1/28/2005

Growth in Saint George, UT

It has been projected that Saint George will continue to grow at a rate of 3.9% each year. According to an article by the Spectrum, at this rate the population will reach 607,000 by the year 2050. The population is currently about 120,000. This projection seems way too high for me. Saint George is growing, it's true, but its a retirement community. There are currently over 1200 practicing real estate agents eager to help retirees settle down in this relatively quite, little community. There are five golf courses and dozens of retirement communities. The problem lies in the business infrastructure. The organization which employees the most people in Washington County is the school district. The city is building a new offramp and preparing to build an airport in an attempt to attract larger businesses to the area. Do you think this is going to help, or will Saint George always be for the non-working class?

9 comments:

Keston said...

I think that building a new off ramp and building a new and bigger airport will bring new businesses and new members of the community in for a while. People, especially the retired, are moving to St.George because it is a quite, little community, with beautiful scenery. But what happens when the population does reach 607,000. It will no longer be a quite, little community, and all the beautiful scenery will be covered by big, beautiful houses. Once the community reaches a certain population I predict people will no longer move there, because it is no longer what they wanted in the first place, a small and quiet community.

Drake said...

I heard about this same story on my way to school this morning. I agree that number seems way too high. Where will everyone live? Is the question I pose. The Saint George area can only hold so many homes. I suppose they figured that by the year 2050 everyone will have forgotten about the huge flood in 2005 and they will start building in the flood plain right next to the river again.

Dale said...

I think that the St. George area will continue to grow along with the rest of Southern Utah. The older people in St. George are potential business segments for marketers and the business world. During the summer I spent a day shadowing a realtor. Fifty percent of the clients we had that day were retirees. The retirees were very concerned with what they would be able to do for fun. There was hardly any questions about the prices of homes they liked. They were willing to spend what ever it took. I thought this showed a promising outlook for economic growth.

heather said...

The projections about St. George are definitely something to consider, but 607,000 does seem excessive for that community alone. The question is if St. George would be able to capacitate the growth. Washington county currently consists of around 16% private land while the rest is protected State and Federal land; I believe Iron county's availability of private land somewhat more considerable in comparison. As a native of St. George, I hope the growth will continue to distribute itself into bedroom communities such as Cedar City. There are certain aspects about St. George I love that would be disappointing if they ended up being spoiled.

Ace said...

I also have a hard time believing that St. George will reach 607,000 by 2050. The increase of 3.9% each year seems like the number that is wrong. This may be true for the next couple of years, but 45 more years of a steady 3.9% increase, I don't know. Like we have learned most graphes that economists work with are not straight lines but they are curves. I believe that St. George growth will also be a curve. As St. George continues to grow, the the rate of increase will slowly decrease.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Keston's comment for spelling errors (waived)

The figure of 607K is for Washington County as a whole. St George (obviously) has borders that will limit its population, but the St George metropolitan area will be the vast majority of that total. (In the same sense that SLC itself only has 180K within its borders).

It is fairly common for people to focus too much on production as a source of wealth, and not enough on trade. This is reflected in the concern that St George needs to attract more production jobs for the "working class". This fear is misplaced. Florida is for the "non-working class", and it seems to be doing OK. St George will be fine too. I'm very dubious about government bureaucrats tendency to "attract" business.

BTW: the 607K figure assumes that the growth rate will drop from that 3.9% average! Yet, Washington County is currently growing at something more like 9% per year. Also, the available water for St George (including pipelines from Lake Powell) will support 2 million inhabitants, which makes the 600K look small. Note that the available water for Cedar City tops us out at 140K.

Jordan said...

Dr. Tufte said:

"BTW: the 607K figure assumes that the growth rate will drop from that 3.9% average! Yet, Washington County is currently growing at something more like 9% per year. Also, the available water for St George (including pipelines from Lake Powell) will support 2 million inhabitants, which makes the 600K look small."

At first thought, 600K does seem ridiculously high. But St. George was also just named the fastest growing city in the state, and it is also one of the fastest growing cities in the West. I think it is very likely St. George could be this big in 40 years. We have to keep in mind, too, that 40 years is a long time.

Isaac said...

Dr. Tufte mentioned that “Florida is for the "non-working class", and it seems to be doing OK. St George will be fine too.” I also agree with this statement. St. George has a lot to offer in its community. Not only is it a great place for retirees but it’s a great place to raise a family. The location will attract many entrepreneurs and I believe St. George will continue to thrive as Florida has.

Dr. Tufte said...

I'm going to recuse myself from this thread.