By: Emily Harris, Demographer
I moved to Utah at the beginning of 2016 for many of the same reasons as others: I had a great job offer, the standard of living was decent, and the outdoor access was unmatched. I didn’t know it, but many other people were moving to Utah at the same time, and those numbers continued to climb.
This latest migration report, Moving Past Net Migration: Demographic Characteristics of Utah’s Recent Migrants, does a deep dive into Utah’s in and out-migrants during the 2014-2018 period, when Utah was in the middle of the longest economic expansion in its history. It examines basic demographic characteristics of Utah’s in and out-migrants, and compares them to the rest of Utahns already living in Utah during that period.
Utah Population Pyramid by Migration Status, 2014-2018
The data indicate that only 4% of Utahns moved from out of state or country in the last year. That may sound small, but that equals roughly 130,000 people, or almost the size of West Valley. About a quarter of in-migrants were born in Utah and returned after a previous move, and there were almost 95,000 domestic out-migrants (the data do not capture international out-migration). If we look at the bigger picture, almost 40% of those currently living in Utah were not born in Utah, indicating a sustained, longer-term trend of in-migration.
Utah’s in-migrants are younger, more racially/ethnically diverse, and have higher educational attainment than those already living in Utah. The age discrepancy between migrants and the general Utah population drives much of the differences we see in other characteristics such as race and ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, and labor force participation. Not only is Utah less diverse than other states who are sending in-migrants, but recent racial and ethnic projections for Utah point out that racial and ethnic minorities typically have higher fertility rates, contributing to the more diverse young population within Utah and across the country.
The report also dives into the differences between in-migrants who were originally born in Utah versus in-migrants born elsewhere. Ultimately, in-migrants born in Utah are similar to the rest of Utah’s in-migrants with the exception of less racial and ethnic minorities and a larger number of small children.
Race and Ethnicity, In-Migrant Subsets, 2014-2018
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 5-Year American Community Survey, Integrated Public Use Microdata Series
Do you want to learn more about Utah’s in and out-migrants? Look over the report for more demographic and household characteristic information, such as migrants’ origins and destinations, their marital status, household formation, and labor force participation.
Emily Harris is a demographer at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.