News Release

Utah’s young population contributes to relatively low COVID-19 death rate

July 29, 2020 (Salt Lake City, Utah) – Research from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute shows Utah’s relatively young population is contributing to a lower COVID-19 death rate than the nation as a whole. As of July 14, 2020, the CDC COVID Data Tracker reported the Utah and U.S. per-capita death rates as 7.0 and 41.3 per 100,000, respectively, a difference of 34.3. Using various decomposition methods, demographers at the Gardner Institute estimate that about 8 of those deaths per capita are attributable to Utah’s younger population, with the remaining difference being a result of other factors.

“In many ways, this analysis is more exploratory than definitive, since the provisional data are still so fresh,” said Mike Hollingshaus, senior demographer at the Gardner Institute and lead author of the brief. “But, it provides an alternative outlook on the data. This different way of thinking changes how policymakers view per-capita rates and recommends a nuanced approach to the decision-making process.”

The analysis provided instructive, but still preliminary answers to three questions:

  1. What would Utah’s COVID-19 death rate be if its population had the same age structure as the U.S. population? If Utah had the same age structure as the U.S., its death rate would rise by nearly 50% to 10.1