Demography FAQs

//Demography FAQs
Demography FAQs2018-11-14T13:04:46+00:00

Demography FAQ’s

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions and responses, as well as helpful links and tips, provided by the Demographics team at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Population projections are estimates of the population for future dates. They illustrate plausible courses of future population change based on assumptions about future births, deaths, international migration, and domestic migration. While projections and estimates may appear similar, there are some distinct differences between the two measures. Estimates usually are for the past, while projections typically are for future dates. Estimates generally use existing data, while projections must assume what demographic trends will be in the future. For dates when both population estimates and projections are available, population estimates are the preferred data. (Definition Source: U.S. Census Bureau Glossary)

No. Currently, the Gardner Policy Institute only produces population projections at the state and county level. If you need city-level population projections, please contact your local Metropolitan Planning Agency (Wasatch Front Regional Council, Mountainland Association of Governments, Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization, or Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization) or the Utah Department of Transportation.

A population estimate is the calculated number of people living in an area at a specified point in time, usually July 1st. The estimated population is calculated using a component of change model that incorporates information on natural increase (births, deaths) and net migration (net domestic migration, net international migration) that has occurred in an area since the latest decennial census. Estimates usually are for the past and generally use existing data. (Definition Source: U.S. Census Bureau Glossary)

Many states develop their own state and local population estimates. These state-produced estimates are important because they include contextual examination and interpretations, along with different data sources and methods that help complement and improve on the Census Bureau estimates. The Utah Population Committee is responsible for the production of population estimates annually at the state and county level.

The Census Bureau produces annual population estimates at the state, county, and place level. These estimates implement consistent methods across all identical geographies. This allows for comparisons between state populations growth rates. Estimates produced by the Census at smaller scales of geography sum to estimates for the larger geographies in which they are contained.

If comparing Utah or its counties to other geographies in the U.S., or detailed data is needed, such as age, sex, race and ethnicity, use data from the U.S. Census Bureau. If only geographies in Utah are needed, use estimates from the Utah Population Committee or the Subcounty estimates by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Utah’s signature demographics have long been: having the youngest population, largest household sizes, and among the most rapidly growing populations compared to other states. However we are following many of the trends of the nation with an increasing median age, greater ethnic diversity, and shrinking household sizes. Utah reached the 3 million person milestone in 2015. Some of the most requested data about Utah can be found in this Fact Sheet.

As of July 1, 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of Utah was 3,101,833.

Estimates by Sex, Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin from 2010 to 2017 can be found here.

Estimates of the components of change of population from 2010 to 2017 can be found here.

The Utah Population Committee also produces estimates for the state and counties. These estimates differ from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates due to data sources and methodology. More information about these estimates can be found here.

The most recent population estimates by county produced by the U.S. Census Bureau can be found here.

County population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic origin can be found here.

County population by age groups by sex can be found here.

The Utah Population Committee also produces estimates for the state and counties. These estimates differ from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates due to data sources and methodology. More information about these estimates can be found here.

The U.S. Census Bureau is the source for total population for incorporated cities and towns in Utah. You can access the most recent data here.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute produces initial estimates for newly incorporated towns. Additionally, we produce Subcounty estimates for Salt Lake and Utah counties, which provides insights into the city and census tract level. For more information, click here.

The U.S. Census Bureau population estimates are the source for age and sex data.

State age groups 

State Single Year Age

County age groups

The most recent data by age and sex for cities or towns can be found using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-year estimates. This data can be accessed from American FactFinder.

The current race and ethnicity data available from Census Bureau products uses  the race and ethnicity groups as classified by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1992. While race and ethnicity are self-identified traits in the decennial census and the American Community Survey, the OMB categories limit respondents to five racial groups and one ethnicity (Hispanic or Latino). The five racial groups are: White, Black or African America, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander. For anyone identifying with a different race, they are grouped as Some Other Race.

Estimates of the population by Race and Ethnicity from the U.S. Census Bureau can be found here:

Utah Estimates by Sex, Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin

County population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic origin

For a comprehensive, historical examination of race and Hispanic origin, click here.

Contact the Utah State Data Center if you can’t find what you need via email or at 801-587-9224.

Simply put, the Census is a complete count and the American Community Survey is a sample-survey which produces estimates. In more depth:

  • Timing – The Census occurs once every 10 years as mandated in the Constitution. The American Community Survey is an annual survey, with results produced each year.
  • Content – The Census is a short questionnaire (10-11 questions) with the aim of learning age, sex, race, tenure, and relationships in the household. The American Community Survey is an in-depth, 48 question survey, with questions relating to characteristics of the population. This includes topics such as income, employment, school enrollment, commuting patterns, disability status, household heating fuel, internet access, and more.