Salt Lake City’s growth rate increasing

The Salt Lake suburbs continue to grow at a faster rate than the capital city, but according to new census data, the gap is narrowing as last year the city’s population grew at nearly twice the rate than in previous years.

On Thursday the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates for 2016 and according to U.S. Census, Salt Lake City’s 2016 population was 193,744, an increase of 2,306 residents since 2015 and 7,304 since the 2010 official census.

Since 2010, the city has grown at a rate of about 1,200 residents per year.  But several thousand residential units have opened in the city in the past two years.   Because the census’ numbers are for July 2016, Salt Lake’s current population could be closer to 195,000 based on new units added to market since last summer.

Since July 2016 several projects have finished including the Alta Gateway Station, Liberty Crest, 360 Downtown, Legacy Village, Paragon Station9th East Lofts and Bennion Plaza and the north wing of the 4th West Apartments.  Those projects alone account for over 1,200 new residential units.

In addition, the census has an occasional history of overestimating and underestimating growth.  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.

Similarly, in 2010 the Bureau underestimated growth in Philadelphia with a gap of over 20,000 people between the city’s estimated and actual 2010 population.

Of the 16 municipalities in Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City’s estimated rate of population growth in 2016 was the ninth highest.  While in numeric totals, only South Jordan and Herriman added more people last year than Salt Lake.

If Salt Lake City were to continue to grow at last year’s rate, the city would pass the 200,000 population threshold by 2019.  But in reality, the city could pass that threshold next year, as there are over 4,000 residential units actively under construction.

The city of Sandy is also poised to cross a population threshold by the 2020 Census.  If the city continues at its current growth rate, Sandy will become Salt Lake County’s fourth city and Utah’s fifth to surpass 100,000 residents (Orem should also reach 100,000 residents by 2020).

Following Utah’s nation-leading population growth in 2016, the city of Lehi was the state’s big winner among cities with over 50,000 people.  In addition to Lehi, Logan Utah surpassed the 50,000 thresholds.  The top ten largest cities in Utah remain the same as last year but Lehi has surpassed Taylorsville for the 11th spot.

2016 Population Estimates by the numbers: (based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau)

Salt Lake County 2016 Population Estimates by Municipality:

2015 estimate2016 estimateNumerical changePercent change
South Jordan66,51369,0342,5213.7%
West Jordan111,762113,6991,9371.7%
Salt Lake City191,438193,7442,3061.2%
West Valley135,979136,5745950.4%
Cottonwood Heights34,28934,285-4-0.0%
South Salt Lake24,67624,630-46-0.2%

Salt Lake County Population Growth by Municipality between 2010-2016:

2010 Census2016 estimate2010-2016 numeric growth2010-2016 growth rate
Salt Lake City186,440193,7447,3043.8%
West Valley129,480136,5747,0945.2%
West Jordan103,712113,6999,9878.8%
South Jordan50,41869,03418,61627.0%
Cottonwood Heights33,43334,2858522.5%
South Salt Lake23,61724,6301,0134.1%

Population Growth Among the 11 largest Cities:

2010 Census2015 estimate2016 estimate2016 numerical growth2016 growth rate2010-2016 numerical growth2010-2016 growth rate
Salt Lake City186,440191,438193,7442,3061.2%7,3043.8%
West Valley129,480135,979136,5745950.4%7,0945.2%
West Jordan103,712111,762113,6991,9371.7%9,9878.8%
St. George7289780129823182,1892.7%9,42111.4%
South Jordan50,41866,51369,0342,5213.7%18,61627.0%

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at