According to the US Census Bureau, the latest census shows Utah was the fastest growing state in the nation between 2010 and 2020 with an 18.4 percent population increase. Washington County (St. George area) was the state’s fastest growing county (a 30 percent increase), just ahead of Salt Lake County (20.8 percent). However, the growth was not enough to garner Utah an additional congressional seat.
Only limited data on population and race has so far been released from the detailed census data collected in 2020, and even this information has not been made available beyond state and county levels, according to Mallory Bateman, Director of Demographic Research and State Data Center Coordinator of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the David Eccles School of Business. The entirety of the 2020 Census data isn’t expected to be released until October 2023 for a several reasons.
“The pandemic impacted 2020 census operations, which delayed the initial data processing. That, combined with new privacy methods on this data which are still under development, has resulted in delayed publication of the 2020 data,” said Bateman.
Despite the limited release, we have learned some demographic information, including that Utah’s population remains predominately white (75.4 percent). We’ve also learned migration into the state is responsible for one-third of the growth from 2010 to 2020, with the rest of the increase coming from new births minus deaths, according to Bateman. She also noted that the incoming resident count increased while the new births-to-deaths numbers decreased as compared to previous census numbers, suggesting the population growth is fueled more by new arrivals than new births.
The overall national population increased at less than half the rate of Utah (7.4 percent to 331.4 million) during the period between 2010 and 2020, and Utah’s population increased by 501,731 to 3,271,616 during that same period. Even though Utah’s population grew the fastest, it is still one of least populated states in the nation, according to US Census Bureau data.
Utah also ranks low in ethnic diversity, but its diversity is higher than some of its surrounding states, including Idaho and Wyoming. According to the census data of 2020, 24.6 percent of Utah’s population is non-white, with the highest percentage (15.1) identifying as Hispanic or Latino. In Salt Lake County 28.5 percent of the population identified as non-white with 19.6 percent listing themselves as Hispanic or Latino, representing a 31.9 percent increase from 2010.
Also, according to the 2020 census data, 3.8 percent of the population in Utah is Asian, 2.7 percent is American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.1 percent is Black or African American, and 1.8 percent is Hawaiian or Pacific Islander with the remaining percentages identifying as other or a combination. Each demographic represented in the census saw growth.
Data from the released 2020 Census is not currently readily available to compare population growth and race and ethnicity in groups smaller than the county level.