Several Utah counties that have long experienced population decreases or only minimal growth are reversing that trend, the latest Utah population estimates show.

In fact, Juab led other Utah counties in terms of population increases between July 1, 1993 and July 1, 1994, according to a report released by the governor's Office of Planning and Budget.During the same 12-month period, Daggett County grew by 7.1 percent and Piute County by 7.4 percent, outpacing crowded Salt Lake and Utah counties and even traditionally fast-growing Wasatch and Summit counties.

The state's researchers speculate that a large part of the growth in sparsely populated Juab, Daggett and Piute counties is the result of moves from out of state or from other areas in Utah.

"The fact that Utah's population grows and people are coming here from other states is no big news any longer, and the explanation is well-known - a high fertility rate plus a healthy economy," said Frank Hachman of the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

This year, the state's population grew by nearly 50,000 to 1.916 million with a record in-migration of 23,000. There is no conclusive data available on where newcomers move from, but the tax returns have shown strong migration ties between Utah and California.