, Utah added 34,858 people, nearly 10,000 more than the 2020 estimate, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute study. The population increase through migration is the second largest in Utah history and the most since 2005.

The surge also represents the seventh straight year the number of people coming to Utah from outside the state topped 20,000.

"Net migration became the driver of growth statewide, increasing by 15% over the previous year and driving growth in three-quarters of counties," the study reads.

Utah's prosperous economy and job openings are considered to be the main reason for migration increases, along with recreational activities and overall lifestyle.

"Everyone's just been saying the secret's out, Utah is coming on people's radar," said Emily Harris, Senior Demographer and lead author of the report. "It's a beautiful place to live. It's got a lot of jobs and a lot of really great access, so there's just a lot of things that people find attractive about Utah."

Overall, from July 2020 to July 2021, Utah added approximately 58,729 people for a 1.8% increase to the population. The growth rate increase is the state's highest since 2017.

While migration numbers increased, natural growth to Utah's population fell due to a decrease in annual births as annual deaths rise in the state.

"Typically, natural increase, which is births minus deaths, is Utah's main component of change; that's usually what drives Utah's growth," said Harris.

Iron County had the fast growth in Utah last year at 6.2%, while the study shows that "one-third of statewide growth between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 came from Utah County residents."

Only Garfield County showed a decrease in population in 2021.