DefinitionNumber and percentage distribution of racial and ethnic populations.
NumeratorNumber of persons in each racial/ethnic group in Utah.
DenominatorTotal number of persons in Utah in each geography for year(s) listed.
Data Interpretation IssuesThe proportion of non-White race groups is relatively small in Utah. As a result, comparisons across racial and ethnic groups can be problematic.
In the year 2000, the U.S. Bureau of the Census changed their methodology for collecting racial information on the decennial census. Prior to 2000, individuals were asked to report their primary race, but in the year 2000, individuals were asked to check all racial and ethnic categories that applied to them. They have since "bridged" the 2000 Census data to reflect the previous "primary race" concept.
Why Is This Important?Our current health system was developed based on the needs and perspectives of the White/Anglo-American Utah culture. As a result, Utahns of other cultures often experience barriers to receiving culturally sensitive and appropriate health care. Because of this and other social factors (e.g., proportion of workers in "blue collar" jobs without health benefits, lack of trust in the health care system, greater burden of poverty among many racial and ethnic groups), the health status of non-Anglo ethnic groups is often poorer than that of the mainstream population. Reducing racial and ethnically-based health disparities is an overarching goal of the U.S. Public Health Service's Healthy People 2010 and 2020 initiatives and the Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities.
How Are We Doing?The Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic/Latino populations are growing at faster rates than the state population as a whole. At the time of the 2000 U.S. Census 85% of Utah's population was White only and non-Hispanic. It is now at approximately 78.3% according to the 2017 American Community Survey. Roughly one out of every five Utahns belong to an ethnic or racial minority group, including Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Black.
Utah can improve the health of all its citizens, Anglo or otherwise, through promotion of healthy lifestyles and improving access to timely health care that includes routine screening and effective treatment of physical and mental health problems when indicated.
What Is Being Done?There are various programs across the state directed at improving the health of individuals from diverse backgrounds and ensuring their access to care.