Blog Post

Insight: Utah’s Migrants Changed (a little) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Emily Harris

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™.

Researchers and journalists have been diving into the most recent ACS data (2021) to start answering the question people have been asking since 2020: how is the pandemic impacting our society’s trends and behaviors? Emily Badger from the New York Times has been highlighting migration-related insights at the national level, looking at how education levels and telecommuting impacted intrastate movement during the pandemic.

But at the Gardner Institute, we share Utah-specific insights into these large, national datasets. This new factsheet compares 2021 migration data to a previous report on 2014-2018 migrant characteristics, provides a new profile on Utah’s migrants, and highlights meaningful differences that have occurred in Utah’s migrant population since the 2014-2018 period.

So, what do Utah’s migrants in 2021 look like?

Utah’s migrants in 2021 are not too dissimilar from the migrants in 2018. Between 25-30% of both in and out-migrants were born in Utah, either returning to or leaving their home state. Utah maintains western geographic migration ties, with most migrants coming from or going to California, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and Florida. Utah’s migrants are more racially and ethnically diverse and younger than Utah residents who did not move outside the state.

Figure 1: Utah Resident Population by Migration Status and Domestic Out-Migrants, 2021

Figure 2: Age Distribution by Mobility Status, 2021