Kane County’s population will increase by 49 percent to 11,433 people by 2060, according to new projections by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Kane County will depend entirely on people moving to the county from other counties and states for growth in the coming decades.
The Gardner Institute expects that people moving to Kane County will disproportionally be retirees, drawn to “a suitable retirement location.” This will result in an aging of the county’s population. The Gardner Institute’s report on Utah Long-Term Planning Projections noted that “Washington, Kane and Summit counties have the oldest projected median ages in 2060, all at 51 years or older.” The median age is currently 43 years in Kane County.
A total of 7,924 people lived in Kane County in 2021. The county’s population grew by 8.1 percent over the last decade. The age group that saw the biggest increase was people 65 years and older.
The fertility rate is declining across the state, including Kane County. The number of children under the age of five in Kane County, in fact, declined from 492 in 2010, to 396 in 2020.
“Natural decrease (more deaths than births) is expected to begin in the early 2020s in Grand and Kane counties,” noted the Gardner Institute. If it were not for migration, Kane County would have a declining population in the future.
With fewer families with children, the average Kane County household size will decline from 2.46 persons per household in 2020 to 2.06 persons in 2060; a trend that the Gardner Institute projects will happen across the state.
As more people move to Kane County and households get smaller, the demand for new homes will increase. The Gardner Institute projects that construction will be the fastest growing industry in Utah over the next four decades. Moreover, the growing market for vacation homes and tourism may further accelerate new home and hotel construction in Kane County.
In terms of future population growth, Kane County falls about in the middle of all Utah counties, well behind our neighbors to the west. Washington County is projected to grow by 155 percent - from 182,100 in 2020 to 464,500 in 2060 - an increase of 282,000 people. Like Kane County, many new residents will be retirees moving from elsewhere.
In preparation for the growing population, Kane County is building a new elementary school. Kane School District superintendent, Ben Dalton, recently wrote in the Southern Utah News that “the school is being built to accommodate 700 students. Currently we have approximately 515 students at Kanab Elementary.”
The county also expanded the Kane County Hospital in Kanab, in recent years. With an aging population, the demand for healthcare services, along with other senior care services such as transportation and home aid, will increase.
The Gardner Institute projects that employment in healthcare; arts, entertainment and recreation; and professional and technical services will more than double in Utah by 2060, while the more traditional industries of farming and mining will see little growth.