The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2007 population estimates today, and, according to an article published July 10th, 2008 in the Deseret News, Utah's suburban communities continue to flourish, growing faster percentage-wise than the larger cities. The Salt Lake Tribune also ran a story.
And the growth is fast enough so that some cities have outgrown the designation of "suburb". South Jordan — which added more than 4,000 people from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007 — no longer fits the traditional definition of suburb, says George Shaw, the city's community development director. "Folks ought to come out and see what we're doing," Shaw said. "I would characterize our city as a village. ... We are trying to develop communities with walkability."
A caveat - the estimates are for July 1, 2007, before much of Utah started to see its economic slowdown. The numbers do reflect a slowdown in St. George's growth, says state demographer Juliette Tennert. That city's housing market is more closely tied to Las Vegas, which took an earlier hit than the Wasatch Front. Nevertheless, St. George continues to show "very strong growth" of 4.4 percent.
Meanwhile, West Jordan has topped 102,000, according to the population estimates, replacing Sandy as the state's fourth-largest city, after Salt Lake City, West Valley City and Provo. And while St. George's growth has slowed, it continued to outpace the state's growth, topping 71,000 people. Northern Utah County continued to see strong growth as well. Lehi nearly doubled its population from 2000 to 2007, when the estimated population was 36,885.
Smaller suburban cities also saw strong growth. The Weber County community of West Haven grew by nearly 18 percent in one year to an estimated 7,187 people. The city's population was at just under 4,000 in 2000. And nearby Hooper grew by 13.3 percent to just over 5,200 people. Meanwhile, the northern Juab County community of Mona grew by 13.4 percent to 1,318.
However, as baby boomers age and gas prices rise, suburban communities will have to redevelop themselves to accommodate the changing demographics, says Pamela Perlich, senior research economist at the University of Utah. Aging baby boomers will be less likely to want the cookie-cutter split-level five-bedroom house; they'll be looking for smaller living spaces in higher-density developments, with some amenities within walking distance.
In South Jordan, Shaw points to the Daybreak development as a model of the type of community he hopes will continue to attract new residents. The plan is for a walkable community with a variety of housing styles, open space and easy access to transit.
But even as the suburbs become more urban, traditional urban cores are re-emerging, in Utah and nationally. Salt Lake City, which had declined for decades, showed growth in 2000, and housing data shows that growth has continued. The economics of transportation and housing costs could accelerate the trend.
However, neither the Deseret News nor the Salt Lake Tribune provided the 2007 population estimates for all of Utah's cities, nor provided us a link to get the information. Voice Of Deseret rides to the rescue. The Detroit News has provided links for us to get that information at a click.
Click HERE to access the menu to select any other state in the U.S. To display population figures for all cities and counties of a given state, select the state of interest, then click Search.
Click HERE to access the menu for Utah. Population figures for Utah's cities and counties will immediately be displayed, in alphabetical order. Here's a list of Utah's larger cities to whet your appetite:
Population estimates as of July 1st, 2007: Cities over 25,000, largest first.
Salt Lake City: 180,651
West Valley City: 122,374
West Jordan: 102,445
St. George: 71,161
South Jordan: 48,046
Cottonwood Heights: 35,351
Pleasant Grove: 31,552
Spanish Fork: 28,674
Cedar City: 27,823
American Fork: 26,472
For other Census Bureau data sets relating to this estimate, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website.