UTAH (ABC4) – A report released by the Kem C. Gardner Institute predicts Utah’s population will grow by more than 2 million by 2060 for a total of nearly 5.5 million people.
It predicted a significant increase for Salt Lake County, 483,889 more people. However, the largest predicted increase is in Utah County at nearly 700,000. This would double the county’s population in just 40 years.
Utah County Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner said it’s no secret why people live in her county.
“There’s great education, great opportunity for business and then on top of that, it’s our culture and our community,” said Gardner.
Gardner said her biggest concern is housing. If the county doesn’t start adjusting, by providing more high-density housing, Gardner said the county could face a housing crisis.
“We will have San Francisco level prices, we’re going to have rents that are through the roof,” said Gardner.
Gardner said the county needs to think beyond the traditional American Dream with the white picket fence, especially because that’s not what many younger generations want.
“Maybe they want an apartment complex, or at the most, a townhouse,” said Gardner.
If the county doesn’t plan for this growth, Gardner said it could also experience significant infrastructure problems and tax increases.
“If we’re not pre-planning that and looking at our infrastructure, in line with that, then we’re going to get high-density housing apartments in areas that we don’t have the infrastructure for that, and then we’re going to have to build it. And that costs more money than planning for that,” said Gardner.
Gardner said this isn’t about building for more people to move in. It’s about building for the community’s future. Most of the growth in this county comes from within the county. The youth population is predicted to grow faster than any other county, with an additional 108,000 people under the age of 18 in 2060.
“If we don’t look at that our children are not going to be able to afford to live here,” said Gardner.