According to data recently shared with Morgan School District officials as well as the Morgan Area Chamber of Commerce, Morgan is growing faster than almost all other counties in the state.
Morgan has been the second fastest growing county in Utah since 2010 (20.8 percent), outpaced only by Wasatch County (29.7 percent). Washington County (16 percent) and Utah County (14.7 percent) joined Wasatch and Morgan as the four fastest growing counties in the state in the last six years, according to data provided by Pamela S. Perlich, director of demographic research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.
Since 2010, Utah was the fourth fastest growing state in the nation behind Washington D.C., North Dakota and Texas. But last year, in 2016, Utah pulled ahead as the fastest growing state in the nation with a 2 percent annual increase.
From 2010 to 2020, Utah is projected to grow 16.63 percent, with projections decreasing the next four decades after that. From 2020 to 2030, Utah is projected to grow 14.5 percent; from 2030 to 2040, 12.87 percent; 2040 to 2050, 11.03 percent; 2050 to 2060 9.69 percent.
As Utah grows, it makes Utah an urban state with urban issues, Perlich told Morgan Superintendent Doug Jacobs and others attending the Utah School Superintendents Association meeting on Oct. 2.
By 2065, Morgan County is projected to have over 24,000 residents (or 0.4 percent of the entire state’s population), while 73 percent of Utah residents will be living on the Wasatch Front. In order to get to 24,000 residents by the year 2065, Morgan is projected to grow over 122 percent from 2015 to 2065.
“Morgan will be the fifth fastest for population in the state, with population more than doubling” through 2065, the institute’s Juliette Tennert told the chamber Oct. 3. Projections have only Washington, Wasatch, Utah and Juab counties growing faster than Morgan in that time.
Statewide, Utah will almost double in population by 2065, dropping in more than 50,000 people every year. Tennert pointed out that is equal to a full U of U Rice Eccles stadium of people being added to the state each year, or five full Utah State University Aggie stadiums. All counties are expected to increase by at least a third.
Currently, Utah has about 3 million residents, which is projected to shoot up to 5.8 million in the next 50 years.
This means state schools will have to deal with educating close to a million school-aged students by 2065, compared to just under 700,000 now. That means Morgan will have 1,167 more school-aged students by 2065 compared to its 2015 numbers, or a percent change increase of 42 percent.
While Morgan handles a projected 42 percent change increase in school-aged children in the next 50 years, neighboring Davis and Salt Lake Counties will only experience a 15 percent growth, while Weber is projected to increase 19 percent. In that same time, Morgan will be outpaced in percentage of school-age population changes only by eight counties: Washington, Utah, Juab, Wasatch, Daggett, Cache, Summit, and Duchesne.
“There’s still lots of kids coming into the system” due to Utah’s high fertility rate—the highest in the nation—but “fertility rates, though still high, are declining” since a peak in 2007, Tennert said.
At the same time, Morgan, as well as Utah, will have more people over the age of 70. Right now in Morgan County, 7.5 out of every 100 county residents is over the age of 70. By 2065, that will increase to 17.
“Utah will get grayer and grayer,” Tennert said. Right now, 7 out of every 100 Utahns is over the age of 70. By 2065, that number will increase to 16 out of every 100. “That changes how public and private services are provided, especially long-care services.” Tennert said that state economists are pleased that most employment sectors in Utah have regained their 2007 pre-recession peak level because by and large, the country is taking longer to make up those jobs. In Utah, natural resources, manufacturing and construction still haven’t recovered. She said that Utah’s diverse economy helped in the recovery.
“Utah’s economy is strong, and has been strong,” Tennert said. “We are well positioned” unlike Nevada, with most of its jobs in the service sector, and North Dakota, with most of its jobs in the natural resource sector.
In Morgan, jobs reached their 2007 peak and then grew another 7 percent. “For a commuter county, that is very healthy growth,” Tennert said.