SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Utah’s population is expected to nearly double within the next 50 years and political experts believe this will impact and possibly shift Utah’s political landscape.
Utah’s population is projected to increase from approximately 3 million in 2015 to 5.8 million in 2065, according to Utah’s Long-Term Demographic and Economic Projections Summary, research conducted by Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.
The 2020 presidential candidates are aware of Utah’s cultural shift and more of them are campaigning in the state than ever before, according to Tim Chambless, a political science professor at the University of Utah. Chambless says Utah is up for grabs this election.
“Utah is a state that while having the reputation of being controlled by one political party, still there’s diversity in this state. In 2016 we saw that the Republican nominee did not gain 50-percent of the vote win the election. He didn’t win the majority of the vote, so Utah is a state that’s up for grabs, just like Arizona to the south and just like Colorado to the east,” Chambless explained.
With Utah’s expected population growth and change in demographics, the professor says Utah will be a political heavyweight for years to come.
“That would mean presumably that rather than having just four House members, we may have as many as eight, we’ll still have our two senators, and our electoral vote will probably improve from what it is down six to about 10 in just the coming decades.”
“Although the state’s demographics are changing, is Utah ready to vote democrat as a whole?” asked ABC4’s Brittany Johnson.
“We haven’t seen Utah vote for a Democratic candidate for president — winning candidate since 1964 and Lyndon Johnson. That’s over half a century ago. But I suspect with the changing demographics in this state that time will come in the Salt Lake Valley. One hundred-six different languages are spoken at people’s homes at night, 129. statewide. Utah is much more now than just a state of Andersons and Petersons, but rather it has tremendous diversity. And we see in Salt Lake County which is 42-41-percent of the state’s population, that the Democrats do very well in this county. It’s statewide where the democrats are much weaker,” Chambless replied.
To read the study in its entirety, click here.