Blog Post

Insight: County Migration Patterns are Not the Same as State Migration Patterns

By: Emily Harris and Heidi Prior

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

When people find out that we study Utah’s migration patterns, they immediately ask “Is it really all Californians moving to Utah?”. And the not-so-straightforward answer is (like it is for most demographic questions) “Well, it depends.” If you live in Cache County, you are going to see different sources of migrants than you would in Salt Lake County, and different than you would see in Sanpete County.

Our newest migration report seeks to answer the migration questions that we often receive about the geographic origins and destinations of Utah migrants with county detail, such as:

  • What counties are sending migrants to Utah?
  • Which Utah counties receive these out-of-state migrants?
  • Are Utahns leaving the state? And if so, where are they going?
  • Are all of Utah’s fast-growing counties receiving an influx of out-of-state migrants?
  • Do migrants impact smaller counties too?

We also produced a series of regional profiles offering a focused look into the migration patterns impacting the counties within each of Utah’s regions. These profiles provide more detail for smaller population counties and regions that are often dwarfed by the dynamics of the large populations along the Wasatch Front.

So, what did we find?

Utah has Strong Western Migration Ties…

Utah sends and receives the most out-of-state migrants to and from Clark County (Las Vegas), NV, Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ, and Los Angeles County, CA. King County (Seattle) and a couple of Idaho counties are also prominen