The Census Bureau now has pages for states and cities, and they include some fascinating data. For example, the Utah page reveals that the estimated population of the state in 2011 is 2,817,222. More significantly, 31.2 percent of the population is under 18 while 9.2 percent is over 65. Those numbers are higher and lower, respectively, than national averages, suggesting that Utah has and will continue to have a young workforce.
And of course, that’s an economic advantage. Utah also has higher than average high school and college graduation rates and lower than average commute times.
Provo’s page is even more illuminative. Over the last 10 years, for example, the city’s population has increased by 7 percent to 112,488. Provo’s under-18 population is lower than the state average, as is its over-65 population.
Provo is 84.8 percent white, 15.2 percent Latino, and has very small percentages of other ethnicities. And as homogenous as those numbers are, they surprisingly indicate more diversity than the state as a whole.
Additionally, a whopping 40.3 percent of Provo residents over the age of 25 had a bachelor’s degree, and the mean commute time was 16.6 minutes — which isn’t bad given the national and state averages.
I’d recommend poking around this data; it’s fascinating and organized in an easy-to-read format.
The data hints at why Utah and Provo are ranked highly for business; the workforce is young, educated and — given commute times — closer to economic centers than in other parts of the country. That last point shouldn’t be discounted; commuting time is often wasted time, economically speaking, which means shorter drives (or bus rides) mean higher productivity.
This data also reveals that Provo may need to work harder to keep a competitive edge. If it has a lower population of children, for example, that suggests young families are gravitating to other cities. That might seem obvious just by looking at Utah County’s development over the last decade, but it’s nevertheless something that the city should try to combat over the next decade.