The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) has created a series of research reports on Utah women and girls to better understand their experiences, unspecified location and date | Photo courtesy of USU Extension, St. George News
ST. GEORGE- Information that enhances understanding of the status, conditions, and experiences of all social and identity groups is essential to help local and state decision-makers in Utah respond to current needs.
The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project has created a series of research reports on Utah women and girls to better understand their experiences.
This report focuses on black women in Utah and is the third in a series of five reports. Sources include five-year U.S. Census microdata, the Utah Higher Education System, the Utah Department of Corrections, and a number of Utah Department of Health offices, including the health disparities, vital records and public health statistics and assessment, among others.
Susan Madsen, founding director of the UWLP and one of the report’s three authors, said the researchers collected data in five areas – general demographics, health, basic needs, education, income and employment.
“The data in this report provides insight into existing disparities in areas specifically related to black women in Utah,” she said. “It provides a good starting point for meaningful and targeted change.”
Currently, 16,072 black women live in Utah, representing 0.5% of the state’s population, a far lower proportion than their 6.6% share of the US population.
Black women in Utah are significantly more likely to be uninsured compared to other women in Utah (20.0% vs. 11.2%). In addition, they have less access to medical care, with 24.5% of black women in Utah foregoing medical care due to cost, compared to 13.8% of other women in Utah, and more reporting not not have a personal doctor (25.1% versus 20.2%).
Black women are more likely to report poor mental health (29.1% vs. 23.6%) or be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (34.6% vs. 29.7%).
This includes water, internet, security and freedom. Black women in Utah are significantly more likely to report not having access to water (32.5%) than other women in Utah (10.6%), All American women (14.4 %) and black American women (23.9%). As internet access becomes increasingly essential for accessing information, more black women in Utah report not having internet access at home (8.3%), compared to other women Utah (5.1%).
When it comes to safety, the Utah Office for Victims of Crime reports that of those who sought reparations for victims of crime between 2019 and 2021, 81.6% were women. Black women in Utah averaged 2.8% of the female prison population between 2010 and 2021, compared to 1% of Utah’s total female prison population.
Black women in Utah graduate with a high school diploma (26.0%) slightly more often than other Utah women (23.8%) and have much lower graduation rates of a baccalaureate at 19.0% against 29.0%.
Income and employment
The median personal salary of black women in Utah is a little lower than that of all women in Utah ($26,368 vs. $28,374), but the household income is well below that of all women in Utah. Utah ($38,174 vs. $70,838). In addition, Black women in Utah face particularly high rates of poverty (33.6% vs. 10.8%), which is also higher than national trends (24.5% vs. 14.7% for all US women).
When it comes to occupations, 14.3% are in professional positions compared to 22.1% of Utah women, 31.9% are in administrative support positions compared to 35%, and 36.8% are in management jobs. service and maintenance compared to 24.3% of other Utah women.
“As the state continues to diversify, it’s critical that the Utah Women & Leadership Project conduct and report on research focused on women of color,” Madsen said. “As we provide greater access and opportunity to all residents, the state can use this data to better utilize the talents, ideas, and resources that black women offer the state, employers, and families of Utah.”
The other authors of the report are Tasha Toy, assistant vice president for campus diversity, Utah Tech University, and Marin Christensen, associate director of UWLP.
To see the full report, including references, click here. For more information on UWLP programs and projects, visit this website.
Written by JULENE REESE, USU Extension.
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