For decades Utah’s suburban communities have led the state’s population growth but new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show a shift toward urban living as Salt Lake City led the state in most new residents last year.
According to estimates released today by the Bureau, on July 1, 2017, Salt Lake City had an estimated population of 200,544 people, an increase of 5,891 residents over the prior year and 14,104 residents since the 2010 Census.
The Census Bureau previously estimated that Utah was the fasted growing state and St. George was the fastest growing metro in 2017, yet despite leading the nation in growth, no Utah cities appeared in the Bureau’s list of fastest growing cities for 2017. In recent years both South Jordan and Lehi have been among the fastest growing cities in the country.
Since 2012, the capital city’s population had been growing at a steady rate of around 1,000 people per year. That rate more than doubled in 2016 when the Bureau estimated that the city gained 2,306 new residents and based on the 2017 estimates, the city’s growth rate has again doubled from the previous year.
Salt Lake’s recent growth is significant because it reflects an increasing demand for multifamily and higher-density housing as many of the state’s new residents opt for city living over suburban sprawl. The increase in residents also corresponds with the several thousand new residential units the city has added in the past few years and will continue to add in the near future.
According to Building Salt Lake’s project database, the city added around 2,000 residential units between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. Additionally, there are over 3,600 residential units actively under construction and another 3,600 proposed units.
While Salt Lake experienced a significant population bump, the populations in six of Salt Lake County’s 16 cities decreased. The Bureau estimates that West Valley, Sandy, Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights and Holladay lost residents in 2017.
Salt Lake’s population growth could be even more significant than current estimates show. The Census Bureau has a history of both overestimating and underestimating population growth as they use building permits and birth and death records to estimate a population which doesn’t account for additional population changes. In 2010 the Bureau estimated Salt Lake’s population to be 184,448, almost 2,000 fewer people than the official population of 186,440 reported in the 2010 Census.
The top ten largest cities in Utah remain the same as last year. Of the ten largest cities all but Sandy and West Valley had population increases in 2017.
2017 Population Estimates by the numbers: (based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau)
Salt Lake County 2017 Population Estimates by Municipality:
Utah cities with the largest population increase in 2017
|Estimated 2017 population increase|
|Salt Lake City||5,891|
Utah's Largest Cities in 2017
|City||2017 Population Estimate|
|Salt Lake City||200,544|
2017 Population Estimates Salt Lake County
|2017 Population Estimate||2016 Population Estimate||2016-2017 Difference||2016-2017 Percent Growth||2010 Population||2010-2017 Difference||2010-2017 Percent Growth|
|Salt Lake City||200,544||194,653||5,891||3.0%||186,440||14,104||7.6%|
|West Valley City||136,170||136846||-676||-0.5%||129,480||6,690||5.2%|
|South Salt Lake||24,956||24,669||287||1.2%||23,617||1,339||5.7%|