Utah celebrates 3 million residents

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Utah reached a new milestone last month thanks to the birth of Sadie Christensen—potentially the state’s 3 millionth citizen—at Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi on Oct. 24.

Gov. Gary Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, visited the parents of newborn babies at Utah’s newest hospital, Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, as part of the announcement.

“Utah’s growth is validation that we are doing things right. Perhaps more importantly, we are creating opportunities for our children, so they can pursue their dreams here at home in Utah,” Herbert said in a press release.

Analysts project that the state’s population will surpass 4 million within 16 years.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, left, and his wife Jeanette meet with Alyse Christensen and her newborn daughter Sadie at Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, Utah. (Spenser Heaps/The Daily Herald via AP)
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, left, and his wife Jeanette meet with Alyse Christensen and her newborn daughter Sadie at Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, Utah. (Spenser Heaps/The Daily Herald via AP)

The announcement of Utah’s 3 millionth resident was made in Lehi because northern Utah County and southern Salt Lake County are the core of Utah’s latest population growth spurt, according to demographers from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Two-thirds of Utah’s growth since the state surpassed its 2 million population mark have come from natural growth. Natural increase, which is defined as more births than deaths, is the leading component of Utah’s growth.

High fertility rates and healthy lifestyles have directed the population surge.

Natural increase has also helped Utah retain its position as the youngest state in the nation, with a median age of 30.5 years-old compared to the national average of 37.7.

The other third of Utah’s population is from in-migration, or more people migrating to Utah minus those leaving.

“Utah is no longer a secret,” said Pam Perlich, director of demographic research at the University of Utah Kem G. Policy Institute at the event, according to the press release. “People have come to recognize the incredible quality of life Utah has to offer.”

Utah’s demographic dynamic often attracts young people seeking educational, career and family opportunities. Refugee relief, headquarters to a major religion, incredible quality of life and a “breathtaking” beauty are other reasons Perlich gives for why people flock to Utah.

“This is not the same Utah that is just getting bigger,” Perlich said. “As we are growing. We are changing.”

A report by “Kids Count Data Center” found that 80 percent of Utah children are being raised by married parents — the highest rate in the U.S.
“The economy and the family are interconnected in many ways,” said Joseph Price, Associate Professor of Economics at BYU. “Parents want children to be better off in the future, Utah is a great place to raise them.”