A great Utah exodus? Think again

In 2016, Utah was ranked 3rd fastest growing state nationally, partly a result of Utah’s high birth rate. 

Despite this high birth rate, which is the second highest in the nation, more than one-third of the state’s population growth comes from a less well-known contributor, net migration. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah ranks 13th highest in net migration, meaning that more people are moving into the state than out. Over one-third of Utah’s population growth in 2016 (39.3%) was due to net migration—people moving to the state minus people moving out of the state—representing 22,587 people—roughly the size of Farmington City.

Having in-migration suggests that Utah is an attractive place to live and work. People are moving to Utah because of its strong economy, outdoor activities, and high quality of life. Matt Hilburn, Vice President of Research and Marketing at EDCUtah, says, “Utah’s positive net migration tells us people are drawn to the state, and that once they move here, they want to stay.”

This positive net migration rate also plays a significant role in corporate recruitment. As companies consider Utah for their relocations or expansions they can look to Utah’s net migration rate as a source for talent above what is already in the state. And if they plan to recruit talent to their new operations in Utah, the net migration provides evidence that those who move to the state, generally stay here.

EDCUtah sees this population growth as contributing to the state’s growing economy and cultural vibrancy. “Utah is attracting outside talent and people from diverse backgrounds,” Hilburn says. “This all works toward making Utah a more vibrant environment, which is good for everyone.”

With 14 states seeing net out-migration, Utah is fortunate to have so many moving in. As more people continue moving to Utah, and the population grows and diversifies, EDCUtah looks forward to seeing increased job growth and capital investment the state for years to come.