ST. GEORGE, Utah - St. George and Heber, Utah are growing faster than any other large or small city in the nation, according to the annual report just issued by the US Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau crunches birth, death and tax numbers from around the country to compile a snapshot of population in every county, metropolitan area and micropolitan area in the U.S. from year to year.
In 2017, St. George grew four percent from 2016, making the community in Southeastern Utah the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country.
Pam Perlich, Director of Demographics for the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute of the University of Utah, says the growth is a sign of things to come.
"Our projections indicate that their population is going to triple and reach about a half a million people in about 50 years," Perlich said.
Heber, the scenic town east of Mt. Timpanogas in Wasatch County, was the fastest growing micropolitan area in the country, and Wasatch County itself was the third fastest growing county in the country.
Also prominent on the Census lists: the Provo/Orem metro area was the eighth fastest growing in the country, and Tooele and Morgan Counties were the Seventh and Eighth fastest growing counties respectively.
Perlich notes the findings also show Utah is growing almost equally from migration and natural growth, which is the difference between people moving to Utah, and people being born in the state. She says migration tends to bring dynamic people who add to the economy and culture, but growth will present challenges to the environment and infrastructure.
"We're changing, we're growing and for the foreseeable future this growth and this change will be our constant companion," Perlich said.