States like Texas and California seem to always be in the press as top destinations for moving Americans. Texas boasts no income tax, a booming business climate and a comparatively affordable cost of living, whereas California is home to the entertainment industry, beautiful weather and Silicon Valley.
But these states are hardly the only ones that are growing or gaining new people. Over the last 10 years, many U.S. states have experienced dramatic shifts in their populations. As a result of this, some states have emerged as “winners” — like Colorado or North Dakota, which have added thousands of family households to their population — and others as “losers” — like Rhode Island, Michigan or West Virginia, which have watched their number of families decline more and more over the years.
In order to identify which U.S. state has seen the biggest increase in family households, GOBankingRates looked at the increase in the number of family households and number of total families in each state from 2007 to 2017 and 2012 to 2017, and the corresponding five-year and 10-year percentage changes, based on U.S. Census Bureau data. Home prices and rent were sourced from Zillow.
Keep reading to find out which U.S. state is becoming the ideal place for families to live.
The No. 1 State Families Are Flocking to Is Utah
Over the last decade, the number of families grew significantly in Utah, beating out all other U.S. states. In 2007, Utah had 505,530 family households, making it No. 34 out of 50 states in terms of total family households. From 2007 to 2012, family households increased to 538,595, moving Utah up to No. 33. By 2017, the number of family households jumped to 576,590, making Utah the No. 31 state with the most family households.
Utah’s five-year increase of 7.1 percent and 10-year increase of 14.1 percent in the number of family households were the largest in the study. See the table below for the top 10 states that saw the largest growth in families.
The Influx in Families Has Affected Utah’s Home Values
The median value for single-family homes in Utah increased by 38.2 percent from 2008 to 2018. In just the last five years, Utah’s median single-family home value surged by 52.2 percent, from $220,500 in November 2013 to $335,500 in November 2018, the eighth-largest increase in the country.
Utah manages to maintain both solid home values and affordable housing. The median list price for a single-family home in Utah is $353,000, which is higher than the national average, but also lower than many popular markets. For example, Utah’s single-family home price is cheaper than Oregon’s $375,000, Washington’s $399,500, and neighboring Colorado’s $425,000. This is just one of several reasons Utah is one of the best states for families to live a richer life.
Impact on Rent Hasn’t Been as Strong
Rental prices in Utah have been affected, though not as much as home prices. Still, Utah’s median rent for a single-family home rose by almost 13 percent in the last five years: from $1,355 to $1,528. That’s big enough to rank among the top 20 states for the largest increase in single-family rent.
These Utah Cities Have Experienced the Biggest Increase in Families
Here’s a closer look at some of the principal cities feeling the family boom in Utah. The following five cities experienced the largest increase in families from 2007 to 2017. All of them saw their share of family households increase by more than 40 percent in a decade.
- 2007 married-couple family households: 6,843
- 2017 married-couple family households: 11,980
- 10-year change: 75.1%
Lehi is located in the Provo-Orem metropolitan area on the north shore of Utah Lake. Once a small town of around 19,000 in 2000, Lehi has boomed in the last 10 years. The number of married-couple family households rose by 75.1 percent, from only around 6,800 in 2007 to almost 12,000 a decade later.
As family households increased, so did family incomes in Lehi. In 2007, the median family income was $66,215; as of 2017, it’s $88,278.
- 2007 married-couple family households: 8,530
- 2017 married-couple family households: 14,149
- 10-year change: 65.9%
South Jordan is located about 16.5 miles south of Salt Lake City proper. The city lies within the Salt Lake City metro area, but is also near the bordering Provo-Orem metro area, making it a convenient junction.
Over a 10-year period, the number of family households increased by 65.9 percent, from around 8,500 in 2007 to more than 14,000 by 2017. Equally important, family incomes increased too. In 2007, the median family income was $88,232 before rising by more than a quarter to a current median of $111,037.
- 2007 married-couple family households: 6,535
- 2017 married-couple family households: 9,773
- 10-year change: 49.5%
Draper is located about 19 miles from downtown Salt Lake City and about 29 miles from downtown Provo. Draper transformed from a small town of 18,146 people in 2000 to a blossoming city of more than 47,000 by 2017, including almost 9,800 households of married couples and their families.
South Salt Lake
- 2007 married-couple family households: 2,307
- 2017 married-couple family households: 3,369
- 10-year change: 46%
South Salt Lake has made considerable improvement in its family income over the years. In 2007, the median family income was just $35,795 versus a U.S. median of $60,374. Ten years later, the median income has risen by over 33 percent to $47,663 as of 2017, but it still has a ways to go to reach the current national median of $70,850.
- 2007 married-couple family households: 4,169
- 2017 married-couple family households: 5,885
- 10-year change: 41.2%
Syracuse lies to the north of Salt Lake City, between the Great Salt Lake and Interstate 15. The main employer in Syracuse is Hill Air Force Base with about 10,000 to 14,999 personnel, according to Syracuse’s comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended in 2018.
Why Families Are Moving to Utah
Family incomes have experienced a substantial rise over the years in Utah. From a median income of $60,564 in 2007, families now earn an average of $74,287 a year in 2017, an increase of 22.7 percent in 10 years. By comparison, for the U.S. overall, the median family income has risen only 17.4 percent, from $60,374 in 2007 to $70,850 in 2017.
Utah is notable for its top-quality education system. According to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best states for education, Utah came in at No. 3 out of 50 states. In terms of graduation rates, Utah is better than average, too. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school graduation rate in the U.S. is 84 percent compared to Utah’s 85 percent as of 2015-16. Interestingly, a recent GOBankingRates study found that Utah spends less on education than any other state.
Crime rates are fairly low in Utah as well, another pull factor for families. Although Utah’s property crime rate is slightly above average, its violent crime rate is 2.39 incidents per 1,000 compared to the national rate of 4 per 1,000 people, according to NeighborhoodScout.