Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse--A quick look at Utah's Urban/Rural Population Split

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released population figures for the nation's urban and "rural" areas. The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas: “urbanized areas” of 50,000 or more people and “urban clusters” of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people. As of the 2010 Census, there are five urbanized areas--Logan, Ogden--Layton, Provo--Orem,St. George and Salt Lake City/West Valley City--and 31 urban clusters in Utah. 

 As you can see from the map above, Utah's most urbanized areas are along the Wasatch Front. No surprise here. Only Cache and Washington counties show any degree of urbanization outside Utah's metropolitan corridor.

Compared to other counties, Utah is rather unusual in one respect. Utah shows a high percentage of population living in urban areas (almost 91 percent). In fact, it is the ninth most urbanized state in the nation. On the other hand, Utah's urban areas account for a mere 1.1 percent of its land mass. In other words, Utahns are densely packed into urban areas leaving most of the state to be counted as "rural."

This chart shows Utah's urban areas and population densities as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. To access data tables for these areas, click here.