By Associated Press - Wednesday, December 11, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah experienced a significant increase in its population over the past decade, according to a new University of Utah report.

The university’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute released analysis Monday that found the growth was especially strong in Utah County.

The institute based its analysis on census data, tracking Utah’s population growth since 2010.

The institute found Utah County’s population increase led the state at 26.1% with the addition of 134,845 people since 2010, bringing its population to more than 651,000.

Salt Lake County had a 12% increase of 123,305 people over the decade, trailing its southern neighbor in Utah County by 11,540 fewer new residents, officials said.

The next highest county in population and percent change was Davis County, which added 50,485 to reach nearly 357,00 residents, an increase of 16.5%.

Washington County added 42,435 people for a total of more than 180,500, a 30.7% increase. Weber County rounded out the top five in terms of growth with an increase of 22,219 residents to more than 253,400, a 9.6% increase.

Utah’s population is now at 3.2 million people, officials said.

Gardner institute researchers found almost half of new residents in the past year moved from other states or from abroad, contributing almost 25,000 people.

“Salt Lake County obviously still has a lot of jobs and a lot of people. But Utah County is really starting to take over that growth,” said Emily Harris, a demographer at the institute.

The institute found Utah County’s burgeoning technology industry and more affordable homes are partially responsible for drawing newcomers, whereas births previously drove population increases in the county known for large families.

“More and more since 2010, this growth is being driven by more net-migration,” Harris said. “That to us is a really interesting change in the demographic trend.”

For the first time last year in Utah County, net-migration counted for higher growth, 50.1%, than natural increase due to births versus deaths, officials said.

“When it comes to net-migration, it fluctuates a lot and it’s really dependent on the economy,” Harris said. ”When times are good, you see a lot of movement and you see people moving around.”

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