Census data for SLC: Downtown booming / Latinos leaving the west side / New apartment dwellers disproportionally white

Both Downtown and Sugar House – located in City Council Districts 4 and 7 respectively – have seen healthy apartment booms in the last decade. One of these, Downtown’s District 4, led the city’s council districts in population growth from 2010-20, adding 6437 new residents.

Which doesn’t surprise, given the number of apartment homes that have been built Downtown, most at market rates.

This map shows how many residents were added in each City Council district. The darker grey in the center is D4, Downtown, adding 6437 residents, and the rust brown is D2, which lost 912 residents – the only district in the city to shrink in population.

Who’s growing the most in SLC? It’s clearly Downtown. Courtesy Gardner Policy Institute, University of Utah.

Standing out from the data is the relatively low population growth numbers in Sugar House and District 5, the latter which includes the Ballpark and Liberty Wells neighborhoods. South of Liberty Park and extending west to I-15, District 5 have seen a significant increase in townhome and small apartment developments, plus several large apartment projects in recent years along 300 West.

A theory on the low population growth in D7 Sugar House (1736 new residents) and D5 Ballpark-Liberty Wells (1032)? Those numbers will likely look a lot different when projects in process are filled with people, and won’t be counted until 2029.

It’s no secret that the “Sugar Hole” is only now being filled with viable buildings providing housing – with more on the way.

What stands out for development watchers in the city’s 2010-20 demographics?

In a presentation this month from Mallory Bateman of the Gardner Policy Institute at the U of U, the City Council heard about population and demographic changes in the city. The Council is legally required to act on the data to redistrict itself into equally-populated city council districts, with no obvious racial bias.

Courtesy Gardner Institute, University of Utah.

The city went from 66 to 63% White (“Non-Hispanic”) from 2010 to 2020.

“Hispanic” or “Latino”, the city’s largest ethnicity behind Whites, is shrinking – 22 to 21%. The loss of population is concentrated on the west side (D1 and D2) and the I-15 corridor in Central City (D4) and Ballpark (D4).

The biggest losses in “Hispanic” or “Latino” are in the east end of D1 and D2 – the areas closer to Downtown – and in D5’s central areas, away from I-15. Image courtesy Gardner Institute, University of Utah.

On the other hand, one can point to the incremental growth of Black, Asian, and “2 or more” or “Some other” race.

Courtesy Gardner Institute, University of Utah.

What about growth by City Council district? Here are the figures, with the number and percentage of new residents that are White.

District2010 population2020 populationIncrease pop total by number, percentage growth Increase pop in White residents by number, percentage of growth
12750528032527, 1.9%65, 23.6%
22730626395-912, -3.3%35, 12.8%
326302285732270, 8.6%387, 17%
426716331536437, 24%3361, 52%
525404219361032, 4%211, 20%
626546287672221, 8.3%-294, -10.2%
726132278681736, 6.6%589, 34%
Salt Lake City is as large as it’s ever been…and never as small vis a vis the suburban county population. Image courtesy the Gardner Institute, University of Utah.

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected. A previous version referred to “Hispanic” and “Latino” residents as synonymous with “Spanish-speaking,” which is incorrect.

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.