People who move to Utah tend to come from the north, while Utahns who leave the state generally head for southern climes, a new state report says.
Such a migration pattern existed between 1981 and 1985, according to a report issued by the demographic and economic analysis section of the state Office of Planning and Budget. The document was based on data from the Internal Revenue Service.In the first half of the decade, Utah received a net gain of population from 28 states and lost people to 21 others and the District of Columbia.
The number of newcomers exceeded those leaving by nearly 7,000 people in 1981 and 1982, and by 919 in 1983, the report said.
But the situation was reversed in 1984 and 1985, when the state lost 4,400 and 8,400 people, respectively.
"Nearly all of the states Utah gained population from were north of Utah (the noted exceptions were Washington, Alaska and four New England states) and nearly all of the states Utah lost population to were south of Utah," the report said.
About 52 percent of the population gain, or 10,00 people, during the five-year span came from four states - Idaho, Illinois, Michigan and Montana.
Idaho was by far the biggest contributor, with roughly more Idahoans moving to Utah than Utahns moving to Idaho.
Section analysts speculated the in-migration was influenced by the attraction of the Salt Lake metropolitan area, educational opportunities - mainly at Utah State University in Logan and Brigham Young University in Provo - a more desirable climate and similar socio-cultural values, the report said.
Researchers theorized that midwesterners probably moved to Utah because of downturns in agriculture and manufacturing as well as the state's outdoor recreation possibilities.
Nationally, the movement from the Frostbelt to the Sunbelt has been keyed to such factors as better economic opportunities, an aging population which desires a warmer climate and that receives income from sources that are not tied to a place of work, lifestyles that are more oriented to recreation and year-round outdoor opportunities and generally low living and amenity costs," the report said.
The report also said the decline of agriculture and the mining industry "may have forced some workers (from Idaho, Wyoming and Montana) to move to urban locations such as the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area to find work."
Utah lost people primarily to Western and Southern states, including Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
"Interestingly, 62 percent of all the net out-migration from Utah went to three states: Arizona, Texas and Colorado," the report said. Arizona and Texas gained nearly 5,000 people each from Utah, while about 1,000 Utahns moved to Colorado.
The report said it is difficult to determine precisely why Utahns left, but it noted that Arizona has a "strong, growing economy with many employment opportunities, favorable climate and close proximity."
Similarly, the Texas economy flourished between 1981 and 1983 when oil prices exceeded $28 per barrel.