Payson has doubled in the past decade, although the 1990 population was 8,700 and is on the southern end of Utah valley's real estate boom. The Utah County government estimates the population in Payson is over 15,000, a majority of newcomers came from Salt Lake City.
Payson is the site of the annual Scottish Heritage Festival, held every July. Other annual festivities include a salmon supper, held every August, and the Onion days festival, held every Labor Day weekend.
The city is known for being the birthplace of singer-songwriter Jewel.
The city has large numbers of persons with Scottish and Scotch-Irish ancestry.