There are fewer young children in Utah than a decade ago

Between 2010 and 2020, Utah got older and more diverse. Households also got smaller and less likely to have children.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kids play on the playground of the new Magna Regional Park, after an official ribbon cutting, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. New U.S. Census figures show Utah is getting older but still has the highest percentage of young children, of minors and of people 24 or younger.

This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to identify solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab.

Utah is the youngest state in the country by more than four years, but it’s getting older, according to U.S. Census data released last month.

That data, which the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute analyzed, also shows Utahns are more diverse than they were in 2010 and that households are getting smaller.

Here’s a look at those insights and others from the 2020 Census Demographics and Housing Characteristics data released in late May.

Utah’s median age is the lowest, even as the state gets older

Utah has the lowest median age of all 50 states at 31.3 years old.

The next lowest is Alaska at 35.6 years old, and the median age ranges up to 45.1 years old in Maine.

Utah also has the highest percentage of young children, of minors and of people 24 or younger.

Utah is getting older

While Utah is the youngest state in the nation, it is getting older.

There were less people younger than five in 2020 than in 2010. The population shrank 9.1% for that age group.

Minors are a shrinking portion of the state’s population — people age 5 or younger made up 9.5% of the population in 2010 and 7.3% of the population in 2020, and the proportion of people age 5 to 17 dropped from 22% to 21.6%.

Two other age ranges also shrank proportionally. People age 25 to 34 and 45 to 64 made up a smaller portion of the population in 2020 than they did in 2010.

The remaining age ranges grew as a portion of the population. People ages:

  • 18 to 24 were 11.7% of the population in 2020, compared to 11.5% in 2010

  • 35 to 44 were 13.7% of the population in 2020, compared to 12% in 2010

  • 65 to 84 were 10.5% of the population in 2020, compared to 7.9% in 2010

  • 85 and older were 1.2% of the population in 2020, compared to 1.1% in 2010

Every county in Utah is aging

The median age increased in every county in Utah.

It increased by less than a year in three counties and by five years or more in four counties.

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There’s a wide range in median age, from 25.9 in Utah County to 47.3 in Wayne County.

In addition to being the oldest, Wayne County also aged the most with an increase in median age of 10.2 years.

Utah is getting more diverse

White people still make up the largest portion of Utah’s population, but the state is becoming more diverse.

Utah’s population of white people grew 8.1% between 2010 and 2020.

In comparison, non-white populations, including Black and Asian, grew by at least 26%.

The largest population growth was in people identifying as at least two races, who made up 2.7% of the population in 2010. That jumped to 8.5% in 2020.

Households are getting smaller

Utah households are getting smaller as the state becomes older and more diverse.

There was an increase in single-person and two-person households — 4.8% and 3.4%, respectively — between 2010 and 2020 after an increase between 2000 and 2010.

Larger households became less likely during the decade leading up to 2020:

  • Three-person households decreased 3.8% for total decrease of 6.7% between 2000 and 2020.

  • Four-person households decreased 5.3% for a total decrease of 10.1% between 2000 and 2020.

  • Five-person households decreased 4.9% but had increased going into 2010, leading to a total decrease of 3.9% between 2000 and 2020.

  • Households of six or more people decreased 0.9% after remaining unchanged between 2000 and 2010.

There also are fewer households with children than before.

The number of married households with children decreased 16.6% between 2010 and 2020, and single-parent households with children decreased by 25.6% in that same decade.

Different kinds of households without children, including married couples and non-family households, increased between 6.5% and 46.9%.

It’s also becoming more likely for people to rent rather than own. Rental households made up 31% of the market in 2020, a slight increase from 29.6% in 2010.