Herbert, expert present research on economic growth in Utah County
Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Mallory Bateman, an expert in Census Bureau data, presented research on economic growth in Utah County to the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Herbert currently serves as the executive chair of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. He stated the need for Utah Valley to seek the advice of outside experts to influence knowledgeable decision-making within commerce.
“Part of the challenge we face here as business people is to say… what is taking place what is the change that is coming, what do we need to do to adjust and to adapt to the changing conditions,” Herbert said. “Mallory Bateman is going to help us understand.”
Bateman is the director of demographic research and state data center coordinator at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. She has conducted extensive research on Salt Lake City in terms of generations, fertility, commuting and transportation.
Bateman’s presentation, entitled “Utah’s Changing Demographics,” consisted of four key parts:
- A growing and changing population is a long-standing constant in Utah.
- Focus on basic demographics, not socioeconomic characteristics.
- Urban areas grew this decade, while smaller communities had more diverse experiences.
- Utahans are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.
Bateman discussed the steady growth Utah has experienced, which initially started off slow but has become more rapid in recent years. Vineyard, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Lehi and Santaquin were the Utah County cities that experienced the most growth between 2010 and 2020.
“A lot of that is due to our economy. We’re one of the top economies, we always have low unemployment, we have a lot of opportunity for people and so that has impacted how we’ve grown,” Bateman said.
According to the Census data presented by Bateman, Utah County leads the state in growth between 2020 and 2021.
“This is pretty wild because Utah County was basically responsible for about a third of statewide population growth,” Bateman said.
She noted that some of this population growth was due to the fact that young people, ages 15-29, are migrating more toward urban areas like Utah County and Salt Lake County — both of which are the fastest growing counties in the state.
“You can see that people come to Utah County,” Bateman said. “You’ve got a lot of educational opportunities, you’ve got a lot of employment opportunities, a lot of diverse employment opportunities that bring people here.”
Bateman stated that Utah County is projected to continue to grow, based on her research, and will continue to be a vibrant and strong community.