By: Mallory Bateman, Emily Harris, and Natalie Young
While the Census Bureau is most well-known for the decennial census (next up, 2020!), they are also responsible for a multitude of other surveys and products. One suite of products, which impacts funding allocation in Utah, are the Population and Housing Unit Estimates.
Updated annually, the Population Estimates Program provides data releases at varying levels of geography and demographic detail. These estimates provide July 1 estimates for each year in the decade and also include the most recent Census data as the earliest point estimate.
The highlights from the latest release include:
- Utah maintaining the title of “youngest state in the nation” with a median age of 31 years
- Insights into the racial and ethnic composition of the state and counties
In the previous releases of this suite of products, we also learned that between 2017 and 2018:
- Utah’s housing stock increase was the 2nd fastest in the nation
- South Jordan was the 12th fastest growing large city in the nation
- The St. George metropolitan area was 3rd fastest and Provo-Orem was the 10th fastest growing in the nation
The Census Estimate season starts at the end of the calendar year, with the release of the national and state population and components of change estimates. These are followed in the early spring by a county, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area level release of the same topics. Late spring or early summer gives way to the city-level population and county housing unit estimates. The release of the age, sex, race and Hispanic origin at the nation, state, and county level (released June 20) completes the estimate package each year. All of these estimates products are internally consistent, perfectly adding up and nesting within each other (e.g. all cities add up to the county, all counties add up to the state, and all states add up to the nation).
With each release, the Demography Team at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute combs through the data to highlight what these estimates mean to Utah. We share these findings with the press and the public, through Fact Sheets. We also provide links to the Census Bureau datasets through our User Data page.
We also compare our Institute’s research products with the Census Bureau releases for several reasons.
- We provide a preliminary check on the Census Bureau work through our inclusion in the Federal State Cooperative for Population Estimates (FSCPE) and are able to submit potential corrections or changes prior to public release.
- We internally analyze differences between the two series as a way to understand how the Census Bureau’s different estimates techniques and assumptions impact the estimates compared to our own.
Our products are developed through rigorous data work and consultation with local partners. The Utah-specific data, context, and methodology used in our research enables us to incorporate and highlight Utah nuance that may not be possible through a national estimate model. When we provide our insights through our involvement with FSCPE, we are able to share those Utah specificities on a national level.
Now that the 2018 Census Bureau Estimates are complete, we will take a Census Bureau estimates hibernation to create our own estimates. Once December hits, we will be ready for the 2019 Vintage Estimates.