The Conversation Starter


There is so much data out there. We need to use it when we’re making decisions about the future. This is how Pamela Perlich, Ph.D. and senior research economist for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, recently began to unfold a demographic transformation in Utah in the form of data mainly from the 1960s to now.

She showed how Utah has always had unique demographics compared to the nation but is trending in the same direction. What is transforming?

  • Diversity – Utah and the rest of the nation are becoming more multi-cultural. The majority of U.S. births became minorities in 2010.
  • Social Change – A lot of young people are moving to the state so millennials now exceed baby boomers. Millennials bring social change by exploring new ways of doing things.
  • Economics – New and different jobs came out of the recession. Many high-wage jobs were lost and low-wage jobs were created.

While these are broad descriptions, the details, along with overwhelming amounts of additional information are part of a project Dr. Perlich leads. It’s called the Utah Community Data Project (UCDP) and all of the data is accessible to anyone with Internet access who can type It is described on the website as an online system of community-level demographic, housing and socioeconomic data, indicators and profiles. It is a way to help anyone in Utah make more informed decisions as Perlich encourages.

Among the Joe Shmos or policymakers who could within a reasonable amount of time dig up the native languages of Salt Lake City school district students or Ogden’s demographic and housing information, Utah communicators could benefit from the UCDP information.

Communicators should be constantly aware of their varied Utah audiences and how they are changing. They should also plan their campaigns based on research. So when you begin to conceptualize your next campaign see if you can find some of the information you need at to help save on research costs and make more informed decisions about goals, strategies and tactics. The data is there for the taking.

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