KSL INVESTIGATES

Utah More Diverse Than 10 Years Ago, But Growth Slows In Rural Areas

Aug 13, 2021, 11:01 AM | Updated: 11:30 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The Beehive State is growing fast and becoming more diverse, according to additional data from the 2020 U.S. Census that was released Thursday.

The data showed population changes, racial and ethnic group growth and limited housing information. This is part of the redistricting data that states will use to redraw political boundaries as constitutionally required every 10 years.

Fastest Growth, Youngest Population

Overall, Utah’s population has swelled 18.4%, or by 507,731 people, in the last decade. Our state is now home to 3,271,616 people. This makes Utah the fastest-growing state in the U.S. Idaho followed Utah’s lead with a 17% population increase between 2010 and 2020.

Nationally, growth averaged 7.4% in the last 10 years. It follows a slowing trend from the late 1990s. County-level data shows rural areas largely declined in population in the same time period, with more people heading to urban areas and western states.

Utah showed 20%+ growth in 17 counties between 1990 and 2000. That declined to just six counties — Morgan, Tooele, Wasatch, Utah, Iron and Washington — seeing that same growth level between 2010 and 2020. Wasatch County swelled the most with an increase of 47.8% or 11,258 people. Washington County grew by 30.5%, adding 42,164 residents.

It wasn’t all positive numbers. Seven Utah counties — Daggett, Piute, Wayne, Garfield, Emery, Carbon and San Juan — all saw declines in population for the first time in the last three decades. Daggett County saw the largest percentage drop with -11.7% of its residents leaving and Emery County saw the most total decline with 1,151 fewer people in 2020.

Morgan County took home the honor of being Utah’s youngest county, with just 65% of its 12,295 residents aged 18 and older. Utah scored the youngest state in the U.S. with 71% of the overall population being legal adults. The US average in 2020 was 77.9% adults.

The Utah county with the fewest children was Grand County, with 21.2% not old enough to vote.

Growing State, Growth In Minority Groups

If you were to run into two random people in Utah, the likelihood that those two people would be a different race from each other is 40.7% This statistic is called the diversity index. Utah’s index has grown more diverse, up from 33.6% in 2010.

White, non-Hispanic remains the largest racial or ethnic group in the state, making up 75.4% of the populace. Now, nearly one in four people in Utah belong to a racial or ethnic minority, compared to one in five 10 years ago.

Like 2010, Hispanic/Latinos make up the state’s second most predominant racial or ethnic group, but in larger numbers. This group increased by 134,572 residents to 15.1% of the statewide population in 2020.

Census Shows US Is Diversifying, White Population Shrinking

Counties seeing the biggest increase in diversity index scores were Grand County with a 10% jump, Utah County with an 8.2% increase and Davis County with an 8.1% increase. Their overall diversity index rates were 38.2%, 36.2% and 33.6% respectively.

A notable change lies with the third most prominent racial or ethnic group reported in the 2020 Census. In 2010, Asians comprised 2% of Utah’s population and this third spot. Now, more Utahns identified as two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino, and makeup 3.7% of the state.

This is a trend seen nationwide. The Census Bureau reported it was expected as they expanded reporting on the 2020 Census Survey, breaking out the race/ethnicity question into two parts and allowing respondents to list their country of origin.

“These changes reveal that the U.S. is much more multiracial and more racially and ethnically diverse than what we measured in the past,” said Nicholas Jones, director and senior advisor of Race and Ethnic Research and Outreach at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fewer Available Housing Options

Despite increasing housing by 17.5% over the last 10 years, Utah falls below the national average in vacant housing, with a rate of 8.2% availability. Two statistical areas in Utah landed on the Top Ten Lowest Vacancy Rates. Provo-Orem hit fifth place with just 4.2% vacancy, and Ogden-Clearfield took eighth place with 4.6% vacancy.

To explore more of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data, visit the U.S. Census Bureau.


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Utah More Diverse Than 10 Years Ago, But Growth Slows In Rural Areas