- Associated Press - Sunday, April 20, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah’s population is expected to soar 86 percent by 2050 from 2.9 million to 5.4 million, according to a report.

The study by the independent research group Utah Foundation says the state’s population will also be more diverse, noting most growth among the young now is occurring among minorities.

And it says the population will be increasingly urban, with growth booms coming to areas around the fringe of the Wasatch Front where more land is available for development.

“Salt Lake and Davis counties are nearly built out, and thus most new development will likely be farther from existing city centers,” the study says.

Utah County, centered around Provo, is expected to grow by 136 percent from 516,500 to 1.2 million, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1nBfvZF ).

Some counties neighboring the Wasatch Front are expected to more than double in population. Wasatch County is projected to grow by 225 percent; Tooele by 171 percent; Summit by 143 percent; Juab by 128 percent; Morgan by 115 percent; and Cache by 106 percent.

Salt Lake County’s population is expected to climb by 61 percent from some 1 million to 1.6 million.

Local and state officials, at a panel discussion Thursday sponsored by the League of Women Voters, addressed the planning that will be needed to tackle the population explosion.

“That means we need to generate over a million new jobs and provide better housing and transportation - and that is a big challenge,” said Alan Matheson, planning coordinator and environmental adviser to Gov. Gary Herbert.

According to the study, two-thirds of the population growth by 2050 will come from “natural growth” through its birth rate and a third from immigration.

“If you will go to a classroom in Salt Lake County, you will see the future for Utah,” said Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council. “There are 102 languages being spoken in homes around Utah. Salt Lake County by 2050 will have a ‘majority-minority’ population.”

Cities and counties are joining in an effort, called Wasatch Choice for 2040, to cluster much of the future growth in high-density town centers around mass-transit stations.

“That creates the opportunity to preserve the character of existing suburban or even rural communities,” Gruber said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com


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