(The Center Square) - Utah gained 41,687 new residents over the last year, which ranks the state ninth in population growth among U.S. states and territories, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Beehive State’s population grew by 1.2%, which is the tenth-highest growth by state, according to the report. Nearly 3.4 million people call Utah home, compared to 3.3 million in 2020.
“Utah has typically not been in the top ten for numeric growth because we are a smaller state,” said Emily Harris, a senior demographer for the Utah Population Committee. “This is only the second year that has happened.”
Earlier this month, the Population Committee released estimates showing an additional 61,242 people moved into the state from 2021 to 2022. The growth was driven by net migration, according to the report. The population growth was the highest since 2006, according to the committee.
“This shift in the past two years from natural increase to net migration driving most of the growth reflects the combined impacts of increased deaths from COVID-19, decreasing births since 2008, and increasing net migration annually since 2015,” said Gardner Institute director of demographic research Mallory Bateman in a statement about the Population Committee’s report.
The Census shows net migration is declining. In 2021, 31,734 moved into the state compared to 18,312 in 2022.
“What this data is telling us is there’s lower net migration in Utah right now,” Harris said. “So our natural increase has stayed about the same as what it was last year. But what really dropped was our net migration estimates. And if you look at that in terms of the regional results from the Census estimates, it kind of aligns with what they are seeing is that the South is really booming right now in this last year with a ton of net migration. And the western region where Utah sits, while it still grew, it actually mostly grew from natural increase and they actually had domestic net out migration for the region. These estimates are basically telling us that we are beginning to see more people leave the West and move into the South.”
The West is the only other region besides the South to experience population growth in 2022, according to the Census. The western region lost 233,150 residents who moved out of the region. Most of those people left California, which lost 113,640 residents, according to the data.