LOGAN, UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) recently created a series of reports on Utah women and girls, with one report taking a closer look at Black women in Utah. Sources for the report include U.S. Census Data, Utah System of Higher Education, Utah Department of Corrections, and other Utah official health-related departments. 

Susan Madsen is the founding director of the UWLP and is one of the authors of the report. She says that the report was designed to look at data related to general demographics, health, basic needs, education, income and employment. “The data in this report provide a snapshot of the existing disparities in areas specifically related to Utah Black women,” says Madsen. “It provides a good starting point for meaningful, targeted change.” 

While only 16,072 Black women live in Utah — .5% of the total population — insights into their quality of life in Utah remain important to Madsen and UWLP. “As the state continues to become more diverse, it is critical that the Utah Women & Leadership Project conducts and reports research focused on women of color,” said Madsen. “As we provide greater access and opportunity to all residents, the state can use these data to better use the talents, ideas, and resources Black women offer the state, employers, and Utah families.” 

Key findings of the report organized by category:

Health: The UWLP report indicates that in Utah, 20% of Black women are uninsured compared to just 11.2% of all Utah women. This contributes to 24.5% of Black women forgoing medical help due to cost, far more than women on average in Utah according to the report. UWLP reports that Black women in Utah are also more likely to report poor mental health including major depressive disorder than most women in Utah. 

Basic Needs: The UWLP classifies basic needs as “water, internet, safety and freedom.” Their collected data shows that Black women in Utah are less likely to have access to clean water than all U.S. women and Black women across the U.S. Black women in Utah also report having less access to the internet than average Utahns. 

Education: The UWLP also shows that Black women report concluding their education with a high school diploma slightly more frequently than other Utah women. 

Income and Employment: Median personal wage for Black women in Utah is reported to be only slightly less than all Utah women ($26,368 compared to $28,374), but UWLP indicates that their total household income rates are significantly lower than all Utahns ($38,174 compared to $70,838). The report also shows that Black women in Utah are more likely to be in poverty than all Utahns. 

Report authors say “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.” 

According to the report, the research done by UWLP aims to look at how race and gender together lead to disparities in Utah and can create insights for “a starting point for meaningful, targeted change.” The report says “Utahns can increase equity and equality within the state by utilizing data to recognize the impact of gender and race in our everyday lives.” 

The report concludes by recommending its data be used to “create policies that support all Utah residents, including Black women” which can “strengthen the state as a whole.”