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. 

We want to hear from you.

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


gov cox speaks during memorial day event...

Tim Vandenack, KSL.com

‘I love my country’: Veterans, Gov. Cox focus on service, honoring military on Memorial Day

Gov. Spencer Cox at a Memorial Day service in Salt Lake stressed the importance of service and honoring veterans who have died while serving.

44 minutes ago

a truck hauling a trailer full of horses was hit on monday on westbound i-80, the crash closed the ...

Sam Herrera

Wrong-way crash closes WB I-80 near Great Saltair

A wrong-way driver hit a truck pulling a horse trailer head-on, closing westbound I-80 for several hours on Monday

2 hours ago

food is sorted, kids more open to food insecurity during summer months...

Britt Johnson

Summertime leaves kids vulnerable to food insecurity

The president of the Utah Food Bank said kids who rely on school breakfast and lunch will face food insecurity this summer.

5 hours ago

traffic on freeway, 100 deadliest days in utah start today...

Mark Jackson

Memorial Day marks beginning of 100 deadliest days on Utah roads

The Utah Highway Patrol said that 85 people died during the 100 deadliest days on Utah roads during the summer of 2023.

6 hours ago

Japanese Americans who were imprisoned during WWII at Topaz Camp outside of Delta contribute storie...

Emma Everett Johnon, KSL.COM

‘Topaz Stories’ exhibit travels Utah showing human side of WWII internment

PARK CITY — Stories are bridges. Or at least that’s what Ruth Sasaki, editor of “Topaz Stories” and daughter of a World War II Japanese American internment camp survivor, thinks. Sasaki has spent the last six years collecting stories of the more than 8,000 Japanese Americans who survived incarceration at Topaz, a WWII detention camp […]

7 hours ago

Multiple people have been taken into custody following an incident involving police and a SWAT team...

Devin Oldroyd

Police reopen area near 3600 South in South Salt Lake after SWAT situation

Police reopened the area around 3600 South and 300 East after keeping it closed and telling residents to stay indoors for several hours Monday morning.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

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