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Report: Utah has the nation’s strongest middle class

Mar 24, 2022, 9:12 AM

Utah middle class...

Figure provided by the Utah Foundation in the report The Soil of Common Ground, Social Cohesion in Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — The proportion of Utah’s population that could be considered middle class is over 50% and growing. And a new report from the non-profit Utah Foundation said it’s the highest in the country, well above the national average and even the second-place state, Wyoming.

The report defines middle class as a household income between two-thirds and double the state’s median income.

The report by the Foundation is the latest in a series of studies on the components of social cohesion. The group defines social cohesion as “the foundational commonalities that allow a population to function effectively as a group.”

“The nation’s middle class has gradually been shrinking, and some American cities have become highly stratified,” said Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard in a news release.

“If Utah wants to avoid becoming a place of haves and have-nots,” Reichard continued, “more of our young people need to obtain the credentials to fully participate in the economy and achieve middle-class status.”

Among the report’s other findings: Only about 2% of school-age children in Utah have limited English proficiency skills. That’s lower than most other states. The proportion of adults with limited English skills is about 6%. That places Utah at 22nd in the nation but far below Nevada, where 13% of the adult population has limited English skills.

A large proportion of Utah’s population — 62% — was born here. That’s the highest in the West, but only 19th in the country.

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Report: Utah has the nation’s strongest middle class