Demography FAQs

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.

What is a population estimate?

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)

What is a population projection?

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)

Why are there different sources of population estimates?

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 Census Bureau produces annual population estimates for a wide range of geographies and characteristics. These include estimates for state and county populations with national coverages. 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.

Which source of population estimates should I use for my project?

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. The Utah Population Committee has released total population estimates for all counties in Utah and can be found here. If only geographies in Utah are needed, use estimates from the Utah Population Committee or the small area estimates by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

What are some interesting facts and figures about Utah?

Utah is well-known for its signature demographics, which include the youngest population, largest household sizes, and one of the most rapidly growing populations. The state is currently following many of the same trends as the nation with an increasing median age, greater ethnic diversity, and shrinking household sizes. Utah reached the 3 million person milestone in October 2015.

Find the most requested facts about Utah in the Utah Demographics Fact Sheet.

Additional facts, as well as key economic indicators for the state, are available in the Utah at a Glance Fact Sheet.

What is the total population of Utah?

As of July 1, 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of Utah was 3,054,806.

The Utah Population Committee produces alternate estimates for the State of Utah and Counties. These estimates differ from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates due to data sources and methodology. As of July 1, 2016, the Utah Population Committee estimates the population of Utah to be 3,054,806.

The following spreadsheet file contains data from the 2010 Census to 2016.

Age and sex data for Utah can be found at this link.

Race and Ethnicity data for Utah can be found at this link.

Find additional data on the Census Bureau’s population estimates website.

What is the total population for counties in Utah?

The Utah Population Committee produces alternate estimates for the State of Utah and Counties. These estimates differ from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates due to data sources and methodology. The estimates are available here.

What is the total population for cities in Utah?

The U.S. Census Bureau is the source for total population for incorporated cities and towns in Utah. The following spreadsheet file contains data from the 2010 Census to 2015.

What are Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas?

Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas (metro and micro areas) are geographic entities delineated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for use by federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing federal statistics. The term “Core Based Statistical Area” (CBSA) is a collective term for both metro and micro areas. A metro area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population, and a micro area contains an urban core of at least 10,000 (but less than 50,000) population. Each metro or micro area consists of one or more counties and includes the county or counties containing the core urban area, as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. Social and economic integration are measured by commuting to work data.

The standards for delineating the areas are reviewed and revised once every ten years, prior to each decennial census. Generally, the areas are delineated using the most recent set of standards following each decennial census. Between censuses, the delineations are updated to reflect Census Bureau population estimates. Areas based on the 2010 standards and Census Bureau data were delineated in February of 2013, and updated in July of 2015. (Definition Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Origins of the current geographic definitions can be traced back to the Standard Metropolitan Areas presented in the 1950 decennial census products.  Although the terminology and geographic areas have changed over time, all of these define geographic areas that contain a populous and concentrated core and outlying areas having a high degree of economic integration with the core.

The metro and micro delineations are created for statistical or analytical purposes and are not designed to be used in the federal budgeting process. In practice, however, many local and regional entities use metro and micro area data for a wide range of analyses that inform public and private programs, policies, and investments.

There are five metro and five micro areas in Utah. The metro areas include Logan (Cache County and Franklin County, ID); Ogden-Clearfield (Box Elder, Weber, Morgan, and Davis Counties); Provo-Orem (Utah and Juab Counties); Salt Lake City (Salt Lake and Tooele Counties); and St. George (Washington County). The micro areas include Cedar City (Iron County); Heber (Wasatch County); Price (Carbon County); Summit Park (Summit County); and Vernal (Uintah County). In Utah, ten counties belong to a metro area, five counties belong to a micro area, and the remaining fourteen counties do not belong to any metro or micro area.

Utah also contains one Combined Statistical Area (CSA), the Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem CSA. A CSA consists of two or more adjacent Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) that have substantial employment interchange. The CSA includes ten counties; eight counties belong to metro areas (Ogden-Clearfield, Salt Lake City, and Provo-Orem) and two counties belong to micro areas (Heber and Summit Park).

Utah Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Map 

USA Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Map 

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Estimates: 2015 

Historical Statistical Area Delineations

More information can be found here.

Where can I find population estimates by age and sex?

The U.S. Census Bureau population estimates are the source for age and sex data. This spreadsheet link contains data from the 2010 Census to 2015.

Additional data can be found on the Census Bureau’s website by State or County.

State Single Year Age

County

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.

Where can I find race and ethnicity data for Utah?

Race and Ethnicity data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau. This spreadsheet file contains data from the 2010 Census to 2015.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute has prepared several Race and Ethnicity Fact Sheets, which focus on the race and ethnicity groups as classified by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

Hispanic or Latino

Utah Minorities: The Story Told by 150 Years of Census Data

Additional data for counties can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.

Where can I find data on religious affiliation?

The most comprehensive and publicly available religious adherent data is from the Association of Religion Data Archives (the ARDA). Find data by county in Utah here.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) publishes membership numbers by state and country on their website.

The Pew Research Center, Religion and Public Life discusses religion with a national or global perspective, but will occasionally focus on topics by state. Click here to learn more.