I never would have guessed Utah!


Census says Utah first in mixed-race growth

By Christopher Smart

The Salt Lake Tribune




Utah’s mixed-race population grew at the fastest rate in the nation from 2007 to 2008 — a trend some say could show Utahns are increasingly comfortable identifying themselves as multiracial.

“People are more willing to take a stand and say, ‘This is what I am,’ ” said Betty Sawyer, who works closely with students of various ethnic backgrounds and is president of Ogden’s NAACP.

New census data show multiracial Americans make up the nation’s fastest-growing demographic group. Between 2007 and 2008 the number of people identifying themselves as being of mixed race grew 3.4 percent; in Utah, the number jumped 5.9 percent.

But before 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau didn’t even provide a way for people to identify themselves as multiracial. 


…Still, the new Census Bureau option doesn’t mean the country has moved beyond racism, said Darron Smith, an adjunct professor of sociology at Utah Valley University in Orem.

Smith, a black man who is married to a white woman, studies census trends.

In Utah Valley, people often make note of the black-and-white couple who have two girls, he explained.

“I always tell my kids they are biracial,” Smith said. “But the world will consider them black.”

While more people are identifying themselves as being of mixed race, those numbers don’t necessarily reflect a more racially progressive society, according to Smith. The percentage of biracial marriages and their mixed-race offspring is still very small — 3 to 5 percent.

“It’s a [statistical] outlier,” he said of interracial marriage. “It’s still not accepted.”