Utahn? Utahan? Utahites? New analysis finds Utahns prefer that demonym

Jul 22, 2021, 11:09 AM | Updated: 1:15 pm
utah county, Utah growing...
Provo, Utah, view of downtown from the Wasatch MountainsPhoto courtesy of Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah voters may not agree on their choice for president, governor, or even city council, but a recent poll suggests they do agree Utahn is the proper nickname for a state resident, not Utahan. 

What’s in a demonym? 

A demonym, the official terminology, refers to the name or nickname given to residents of a specific area. Thus, residents of California become known as Californians, and residents of New York become New Yorkers, etc. 

For most states, this seems to come from the ending of the spelling of the state. State names that end in a vowel sound tend to add “N” or “-ian” to the end. This is true of both Georgia (Georgians) and Kentucky (Kentuckians), though some exceptions arise. For example, Indiana residents prefer to be called “Hoosiers” rather than Indianans, according to two US senators who asked the federal government to update its guide on their name. 

Call me a “Utahn,” not a “Utahan”

Y2Analytics surveyed Utah voters between June 24 and July 7, 2021, to ask them which spelling of Utahn was correct. They only offered two choices: Utahn and Utahan. Utahn won with an overwhelming 90% majority. 

Quin Monson, the author of the report and a partner at Y2Analytics, points out 90% agreement on pretty much anything is unheard of. 

“Every large group has a few contrarians, so any public opinion item with 90% agreement is rare,” he wrote. “That’s probably higher than the proportion of Utahns that consider themselves fans of the Utah Jazz or that listen to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.”

The same survey asked Utah voters whether they approve of July 24 as a state holiday. That item received slightly less support, at 84%. 

Utahns did seem willing to accept “Utahan” as a spelling for their demonym, even though they think it’s wrong. 47% would not accept Utahan as a spelling alternative for Utahn, but 43% felt OK with the alternative. 

Something we can all agree on

The preference of “Utahn” over “Utahan” came irrespective of politics, Monson wrote. Democrats and Republicans, people who voted for former President Donald Trump, people who voted for President Joe Biden, people who voted for Gov. Spencer Cox, and people who voted for his opponent, Chris Peterson, all consider “Utahn” the correct demonym. 

“These are groups that normally see the world differently,” Monson stressed. “They not only cannot agree on who to vote for in an election, but many cannot even agree on who won the 2020 presidential election or if election fraud occurred during that election.” 

Religion similarly did not play a role in people’s preferences, Monson said. 

Y2Analytics surveyed 415 people to represent 1.5 million registered Utah voters, with a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points. 

Visit their website to see a video of researchers asking people on the street the proper name for a Utah resident. 

Today’s Top Stories


Three people are being charged after they staged a kidnapping in West Valley....
Devin Oldroyd

Three people charged after staged kidnapping for YouTube video, police say

Three people are being charged with disorderly conduct after they conducted a staged kidnapping in West Valley on Saturday.
22 hours ago
Police say, missing 43-year-old Stanton Porter was found deceased in a shed on his family's propert...
Devin Oldroyd

UPDATE: Family of missing Stanton Porter releases statement regarding his death

Police say, missing 43-year-old Stanton Porter was found deceased in a shed on his family's property.
22 hours ago
Mark Jackson

Most Murray City school students start back on Monday

Murray City schools are back in session tomorrow for most district students. Students in first through 6th grades, and 8th and 12th graders will report on Monday.
22 hours ago
Photo of the crash that happened early Saturday morning in Tooele County (Photo courtesy of Utah De...
Mark Jackson

One dead in early Saturday crash on I-80

One person is dead following a fatal crash Saturday morning. Utah High Patrol says they got a call about 3:36 a.m. Saturday, August 13, 2022 of a crash that involved a Genesis passenger car and a pick-up truck.
2 days ago
Rosie Tapia is one of the 200 victims whose cold cases are still unsolved in Utah...
Chandler Holt

Increased reward for information on the murder of Rosie Tapia

Twenty-seven years after the home abduction and murder of Tapia, the reward money has nearly tripled in hopes of finding Tapia's killer.
2 days ago
conferences salt lake county tax increase...
Chandler Holt and Kira Hoffelmeyer

UPDATE: Meteor potentially causes boom that rattles Salt Lake Valley

A large 'boom' was heard, and felt, by people all over the Salt Lake Valley on Saturday morning. The intensity of the 'boom' led to many thinking it was an earthquake of some sort.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Utahn? Utahan? Utahites? New analysis finds Utahns prefer that demonym