The latest results are in, and they say suburbia is still luring people away from Utah's capital city.
Salt Lake City continues a nearly three-decade drop in population while growth in the suburbs continues to outpace the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.In the report of the nation's cities with more than 100,000 people, the Census Bureau said Salt Lake City fell from its ranking as the 74th most populous city in the United States in 1970 and 90th in 1980 to 110th now. Salt Lake City had 152,740 residents on July 1, 1988 - down 10,290 from eight years before and 23,145 from the 1970 census count.
Natalie Gochnour, with the State Office of Planning and Budget, said the numbers aren't surprising. The decline in population can be traced to the 1960 Census when the city's population was 189,454 - some 20 percent higher than it is now.
"It is what has happened in suburbia America. Somewhere in the 1970s people started leaving central cities and moved out into the suburbs," Gochnour said.
The trend has hurt metropolitan centers, she noted.
"Salt Lake government (officials) estimate that in the daytime the population almost doubles. They argue that their police force and fire department have to serve a much larger population, yet they qualify for less federal dollars. It is a bothersome trend," Gochnour said.
While the number of people living inside Salt Lake's boundaries is declining, the Salt Lake-Ogden metropolitan area has risen from the 41st to the 37th largest area since 1980, the Census Bureau reported in October. The metropolitan population is estimated near 1,065,000 - almost 17 percent higher than eight years ago.
Suburban growth continues at a breakneck pace in places like Farmington, Sandy, South Jordan, Riv-erton and West Jordan. All those cities have had more than a 48 percent increase in residents, the state and Census Bureau reported two weeks ago.
No other Utah city made the most recent Census Bureau list. West Valley City, Utah's second largest municipality, will have to add another 7,000 before it can be added to the list, which now has 186 cities.
The decline in Salt Lake City is similar to 12 of the nation's 25 largest cities from 1986 to 1988, including Dallas and Houston.
1. New York City 7.3 million
2. Los Angeles 3.3 million
3. Chicago 2.9 million
4. Houston 1.7 million
5. Philadelphia 1.6 million
10. Phoenix 923,750
25. Denver 492,200
36. Albuquerque 378,480
75. Las Vegas 210,620
110. Salt Lake City 152,740
157. Boise 111,030