The center of gravity for the Wasatch Front is shifting south. That’s the message from the new population projections from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.
Their projections show Utah County rivaling Salt Lake County as the largest county in the state by 2065, with each county housing over 1.6 million people.
This shift in population is already happening, and it’s happening for a few reasons. Thanks to Envision Utah’s work, for the first time, demographers have access to data about remaining land supply in each county. The bottom line is that Salt Lake and Davis counties are running out of land, while Utah County is not. Certainly, infill and redevelopment will—and should—happen in Salt Lake County, but there will still be high demand for growth to the south.
In addition, a dynamic high-tech job cluster is booming in Utah County. That’s drawing both economic and residential growth to the south. More and more, companies are locating near the Point of the Mountain, where they can access workforce in both counties.
The Point of the Mountain area is becoming increasingly important to the economic future of the Wasatch Front. It’s the narrow bottleneck between the state’s two most populated valleys. Keeping people and goods moving through the area is critical, as is providing workforce for the companies that want to locate there. That’s why Envision Utah helped the state’s Point of the Mountain Development Commission craft a vision for that area.
The vision isn’t the end. Continued collaboration and work needs to happen to make the vision a reality. And we all need to grapple with how to accommodate the coming wave of population growth further to the south while maintaining a high quality of life.