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Laura Seitz, KSL, File

Utah family incomes grow, but poverty still present

By Annie Knox, KSL  |  Posted Sep 14th, 2017 @ 8:55pm



SALT LAKE CITY — Families in the Beehive State are bringing in more money, but 1 in 10 Utahns still is living in poverty.

The findings come in a batch of newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Utah families earned an income of roughly $74,100 in 2016, according to the figures released Thursday. That's 20th in the nation.

And four Utah cities fared better than the state average, with South Jordan leading the pack at $110,700.

Utah's bigger family budgets may be attracting people from other parts of the United States. About 3.6 percent of Utahns who moved last year came from out of state, a slight uptick from 2015.

The data don't give a full picture of Utahns' economic health, noted the University of Utah's Kem C. Gardner Institute, which studies state demographics, in a prepared statement.

Ten of Utah's densest cities had enough people to provide accurate data, according to the institute. The communities of more than 65,000 are concentrated on the Wasatch Front, from Layton to Orem, but also include St. George.

Despite upticks in Utahns earnings last year, 10.2 percent of Utahns live in poverty.

That's lower than the national average, with 14 percent of Americans living below the poverty line. And it's not as grim as in neighboring states across the Intermountain West: Utah came in slightly lower than Colorado and Nevada, which hovered at 11 percent.

In 2016, a household of four that brought in $24,300 a year met the federal poverty threshold. A single person qualified with an income of $11,880.

Other interesting findings in the Gardner Institute's analysis that considered changes from 2015 to 2016:

  • Utahns get married at 24, according to median estimates.
  • The Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander population in Utah shot up 22 percent to nearly 29,000 in the one-year period. It's the fastest growing of any racial or ethnic group.
  • White Utahns who don't identify as Hispanic made up the largest overall increase, with more than 37,00 people.
  • Slightly more Utahns own their own homes, apartments or condos, from 68.9 percent up to 69.9 percent.
  • Immigrants are taking up a larger slice of Utah's population, with more than 252,300 in 2016. Most are from Latin America, but more people from Europe and Asia are calling the Beehive State home.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

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