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KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West.

Utah, Idaho stand out in new Census data on housing, population growth

A row of townhomes in Utah. Snow-capped mountains are in the background.
Adobe Stock
A row of townhomes in the suburbs of Utah Valley in north-central Utah. The state had the fastest growth in housing stock in the country from July 2021 to July 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Mountain West continues to grow quickly, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result, the region had some of the fastest growth in housing stock from July 2021 to July 2022.

In Utah, the number of housing units grew by 3.3%, the biggest increase in the country, according to Vintage 2022 Population Estimates released May 18. And Utah’s Wasatch County ranked as the nation’s fastest-growing county, with the number of housing units there increasing 7.7%.

Idaho saw the second-biggest jump in housing stock growth at 2.8%. Other Mountain West states in the top 10 were 6th-ranked Colorado (2%) and 10th-ranked Nevada (1.8%). Montana ranked 15th, Wyoming 21st, and New Mexico 25th.

Brian Bonnenfant, who studies housing supply at the University of Nevada, Reno, said he isn’t surprised by the explosion of homebuilding in Nevada and across the region.

“This has been an ongoing trend for a while and it just kind of makes sense with the open quality life we got going,” Bonnenfant said. “And now that we've got those high-wage jobs, it just really ups that ante and ups that drive and the attraction factor to move into our area.”

But Bonnenfant said that brings growing pains, especially in rural areas.

“They’ve got to have health care and educational institutions,” he added.

Among Mountain West states, Idaho’s population growth rate from July 2021 to July 2022 was the highest at 1.8% – which ranked behind only Florida nationally. Montana wasn't far behind at 1.5%, followed by Arizona (1.3%) Utah (1.2%), Nevada (1%), Colorado (0.5%) and Wyoming (0.3%).

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s population decreased 0.2%.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.
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