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The City Café

For those interested in sharing ideas and perspectives regarding local government.

Category Archives: Demographics

Click Here for the State of Metropolitan America Interactive Map

Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo are mentioned in a new report by the Brookings Institution called The State of Metropolitan America.  Here is an overview of the report that analyses demographic trends from the 2000s and divides major US metropolitan areas into seven new categories reflecting these new realities (NEXT FRONTIER: High growth, High diversity, High educational attainment; NEW HEARTLAND: High growth, Low diversity, High educational attainment; DIVERSE GIANT: Low growth, High diversity, High educational attainment; BORDER GROWTH: High growth, High diversity, Low educational attainment; MID-SIZED MAGNET: High growth, Low diversity, Low educational attainment; SKILLED ANCHOR: Low growth, Low diversity, High educational attainment; INDUSTRIAL CORE: Low growth, Low diversity, Low educational attainment).


By Lincoln Shurtz

Yesterday the Utah State legislature concluded it redistricting effort. While the Utah House and Senate maps had broad support and passed without much fanfare in early October, the congressional maps (which are making way for a fourth congressional district) had significantly more dissention among legislative members.

Issues such as partisanship, urban rural distinction, making way for known congressional candidates and just general political agendas all played out during the two weeks between the initial special session call and the final passage of the congressional maps.  In an attempt to avoid a lawsuit for gerrymandering, the legislature allowed unprecedented public participation in the process; establishing websites for public input, public map making, and a great venue for views to be expressed on the map.  Now that does not mean that all participants agreed with maps, lawsuits will be avoided, or all parties are happy with the final outcome of the map, but at least great attempts were made by leadership to make the process as open and as transparent as possible….one must keep in mind that regardless of ones position on the map this process will inevitably have political elements that will never be avoided.

The greatest debate over the maps was how to handle the densely-populated Salt Lake County.  Phrases such as the “doughnut” (which would have created a largely Salt Lake City District) or the “Pizza Slice” (which had all for congressional districts taking a small slice of Salt Lake City) were being tossed around like the dough of an actual pizza, and in the end a variation of the “pizza slice” ultimately passed. The key work is a “variation” as there were literally dozens of “variations of each map” that were being debated in party caucuses, on newscast and among the citizenry.

Because there are two-sides to every argument we are trying to refrain from labeling any proposal as good or bad, but rather decided to just provide you with the links to the various proposals and the final map so that you can make that determination for yourself.

I do, however, think we should commend the legislature on its efforts to represent the state and fairly divide the state in to the four districts.  Their level of success on this effort is in the eye of the beholder.

Please see the link below to find more than you would ever want to know about the redistricting effort.

General Redistricting Site:

Congressional Map (Final):

Senate Map (Final):

House Map (Final):

We hope this finds you well, and please let us know if you have any questions about the process, next steps or the particulars of the maps.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of labor force participation among young people continues to fall at a faster rate than that of older Americans.  Since the recession began, the LFP rate of Americans aged 16-19 fell 7.6% and 20-24 year-olds saw a drop of 3.9%, whereas the rate for Americans aged 25-54 only fell only 1.6% and the those 55 and older actually increased their LFP rate by 1.3%.

This can partially be explained by the fact that older Americans are remaining a part of the labor force longer than they originally expected and high unemployment rates have led to increased competition for what have typically been considered entry level positions, leaving younger, less-experienced candidates at a disadvantage.

For more click here

How has the economic downturn affected Utah’s cities and towns, and how are our municipalities responding?

How to the demographics and opinions of municipal officials in Utah compare to those of the general public?

What is the economic forecast for 2011 and beyond?

Check out the latest edition of the League’s Latest for answers from ULCT’s Policy & Economic Research team and professors from the University of Utah and BYU.

Hard copies are available at the League office.


Michael Vaughn of the Standard Examiner writes an interesting op-ed this morning on the changing demographics in Utah. Vaughn notes a recent presentation by Pam Perlich (University of UTah Bureau of Economic and Business Research). Perlich points out in this presentation that the over 60 demographic is the fastest growing demographic in Utah, this trend increases Utah’s dependency ratio (which is already high because of the number of kids under 17 per capita).

You can read Vaughns article here: Utah is changing in demographics

In November I chatted with Pam on the phone about this same data and the trends in Utah’s demographics. You can listen to this podcast here: ULCT podcast with Pam Perlich.

suburbsLast week in the New York Times Allison Arieff wrote an interesting blog post about the 20th century growth in the suburbs and subsequently some recent challengs of foreclosures and empty big box stores. Ms. Arieff doesn’t really provide a solution to these potential problems, but she writes:

I still dream that some major overhaul can occur: that a self-sufficient mixed-use neighborhood can emerge. That three-car-garaged McMansions can be subdivided into rental units with streetfront cafés, shops and other local businesses.

Definitely much of the recent population growth in Utah has occured in the suburbs. And while some of these communities are hurting with the economic downturn and the slowing of residential construction many others are thriving and beginning to reshape their communities in more than just bedroom cities with larger homes and lot sizes. It appears suburban cities that are weathering this economic storm the best are cities that have already started a shift toward mixed-use neighborhoods.

Today Ms. Arieff follows up the previous post with a second blog titled “Saving the Suburbs, Part 2”. This post reviews many of the comments from previous readers and highlights a tension between urbanites and suburbanites. I don’t see quite the same dissonance between urban and suburban communities in Utah, although it can and does exist.  Most people don’t realize that Utah is a very urban state — ranking in the top 10 in America, around half of Utah’s statewide population live along the Wasatch Front. You can read both parts of this interesting blog here:

What will save the suburbs? (part 1)

Saving the suburbs (part 2)

An interesting new report has been released this weekend by Brookings called Mountain Megas (you can read the Deseret News article about the report here). America’s Intermountain West is experiencing some of the highest rates of population growth and economic/demographic change in the country. The region—consisting of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—has grown nearly three times faster than the United States as a whole over the past two decades. The entire state of Utah has been impacted by this incredible growth, from Cache County to Washington County. The report “describes and assesses the new supersized reality of the Intermountain West.”

The region [Intermountain West] is growing up, flexing its muscles, and distancing itself from California, which historically has had an outsized impact on the West’s development.

The lead author for this report is Dr. Robert Lang, a Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution and co-Director of the Virginia Tech Metropolitan Institute. Dr. Lang spoke at a ULCT sponsored forum last April, his presentation was followed up by an interesting panel discussion including Soren Simonson (Salt Lake City), Rick Horst (South Jordan), and Mike Coulam (Sandy City).

Not everything is rosy for the Megapolitan regions however. Dr. Lang points out that local leaders have enormous pressure to maintain and keep up with infrastructure demands. This highlights the point that we have talked about before…population growth creates a lot positives, but also creates a lot of costs to local government. Dr. Lang advocates a partnership between federal, state, and municipal officials to address this situation.  With regard to the infrastructure pressure Dr Lang says:

We think the country is so deteriorating in terms of quality of its infrastructure — that they’re so behind — that there will be a moment of shock when the country understands this under-investment will jeopardize its economic development. You would hope that there would be enough at stake that the federal government would gain a recognition of this and realize that this pattern that we’re on is at the nation’s peril.

Robert Lang Forum — April 17th, 2008

Mountain Megas — Executive Summary

Mountain Megas — Wasatch Front Profile

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