SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — It’s definitely no secret that Utah’s population is booming but a new study shows one southern Utah city is among the Top 10 fastest-growing cities nationwide.
SmartAsset, a financial tech company, has released a list of the fastest-growing cities with populations over 100,000 in the United States. That growth was based on the population difference reported by the U.S. Census between 2017 and 2022 for the 344 largest cities.
St. George ranked 8th overall for fastest-growing populations, booming by a whopping 18% over five years. The population growth in Utah’s southwest fits a trend found in SmartAsset’s report.
“Economic opportunities, scenic beauty, a mild winter climate and friendly, helpful and optimistic residents make St. George an attractive place to live. Because of that, I am not surprised that we are again on the list of fastest-growing cities in the United States,” said St. George Mayor Michele Randall. “There are many challenges we face related to growth — water, housing and infrastructure among them — but our elected officials and city staff are committed to meeting those challenges head on.”
Southwestern U.S. cities, particularly those considered to be desert suburbs, dominated the top of the list. Arizona cities Buckeye and Goodyear joined St. George in the Top 10 along with Enterprise, Nevada and Menifee, California.
“In general we’ve seen positive growth indicators in the southwest besides just population,” said Jaclyn DeJohn, Managing Editor of Economic Analysis at SmartAsset. “In fact, Texas and Arizona place second and fourth respectively in terms of where high earners are moving to. One thing that may be drawing high earners and others to these areas is relative tax-friendliness, and lower costs of living than coastal California and major cities.”
In fact, the usual suspects of cities that many would likely believe to be at the top didn’t even breach the Top 20. Both New York City and Los Angeles actually decreased in population over the five-year time period and ranked low, 270 and 309, respectively.
Utah’s metro hubs of Salt Lake City and Provo saw a dip in population between 2017 and 2022. Salt Lake City fell less than 1% in population and Provo decreased just under 3%, according to the study. West Jordan and West Valley City were featured on SmartAsset’s report, both growing by 2%.
The table below, courtesy of SmartAsset, shows the cities where the population grew — and shrank — since 2017.
The hardest hit city was Paradise, Nevada -- the Las Vegas-adjacent town lost 21% of its population, according to SmartAsset's analysis. Others at the bottom of the list were Jackson, Mississippi (-10.4%); Aurora, Illinois (-9.4%); and Highlands Ranch, Colorado (-8.4%).