Blog Post

Insight: Utah’s Declining Fertility is Both the Exception and the Rule

By: Emily Harris, Senior Demographer

Utah is known for many things: soda shops that put creamer and coconut in their sodas, world-class skiing, a strong and stable economy, and high fertility rates. But over the last few years, Utah has dropped its title of the highest fertility rate in the nation, going from highest in 2015 to 4th highest in 2020. This trend has sparked conversations in Utah among residents, lawmakers, economists, and community leaders about why fertility is declining rapidly and whether it is a problem.

This latest report doesn’t attempt to answer any of those kinds of fertility questions. Still, it does seek to understand whether or not Utah’s declining fertility rate is an exception or the rule over the last decade.

And the truth is—it’s a little of both.


All states in the U.S. experienced fertility rate declines from 2010-2020, but the reductions ranged from a mere 5% to almost 24%. Utah’s fertility rate declined by nearly 22% from 2010-2020 but still maintained a high fertility rate compared to other states ― 4th highest in the nation and highest compared to the other Intermountain West and Pacific states.

What we do notice is that the Intermountain West and Pacific divisions (and the states within them) are experiencing the largest fertility rate declines in the country. So, while Utah’s fertility decline is exceptional in the national context, it is also part of the rule when examining the Western divisions and states.