Blog Post

Insight: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By: Emily Harris

Labor Day marks the end of the busy moving season, spanning from May to September. When times are good, it is easier for individuals and families to move, whether that’s to another city, county, or state. Times are certainly good right now in Utah.

Migration has significantly contributed to Utah’s fast population growth since the last decennial census, in part due to a continuing decline in fertility. However, migration is also much more closely tied to economic cycles than fertility and can be quite volatile from year to year. In the short term, migration has a much more dramatic impact on demographic change than fertility and mortality. Migration is definitely on the public’s brain right now. The Salt Lake Tribune just recently released an article about the Census Bureau’s recent geographic mobility data. The data release revealed that more than half of those moving to Salt Lake County are coming from Asia and Latin America.

But how does migration actually affect an area? Clearly it brings people in or moves them out, but what are the local impacts of individuals migrating to or from a place? How do those impacts change based on the ages of those who migrate in, and what are the local conditions that draw certain age groups in and export other age groups? I’m glad you asked.

This new migration report explores the age-specific net migration patterns in Utah and across its counties. First, it provides a historic analysis of how net migration has changed over the last fifty years, then focuses specifically on the 2000-2010 net migration patterns for all counties.

The state of Utah has net in-migration of all age groups except for one, ages 30-34, but there are vast county differences in age-specific migration. For example, if we look at the age specific migration rates for Salt Lake, Davis, and Washington counties, we can see that each of these counties are attractive to people in different stages of their lives.