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Researchers most often point to Utah as the nation's demographic anomaly, a place where demographic statistics most often end up at the high or low end of any given scale.

That's no more apparent than in the latest U.S. Census Bureau volume of statistics, the County and City Data Book. Some of Utah's 29 counties show up in the national ranking extremes in everything from the smallest population to fastest growing.Some of the numbers confirm facts most Utahns already know, such as that the Beehive State is a youthful place. Utah has 10 of the nation's 25 counties with the largest percentages of residents younger than 18 years. In Utah, the top five with a young population are San Juan, Rich, Duchesne, Emery and Millard counties. San Juan and Utah counties also are among national leaders in birth rates.

Utah's Washington County is a national leader in growth. The retiree haven was the 12th highest in population growth between 1980 and 1992. That is reflected in a top-ranked growth in households, 95.6 percent, and a 54.8 increase in housing units during the 1980s.

Some of the most troubling numbers show the poverty and problems of San Juan County, home to a small section of the Navajo Reservation. The county ranks 10th in the nation for overcrowded housing conditions and 14th lowest in personal per-capita income.

Among U.S. counties with the smallest populations is northeastern Utah's Daggett County, where census workers counted 729 residents in 1990. Because more than half of the housing units in the county are mobile homes, the county earned another top-25 rank in that category. The county also earned a top ranking because of the high percentage of government employees among county residents.

Tooele and Davis counties also rank high in that category because of the presence of Tooele Army Depot and Hill Air Force Base.

Piute County showed up as a county with a lot of homeowners. Some 85.7 percent of residents there live in homes owned by their occupants. That's the 19th highest in the nation.

When just comparing Utah counties, Cache and Salt Lake counties lead in their percentage of foreign-born residents, and Piute County has the greatest percentage of those older than 65 years old.

Summit County leads Utah counties in several categories dealing with wealth and education. It has the highest personal income and most expensive homes. The county also boasts the highest percentage of people who have completed college.


Additional Information

County extremes

Highest ranking Utah counties in selected categories

Grayest county

Largest percentage older than 65, 1990

Piute County

19.4 percent

Foreigner Haven

Largest percentage of foreign-born residents, 1990

Cache and Salt Lake Counties

4.5 percent


Highest percentage of movers, 1985-1990

Summit County

57.6 percent

One-Parent Households

Highest percentage of one-parent households, 1990

San Juan County

112.3 percent

Population Boom

Highest population growth, 1980-1992

Washington County

112.3 percent

Baby Boom

Highest birth rate per 1,000 residents, 1988

San Juan county 29.5 per 1,000

Doctors Galore

Most physicians per 100,000 residents, 1990

Salt Lake County

288 per 100,000

Playing Hooky

Lowest percentage of elementary and high school enrollment, 1990

Carbon County

95.9 percent


Highest money income per capita, personal income per capita and highest median value for housing units.

Summit County

$16,739 money income

$20,285 personal income

$107,800 median housing value.


Lowest money income per capita and highest percentage below poverty level, 1989

San Juan County

$5,907 money income

36.4 percent below poverty level.

Few Renters

Highest percentage of owner-occupied housing units, 1990

Piute county

85.7 percent

Working Women

Highest female civilian labor force participation rate, 1990

Summit County

66.4 percent

Federal Dollars

Highest amount of federal funds and grants per capita, 1992

Box Elder County


Company County

Highest percentage of earnings in manufacturing, 1990 (mostly from Thiokol Corp.)

Box Elder County

66.8 percent

Farm Fortunes

Highest percent of earnings in agriculture, 1990

Rich County

54.7 percent

At Your Service

Highest percentage of earnings in services, 1990

Utah County

41.1 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County and City Data Book.