The U.S. Census Bureau releases 2015 county population estimates
By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist
“They say there are 7 billion people on earth. I don't know what accountant came up with that number, but in my humble opinion, they might have been off by at least a dozen. You see, me and my friends were hiding during the count.” Jarod Kintz
Although the United States government only counts the population once a decade, the U.S. Census Bureau provides local-level population estimates on an annual basis. These estimates are derived from a variety of data sources such as vital statistics (birth and death counts) and Internal Revenue Service administrative data. While the Census Bureau released statewide population estimates several months ago, county-level figures have just hit the streets. In the visualization below, you can access those figures back through 2010.
Here’s a few nuggets from the 2015 estimates:
- Wasatch County showed the fastest population growth in Utah at 5.0 percent.
- Among the largest counties, Washington County produced the fastest expansion (2.5 percent) with Utah County close on its heels with a 2.4-percent gain.
- Utah County showed the highest net migration in Utah (the difference between people moving in and people moving out) with a gain of more than 3,500.
- Washington County’s net migration (2,900) registered higher than much-larger Salt Lake County’s figure (2,700).
- According to the estimates, eight Utah counties experienced net out-migration; Emery, Carbon and Beaver counties showed the heaviest losses.
- Many counties experiencing net out-migration also saw their total population counts decline. Beaver, Emery and Kane counties displayed the largest percent-change drops.
- All Utah counties showed positive natural increase (more births than deaths).
- Reflecting an older population, Washington County showed fewer births than less-populated Cache County.
- Utah County added more than 13,600 residents in 2015, compared to Salt Lake County’s 14,400-person increase. However, Salt Lake County’s population is almost double that of Utah County.
- Utah’s most-populated counties hung on to their total population rankings. However, fast-growing Wasatch, Duchesne, Morgan and Juab counties moved up at least a position; while Emery, Sanpete and Carbon counties took a step back.