Utah Foundation’s Top Research Findings of 2018

Written by: Dan Bammes


Utah Foundation published research reports on a broad range of public policy issues in 2018, each with significant findings that will influence political discussion and decisions for years to come. At the end of the year, we asked our Board of Trustees, a diverse group representing a broad range of business and community leaders, to rank the findings they felt were most important. Here’s what they determined, along with links to each of the reports where those findings were included. (Note: Some findings were tied in the ranking by our trustees; the numbers associated with each item reflect that.)

For more information about Utah Foundation and its work in the past year, please see our 2018 Annual Report.

Top Research Findings of 2018

1) Despite the perceptions of many Utahns that large portions of education spending go toward administrative costs, only 7% is spent on administration – the 13th lowest percentage in the nation and the second-lowest amount per pupil. (Tie.) From: Simple Arithmetic: K-12 Education Spending in Utah

1) During the past 45 years, Utah has seen the nation’s second biggest decline in taxable sales as a proportion of consumer expenditures. (Tie.) From: The Everyday Tax: Sales Taxation in Utah

3) Four of the top-ranked Utah counties for suicide are also among the top five for opioid prescriptions. From: Getting to Tomorrow: Addressing Suicide in Utah and the Mountain States

4) Despite improvements in the economy, Utahns’ perceptions of their community quality of life has declined since 2013 from a score of 73 to 70. (Tie.) From: Utah Foundation Quality of Life Survey: Measuring Utahns Perceptions of their Communities, Personal Lives

4) When adjusting for inflation, Utah homeowners’ monthly costs have decreased by 10% since 2007, while renters’ costs have increased by 14%. (Tie.) From: What’s the View from Your House? Housing Affordability Concerns in Utah

6) Enrollment in high-deductible health insurance plans in Utah increased from 3% to 30% during the past decade. From: Paying a Premium: What’s Driving Health Insurance Costs in Utah?

7) Utah Foundation determined the net effect of federal and state income tax changes disproportionately benefited the wealthy at the expense of middle-income households with large families. (The Legislature later acted to address the disparity.) From: The Education Tax: Income Taxation in Utah

8) Despite perceptions to the contrary, Utah’s Truth in Taxation law has not prevented local governments from keeping pace with population growth and inflation. (Tie.) From:The Essential Tax: Property Taxation in Utah

8) In Utah, individuals with disabilities make up less than 15% of Medicaid enrollment, but account for nearly half of all spending. (Tie.) From: Coverage and Costs: What’s Driving Medicaid Spending in Utah

10) Compared with other states, Utah comes up short in English learner educational spending, providing only about a 3% increase in combined federal and state funding over base per-pupil spending. From: A Level Playing Field? Funding for Utah Students at Risk of Academic Failure


Utah Foundation research reports and research findings received widespread news media coverage. Links to articles on our work from 2018 are found under the News tab.

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