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It might have been Annie Christine Goodrich. Or maybe Mary Elizabeth Hutchinson or her twin sister, Amber Lynn, or maybe one of the other 27 babies born over the past 24 hours at LDS Hospital.

Somewhere this week, a baby will be born or a new resident will unload a U-Haul truck to become the state's 2 millionth resident, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Utah Population Estimates Committee."That sounds like an awful lot of people," said Annette Weed, who gave birth Tuesday to an as-yet unnamed daughter.

"Pretty spectacular," added Shelley Hutchinson, the mother of twin daughters born late Tuesday.

Sometime Tuesday or Wednesday, Utah became the 34th state in the nation to pass the 2 million population mark. It is estimated the state's population will reach 3 million in the year 2018.

The state's rapid population growth is being attributed in large part to the state's highest-in-the-nation fertility rate. It is estimated that 28,000 babies will be born in Utah this year.

That's on top of the net increase of 14,000 new residents who will move here this year.

"We welcome all new citizens to our state, especially these youngest Utahns," said Gov. Mike Leavitt, who was scheduled to make an appearance at LDS Hospital Wednesday afternoon to mark the milestone. "We make a commitment to them to work hard to maintain the quality of life their parents have enjoyed, the life that makes Utah one of the great states in which to live."

Leavitt is not the only one optimistic about the future. The mothers of recent newborns are brimming with confidence that Utah is the still the right place to raise their children.

"I really like Salt Lake, and I'm sure she will get out of life whatever she chooses," said Laura Goodrich, mother of Annie Christine and three other children. "Yes, there is a lot of concern about the gloom and doom, but it's all what you choose. I hope she chooses good."

Weed, who raises her five children in Holladay, is confident her newest daughter will be "one of the most special people in the state. I think she will have a beautiful, safe place to live with opportunities to do whatever she wants to do."

Hutchinson will raise her twin daughters in Heber City, eschewing the city life for a more rural environment. "It is the perfect environment to raise children," she said. "I'm pretty much optimistic, and I hope I can raise my kids that way."

While the mothers celebrate, the continued rapid birth rate - the annual number of births has ranged between 26,500 and 28,000 since 1986 - is cause for concern among state officials trying to forecast needs 10 and 20 years away.

"It is clear that the focus of our efforts in economic development will be to provide jobs for all those new Utahns, as they grow up, enter the work force and raise families themselves," said Joe Jenkins, executive director of the Department of Community and Economic Development.

More immediately, the state's economy must generate jobs for the roughly 90,000 people who have moved to Utah over the past five years.

Utah's current rate of population increase is more than twice the national average but is still lower than that seen during the baby boom of the 1970s.

At the time of statehood, Utah had a population of about 245,000 people. It took 70 years to reach the 1 million resident mark and then 30 more to reach 2 million.