Census: 'Married with kids' could be Utah motto

The Salt Lake Tribune/December 19, 2010

Two types of U.S. counties tend to have large numbers of married-couple families with children under age 18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One is wealthy suburbs. The other: counties in Utah.

In fact, new census estimates released last week show that among the 3,200-plus counties in the nation, only 24 have more than a third of their households consisting of married-couple families with young children. Eight of those 24 are in Utah.

That means about a quarter of the state's 29 counties fall in that category - enough to make an argument for changing the state motto from "industry" to "married with children."

Of course, the fact that Utah has a lot of children and married people is nothing new.

"The main part of that is the Mormon culture region, with people who put a high value on children and on being married. That's why we have the highest fertility rate in the nation, the largest number of people per household, the youngest population and the youngest age at first marriage," said University of Utah research economist Pam Perlich.

Also, she said that women born in a mini-baby boom in the 1980s reached peak childbearing years during the past decade, so that contributes to Utah's high numbers.

The new five-year, 2005-09 American Community Survey estimates include for the first time since the 2000 census many categories of household data for small counties and cities - including allowing a look in all counties at how many households are headed by married couples with young children.

In Utah, the eight counties with such families making up more than a third of their households included: Morgan, 41.1 percent; Utah, 39.7; Davis, 39; Juab, 37.6; Tooele, 37.2; Box Elder, 36.8; Wasatch, 36.6; and Cache, 33.4.

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