News Release

Utah’s middle class population decreasing, lower and upper classes growing

October 8, 2018 (Salt Lake City) – At the request of the President’s Office at the University of Utah and in support of the Alliance for the American Dream, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute reviewed leading definitions of the middle class, with an emphasis on income-based measures, and created a policy brief that helps define the middle class and analyze trends over time.

Consistent with nationwide trends, Utah’s middle class population share has decreased since 1980, as the lower and upper classes grew. The size of Utah’s middle class declined from 51.4 percent of the population in 1980 to 48.6 percent in 2016, a modest decrease of 2.8 percentage points (see Figure 1). However, the middle class share stabilized during the economic recovery following the 2007–2009 recession, increasing by 0.4 percent.

Figure 1: Middle Class Share of Utah and U.S. Population, Selected Years 1980–2016