New estimates show that Utah’s population grew by nearly 60,000 people between July 2016 and July 2017.
Pam Perlich is director of demographic research at the Kem. C Garden Policy Institute, which released the numbers.
She says the increase is mostly natural – meaning there were more births than deaths during this period.
Even though fertility rates are generally trending downward nationally and in Utah, the state still leads the nation.
“That dynamic is here to stay for a while," she said. "We’re looking at over the next 50 years approaching 6 million people and the infrastructures and institutions that we have, are really I don’t think right now, ready for that kind of growth, so we have work to do."
Migration also helped boost the population. This year, there were 27,000 more people moving to Utah than moving out.
Perlich says there’s also an increase in international migration, with a major influx coming from Asia.
“This is a diverse migration of people who are coming because Utah’s economy now is among the very strongest in the Nation." she says. "We have constituently been having very strong economic growth and then Utah is also seen as a place of possibility and prosperity.”
Last year, Utah was the fastest growing state and Perlich expects it to remain in the top five this year.