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Salt Lake City-Has Grown The Fastest, Challenges To Future Growth?

The Economist September 18th 2021 pp25-26|United States|Salt Lake City|”Not your father’s Utah” “The Beehive state is booming. Three things will challenge its future growth.”



Image visitutah.com Wasatch range the backdrop to Salt Lake City


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Salt Lake City (SLC) is situated “between Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake," is grounded in its largely Morman population yet has grown “faster than that of any other city between 2010 and 2020.”


Some of SLC's growth can be attributed to Utah’s “ability to attract new businesses...helped by its Republican zeal for low corporate taxes and little regulation. As a result SLC’s jobless rate is lowest “among all big cities at 2.8%, compared with a national rate of 5.3%.” Another key to SLC’s success has been being part of the “Wasatch Front” that consists of four counties having 80% of Utah’s economic activity. Provo, home to BYU, is also part of the Wasatch Front. Some success is mirrored in other “cities in the Mountain West” including Boise, Idaho and Denver, Colorado, yet SLC is still a standout in part because of a “blossoming tech sector” dubbed the “Silicon Slopes”...“several research universities, an international airport” and having created and sustained the most diverse economy for two decades. Some also cite advantages of it’s homogeneity being nearly 48% Mormon but there is caution too in its low birth rate.


“Three things will challenge [SLCs] future growth.”


  1. Environmental problems consisting of “wildfire smoke, heavy traffic and dust from the drying lake bed.

  2. With prices for housing rising, SLC is at risk of “becoming unaffordable”

  3. Utah has an exceptionally high “gender-pay gap” that correlates with lower college enrollment rates for women. Utah women are also less likely to “be elected to political office.” Root causes lie in part to earlier marriage and having larger families.


On the last point, as newcomers move to SLC one would expect a broader mix of lifestyles and eventually more gender equality.



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