The Provo-Orem metro area is projected to grow 98.1 percent over the next 30 years. That means by 2042, the population of Utah Valley will be a comparatively whopping 1,096,300.
According to The Atlantic Cities, those figures make the Provo-Orem metro area the second biggest growth region in the U.S.
Growth in Utah County will also outpace Salt Lake City and Ogden, as well as traditionally comparable metro areas like Boulder or Ann Arbor. That means that within a generation, Provo may be more similar to larger regional hubs than the medium-sized college towns it currently resembles.
All of this is fascinating, but also raises questions about how that growth will occur. For example, how will civic leaders encourage more density and less sprawl? Are authorities considering how public transit will cope with this growth? Is Provo specifically strategizing how to actively encourage more growth within the city, as opposed to sprawling outer settlements?
Population growth should translate into greater opportunity and prosperity in Utah Valley. But if that growth is poorly managed — e.g. if it results in more sprawl — many of the benefits will be cancelled out or significantly reduced. And since we know that people increasingly prefer walkable urban neighborhoods, more sprawl might also reduce the amount of growth Provo itself experiences.