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POPULATION UP 17 PERCENT IN METRO AREA
S.L. TO OGDEN GROWTH EXCEEDED ALL BUT 10 OF TOP 37 U.S. MARKETS

SHARE POPULATION UP 17 PERCENT IN METRO AREA
S.L. TO OGDEN GROWTH EXCEEDED ALL BUT 10 OF TOP 37 U.S. MARKETS

What with all the talk about Utahns leaving the state for greener pastures - all those alleged high-paying jobs on the West Coast - it's comforting to see that a lot of us are staying put . . . and, yes, having babies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Salt Lake City/Ogden MSA (metropolitan statistical area) logged a 17-percent population increase from April 1, 1980 to July 1, 1988. That's an increase of 154,800 souls and pushes Salt Lake/Ogden into the ranks of the 1 million-plus markets for the first time. The bureau estimates there are now 1.065 million people in Salt Lake/Ogden, up from 910,222 at the start of the decade.Salt Lake/Ogden is ranked 37th among the nation's largest metro areas, right after Harford/New Britain/Middletown Conn., (36th); Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill, N.C., (35th); and Providence/Pawtucket/Fall River, R.I., (34th).

In first, second and third place, respectively, are New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

In case you are not impressed by Salt Lake/Ogden's 17 percent population increase, it should be noted that only 10 of the top 37 markets had larger increases during the '80s.

Although Utah natives tend to think in terms of the Wasatch Front, the folks at the Census Bureau do not. According to them, Utah has not one but two metropolitan areas: the Salt Lake/Ogden MSA which includes all of Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties, and the Provo/Orem MSA with a 1988 population estimate of 242,700.

All other residents of the state are considered part of the "non-metropolitan population." If you are among them, do not feel left out; the only thing you're missing is traffic jams.

Logan is the largest city in Utah outside of a metro area, says the Census Bureau, and although Logan will most likely become the state's next metro area, this designation is not likely to occur until after the 2000 census. With a 1986 estimated population of 28,800, Logan needs a population of more than 50,000 to qualify as a metro area.

On the other hand, says the Utah State Data Center, Logan qualifies for "micropolitan" status. This is a county with more than 40,000 residents and with a core city of more than 15,000. According to this criteria, St. George also ranks as a micropolitan area.

What does this mean? Well, cynics might say it means that with 25 cents and their designation as a micropolitan area, Logan and St. George might buy themselves a not-very-large candy bar. But hold on, says Utah Data Center, since smaller cities are often as influential in their regions as metro areas are on a larger scale, micros have been identified nationally as underserved markets deserving of more attention from business.

All of this fascinating data is to whet our appetites for April 1, 1990, scarcely more than five months away. April 1 is Census Day, and not just any Census Day, but the bicentennial of census-taking in the United States.

The first census in 1790 counted 3.9 million Americans. Every 10 years since (every decennial, if you like obscure words), the Census Bureau has counted heads. In the upcoming 21st national census count, the bureau expects to find 250 million of us in the United States and 1.7 million in Utah. Doing all the counting will be 565,000 bureau employees nationally and 600 in Utah.

While the main constitutional purpose of the census is to determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, the census does much more, the Data Center points out. In effect, the 10-year census constitutes a "state of the nation" report in its measuring of social and economic change.

The answers that Americans give on their census questionnaire provide a benchmark for virtually all the statistics collected by the federal government and provide the basis for allocating billions of federal and state dollars. Without the census, most corporate planning, marketing and forecasting would be rendered impossible.