The Changing Demographics of Utah
Utah is known for being the most Mormon state in the U.S., with a population that is more than 60% adhering to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, despite being predominantly Mormon, the demographics of Utah are diverse and have changed significantly over the years.
A Diverse Population
Historically, Utah has been mostly homogenous, with the largest ethnic group being white or of European descent. However, in recent years, the state has witnessed an influx of immigrants from various parts of the world, leading to a diversification of its population. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Utah’s population has grown by 18.4% from 2010 to 2019, higher than the national average of 6.3%. The growth is attributed to the state’s robust economy, job opportunities, and quality of life.
In terms of race and ethnicity, Utah remains predominantly white, with non-Hispanic whites accounting for 76.3% of the population. However, the Hispanic or Latino population has experienced the most significant growth, rising by 46.2% in the past decade. This surge saw the Hispanic population surpass the African American population to become the second-largest ethnic group in the state. Today, people of Hispanic or Latino descent make up 14.2% of Utah’s total population.
Asian Americans are the third-largest group in the state, making up 2.5% of Utah’s population. The State is also home to a large population of Pacific Islanders, mostly Samoans, Tongans, and Hawaiians. Despite being a small portion of the larger population, Pacific Islanders account for 2.1% of Utah’s residents.
The religious demographics of Utah remain heavily Mormon, but there has been a notable change in recent years, with a notable increase in the number of non-Mormon residents. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2014, 61% of adults in Utah identified as Mormon, while 21% were Protestant, 6% were Catholic, 2% were Jewish, and 10% did not affiliate with any religion. However, a more recent study indicates that Utah’s religious landscape is changing, with a significant decline in church membership. A survey conducted by the church itself in 2020 shows that the number of members is declining, with a 0.9% drop between 2019 and 2020.
Despite this decline, the Mormon influence on Utah’s culture and traditions remains strong. Mormonism shapes daily life in many ways, with businesses closing on Sundays and liquor laws that prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages in some areas. Utah also has a unique “Mormon corridor” that runs from southern Idaho to northern Arizona, where the majority of the population is Mormon.
In terms of age demographics, the median age in Utah is 31.9 years, compared to 38.4 years for the rest of the United States. This relatively young population is due to the state’s high birth rate and a large number of young families. Utah also has a higher fertility rate compared to other states, with the average number of children per family being 2.3, compared to the national average of 1.7.
Education levels in Utah are also higher than the national average. The state has a higher proportion of residents with a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree compared to the rest of the United States. Furthermore, Utah ranks second in the country for the number of residents who speak a second language.
The demographics of the most Mormon state in the U.S have changed significantly over the years. While Utah remains predominantly white and Mormon, the state has become more diverse, with a growing Hispanic population and an increasing number of non-Mormon residents. Additionally, Utah’s younger population, higher fertility rate, and higher levels of education add to the unique profile of the state. Overall, the demographics of Utah highlight the changing nature of the state’s culture and the impact of its religious and economic influences.