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Utah’s population grew by 1.1% in 2023. Here’s how it compares with other states

Dec 19, 2023, 5:37 PM | Updated: 5:40 pm

Utah continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the country; however, it and the West a...

Utah continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the country; however, it and the West are certainly not growing as fast as states in another region of the country, according to new federal data. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the country; however, it and the West are certainly not growing as fast as states in another region of the country, according to new federal data.

The Beehive State gained close to another 36,500 residents between July 1, 2022, and July 1 this year, growing by 1.1% over the past year, according to data released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday. The agency notes that Utah placed ninth in percentage growth and 10th in the total number of people gained over the past year among the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories.

It now has an estimated population exceeding 3.4 million for the first time.

The Census Bureau data differs from a report that the Utah Population Committee released earlier this month, which found Utah’s population grew by nearly 56,000 residents during the same time period. The federal and state entities use different datasets to collect population trends.

Nevertheless, Utah also outpaced the U.S. in percentage growth again this past year. The country gained an estimated 1.6 million people over the past year, a rate of about 0.5%, to reach close to 335 million overall.

How Utah compares with other parts of the country

Utah led the nation in percentage growth between the official 2010 and 2020 censuses, but it has fallen a bit on the charts over the past few estimates. It placed 10th in percentage growth and ninth in numeric growth in last year’s data release.

South Carolina topped the nation in growth this time around, growing by an estimated 1.7%. It knocked off Florida and Texas (each gaining 1.6%) for the title, while Idaho and North Carolina (each gaining 1.3%) rounded out the top five in this category. While most states gained population over the past year, Utah is one of only 10 states — and the District of Columbia — that grew by at least 1%.

These maps show the percentage changes in population by state, district or territory over the past two years. The top map is based on 2022 trends and the bottom is based on 2023 trends.
These maps show the percentage changes in population by state, district or territory over the past two years. The top map is based on 2022 trends and the bottom is based on 2023 trends. (Photo: U.S. Census Bureau)

Texas led all states in population growth again this year, adding close to another 500,000 residents by July 1. Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina rounded out the top five in this category.

Here are other key takeaways from the data:

  • Most of the country’s growth came in the South, which accounted for nearly 90% of the country’s overall population growth. The region grew by 1.1%, topping the West and Midwest, each growing by 0.2%. The Northeast’s population dropped by 0.1%.
  • California remains the country’s most-populated state despite losing another 75,000 residents over the past year. The Golden State is one of just eight states that lost population in 2023, led by New York, which lost more than 100,000 residents.
  • The data doesn’t offer any ideas or speculation as to why some states experienced population increases and others experienced declines. Every region included outliers; for example, Delaware’s population jumped by 1.2% over the past year despite the region’s decline, and Louisiana dropped 14,000 residents despite its region’s rapid growth.

The Census Bureau’s estimates are used “in countless ways,” including the allocation of trillions of federal dollars, said Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections for the Census Bureau, in a webinar with reporters on Monday. Governments can also use this information to help plan out future funding and needs and serve as crucial information in research papers.

What’s driving the growth?

Hartley explains that the agency’s estimates are based on a handful of various datasets that project changes in communities since the 2020 census. These include data collected from the National Center for Health Statistics, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Defense Manpower Data Center and Census Bureau survey data that help pinpoint fertility, mortality and migration trends across the U.S.

“We also work closely with state demographers and other population specialists through our partnership group,” she added.

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Utah’s population grew by 1.1% in 2023. Here’s how it compares with other states