Warm weather and blue skies across the state this week mark the time of year when a mass migration gets underway—that of the snowbird. These senior citizens live part time in the warm southern parts of the U.S. and spend summers in the North.
Many Utahns travel between the St. George region and the Wasatch Front each year. Assistant St. George City Manager Marc Mortensen said citizens arrive in October and leave around Easter Weekend.
“According to the census, we have about 20 percent of our population declare St. George as not a primary residence,” said Mortensen. “So that basically says to us that approximately 15,000 people migrate in and out of the area.”
St. George sees a drop in sales, restaurant and transient room taxes each summer as people escape to the North for the hot summer months. Mortensen said this is normal for resort-orientated communities like St. George.
Mortensen also said that recently the snowbirds have been flying in from more distant destinations.
“It used to be that the vast majority of our snowbirds in the area were from the Wasatch Front and what we’re starting to see is a greater diversification of snowbirds coming from different parts of the country,” said Mortensen.
One summer nesting ground for St. George natives is Logan. Many part-time residents stay in Utah State University dormitories, take classes, and use facilities that are usually reserved for students.
“This year we have 60 offerings of courses, most of those courses being one week lecture-based, everything from computer knowledge classes to history, world events, painting and drawing,” said Linda D’addabbo, Summer Citizen Program coordinator for USU.
USU began offering summer citizen services in 1976. They expect over 700 snowbirds this year.