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FORECASTERS EXPECT TO SEE A DIP IN MIGRATION TO BEEHIVE STATE

SHARE FORECASTERS EXPECT TO SEE A DIP IN MIGRATION TO BEEHIVE STATE

Migration into the state threatens to set a record this year as it tops 20,000, but the trend won't continue for long, according to projections by the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.

Californians fleeing the Golden State accounted for most of the surge."The biggest portion always comes from California - as much as 70 or 80 percent," said Brad Barber, deputy director of the agency.

The office's expectations are that by the end of 1994 Utah's population will be 1,915,197, up by 50,000 over last year. Natural increases - births minus deaths - accounted for a little more than half the growth. The rest were people who moved from somewhere else.

Though Utah's population will probably keep growing, in-migration is expected to taper off temporarily over the next several years as today's junior-high-school-age children enter the labor force, snapping up jobs that immigrants would otherwise grab.

"We won't have as many available for people from elsewhere," said Barber.

He said the growth projections are based on assumptions that Utah's economy will continue to perform well.

"We could have a recession," cautioned Barber, in which case the office's projections would go out the window, an eventuality that would occur also if demographers have aimed too low.

"We could have even greater economic growth and we'd continue to have larger migration."

By 2003, the agency says in-migration will resume, almost doubling from about 6,000 people in 2002 and increasing for several years thereafter.

A local baby boom in the early 1980s accounts for the large number of people who will come of work force age in that last half of this decade. That boom, which peaked with 41,000 births in 1981, declined by 1987, when 35,000 births were recorded.