FILE – Rows of homes, are shown in suburban Salt Lake City, on April 13, 2019. Utah is one of two Western states known for rugged landscapes and wide-open spaces that are bucking the trend of sluggish U.S. population growth. The boom there and in Idaho are accompanied by healthy economic expansion, but also concern about strain on infrastructure and soaring housing prices. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is the nation’s fastest-growing state and remained its youngest over the last decade even as the rest of the country got older, according to new data released by the Census Bureau on Thursday.
The figures provide the most detailed portrait yet of how the state has changed since 2010. As it grew at a rate more than double that of the rest of the country, Utah also grew more diverse and retained a significant share of young people.
The under-18 population grew by nearly 9% in Utah even as the share of children in the U.S. declined because of falling birth rates and aging baby boomers.
Utah has long been known for high birth rates, in part because the predominant religious faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, puts a high value on family.
Still, even Utah isn’t quite as young as it once was. Though the state has the country’s highest portion of young people at 29%, that portion is still lower than a decade ago, when it was about 32%.
The state also grew more diverse over the last 10 years.
The portion of people identifying as white went from 86% a decade ago to 79% in 2020. Utah remains less diverse than the U.S. as a whole, which went from 64% to 58% white.
Utah’s breakneck growth over the last decade has helped power the state’s largest economic expansion, increased tourism and expanded the middle class. Amid the massive economic upheaval wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, its been ranked among states with the lowest unemployment rates.
Still, with that rosy news comes side effects, such as skyrocketing housing prices that have largely outstripped income growth. While the number of places to live grew faster than the rest of the country with a 17.5% growth in housing units, it didn’t grow as quickly as the population, which grew by 18.4% over the last 10 years.