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People moving to Utah are younger and more diverse

Jul 15, 2021, 5:34 PM | Updated: 11:19 pm

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A bill that would eliminate signature gathering candidates from Utah's primary election ballots was pulled off the agenda before being heard by a Senate committee Tuesday morning. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio, file.)

(PHOTO: KSL Newsradio, file.)

SALT LAKE CITY — More people are moving to Utah than are moving from Utah, and a young, more diverse population is among those relocating to the state. 

That’s according to research on Utah’s migration demographics from the Kem C. Gardiner Institute of Politics.

“A lot of them are going to stay here and they’re going to have children who will then be Utah born,” Lead Demographer Emily Hunt told KSL Newsradio.

“They will have, over the long term, impacts on the demographics of the state.”

Their report Moving Past Net Migration shows 71% of people moving to Utah are White or non-Hispanic. That is more diverse than Utah’s current population.

“About 78% of Utah’s [current] population is white, or non-Hispanic,” Hunt said.

The report also showed the majority of those moving to Utah are coming from other Western states or Texas.

Key Findings

  • In-migrants make up 4% of Utah’s population, or 133,000 people, and 25,000 of those in-migrants moved from abroad.
  • There are almost 95,000 domestic out-migrants.
  • A quarter of in-migrants were originally born in Utah, and 35% of domestic out-migrants were born in Utah.
  • At least half of Utah’s in- and domestic out-migrants originated from or departed to other Western states or Texas.
  • Utah is not even in the top 10 recipient states of California’s out-migrants.
  • In-migrants are 71% White alone, non-Hispanic or Latino, while non-moving Utah residents are 78% White alone, non-Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, both in-migrants and domestic out-migrants not born in Utah are much more racially and ethnically diverse than their Utah-born counterparts.
  • In-migrants have a median age of 25 and domestic out-migrants have a median age of 27, compared to the non-moving Utah resident median age of 31.
  • Utah in-migrants and domestic out-migrants are more likely to have a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) compared to non-moving Utah residents.

“We have a lot of people that are moving here for going to college, there’s also a lot of people here, moving here for economic opportunity,” Hunt said. “And just in general younger people are likely to move.”

Are Californians are moving to Utah?

Hunt says, yes, and no.

“It’s not a number that is insignificant to Utah but when you compare it to kind of where California is sending a lot of their residents, Utah’s not even in the top 10,” Hunt added. 

She says many Californians are ending up in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona.

People do move back

About 25% of the in-migrants are people who were born in Utah and left, and are coming back. That surprised Hunt, she said.

“Some people really think that a lot of people that are moving into Utah are people returning, they’ve had families and they want to come back and be closer tot heir family, or they go away for a mission or college and then the come back.”

As Utah’s fertility rate declines, Hunt said studying net and return migration will help shape Utah’s population.

“As migration becomes a more consistent contributor to Utah’s population growth, more questions are surfacing about who these recent migrants are and how their demographics compare to current Utah residents.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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People moving to Utah are younger and more diverse