The Status of Utah Hispanic or Latina Women

Utah is becoming increasingly diverse, which has brought wide disparities between most minority groups and the White population in terms of education, housing, and health outcomes. To continue this important conversation, the Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) is publishing a series of research snapshots on Utah women of color. Often, research entities publish data on gender and race separately, leaving a gap of information and understanding on the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity. Yet, separate data do not give the community, decision makers, and policy makers the depth of information needed to design programs and policies that meet the diverse needs of all Utah women.  

As the UWLP focuses on strengthening the impact of all Utah girls and women, research that increases our understanding of the status, condition, and experiences of girls and women within all social and identity groups—including race and ethnicity—is crucial. To commence in closing the data gap, this research snapshot is the fourth of five that detail the available data on Utah women of each Census race/ethnic category: Pacific Islander, Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American women. 

Setting the Stage 

This research snapshot highlights the gender and race interaction for Utah Hispanic and Latino women. We acknowledge the gendered nature of the Spanish language and the desire of some Hispanic or Latino individuals to refer to mixed-gender groups as Latinx. We will use “Latina” when referring to women-only groups and “Latino” when referring to men-only groups. We also acknowledge identifying as Hispanic or Latinx is separate from racial identification (e.g., Black, Asian).  

We sought data across broad categories that impact Utah women, such as civic engagement, childcare access, utility connectivity, domestic violence, caregiver status, unpaid care work, housing, transportation, access to healthy food, and food insecurity. Unfortunately, much of this information is unavailable for a variety of reasons: specific data have not been collected or are not available at needed levels, the sample sizes are too small to generalize, the origin of the data is underresourced, the data have sharing limitations, or the data collection methods are unsubstantiated. Yet, UWLP researchers compiled data in these five categories: general demographics, health, basic needs, education, and income and employment. 

Demographics 

Available demographic data on Utah Latinas include population size, household size, family household type, and marital status. 

  • Population Size: The Utah Hispanic population has seen steady growth over time and now comprises 14.9% of the Utah population. 
  • Household Size: The average household size of Latinas in Utah is 3.3 persons, which is similar to the average of 3.2 for Latinas across the US and is larger than 3.0 for Utah women and 2.5 for US women. 
  • Family Household Type: Over two-thirds (67.4%) of Utah Hispanic households consist of married couple families. 
  • Marital Status: Forty-seven percent of Latinas in Utah are married, which is slightly lower than all US women (48.7%) and much lower than all Utah women (56.9%), but higher than all US Latinas (42.3%). 

Health 

The Utah Department of Health’s Office of Health Disparities exists to shed light on disproportionate health disparities by race, ethnicity, geography, and income, and thus has multiple reports comparing and analyzing health disparity profiles of Utah’s racial and ethnic minority communities. 

  • Access to Healthcare: Latinas in Utah are far less likely to have health insurance (67.0%) than Utah women in general (88.8%). 
  • Physical Health: Utah Latinas receive more preventative care yet can experience poorer health outcomes at different rates compared to Utah women in general. 
  • Reproductive Health and Wellbeing: The birth rate per 1,000 Latinas in Utah is 17.8, which is much higher than the rate of 10.6 for all Utah women. 
  • Mental Health: According to the data, Utah Latinas fare slightly better in mental health outcomes than Utah women generally. 

Basic Needs 

“Basic needs” include access to water, internet, safety, and freedom. First, Latinas in Utah are less likely to report no access to water. Second, internet access has become increasingly critical to accessing information, services, and education. More Utah Latinas report having no internet access at home (8.4%) than Utah women in general (5.1%). Third, the percentage of those reporting concern about the onset or increase of violence in the home since the pandemic began was slightly higher among Latinas (11.4%, 21 of 183 indicated concern) versus White women. Fourth, the Utah Office for Victims of Crime report that, of individuals who have applied for crime victim reparations between 2019 and 2021, 81.6% were women. Of those, 14.7% were identified as Latina. And, finally, Utah Latinas made up an average 16.1% of the female prison population between 2010 and 2021, compared to the 13.8% share of the total Utah female population. 

Education, Income, and Employment 

Education: In most states and in the US in general, women earn the majority of college degrees. In fact, women earn 57.0% of bachelor-level diplomas, 60.0% of master’s degrees, and 51.7% of doctorates. According to the 5-Year US Census Microdata, more Latinas in Utah end their education with a high school diploma (30.8%) than Utah women generally (23.8%), and Latinas are more likely to end their education without a diploma (25% vs. 7.1% of all Utah women). 

Income: While Latinas in Utah have a higher labor force participation rate compared to Utah women (66.8% vs. 61.7%), the median personal income for Utah Latinas ($16,480) is lower than the median for Utah women generally ($19,245), which mirrors national trends, with US women having a higher median income ($23,106) than US Latinas ($15,421). 

Business Ownership: The Women’s Business Center of Utah report that, of their majority of women clients (95%), 11.0% are Latina. 

Conclusion 

The data in this report provide a snapshot of the existing disparities in several areas specifically related to Utah Latina women. Thus, the report provides a starting point for meaningful, targeted change. Although we were able to find existing data regarding the general demographics, health, basic needs, education, and income and employment of Utah Latina women, usable information was not available in many categories we hoped to collect, such as housing, transportation, domestic violence, unpaid labor, caregiver status, childcare accessibility, civic engagement, and food insecurity. Additionally, data are not available for the diverse Latina subgroups, where experiences and data may vary greatly depending on ethnicity or regional origin. This demonstrates both a data gap and an opportunity for Utah universities, government, nonprofit, and other entities to do more to collaborate, gather, and report quality data that can help government, education, business, and nonprofit leaders and decision markers understand more deeply the circumstances and needs of Utah’s Latina population. More generally, gender, race, and ethnicity, along with other important demographic data, can help Utahns create a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable culture for all.  

Overall, Utahns can increase equity and equality within the state by utilizing data to recognize the impact of gender and race in our everyday lives. As we seek to provide greater access and opportunity to all residents, the state can use these data to better utilize the talents, ideas, and resources that Latina women have to offer the state, employers, and Utah families. Using data to create policies that support all Utah residents, including Latinas, can strengthen Utah’s workplaces, educational institutions, communities, and the state as a whole. 

To learn more about the status of Utah Hispanic or Latino women, read the full snapshot.

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