Research Weekly - The Benefits of Utah's Population Density
Utah spans more than 82,190 square miles and has a population of roughly three million. In contrast, greater Sacramento has a population of about 2.5 million in just under 7,500 square miles. At first glance Utah may seem to lack population density, but if you look closer that isn’t the case. The Wasatch Front, a 3,600 square mile area in northern Utah, has a population of nearly 2.5 million—the same population as Sacramento! Utah’s unique geography creates an interesting dynamic that actually makes Utah the most urbanized metro in the country.
Urbanization is a measure of population concentration, with the most urbanized states having the majority of their populations concentrated in only one or two geographic areas. For Utah, the majority of its three million populace all live in a single concentrated area, the Wasatch Front, creating a very dense population and earning it the title of most urbanized state in the U.S.
The Wasatch Front is one continuous Utah “city”, with a population of 2.46 million – similar in size to Sacramento, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Portland. The Wasatch Front is also the 14th fastest growing area in the nation and has kept up with its rapid population growth by maintaining one of the highest job growth rates in the entire United States (3.2% year-over-year growth in 2015).
So why does any of this matter? Attaining a critical mass of population is crucial to business growth and development, as well as economic prosperity. Large businesses need access to a large, talented workforce, great transportation and distribution infrastructures, and nearby companies with which to conduct business. Utah has all this and more. Additionally, with a large international airport, Utah is a very short plane-ride away from other business hubs within California, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, and has available direct flights to five international locations such as Amsterdam, Tokyo, and London, with more direct flights planned for the future.
Outside of the Wasatch Front, Utah benefits from five major national parks, 45 state parks, 14 ski resorts (including the largest ski resort in North America, Park City Mountain Resort), and dozens of lakes, rivers, and other natural resources, many of which are within minutes of Utah’s vast urbanized population.
NOTE: Urbanization percentage is calculated by taking the Combined Statistical Area (CSA) population divided by the total state population