National Diversity Month is the Perfect Time to Recognize the Convergence of Cultures in West Valley City, Utah
18 Apr 2023
April is National Diversity Month, an apt opportunity to examine the full demographic story of West Valley City’s growing population. West Valley City dynamically remains the second most populous city in Utah at 140,230 residents, according to the 2020 Census. Nearby Salt Lake City remains No. 1 at just under 200,000 people. West Valley City’s population jumped by 10,750 people, or 8.3 percent, from 2010 to 2020.
In 2018, demographers indicated that West Valley City was the first large Utah city to be a “minority majority,” where minorities combined to make up a majority of the population. At that point in time, minorities made up 51.4 percent of the population of 136,166 people, while whites accounted for 48.6 percent.
Census data from the official count in 2020 revealed the upward trend for diversity has continued. Minorities now comprise 52.7 percent of the population of 140,230, while whites account for 45.4 percent.
West Valley City ranked No. 3 for the most dramatic shift in racial diversity between 2010 and 2019, according to a study by Preply analyzing Census data. Additionally, West Valley City ranked No. 9 as one of the nation’s most increasingly diverse cities.
Celebrating Diversity in West Valley City
West Valley City can attribute its diversity to its welcoming feel and expanding services and resources. Quality of place adds to the appeal with the gorgeous landscape of the Salt Lake Valley and metro-centric amenities like concerts and world-class restaurants.
Since 2003, the Utah Cultural Celebration Center (UCCC) has provided a place where people from all backgrounds can come together to think, inspire, nurture, and learn from one another. The inclusive venue features art exhibits, cultural experiences, concerts, and performing arts, often sponsored by West Valley Arts. Businesses and groups gather for conferences, seminars, ceremonies, and other special events. UCCC has reported events held by people from the Middle East, India, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Latinx countries.
In addition to its a long history of community theater programming at the UCCC, West Valley Arts launched a professional theater program at the West Valley Performing Arts Center in 2019. West Valley Arts is dedicated to providing accessible theater programming that uplifts and celebrates the most diverse city in Utah and was a “2023 Utah Best of State” winner for semi-professional theater.
West Valley City is known for its diverse food scene featuring the most eclectic choices in the region. The welcoming and trendy eateries specialize in locally sourced ingredients and the traditional ethnic foods of the West Side’s diverse community. Delicacies from around the world are available in West Valley City, from Korea and the Middle East to Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, and more. There are various specialty food markets, including Polynesian and Asian. The Wasatch International Food Festival at the UCCC brings the community together to celebrate delicious ethnic cuisine, street food, and cultural showcases.
The University of Utah’s hospital expansion into West Valley City will break ground in the summer of 2024. The new West Side campus will do more than provide better access to health care for the City’s complex, culturally diverse population. The future hospital aims to feel like it belongs to the community where so many cultures converge. It will be dedicated to providing meaningful economic impact to the West Side by employing residents who live near the facility.
Patients will receive information in their own languages from providers who understand their cultural backgrounds. Providing access to specialized pharmaceuticals, such as those allowed under Islamic law, and foods from various cultures will be a priority.
Diversity in West Valley City provides a competitive economic advantage by promoting innovation, enhancing productivity, recruiting top talent, improving customer and employee satisfaction, and expanding decision-making. Diversity is the fuel that effectively propels businesses into the future.
Diverse small businesses are a growing segment of the economy and represent a variety of backgrounds, nationalities, races, religions, ethnicities, countries of origin, languages, or other cultural characteristics. Small business owners can find help with funding and free counseling through the Small Business Administration and Utah’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Additionally, ChamberWest, the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Pacific Island Chamber of Commerce have the resources to empower businesses.
For additional guidance, West Valley City Economic Optimization Department is ready with concierge-level service to help business owners access the agencies and resources that will best benefit them. Contact Nate Webster, Economic Retention Manager, at 801-963-3346 or Nate.Webster@wvc-ut.gov. To see the City’s recent projects and updates, follow on LinkedIn and Facebook