Utah is the fastest growing state in the nation. People are flocking to Utah in search of employment opportunities, and our natural growth is more than two times the national average.
Utah is currently enduring the “growing pains” of such dramatic growth. It is imperative we prepare for population growth in a thoughtful, innovative, and thorough manner. Numerous issues are posed by population growth, including: water access, infrastructure, employment opportunities, teacher availability, and more.
Governor Herbert is committed to ensuring we maintain our unparalleled quality of life through this period of growth. This will require a greater investment in infrastructure than the state has ever seen. Our state will need to use water more carefully than ever before. We will also need to ensure businesses and residences have the necessary water to succeed and survive. As a desert state, we do not have the access to fresh water that other states may have and, therefore, we will need to be wiser in how we utilize our water. Additional infrastructure requirements include transit systems and roads that are capable of maintaining efficient standards for larger numbers of commuters and travelers.
In order to avoid high rates of job displacement from automation and global competition, Utah must prepare its workforce to be adaptable, innovative, and industrious. Utahns need to be trained, in various industries, to actively innovate and work themselves out of current positions and into more productive ones. The service industry and labor-oriented occupations will undergo significant challenges in the coming decades, and Utah is prepared to address this through thoughtful and collaborative public-private partnerships. Our industrious workforce will continue to distinguish Utah as the best state for business in the nation, and possibly the world.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What makes Utah so attractive to new businesses and entrepreneurs?
A: Utah is the best state for business in the nation. Whether you are a tech startup pursuing unicorn status along our Silicon Slopes or an elite investment bank housed in downtown Salt Lake City, like Goldman Sachs, Utah provides the tools for economic success. We have a young, educated, industrious, and highly-driven workforce. Moreover, our workforce is diverse and globalized. Approximately 130 languages are spoken in our state. And, we are a growing state. Our population continues to grow exponentially year-over-year. We have a growing labor supply for businesses looking to grow, and we also have a business-friendly regulatory environment. In Utah, we govern so that businesses do not feel hampered in their economic pursuits. In fact, we try to help the growth of businesses through public-private partnerships, trade missions, economic conferences, and more. We let the free market determine its own future, while staying available to help where we can.
Q: What is your response to people who have concerns about moving to Utah due to lack of diversity?
A: Utah was founded by religious refugees. We understand the plight of those who are perceived as “different” and we welcome those who have been marginalized elsewhere. When many other states and governors expressed their opposition to allowing middle eastern refugees within their borders, Governor Herbert made clear that Utah would take anyone who needed refuge. This remains the case. Utah welcomes and appreciates people of all races, ethnicities, faiths, genders, and more because of their diversity. All people are appreciated in Utah. In fact, U.S. News and World Report recognizes Utah as the state with the second lowest employment gap by race in the nation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does have a large presence in the state of Utah, but there are hundreds of different churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples dedicated to housing and promoting the religious practices of other Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. And, there is a large and growing population of those who are unaffiliated with any faiths. For believers and non-believers alike, there is a place for everyone in Utah.
Q: What do you foresee being the greatest issue with the expected population growth?
A: Population growth will present our state with numerous challenges moving forward, but we will confidently address those with forward planning. Challenges in water conservation, access, and infrastructure will arise as our population grows in addition to issues of transportation, economic development, overcrowding, and more. Our most important responsibility is to ensure our environment remains hospitable for those living in or moving to Utah. Envision Utah has collected detailed survey responses from tens of thousands of Utahns that provide guidance on where Utahns hope the state will be by 2050 and Governor Herbert has used this valuable information to inform his decision making as governor.