Early census data for SJ County

The population of San Juan County fell by 1.5 percent over the past 10 years, according to information recently released by the 2020 US Census.

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census is conducted in an attempt to count every resident in the United States. The data collected is used to determine legislative representation, as well as the allocation of federal funds and other projects.

After being conducted in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census has begun to release data from the count to the public.

Figures released in the past week show the population of San Juan County dropped by 228 people between 2010 and 2020, from 14,746 in 2010 to 14,518 in 2020. This represents a 1.5 percent decrease in population.

Six other counties in Utah shrunk, all by a greater percentage than San Juan County. Overall, the population in Utah increased by 18.4 percent.

The figures are the first release of county specific information and are still being analyzed.

According to the latest Census Demographic Data Map Viewer, the county population retains, by a small margin, a Native American majority, with 50.1 percent of the population identifying solely as Native American. 

The 2010 Census showed an identical Native American majority, which resulted in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal courts by the Navajo Nation.

Resolution of the lawsuit resulted in restructuring voting districts in the county and the 2018 election of the first Native American majority on the San Juan County Commission.

The release of the Census data map divides the county into four separate Census tracts. While the reservation boundaries are not clearly identified on the map, the tracts appear to follow the Navajo Nation border.

It shows 6,077 residents on the Navajo Nation portion of San Juan County, and 8,441 residents in the northern portion of the county.

The 2020 Census allows for a clearer picture of racial make-up in the county as for the first time, multi-racial residents were able to select multiple options while being counted.

The 2020 Census figures show 50.1 percent of San Juan County residents identify solely as Native American, while 52.2 percent identify as Native American or Native American and another race.

In comparison, no other county in Utah has more than 10 percent of their population who identifies as Native American. The next highest is Uintah County with 9.3 percent. In Utah, just 2.7 percent of the state population identifies in some way as Native American.

In the southern two Census tracts in San Juan County, which makes up the Navajo Nation portion of the county, 96.6 percent of residents identify as Native American or Native American and another race.

In the northern two Census tracts, 20.3 percent of residents identify as Native American or Native American and another race.

In the Census tract that includes Monticello, La Sal, and Spanish Valley, that percentage is much lower at 0.6 percent. In the tract that includes Bluff, Blanding and White Mesa, the number is higher at 30.5 percent.

In San Juan County, 43.2 percent of residents identify solely as White, while 47 percent are White or White and another race.

In comparison, every other county in Utah is made up of at least 80 percent of the population that identifies as White. The closest county in makeup to San Juan is Salt Lake County, with 80.9 percent White. In Utah, 86.8 percent of the population identifies as White or White and another race.

In the northern two Census tracts in San Juan County, 78.1 percent of the population identifies as White or White and another race. In the southern two Census tracts, just 0.4 percent identify as White or White and some other race.

Across San Juan County, one percent of county residents identified as Asian, 0.8 percent identified as Black and 0.6 percent identified as Pacific Islander, with 3.3 percent identifying as some other race.

A total of 4.3 percent of county residents identified as two or more races. 

Other data released by the Census looks at population density, population age, and available housing.

The 14,518 residents of San Juan County live in a 7,819 square mile land area, for a population density of one resident for every 1.9 miles in the county. This is the same number from the 2010 Census.

The density ratio of 1.9 is identical to Kane, Piute, and Millard counties. Only Daggett, with a density of 1.3, and Garfield and Wayne, each with a density of 1.0 have smaller population density in Utah. The State of Utah has a population density of 39.7 people every square mile.

The San Juan County population aged a bit from 2010 to 2020. Adults make up 71.2 percent of the county population, up slightly from the 2010 Census when 70.7 percent of residents were 18 or older.

In Utah, 15 of the state’s 29 counties have a larger percentage of children, putting San Juan County in the middle. Adults make up 71 percent of the state’s overall population.

In San Juan County, more houses are occupied compared to 2010. According to the 2020 Census, 84.7 percent of housing units are occupied, in comparison to 80.6 percent in 2010.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
news@sjrnews.com
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

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