Aug 4, 2022 - News

Multiracial residents driving Utah's population growth

Data: U.S. Census Bureau via University of Utah; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Utahns who identify as two or more races accounted for nearly 40% of the state's population growth over the past decade, according to a research brief of 2020 Census data released this week by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

By the numbers: As of 2020, multiracial Utahns account for 8.5% of the state population.

  • In 2010, only 2.7% of Utahns identified as multiracial.
  • Its multiracial population growth ranked 13th fastest in the U.S.

Driving the news: Ahead of the 2020 count, the U.S. Census Bureau made significant improvements and design changes to its questions about race.

  • "It kind of captures how complicated race is as a topic," said Mallory Bateman, the research brief's author.

Flashback: The census bureau first allowed Americans to self-identify as more than one race in 2000.

Why it matters: Utah's booming population growth has already prompted new laws to address the state's changing demographics.

  • This year, for example, the state Legislature passed a law that allows Utahns to take their driver's license exams in languages other than English.

Zoom in: Salt Lake, Utah, Grand and Weber counties contain the largest share of multiracial residents in the state.

The big picture: The American Indian/Alaska Native population in the state more than doubled "when adding multiracial residents."

  • Multiracial Utahns were also found to be the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the state between 2010 and 2020.
  • Over half of multiracial Utahns also identified as Latino or Hispanic.
  • Among Latinos, nearly all identified as two races, with many saying listing they were white and "some other race."

The intrigue: A higher share of people under the age of 18 were most likely to identify as multiracial.

  • "A [younger] group of Utahns is kind of changing what the overall state population looks like," Bateman said.
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