Significant Statistics | One group of Utahns is more likely to contract – but also survive – the coronavirus

Written by: Staff



HISPANIC/LATINO UTAHNS REPRESENT 14% of the state’s population, but comprise 42% of the coronavirus cases recorded in the state. Conversely, non-Hispanic white Utahns represent 78% of the population, but comprise only 34% of the state’s cases.

Thankfully, Utah still has a small number of deaths, but some notable trends are emerging. While Hispanic Utahns are more likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to contract the coronavirus, they are substantially less likely to die from it. While 0.57% of Hispanic Utahns known to who have contracted the coronavirus died, the mortality rate for non-Hispanic white Utahns is nearly three times higher.

While data explaining these trends have not been well established, there are several possible explanations as to why Hispanic Utahns might be more likely to catch the coronavirus.

Geographic Location. Hispanic Utahns may live in geographical areas where the coronavirus is more widespread. Overlaying Census tracts in Salt Lake County with a higher density of Hispanic Utahns on the 14-day incidence rates illustrate this relationship.


Figure: Coronavirus Cases and Hispanic/Latino Populations
Source: Utah Foundation map using data from Utah Department of Health, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.


Household size. Utah’s Hispanic households tend to be larger. On average, they have 3.5 people, while Utah non-Hispanic white households have 3 people (U.S. Census). Since household exposure accounts for around 40% of the coronavirus’ spread in Utah (the single largest factor), larger household size might play a part.

Jobs. Based on national trends, Hispanic Utahns may be less likely to work in jobs that could be performed remotely.

Other factors may come into play as well. Utah’s disparity in infections is not unique and tracks with many other states.

In addition to reasons for differences in contracting the disease, there may be reasons why the mortality rate of Hispanic Utahns is substantially lower.

Younger population. 98% of Utah’s deaths have been Utahns older than 44, and 72% have been older than 64 (Utah State Department of Health). Only 40% of Hispanic Utahns are older than 44, compared to 55% of non-Hispanic white Utahns. The difference between populations over 64 is even more stark. Only 9% of Utah Hispanics are over 64, compared to 21% of non-Hispanic white Utahns (U.S. Census).

While there is not enough data to break down deaths by age and ethnicity in Utah,  national data indicate mortality rates are far higher for Hispanic/Latino people when accounting for age.

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