Large families are an ‘ace in the hole’ for Utah’s economy

SALT LAKE CITY — As a paper boy in Southern California, Scott Johnson saw what seemed like more than his fair share of gang activity, theft and robbery in his neighborhood, Deseret News reported.

Sometimes it was unavoidable. On several occasions, people tried to rob Johnson while he was on his paper route. One day, his bike was stolen from his yard while he stepped inside his house momentarily.

Needless to say, he wanted a better place for his own children to grow up.

Johnson later met his future wife in Utah County, and the couple bought a starter home in Vineyard after getting married. Five kids and about 18 years later, the Johnsons needed more space, but they didn’t want to leave the neighborhood. So they built a new home up the street and moved in last summer.

It’s a “far cry” from the neighborhood Scott Johnson was used to as a kid, he said.

“It’s totally different here in Utah,” he said. “I can go out for a jog at night, take the dog for a walk, or my family can go for a walk. It’s a rare thing that you encounter any sort of an issue or problem. And that means a lot to me.”

In addition to good schools, outdoor recreation opportunities and a “family-friendly” atmosphere, Sunny Johnson said she also sees Utah as a promising place for her children when they eventually attend college, enter a career and start families of their own.

“We’ve built this home with the intent that we’ll get to be here until our kids are gone and we have grandchildren,” she said. “We plan on staying forever. That’s the plan.”

Utah families are the primary contributor to the state’s population growth rate, which is more than double that of the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released last week. Lower crime rates, lower-than-average college tuition and multiplying employment opportunities after college are just some of the reasons many families choose to stay here.

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Source: Deseret News

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