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While Orem may say it's "Family City USA," South Jordan has a better claim to the bragging rights, according to the 1990 Census.

In an analysis of 1990 Census statistics for cities with more than 10,000 people in Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties, South Jordan and five other cities have larger percentages of family households than Orem. Figures show 93.4 percent of households in South Jordan are filled with families, followed by 91.4 percent in Riverton and 89.9 percent in Sandy.The numbers include families headed by single parents as well as married couples. In terms of traditional families headed by a married couple, South Jordan again had the highest percentage at 87.1 percent.

Comparing the three counties, Davis has the most households with families - 84.6 percent, followed by Utah County with 80.5 percent. Salt Lake County registered 72.7 percent family households.

In a look at a related statistic, South Jordan, Riverton and Pleasant Grove have the largest households in the three-county area. South Jordan has a whopping 4.3 people per household with Riverton at 4.1.

That's saying a lot, particularly when the state's average, 3.2 people per household, is expected to remain No. 1 on the nation's household size list and among the top ranked for youngest median age when the Census Bureau completes its state-by-state release of data later in June.

At the same time, census statistics show that South Jordan and Riverton are also the youngest cities in the three-county area, registering a median age of 19.9.

That's 6.3 years younger than the state median age of 26.2 and 13 years younger than the predicted 1990 U.S. median age of 33.

South Jordan City Administrator Richard Warne said the statistics will come as no surprise to the city leaders and planners.

"The elected officials of South Jordan have consciously strived to create a community built around families," Warne said.

The city's emphasis on single-family homes on large lots within safe, quiet neighborhoods has succeeded in attracting young families looking for permanent homes. These families are generally very stable, resulting in a much lower residential turnover rate, Warne said.

Neighborhood stability, in turn, attracts more young families to the area, he added.

"We don't see any downside whatsoever to having young, large families," Warne said. "It's exactly what most cities want."

In Davis County, Centerville has the largest households at 3.8 people as well as the youngest median age in the county - 22 years.

On the whole, the heart of the Salt Lake metropolitan area is much older and has smaller households than do suburban areas, particularly Salt Lake County's south valley. The city with the oldest median age, smallest households and lowest percentage of family households in 1990 was South Salt Lake. The median age there is 29.5, with 2.3 people per household and just over half of the households filled with families.

The statistics are good news to South Salt Lake Mayor Jim Davis.

"Our average age has come down. If it's 29.5 now, it was much older 10 years ago," he said. "I am also heartened to know that the size of household has increased, which means we are getting younger families."

Davis said the city has been successful in both redevelopment and housing renovation programs that have stabilized and improved the city's housing environment. In fact, he said only two homes are boarded up.

"We have gone from losing schools to having overcrowded schools, which means we are getting younger families and they are staying longer," Davis said. "We are being very successful in contracting and holding families, which is the opposite of what I see in the suburb (Salt Lake City) north of us."

Among Utah counties, San Juan County has the largest households at 3.7 people per household followed by Utah County at 3.6. Morgan, Davis and Emery counties round out the top five. The smallest households were in Grand, Daggett, Piute, Carbon and Summit Counties. Salt Lake County ranked 21st.


Lots of teens and tots

Much of metropolitan Utah is much younger and has larger households than the state as a whole. The following chart looks at cities with over 10,000 population in a three-county area.

% of total that

median age household size are family households*

DAVIS 24.7 3.5 84.6

Bountiful 29.2 3.3 83.4

Centerville 22.0 3.8 86.5

Clearfield 22.6 3.2 80.9

Kaysville 22.9 3.7 86.4

Layton 25.3 3.3 82.5

SALT LAKE 27.8 3.0 72.7

Salt Lake City 31.8 2.3 56.0

Midvale 26.9 2.6 66.8

Murray 29.9 2.7 69.0

Riverton 19.9 4.1 91.4

Sandy 22.9 3.9 89.9

South Salt Lake 29.5 2.3 55.4

South Jordan 19.9 4.3 93.4

West Jordan 20.6 3.8 87.5

West Valley 24.6 3.4 81.3

UTAH 22.5 3.6 80.5

American Fork 23.1 3.7 85.2

Springville 24.8 3.3 82.7

Spanish Fork 24.1 3.5 83.3

Pleasant Grove 21.6 3.9 87.0

Provo 22.7 3.3 69.2

Orem 21.7 3.8 86.5


UTAH 26.2 3.2 76.5

*Includes a householder and one or more other persons related by birth, marriage or adoption.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, State Data Center