State of Utah
Flag of Utah State seal of Utah
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Beehive State
Motto(s): Industry
Map of the United States with Utah highlighted
Official language(s) English
Demonym Utahn or Utahan[1]
(and largest city)
Salt Lake City
Largest metro area Salt Lake City
Area  Ranked 13th in the U.S.
 - Total 84,899 sq mi
(219,887 km2)
 - Width 270 miles (435 km)
 - Length 350 miles (565 km)
 - % water 3.25
 - Latitude 37° N to 42° N
 - Longitude 109° 3′ W to 114° 3′ W
Population  Ranked 34th in the U.S.
 - Total 2,763,885 (2010 Census)[2]
 - Density 27.2/sq mi  (10.50/km2)
Ranked 41st in the U.S.
 - Median household income  $50,614 (11th)
 - Highest point Kings Peak[3]
13,528 ft (4,126 m)
 - Mean 6,100 ft  (1,860 m)
 - Lowest point Beaver Dam Wash[4]
2,000 ft (664 m)
Before statehood Utah Territory
Admission to Union  January 4, 1896 (45th)
Governor Gary R. Herbert (R)
Lieutenant Governor Gregory S. Bell (R)
Legislature State Legislature
 - Upper house State Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R)
Mike Lee (R)
U.S. House delegation 1: Rob Bishop (R)
2: Jim Matheson (D)
3: Jason Chaffetz (R) (list)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Abbreviations UT US-UT

Utah ( /ˈjuːtɔː/ or Listeni /ˈjuːtɑː/) is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state admitted to the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the sixth most urbanized in the U.S.[5] The name "Utah" is derived from the name of the Ute tribe and means "people of the mountains" in the Ute language.[6] Utah is bordered by Arizona on the south, Colorado on the east, Wyoming on the northeast, Idaho on the north and Nevada on the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico.

Utah is the most religiously homogeneous state in the Union. Approximately 60% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life.[7][8]

The state is a center of transportation, information technology and research, government services, mining, and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates, Utah was the fastest growing state in the United States as of 2008.[9] St. George, Utah, was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States from 2000–2005.[10]


Early history

Thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers, the Anasazi and the Fremont tribes lived in what is now known as Utah. These Native American tribes are subgroups of the Ute-Aztec Native American ethnicity, and were sedentary. The Anasazi built their homes through excavations in mountains, and the Fremont built houses of straw before disappearing from the region around the 15th century. Another group of Native Americans, the Navajo, settled in the region around the 18th century. In the mid-18th century, other Uto-Aztecan tribes, including the Goshute, the Paiute, the Shoshone and the Ute people, also settled in the region. These five groups were present when the first European explorers arrived.

The southern Utah region was explored by the Spanish in 1540, led by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, while looking for the legendary Cíbola. A group led by two Catholic priests—sometimes called the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition—left Santa Fe in 1776, hoping to find a route to the coast of California. The expedition traveled as far north as Utah Lake and encountered the native residents. The Spanish made further explorations in the region, but were not interested in colonizing the area because of its desert nature. In 1821, the year Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, the region of Utah became part of Mexico, as part of Alta California.

Trappers and fur traders explored some areas of Utah in the early 19th century. The city of Provo, Utah was named for one of those men, Étienne Provost, who visited the area in 1825. The city of Ogden, Utah was named after Peter Skene Ogden, a Canadian explorer who traded furs in the Weber Valley. In late 1824, Jim Bridger became the first white person to sight the Great Salt Lake. Due to the high salinity of its waters, Bridger thought he had found the Pacific Ocean; he subsequently found that this body of water was nothing but a giant salt lake. After the discovery of the lake, hundreds of traders and trappers established trading posts in the region. In the 1830s, thousands of people traveling from the East toward the U.S. West began to make stops in the region of the Great Salt Lake.

The Mormon settlement

Brigham Young led the first Mormon pioneers to the Great Salt Lake.

Following the Death of Joseph Smith, Jr., in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844, the more than 11,000[11] Latter Day Saints remaining in Nauvoo, IL struggled in conflict with neighbors until Brigham Young, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emerged as the leader of the largest portion. (See Succession crisis.)

Brigham Young and the first band of Mormon pioneers came to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Over the next 22 years, more than 70,000 pioneers crossed the plains and settled in Utah.[12]

For the first few years Brigham Young and the thousands of early settlers of Salt Lake City struggled to survive. The barren desert land was deemed by the Mormons as desirable as a place they could practice their religion without interference.

Utah was the source of many pioneer settlements located elsewhere in the West. Salt Lake City was the hub of a "far-flung commonwealth"[13] of Mormon settlements. Fed by a continuing supply of church converts coming from the East and around the world, Church leaders often assigned groups of church members to establish settlements throughout the West. Beginning with settlements along Utah's Wasatch front (Salt Lake City, Bountiful and Weber Valley, and Provo and Utah Valley), irrigation enabled the establishment of fairly large pioneer populations in an area that Jim Bridger had advised Young would be inhospitable for the cultivation of crops because of frost.[14] Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, Mormon pioneers called by Brigham Young would leave Salt Lake City and establish hundreds of other settlements in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, California, Canada, and Mexico – including in Las Vegas, Nevada; Franklin, Idaho (the first white settlement in Idaho); San Bernardino, California; Star Valley, Wyoming; and Carson Valley, Nevada.

Prominent settlements in Utah included St. George, Logan, and Manti (where settlers raised the first three temples in Utah, each built many years before the larger and better known temple built in Salt Lake City was completed in 1893), as well as Parowan, Cedar City, Bluff, Moab, Vernal, Fillmore (which served as the territorial capital between 1850 and 1856), Nephi, Levan, Spanish Fork, Springville, Provo Bench (now Orem), Pleasant Grove, American Fork, Lehi, Sandy, Murray, Jordan, Centerville, Farmington, Huntsville, Kaysville, Grantsville, Tooele, Roy, Brigham City, and many other smaller towns and settlements. Young had an expansionist's view of the territory that he and the Mormon pioneers were settling, calling it Deseret – which according to the Book of Mormon was supposed to have translated into "honeybee" – hence the beehive which can still be found on the Utah flag, and the state's motto, "Industry."[15]

Utah was Mexican territory when the first pioneers arrived in 1847. Early in the Mexican-American War in late 1846, the United States had captured New Mexico and California, and the whole Southwest became U.S. territory upon the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848. The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on March 11. The Utah Territory was created with the Compromise of 1850, and Fillmore was designated the capital. It was given the name Utah after the Ute tribe of Native Americans. Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the territorial capital in 1856.

Disputes between the Mormon inhabitants and the US Government intensified due to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' practice of plural marriage, or polygamy, among its members. The Mormons were pushing for the establishment of the State of Deseret. The U.S. Government, which had been reluctant to admit a state the size of the proposed Deseret into the union, opposed the polygamous practices of the Mormons.

Members of the LDS Church were viewed as un-American and rebellious when news of their polygamous practices spread. In 1857, particularly heinous accusations of abdication of government and general immorality by former associate justice William W. Drummond, among others, caused the administration of James Buchanan to send a secret military "expedition" to Utah. When the supposed rebellion should be quelled, Alfred Cumming would take the place of Brigham Young as territorial governor. The resulting conflict is known as the Utah War.

As troops approached Salt Lake City in northern Utah, nervous Mormon settlers attacked and killed 120 immigrants from Arkansas and Missouri in southern Utah. The slaughtered Fancher-Baker party was enroute to California. The attack became known as the Mountain Meadows massacre. The massacre became a point of contention between LDS leaders and the federal government for decades. Only one person, John D. Lee, was ever convicted of the murders, and he was executed at the massacre site.

Before troops led by Albert Sidney Johnston entered the territory, Brigham Young ordered all residents of Salt Lake City to evacuate southward to Utah Valley and sent out a force, known as the Nauvoo Legion, to delay the government's advance. Although wagons and supplies were burned, eventually the troops arrived in 1858, and Young surrendered official control to Cumming, although most subsequent commentators claim that Young retained true power in the territory. A steady stream of governors appointed by the president quit the position, often citing the traditions of their supposed territorial government. By agreement with Young, Johnston established Camp Floyd, 40 miles (60 km) away from Salt Lake City, to the southwest.

Salt Lake City was the last link of the First Transcontinental Telegraph, completed in October 1861. Brigham Young was among the first to send a message, along with Abraham Lincoln and other officials.

Because of the American Civil War, federal troops were pulled out of Utah Territory in 1861. This was a boon to the local economy as the army sold everything in camp for pennies on the dollar before marching back east to join the war. The territory was then left in LDS hands until Patrick E. Connor arrived with a regiment of California volunteers in 1862. Connor established Fort Douglas just 3 miles (5 km) east of Salt Lake City and encouraged his people to discover mineral deposits to bring more non-Mormons into the territory. Minerals were discovered in Tooele County and miners began to flock to the territory.

Beginning in 1865, Utah's Black Hawk War developed into the deadliest conflict in the territory's history. Chief Antonga Black Hawk died in 1870, but fights continued to break out until additional federal troops were sent in to suppress the Ghost Dance of 1872. The war is unique among Indian Wars because it was a three-way conflict, with mounted Timpanogos Utes led by Antonga Black Hawk exploited by federal and LDS authorities.

On May 10, 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake. The railroad brought increasing numbers of people into the state and several influential businesspeople made fortunes in the territory.

During the 1870s and 1880s laws were passed to punish polygamists, and in the 1890 Manifesto, the LDS Church banned polygamy. When Utah applied for statehood again it was accepted. One of the conditions for granting Utah statehood was that a ban on polygamy be written into the state constitution. This was a condition required of other western states that were admitted into the Union later. Statehood was officially granted on January 4, 1896.

1900s to present

Beginning in the early 20th century, with the establishment of such national parks as Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, Utah became known for its natural beauty. Southern Utah became a popular filming spot for arid, rugged scenes, and such natural landmarks as Delicate Arch and "the Mittens" of Monument Valley are instantly recognizable to most national residents. During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, with the construction of the Interstate highway system, accessibility to the southern scenic areas was made easier.

Beginning in 1939, with the establishment of Alta Ski Area, Utah has become world-renowned for its skiing. The dry, powdery snow of the Wasatch Range is considered some of the best skiing in the world (thus the license plate, "the Greatest Snow on Earth").[16][17] Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in 1995, and this has served as a great boost to the economy. The ski resorts have increased in popularity, and many of the Olympic venues scattered across the Wasatch Front continue to be used for sporting events. This also spurred the development of the light-rail system in the Salt Lake Valley, known as TRAX, and the re-construction of the freeway system around the city.

In 1957, Utah created the Utah State Parks Commission with just four parks. Today, Utah State Parks manages 43 parks and several undeveloped areas totaling over 95,000 acres of land and more than one million surface acres of water. Utah's state parks are scattered throughout Utah; from Bear Lake State Park at the Utah/Idaho border to Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum deep in the Four Corners region, and everywhere in between. Utah State Parks is also home to the state's off highway vehicle office, state boating office and the trails program.[18]

During the late 20th century, the state grew quickly. In the 1970s growth was phenomenal in the suburbs. Sandy was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country at that time. Today, many areas of Utah are seeing phenomenal growth. Northern Davis, southern and western Salt Lake, Summit, eastern Tooele, Utah County, Utah, Wasatch, and Washington counties are all growing very quickly. Transportation and urbanization are major issues in politics as development consumes agricultural land and wilderness areas.


Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Utah is a rugged and geographically diverse state that is located at the convergence of three distinct geological regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. Utah is known for its natural diversity and is home to features ranging from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valleys.

Utah is one of the Four Corners states, and is bordered by Idaho in the north, Wyoming in the north and east; by Colorado in the east; at a single point by New Mexico to the southeast; by Arizona in the south; and by Nevada in the west. It covers an area of 84,899 sq mi (219,890 km2). The state is one of only three U.S. states (with Colorado and Wyoming) that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries.

Alpine Loop near Sundance in the fall.

One of Utah's defining characteristics is the variety of its terrain. Running down the northern center of the state is the Wasatch Range, which rises to heights of about 12,000 ft (3,700 m) above sea level. Utah is home to world-renowned ski resorts, made popular by the light, fluffy snow and easy accessibility. In the northeastern section of the state, running east to west, are the Uinta Mountains, which rise to heights of 13,000 feet (3,950 m) or more. The highest point in the state, Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet (4,123 m),[3] lies within the Uinta Mountains.

At the western base of the Wasatch Range is the Wasatch Front, a series of valleys and basins that are home to the most populous parts of the state. It stretches approximately from Brigham City at the north end to Nephi at the south end. Approximately 75 percent of the population of the state lies in this corridor, and population growth is rapid.

Western Utah is mostly arid desert with a basin and range topography. Small mountain ranges and rugged terrain punctuate the landscape. The Bonneville Salt Flats are an exception, being comparatively flat as a result of once forming the bed of ancient Lake Bonneville. Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, Sevier Lake, and Rush Lake are all remnants of this ancient freshwater lake,[19] which once covered most of the eastern Great Basin. West of the Great Salt Lake, stretching to the Nevada border, lies the arid Great Salt Lake Desert. One exception to this aridity is Snake Valley, which is (relatively) lush due to large springs and wetlands fed from groundwater derived from snow melt in the Snake Range, Deep Creek Range, and other tall mountains to the west of Snake Valley. Great Basin National Park is just over the Nevada state line in the southern Snake Range. One of western Utah's most famous attractions is Notch Peak, the tallest limestone cliff in North America, located west of Delta.

Utah county boundaries

Much of the scenic southern and southeastern landscape (specifically the Colorado Plateau region) is sandstone, specifically Kayenta sandstone and Navajo sandstone. The Colorado River and its tributaries wind their way through the sandstone, creating some of the world's most striking and wild terrain (the area around the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers was the last to be mapped in the lower 48 United States). Wind and rain have also sculpted the soft sandstone over millions of years. Canyons, gullies, arches, pinnacles, buttes, bluffs, and mesas are the common sight throughout south-central and southeast Utah. This terrain is the central feature of protected state and federal parks such as Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks, Cedar Breaks, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Hovenweep, and Natural Bridges national monuments, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (site of the popular tourist destination, Lake Powell), Dead Horse Point and Goblin Valley state parks, and Monument Valley. The Navajo Nation also extends into southeastern Utah. Southeastern Utah is also punctuated by the remote La Sal, Abajo, and Henry mountain ranges.

Eastern (northern quarter) Utah is a high-elevation area covered mostly by plateaus and basins, particularly the Tavaputs Plateau and San Rafael Swell, which remain mostly inaccessible, and the Uinta Basin, where the majority of eastern Utah's population lives. Economies are dominated by mining, oil shale, oil, and natural gas-drilling, ranching, and recreation. Much of eastern Utah is part of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. The most popular destination within northeastern Utah is Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal.

Southwestern Utah is the lowest and hottest spot in Utah. It is known as Utah's Dixie because early settlers were able to grow some cotton there. Beaverdam Wash in far southwestern Utah is the lowest point in the state, at 2,000 feet (610 m).[3] The northernmost portion of the Mojave Desert is also located in this area. Dixie is quickly becoming a popular recreational and retirement destination, and the population is growing rapidly. Although the Wasatch Mountains end at Mount Nebo near Nephi, a complex series of mountain ranges extends south from the southern end of the range down the spine of Utah. Just north of Dixie and east of Cedar City is the state's highest ski resort, Brian Head.

Like most of the western and southwestern states, the federal government owns much of the land in Utah. Over 70 percent of the land is either BLM land, Utah State Trustland, or U.S. National Forest, U.S. National Park, U.S. National Monument, National Recreation Area or U.S. Wilderness Area.[20]


Joshua Trees, yucca plants, and Jumping Cholla cactus occupy the far southwest corner of the state in the Mojave Desert.

Utah features a dry, semi-arid to arid climate, although its many mountains feature a large variety of climates, with the highest points in the Uinta Mountains being above the timberline. The dry weather is a result of the state's location in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada in California. The eastern half of the state lies in the rain shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. The primary source of precipitation for the state is the Pacific Ocean, with the state usually lying in the path of large Pacific storms from October to May. In summer, the state, especially southern and eastern Utah, lies in the path of monsoon moisture from the Gulf of California. Most of the lowland areas receive less than 12 inches (305 mm) of precipitation annually, although the I-15 corridor, including the densely-populated Wasatch Front, receive approximately 15 inches (381 mm). The Great Salt Lake Desert is the driest area of the state, with less than 5 inches (127 mm). Snowfall is common in all but the far southern valleys. Although St. George only receives about 3 inches (8 cm) per year, Salt Lake City sees about 60 inches (152 cm), enhanced by the lake-effect snow from the Great Salt Lake, which increases snowfall totals to the south, southeast, and east of the lake. Some areas of the Wasatch Range in the path of the lake-effect receive up to 500 inches (1,270 cm) per year. The consistently dry, fluffy snow led Utah's ski industry to adopt the slogan "the Greatest Snow on Earth" in the 1980s. In the winter, temperature inversions are a common phenomenon across Utah's low basins and valleys, leading to thick haze and fog that can sometimes last for weeks at a time, especially in the Uintah Basin. Although at other times of year its air quality is good, winter inversions give Salt Lake City some of the worst wintertime pollution in the country.

Mountains near the Great Salt Lake in winter.

Utah's temperatures are extreme, with cold temperatures in winter due to its elevation, and very hot summers statewide (with the exception of mountain areas and high mountain valleys). Utah is usually protected from major blasts of cold air by mountains lying north and east of the state, although major Arctic blasts can occasionally reach the state. Average January high temperatures range from around 30 °F (−1 °C) in some northern valleys to almost 55 °F (13 °C) in St. George. Temperatures dropping below 0 °F (−18 °C) should be expected on occasion in most areas of the state most years, although some areas see it often (for example, the town of Randolph averages about 50 days per year with temperatures dropping that low). In July, average highs range from about 85 °F (29 °C) to 100 °F (38 °C). However, the low humidity and high elevation typically leads to large temperature variations, leading to cool nights most summer days. The record high temperature in Utah was 118 °F (48 °C), recorded south of St. George on July 4, 2007,[21] and the record low was −69 °F (−56 °C), recorded at Peter's Sink in the Bear River Mountains of northern Utah on February 1, 1985.[22] However, the record low for an inhabited location is −49 °F (−45 °C) at Woodruff on December 12, 1932.[23]

Utah, like most of the western United States, has few days of thunderstorms. On average there are fewer than 40 days of thunderstorm activity during the year, although these storms can be briefly intense when they do occur. They are most likely to occur during monsoon season from about mid-July through mid-September, especially in southern and eastern Utah. Dry lightning strikes and the general dry weather often spark wildfires in summer, while intense thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding, especially in the rugged terrain of southern Utah. Although spring is the wettest season in northern Utah, late summer is the wettest period for much of southern and eastern Utah. Tornadoes are uncommon in Utah, with an average of two striking the state yearly, rarely higher than EF1 intensity.[24] One exception of note, however, was the unprecedented F2 Salt Lake City Tornado that moved directly across downtown Salt Lake City on August 11, 1999, killing 1 person, injuring 60 others, and causing approximately $170 million in damage.[25] The only other reported tornado fatality in Utah's history was a 7-year old girl who was killed while camping in Summit County on July 6, 1884. The last tornado of above (E)F0 intensity occurred on September 8, 2002, when an F2 tornado hit Manti. On August 11, 1993, an F3 tornado hit the Uinta Mountains north of Duchesne at an elevation of 10,500 feet (3,200 m), causing some damage to a Boy Scouts campsite. This is the strongest tornado ever recorded in Utah.


Main Article: Demographics data of Utah

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 11,380
1860 40,273 253.9%
1870 86,336 114.4%
1880 143,963 66.7%
1890 210,779 46.4%
1900 276,749 31.3%
1910 373,351 34.9%
1920 449,396 20.4%
1930 507,847 13.0%
1940 550,310 8.4%
1950 688,862 25.2%
1960 890,627 29.3%
1970 1,059,273 18.9%
1980 1,461,037 37.9%
1990 1,722,850 17.9%
2000 2,233,169 29.6%
2010 2,763,885 23.8%

The center of population of Utah is located in Utah County in the city of Lehi.[26] As of April 1, 2010 the 2010 Census indicated that Utah had a population of 2,763,885.[2] In 2008, the US Census Bureau determined Utah was the fastest growing state in the country.[27]

Much of the population lives in cities and towns along the Wasatch Front, a metropolitan region that runs north-south with the Wasatch Mountains rising on the eastern side. Growth outside the Wasatch Front is also increasing. The St. George metropolitan area is currently the second-fastest growing in the country after the Las Vegas metropolitan area, while the Heber micropolitan area is also the second-fastest growing in the country (behind Palm Coast, Florida).[28]

Utah contains 5 metropolitan areas (Logan, Ogden-Clearfield, Salt Lake City, Provo-Orem, and St. George), and 5 micropolitan areas (Brigham City, Heber, Vernal, Price, and Cedar City).

Race and ancestry

Utah Population Density Map

The largest ancestry groups in the state are:[29]

  • 27.7% English
  • 14.9% Scandinavian: (5.9% Danish, 4.3% Swedish, & 2.4% Norwegian)
  • 12.4% German
  • 7.0% American
  • 6.1% Irish
  • 4.7% Scottish
  • 2.9% Italian
  • 2.2% French
  • 2.2% Welsh
  • 1.4% Scotch Irish
  • 1.3% Swiss

Most Utahns are of Northern European descent.[30]


A majority of the state's residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). As of 2007, 60.7% of Utahns are counted as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although only 41.6% of them are active members.[7][31] Mormons now make up about 34%–41% of Salt Lake City,[7] while rural areas tend to be overwhelmingly Mormon. Though the LDS Church officially maintains a policy of neutrality in regards to political parties,[32] the church's doctrine has a strong regional influence on politics.[33] Another doctrine effect can be seen in Utah's high birth rate (25 percent higher than the national average; the highest for a state in the U.S.).[34] The Mormons in Utah tend to have conservative views when it comes to most political issues and the majority of voter-age Utahns are unaffiliated voters (60%) who vote overwhelmingly Republican.[35] John McCain polled 62.5% in the 2008 Presidential Election while 70.9% of Utahns opted for George W. Bush in 2004. In 2000 the Religious Congregations and Membership Study[36] reported that the three largest denominational groups in Utah are Mormon, Catholic, and Evangelical Protestant. The LDS church has the highest number of adherents in Utah (at 1,493,612 members), followed by the Catholic Church with 97,085 members reported and the Southern Baptist Convention, reporting 13,258 adherents.

The LDS Salt Lake Temple, the primary attraction in the city's Temple Square.

According to a report produced by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life the self-identified religious affiliations of Utahns over the age of 18 as of 2008 are:[7]

  • Latter Day Saint movement 58% (labeled as Mormon on survey)
  • Unaffiliated 16%
  • Catholic 10%
  • Evangelicals 7%
  • Mainline Protestants 6%
  • Black Protestant Churches 1%
  • No Answer 1%
  • Other Faiths 1%
  • Buddhism <0.5%
  • Eastern Orthodox <0.5%
  • Hinduism <0.5%
  • Islam <0.5%
  • Jehovah's Witnesses <0.5%
  • Judaism <0.5%
  • Non denominational <0.5%
  • Other World Religions <0.5%

Margin of error +/- 6%

Age and gender

Utah has a high total birth rate,[34] and the youngest population of any U.S. state. It is also one of the few non-Southern states that have more males than females.

In 2000, 49.9% female and 50.1% male constituted the gender makeup of Utah.[37]


The Wasatch Front has seen large growth and development despite the economic downturn. Shown is the City Creek Center project, a development in downtown Salt Lake City with a price tag of $1.5-2.5 billion.

Zion National Park in southern Utah is one of five national parks in the state.

According to the University of Utah, the gross state product of Utah in 2005 was $92 billion, or 0.74% of the total United States GDP of $12.4 trillion for the same year. The per capita personal income was $24,977 in 2005. Major industries of Utah include: mining, cattle ranching, salt production, and government services.

According to the 2007 State New Economy Index, Utah is ranked the top state in the nation for Economic Dynamism, determined by "the degree to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, information technology-driven and innovation-based".

In October 2010, Utah was ranked number one in Forbes' list of "Best States For Business".[38] A November 2010 article in Newsweek highlighted Utah and particularly the Salt Lake City area's economic outlook, calling it "the new economic Zion", and examined how the area has been able to bring in high-paying jobs and attract high-tech corporations to the area during a recession.[39]

As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 6.8%.[40]

In eastern Utah petroleum production is a major industry.[41] Near Salt Lake City, petroleum refining is done by a number of oil companies. In central Utah, coal production accounts for much of the mining activity.

Utah collects personal income tax; since 2008 the tax has been a flat 5 percent for all taxpayers.[42] The state sales tax has a base rate of 6.45 percent,[43] with cities and counties levying additional local sales taxes that vary among the municipalities. Property taxes are assessed and collected locally. Utah does not charge intangible property taxes and does not impose an inheritance tax.


Tourism is a major industry in Utah and is well known for its year-round outdoor and recreational activities among other attractions. With five national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion), Utah has the third most national parks of any state after Alaska and California. In addition, Utah features seven national monuments, two national recreation areas, six national forests, and numerous state parks and monuments.

The Moab area, in the southeastern part of the state, is known for its challenging mountain biking trails, including Slickrock. Moab also hosts the famous Moab Jeep Safari semiannually.

Utah is well known for its winter activities and has seen an increase in tourism since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Park City is home to the United States Ski Team. Utah's ski resorts are primarily located in northern Utah near Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, and Provo. In 2010, for a fourth year in a row, Deer Valley, in Park City, has been ranked the top ski resort in North America by more than 20,000 readers of Ski Magazine, which has a circulation of over 1.6 million subscribers.[44] In addition to having prime snow conditions and world-class amenities, Northern Utah's ski resorts are well liked among tourists for their convenience and proximity to a large city and International Airport, as well as the close proximity to other ski resorts, allowing skiers the ability to ski at multiple locations in one day. This is in contrast to most other states with large ski industries, where resorts are more often located in remote locations, away from large cities, and more spread apart. The 2009 Ski Magazine reader survey concluded that six out of the top ten resorts deemed most "accessible" and six out of the top ten with the best snow conditions were located in Utah.[45] In Southern Utah, Brian Head Ski Resort is located in the mountains near Cedar City. Former Olympic venues including Utah Olympic Park and Utah Olympic Oval are still in operation for training and competition and allows the public to participate in numerous activities including ski jumping, bobsleigh, and speed skating.

Utah features many cultural attractions such as Temple Square, the Sundance Film Festival, the Red Rock Film Festival, the DOCUTAH Film Festival, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Temple Square is ranked as the 16th most visited tourist attraction in the United States by Forbes Magazine, with over five million annual visitors.[46]

Other attractions include Monument Valley, the Great Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and Lake Powell.

Bryce Canyon National Park Amphitheater (winter view)

Mining has been a large industry in Utah since it was first settled. The Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake County is the largest open pit mine in the world.


Beginning in the late 19th century with the state's mining boom (including the Bingham Canyon Mine, among the world's largest open pit mines), companies attracted large numbers of immigrants with job opportunities. Since the days of the Utah Territory mining has played a major role in Utah's economy. Historical mining towns include Mercur in Tooele County, Silver Reef in Washington County, Eureka in Juab County, Park City in Summit County and numerous coal mining camps throughout Carbon County such as Castle Gate, Spring Canyon, and Hiawatha. These settlements were characteristic of the boom and bust cycle that dominated mining towns of the American West. During the early part of the Cold War era, uranium was mined in eastern Utah. Today mining activity still plays a major role in the state's economy. Minerals mined in Utah include copper, gold, silver, molybdenum, zinc, lead, and beryllium. Fossil fuels including coal, petroleum, and natural gas continue to play a major role in Utah's economy, especially in the eastern part of the state in counties such as Carbon, Emery, Grand, and Uintah.[47]


Utah state welcome sign on the Utah and Wyoming State line.

I-15 and I-80 are the main interstate highways in the state, where they intersect and briefly merge near downtown Salt Lake City. I-15 traverses the state north-to-south, entering from Arizona near St. George, paralleling the Wasatch Front, and crossing into Idaho near Portage. I-80 spans northern Utah east-to-west, entering from Nevada at Wendover, crossing the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City, and entering Wyoming near Evanston. I-84 West enters from Idaho near Snowville (from Boise) and merges with I-15 from Tremonton to Ogden, then heads southeast through the Wasatch Mountains before terminating at I-80 near Echo Junction.

I-70 splits from I-15 at Cove Fort in central Utah and heads east through mountains and rugged desert terrain, providing quick access to the many national parks and national monuments of southern Utah, and has been noted for its beauty. The 103 mile (163 km) stretch from Salina to Green River is the longest stretch of interstate in the country without services and, when completed in 1970, was the longest stretch of entirely new highway constructed in the U.S. since the Alaska Highway was completed in 1943.

TRAX, a light rail system in the Salt Lake Valley, consists of two lines, both ending in Downtown Salt Lake City, with one heading to the suburb of Sandy and the other to the University of Utah. The system is undergoing an expansion that will see the completion of four additional lines by 2014. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which operates TRAX, also operates a bus system that stretches across the Wasatch Front and west into Tooele, and provides winter service to the ski resorts east of Salt Lake City. Several bus companies provide access to the ski resorts in winter, and local bus companies also serve Logan, St. George, and Cedar City. A commuter rail line known as FrontRunner operates between Salt Lake City and Pleasant View, and is undergoing an expansion south to Provo. Amtrak's California Zephyr, with one train in each direction daily, runs east-west through Utah with stops in Green River, Helper, Provo, and Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City International Airport is the only international airport in the state and serves as a hub of Delta Air Lines. The airport has consistently ranked first in on-time departures and had the fewest cancellations among U.S. airports.[48] The airport has non-stop service to over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as to Paris and Tokyo. Canyonlands Field (near Moab), Cedar City Regional Airport, St. George Municipal Airport, and Vernal Regional Airport all provide limited commercial air service. An entirely new regional airport at St. George opened on January 12, 2011, replacing the old airport that existed on top of a plateau and had no room for expansion. SkyWest Airlines is also headquartered in St. George and maintains a hub at Salt Lake City.

Law and government

Utah State Symbols
Animate insignia
Bird(s) California Gull
Fish Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
Flower(s) Sego Lily
Grass Indian ricegrass
Insect European Honey Bee
Mammal(s) Rocky Mountain Elk
Tree Blue Spruce

Inanimate insignia
Dance Square Dance
Dinosaur Allosaurus
Firearm M1911 pistol[49]
Gemstone Topaz
Mineral Copper
Rock Coal
Ship(s) USS Utah (BB-31)
Slogan(s) "Life Elevated"
Song(s) Utah, This is the Place
Tartan Utah State Tartan

Route marker(s)
Utah Route Marker

State Quarter
Quarter of Utah
Released in 2007

Lists of United States state insignia

Utah government, like most U.S. states, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The current governor of Utah is Gary Herbert,[50] who was sworn in on August 11, 2009. The governor is elected for a four year term. The Utah State Legislature consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. State senators serve four year terms and representatives two year terms. The Utah Legislature meets each year in January for an annual forty-five day session. The Utah Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Utah. It consists of five justices, who are appointed by the governor, and then subject to retention election. The Utah Court of Appeals handles cases from the trial courts.[51] Trial level courts are the district courts and justice courts. All justices and judges, like those on the Utah Supreme Court, are subject to retention election after appointment.


Utah is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. As of 1918 there were 29 counties in the state, ranging from 611 square miles (1,600 km2) to 7,933 square miles (20,500 km2).

Utah counties
County name County seat Year founded 2010 U.S. Census Percent of total Area
Beaver Beaver 1856 6,162 0.23 % 2,592 sq mi (6,710 km2) 3.05 %
Box Elder Brigham City 1856 49,975 1.79 % 6,729 sq mi (17,430 km2) 7.93 %
Cache Logan 1856 112,656 4.12 % 1,173 square miles (3,040 km2) 1.38 %
Carbon Price 1894 21,403 0.71 % 1,485 sq mi (3,850 km2) 1.75 %
Daggett Manila 1918 938 0.03 % 723 sq mi (1,870 km2) 0.85 %
Davis Farmington 1852 306,479 10.79 % 634 sq mi (1,640 km2) 0.75 %
Duchesne Duchesne 1915 18,607 0.62 % 3,256 sq mi (8,430 km2) 3.84 %
Emery Castle Dale 1880 10976 0.38 % 4,462 5.26 %
Garfield Panguitch 1882 4,658 0.17 % 5,208 6.13 %
Grand Moab 1890 9,589 0.35 % 3,694 4.35 %
Iron Parowan 1852 46,163 1.63 % 3,302 3.89 %
Juab Nephi 1852 10,246 0.36 % 3,406 4.01 %
Kane Kanab 1864 6,577 0.24 % 4,108 4.84 %
Millard Fillmore 1852 12,503 0.44 % 6,828 8.04 %
Morgan Morgan 1862 8,669 0.32 % 611 0.72 %
Piute Junction 1865 1,404 0.05 % 766 0.90 %
Rich Randolph 1868 2,205 0.08 % 1,086 1.28 %
Salt Lake Salt Lake City 1852 1,029,655 37.37 % 808 0.95 %
San Juan Monticello 1880 14,746 0.55 % 7,933 9.34 %
Sanpete Manti 1852 27,822 0.93 % 1,603 1.89 %
Sevier Richfield 1865 20,802 0.73 % 1,918 2.26 %
Summit Coalville 1854 36,324 1.32 % 1,882 2.22 %
Tooele Tooele 1852 58,218 2.08 % 7,287 8.58 %
Uintah Vernal 1880 32,588 1.09 % 4,499 5.30 %
Utah Provo 1852 516,564 19.40 % 2,141 5.30 %
Wasatch Heber 1862 23,530 0.77 % 1,209 1.42 %
Washington St. George 1852 138,115 5.03 % 2,430 2.86 %
Wayne Loa 1892 2,509 0.09 % 2,589 2.90 %
Weber Ogden 1852 231,236 8.31 % 659 0.78 %
  • Total Counties: 29
  • Total 2010 population: 2,763,885[2]
  • Total state area: 84,898 sq mi (219,880 km2)

Women's rights

Utah granted full voting rights to women in 1870, 26 years before becoming a state. Among all U.S. states, only Wyoming granted suffrage to women earlier.[52] However, in 1872 the initial Edmunds-Tucker Act was passed by Congress in an effort to curtail excessive Mormon influence in the territorial government. One of the provisions of the Act was the repeal of women's suffrage; full suffrage was not returned until Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896.

Utah is one of the 15 states that have not ratified the U.S. Equal Rights Amendment.[53]


The constitution of Utah was enacted in 1895. Notably, the constitution outlawed polygamy, as requested by Congress when Utah had applied for statehood, and reestablished the territorial practice of women's suffrage. Utah's Constitution has been amended many times since its inception.[54]

Other laws

Utah is also one of only 2 states in the United States to outlaw all forms of gambling; the other is Hawaii. Utah is an alcoholic beverage control state. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulates the sale of alcohol; wine and spirituous liquors may only be purchased at state liquor stores, and local laws may prohibit the sale of beer and other alcoholic beverages on Sundays. The state bans the sale of fruity alcoholic drinks at grocery stores and convenience stores. The law states that such drinks must now have new state-approved labels on the front of the products that contain capitalized letters in bold type telling consumers the drinks contain alcohol and at what percentage.


Presidential election results[55]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 62.25% 596,030 34.22% 327,670
2004 71.54% 663,742 26.00% 241,199
2000 66.83% 515,096 26.34% 203,053
1996 54.37% 361,911 33.30% 221,633
1992 43.36% 322,632 24.65% 183,429
1988 66.22% 428,442 32.05% 207,343
1984 74.50% 469,105 24.68% 155,369
1980 72.77% 439,687 20.57% 124,266
1976 62.44% 337,908 33.65% 182,110
1972 67.64% 323,643 26.39% 126,284
1968 56.49% 238,728 37.07% 156,665
1964 45.14% 180,682 54.86% 219,628
1960 54.81% 205,361 45.17% 169,248

The Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City.

The Scott Matheson Courthouse is the seat of the Utah Supreme Court

In the late 19th century, the federal government took issue with polygamy in the LDS Church. The LDS Church discontinued plural marriage in 1890, and in 1896 Utah gained admission to the Union. Many new people settled the area soon after the Mormon pioneers. Relations have often been strained between the LDS population and the non-LDS population.[56] These tensions have played a large part in Utah's history (Liberal Party vs. People's Party).

Both of Utah's U.S. Senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, are Republican. Two more Republicans, Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, as well as one member of the Democratic Party, Jim Matheson, represent Utah in the United States House of Representatives. After Jon Huntsman, Jr., resigned to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Herbert was sworn in as governor on August 11, 2009.

The LDS Church maintains an official policy of neutrality with regard to political parties and candidates.[32]

Utah votes predominately Republican. Self-identified Latter-day Saints are more likely to vote for the Republican ticket than non-Mormons, and Utah is one of the most Republican states in the nation.[57]

In the 1970s, then-Apostle Ezra Taft Benson was quoted by the Associated Press that it would be difficult for a faithful Latter-day Saint to be a liberal Democrat.[58] Although the LDS Church has officially repudiated such statements on many occasions, Democratic candidates—including LDS Democrats—believe that Republicans capitalize on the perception that the Republican Party is doctrinally superior.[59] Political scientist and pollster Dan Jones explains this disparity by noting that the national Democratic Party is associated with liberal positions on gay rights and abortion, both of which the LDS Church is against.[60] The Republican Party in heavily Mormon Utah County presents itself as the superior choice for Latter-day Saints. Even though Utah Democratic candidates are predominantly LDS, socially conservative, and pro-life, no Democrat has won in Utah County since 1994.[61] David Magleby, dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Brigham Young University, a lifelong Democrat and a political analyst, asserts that the Republican Party actually has more conservative positions than the LDS Church. Magleby argues that the locally conservative Democrats are in better accord with LDS doctrine.[62] For example, the Republican Party of Utah opposes almost all abortions while Utah Democrats take a more liberal approach, although more conservative than their national counterparts. On Second Amendment issues, the state GOP has been at odds with the LDS Church position opposing concealed firearms in places of worship.

In 1998 the Church expressed concern that Utahns perceived the Republican Party as an LDS institution and authorized lifelong Democrat and Seventy Marlin Jensen to promote LDS bipartisanship.[58]

Utah is much more conservative than the United States as a whole, particularly on social issues. Compared to other Republican-dominated states in the Mountain West such as Wyoming, Utah politics have a more moralistic and less libertarian character according to David Magleby.[63]

Governor elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 78% 734,049 20% 186,503
2004 57% 473,814 42% 350,841
2000 56% 422,357 43% 320,141
1996 75% 500,293 24% 155,294
Salt Lake County Mayor
Year Republican Democratic
2008 32% 114,097 66% 233,655
2004 44% 144,928 48% 157,287
2000 52% 158,787 47% 144,011
Senator Bennett results
Year Republican Democratic
2004 69% 626,640 28% 258,955
1998 64% 316,652 33% 163,172
Senator Hatch results
Year Republican Democratic
2006 63% 356,238 31% 177,459
2000 66% 501,925 32% 241,129

About 80% of Utah's Legislature are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[64] while they account for 61 percent of the population.[31] Since becoming a state in 1896, Utah has had only two non-Mormon governors.[65]

In 2006, the legislature passed legislation aimed at banning joint-custody for a non-biological parent of a child. The custody measure passed the legislature and was vetoed by the governor, a reciprocal benefits supporter.

Carbon County's Democrats are generally made up of members of the large Greek, Italian, and Southeastern European communities, whose ancestors migrated in the early 20th century to work in the extensive mining industry. The views common amongst this group are heavily influenced by labor politics, particularly of the New Deal Era.[66]

The Democrats of Summit County are the by-product of the migration of wealthy families from California in the 1990s to the ski resort town of Park City; their views are generally supportive of the economic policies favored by unions and the social policies favored by the liberals.

The state's most Republican areas tend to be Utah County, which is the home to Brigham Young University in the city of Provo, and nearly all the rural counties.[67][68] These areas generally hold socially conservative views in line with that of the national Religious Right.

The state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. Historically, Republican presidential nominees score one of their best margins of victory here. Utah was the Republicans' best state in the 1976,[69] 1980,[70] 1984,[71] 1988,[72] 1996,[73] 2000,[74] and 2004[75] elections. In 1992, Utah was the only state in the nation where Democratic candidate Bill Clinton finished behind both Republican candidate George H. W. Bush and Independent candidate Ross Perot.[76] In 2004, Republican George W. Bush won every county in the state and Utah gave him his largest margin of victory of any state. He won the state's five electoral votes by a margin of 46 percentage points with 71.5% of the vote. In the 1996 Presidential elections the Republican candidate received a smaller 54% of the vote while the Democrat earned 34%.[77]

Important cities and towns

Salt Lake City



Park City



St. George

Utah's population is concentrated in two areas, the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, with a population of over 2 million; and southwestern Utah, locally known as "Dixie", with nearly 150,000 residents.

According the 2010 Census, Utah was the second-fastest growing state (at 23.8 percent) in the United States between 2000 and 2010 (behind Nevada). St. George, in the southwest, is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States, trailing Greeley, Colorado.

The three fastest-growing counties from 2000 to 2010 were Wasatch County (54.7%), Washington County (52.9%), and Tooele County (42.9%). However, Utah County added the most people (148,028). Between 2000 and 2010, Saratoga Springs (1,673%), Herriman (1,330%), Eagle Mountain (893%), Cedar Hills (217%), South Willard (168%), Nibley (166%), Syracuse (159%), West Haven (158%), Lehi (149%), Washington (129%), and Stansbury Park (116%) all at least doubled in population. West Jordan (35,376), Lehi (28,379), St. George (23,234), South Jordan (20,981), West Valley City (20,584), and Herriman (20,262) all added at least 20,000 people.

City Population
city limits
1 Salt Lake City 186,440 109.1 sq mi (283 km2) 1,666.1 630 Salt Lake
2 West Valley City 129,480 35.4 sq mi (92 km2) 3,076.3 1236 Salt Lake
3 Provo 112,488 39.6 sq mi (103 km2) 2,653.2 1106 Utah County
4 West Jordan 103,712 30.9 sq mi (80 km2) 2,211.3 1143 Salt Lake
6 Orem 88,328 18.4 sq mi (48 km2) 4,572.6 1881 Utah County
5 Sandy 87,461 22.3 sq mi (58 km2) 3,960.5 1551 Salt Lake
7 Ogden 82,825 26.6 sq mi (69 km2) 2,899.2 1137 Weber
8 St. George 72,897 64.4 sq mi (167 km2) 771.2 385 Washington
9 Layton 67,311 20.7 sq mi (54 km2) 2,823.9 1153 Davis
10 Taylorsville 58,652 10.7 sq mi (28 km2) 5,376.1 2094 Salt Lake
Combined statistical area Population
Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem-Ogden-Clearfield
Salt Lake City , Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Areas and
Brigham City and Heber Micropolitan Areas (as listed below)
Metropolitan area Population
1 Salt Lake City* 1,115,692 Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit
2 Provo-Orem 540,820 Utah
3 Ogden-Clearfield* 531,488 Weber, Davis, Morgan
4 St. George 137,589 Washington
5 Logan 125,070 Cache, Franklin (Idaho)
  • Until 2003, the Salt Lake City and Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan areas were considered as a single metropolitan area.[78]
Micropolitan area Population
1 Brigham City 49,015
2 Cedar City 44,540
3 Vernal 29,885
4 Heber 21,066
5 Price 19,549

Colleges and universities

  • The Art Institute of Salt Lake City in Draper
  • Brigham Young University in Provo (satellite campus in Salt Lake City)
  • Certified Career Institute in Salt Lake City and Clearfield
  • College of Eastern Utah in Price (Now part of the Utah State University system)
  • Dixie State College of Utah (formerly Dixie College) in St. George
  • Eagle Gate College in Murray and Layton
  • ITT Technical Institute in Murray
  • LDS Business College in Salt Lake City
  • Neumont University in South Jordan
  • Provo College in Provo
  • Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville

  • Snow College in Ephraim and Richfield
  • Southern Utah University (formerly Southern Utah State College) in Cedar City
  • Stevens-Henager College at various locations statewide
  • University of Phoenix at various locations statewide
  • University of Utah in Salt Lake City
  • Utah State University in Logan (satellite campuses at various state locations)
  • Utah Valley University (formerly Utah Valley State College) in Orem
  • Weber State University in Ogden
  • Western Governors University an online university, begun by former Utah Governor, Michael O. Leavitt
  • Westminster College in Salt Lake City


The Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association play at EnergySolutions Arena[79] in Salt Lake City. Utah is the least populous U.S. state to have a major professional sports league franchise. The team moved to the city from New Orleans in 1979 and has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the league (although they have yet to win a championship). Since 2007, Orem has been host to the Utah Flash of the NBA Development League as well. Salt Lake City was previously host to the Utah Stars, who competed in the ABA from 1970–1976 and won 1 championship. Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer was founded in 2005 and plays at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy (they won a championship in 2009), and the Utah Blaze, who began play in the original AFL in 2006 that folded before the 2009 season, then returned to play when the league was re-founded in 2010. They compete at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.

Utah also has several minor league baseball teams, the most prominent of which are the Salt Lake Bees, who play at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City and are part of the Pacific Coast League, which competes at the AAA level, meaning they are one notch below Major League Baseball. The Ogden Raptors (who play at Lindquist Field) and the Orem Owlz (who play at Brent Brown Ballpark) compete in the Pioneer League, which is a rookie league (the fifth and lowest level of the "affiliated minor leagues"—i.e., leagues that are part of Major League Baseball's official development system). The St. George RoadRunners play in the independent Golden Baseball League. Utah also has one minor league hockey team, the Utah Grizzlies, who play at the Maverik Center and compete in the ECHL (which is generally considered the third tier of U.S. hockey).

Utah has six universities that compete in Division I of the NCAA. Three of the schools have football programs that participate in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision: Utah and BYU in the Mountain West Conference and Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference. Two more schools participate in FCS football: Weber State in the Big Sky Conference and Southern Utah (SUU) in the Great West Conference for football and The Summit League in other sports. Utah Valley, which has no football program, is a full member of the Great West Conference.

Due to an ongoing realignment of several Division I conferences, three of these schools are set to switch conferences in the near future:

  • Utah will join the Pac-10 in 2011, which will change its name to the Pac-12.
  • Also in 2011, BYU's football program will become an FBS independent, with most of the school's other programs joining the West Coast Conference.
  • Southern Utah will become an all-sports member of the Big Sky Conference in 2012.


  • Popular recreational destinations within the mountains besides the ski resorts include Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Bear Lake, and Jordanelle, Strawberry, Pineview Reservoir, East Canyon, and Rockport reservoirs. The mountains are popular camping, rock-climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking destinations.
  • The USS Utah, sunk at Pearl Harbor, was named in honor of Utah, in addition to the dinosaur Utahraptor.
  • The Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster is built and serviced by the Thiokol division of ATK, which has its facilities in Promontory Point. Boosters are tested periodically at a proving grounds in the Wasatch Range.
  • According to a study based on prescription claims from one mail-order pharmaceutical provider,[80] Utah (as of 2000) ranked first in antidepressant and narcotic painkiller use, and was in the top three for prescriptions for thyroid medications, anticonvulsants and anti-rheumatics.[81] While Utah once ranked first in personal bankruptcies per capita in the US, this is no longer true (as of 2005).[82] It ranks 47th in teenage pregnancy, last in percentage of births out of wedlock, last in number of abortions per capita, and last in percentage of teen pregnancies terminated in abortion. Statistics relating to pregnancies and abortions may be artificially low from teenagers going out of state for abortions because of parental notification requirements.[83][84] Utah has the lowest child poverty rate in the country, despite its young demographics.[85]
  • A 2009 study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that Utah was the largest consumer of paid pornography per capita in the United States. The study found that pornography subscriptions are more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality.[86]
  • According to Internal Revenue Service tax returns, Utahns rank first among all U.S. states in the proportion of income given to charity by the wealthy. This is due to the standard 10% of all earnings that Mormons give to the LDS church.[85]
  • According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Utah has the highest rate of volunteerism. On average, Utah's 792,000 volunteers dedicated 146.9 million hours of service per year (between 2005 and 2007). The estimated economic contribution of the volunteer hours served is $2.9 billion annually.[87]
  • Jell-O is the official snack food of Utah, and Utah is in the center of the "Jell-O Belt",[88] which refers to the Mormon Corridor.
  • Mexican President Vicente Fox visited Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 23, 2006, as the first stop on his trip to the United States, which also included stops in California and Washington state. It is unusual for a foreign head of state to visit Utah (except for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics). The LDS Church also has a large presence in Mexico, with 1,082,427 members as of 2008,[89] although only about 205,000 professed to be LDS in the 2000 census of Mexico.[90]


Cache Valley and Wasatch Range.

The state of Utah relies heavily on income from tourists and travelers taking advantage of the state's ski resorts and natural beauty, and thus the need to "brand" Utah and create an impression of the state throughout the world has led to several state slogans, the most famous of which being "The Greatest Snow on Earth", which has been in use in Utah officially since 1975 (although the slogan was in unofficial use as early as 1962) and now adorns nearly 50 percent of the state's license plates. In 2001, Utah Governor Mike Leavitt approved a new state slogan, "Utah! Where Ideas Connect", which lasted until March 10, 2006, when the Utah Travel Council and the office of Governor Jon Huntsman announced that "Life Elevated" would be the new state slogan.[91]

In entertainment

Utah is the setting of or the filming location for many books, films,[92] television series,[92] music videos, and video games. A selective list of each appears below.


  • Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory Series, which is set in a North America where the South won the Civil War, mentions Utah several times. The state's Mormon population rebels against the United States in an attempt to create the Nation of Deseret throughout the series, which results in battles in and around Salt Lake City, Provo, and other locations.
  • In Around the World in Eighty Days, the characters pass through Utah by train.
  • The children's series The Great Brain is set in a fictional town that is based on Price.
  • Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang is set in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. The characters' ultimate goal is the destruction of the Glen Canyon Dam.
  • Much of Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s post-apocalyptic novel A Canticle for Leibowitz is set near or directly within Utah. The "hero" of the first part of the novel, the novice Brother Francis Gerard, is from Utah.
  • In the second of four books based on the video game Doom much of the story takes place in Salt Lake City.
  • Jack Kerouac's semi-autobiographical novel On the Road (arguably the most defining work of the post-WWII Beat Generation) describes traveling through Utah as part of a number of spontaneous road trips taken by the book's main characters. Additionally, the character of Dean Moriarty (like his real life counterpart Neal Cassady) was born in Salt Lake City. While many of the names and details of Kerouac's experiences are changed, the characters and road trips in the novel are based heavily on road trips taken by Kerouac and his friends across mid-20th century America.
  • Will Hobbs' 1999 young adult novel, The Maze, takes place in Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah.


Monument Valley in southeastern Utah. This area was used to film many Hollywood Westerns.

See Category:Films shot in Utah


  • The series Donny & Marie show, and The Osmond Family Show were primarily filmed at the former Osmond Studios, in Orem.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Dalek", Utah was the base of operations for the character Henry van Statten.
  • In Prison Break, D. B. Cooper buried his money under a silo in the Utah desert, somewhere near Tooele. Much of the first half of the second season involves the characters attempting to reach Utah and recovering the money.
  • In the series The Visitor, the main character's spaceship was shot down and crash-landed in the mountains east of Salt Lake City.
  • Everwood was filmed in Park City, Ogden and South Salt Lake.
  • Regular production for Touched by an Angel was based in Salt Lake City.
  • The CBS series Promised Land was filmed in a closed set in Salt Lake City.
  • Big Love, an HBO television drama about a polygamous family, is set in Sandy.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Bart and his girlfriend drive to Utah to get married, because of the marriage laws. In another episode, the Simpsons attend the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
  • In an episode of the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake and Josh, after accidentally killing his sister's rare Cuban hamster, Josh Peck's character packs to move to Utah because "Nothing bad ever happens in Utah."
  • The Stand, a TV mini-series, was filmed at multiple locations in Salt Lake and Tooele counties. The scene where the deaf character (Nick) meets the slow-witted character (Tom Cullen) was filmed on Main Street in Midvale
  • Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert was filmed in Salt Lake City at EnergySolutions Arena on October 26 and 27, 2007.
  • Top Gear Series 12, episode 2 features hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May driving to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in a Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 and a Cadillac CTS-V.
  • In the Futurama episode "Mars University", the Professor mentions Utah while describing the colonization of Mars: "In those days Mars was a dreary, uninhabitable wasteland, much like Utah. But unlike Utah, Mars was eventually made liveable..."
  • The TLC reality series Sister Wives, which made its debut in 2010, documents the life of a polygamous family in Lehi.

Music videos

  • Jon Bon Jovi – "Blaze of Glory" was shot in or around Moab.
  • Metallica – "King Nothing" and parts of "I Disappear" were filmed in Monument Valley.
  • The Killers – "Human" was shot in Goblin Valley.
  • The Offspring – "Gotta Get Away" was filmed at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
  • Tiffany - "I Think We're Alone Now" was filmed at the Ogden Mall.
  • LL Cool J - "Doin' It" was filmed in Ogden.

Video games

  • Splinter Cell: Conviction's Insurgency Pack features a level that takes place at a fictional experiental pharmaceutical company in Salt Lake City.
  • Resistance 2 features a level in Bryce Canyon.
  • Amped 3 features a level at the Snowbird Ski Resort.
  • Downhill Domination has six bike racing courses in Moab and in Salt Lake City.
  • Shaun White Snowboarding features Park City Mountain Resort.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun features a level in Provo (NOD campaign).
  • EA Sports BIG's Freekstyle game has a level called "Monumental Motoplex" in Monument Valley.
  • Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open features a level in Moab.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus features a level in a fictional Utah town called "Mesa City".


See also

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Utah



  1. ^ "Utah – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Merriam-Webster, Inc.. 
  2. ^ a b c "Resident Population Data: Population Change". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S Geological Survey. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  4. ^ Arave, Lynn (2006-08-31). "Utah's basement—Beaver Dam Wash is state's lowest elevation". Deseret Morning News.,1249,645197370,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  5. ^ "Introduction". QGET Databook. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  6. ^ Utah Quick Facts at
  7. ^ a b c d U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, pp 99–100. Retrieved 2008-07-02. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "autogenerated1" defined multiple times with different content
  8. ^ Salt Lake City (2008-01-17). "LDS Church reports its membership records". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  9. ^ "Utah is Fastest-Growing State". U.S. Census Bureau. December 22, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Appendix E. – Ranking Tables". State and Metropolitan Area Data Book: 2006 (U.S. Census Bureau). December 22, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  11. ^ Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton: The Mormon Experience, page 22. Vintage/Random House, 1979.
  12. ^ William W. Slaughter and Michael Landon: Trail of Hope – The Story of the Mormon Trail. Shadow Mountain, 1997.
  13. ^ Arrington and Bitton, p. 118
  14. ^ William Clayton, edited by George D. Smith: "An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton", p. 300. Signature Books, 1991.
  15. ^ Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "Church History in the Fullness of Times." 1989.
  16. ^ SKI Magazine's Top 30 Resorts for 2008–09
  17. ^ "'Outside' magazine ranks the top ski resorts". 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  18. ^ Official Utah State Parks website
  19. ^ Morgan, Dale L. (1947). The Great Salt Lake. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. ISBN 0-87480-478-7 p.22
  20. ^ Utah fights for states' rights with land push. Christian Science monitor.
  21. ^ Fidel, Steve. Utahns feeling hot, hot, hot, Deseret Morning News, 6 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
  22. ^ Utah Cold Weather Facts – Snow and Winter Storms.
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Annual Average Number of Tornadoes, 1953–2004. NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
  25. ^ Utah's Tornadoes and Waterspouts – 1847 to the Present, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
  26. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  27. ^ Utah is Fastest Growing State. Press Release by US Census Bureau. Dated 22 December 2008. Accessed 23 December 2008.
  28. ^ Deborah Bulkeley, "St. George growth 2nd fastest in U.S.", Deseret Morning News
  29. ^ American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. "2006–2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  30. ^ Demographics & Statistics.
  31. ^ a b Utah less Mormon than ever. Matt Canham, Salt Lake Tribune. Article archived at
  32. ^ a b "Political Neutrality". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  33. ^ David E. Campbell and J. Quin Monson. "Dry Kindling: A Political Profile of American Mormons". From Pews to Polling Places: Faith and Politics in the American Religious Mosaic. Georgetown University Press. 
  34. ^ a b Davidson, Lee (August 19, 2008). "Utah's birthrate highest in U.S.". Deseret News.,5143,700251966,00.html?pg=2. 
  35. ^ "Deseret Morning News – Utah Voters Shun Labels". 2008-01-28.,5143,695247764,00.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  36. ^ "State Membership Reports". Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  37. ^ "Gender in the United States". Retrieved April 30, 2009. 
  38. ^ [2] Forbes' list of The Best States For Business 2010
  39. ^ [3] Newsweek article "How Utah Became an Economic Zion" by Tony Dokoupil. Accessed 11/13/2010.
  40. ^; Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  41. ^ Utah oil & gas production (map) as found at
  42. ^ Bernick, Jr., Bob (2010-01-30). "Utah Legislature: Most Utahns paying less under new 5% flat tax, study says". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  43. ^ Utah Sales and Use Tax Rates, from (the State of Utah's official website). Retrieved 2008-03-20.
  44. ^ [4] "Deer Valley maintains Ski ranking through downturn" Press Release. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  45. ^ [5] "Ski Magazine top 10 list: Reader Resort Survey
  46. ^ [6] "Temple Square ranks 16th in visitors" Deseret News Article. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  47. ^ Utah Department of Community and Culture, Mining Heritage Alliance, Highlights as found at
  48. ^ U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Statistics Retrieved on 2008-03-05.
  49. ^ "Add this to Utah's list of state symbols: an official firearm". CNN. 19 March 2011. 
  50. ^ "State of Utah: Office of the Governor". 2010-07-20. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  51. ^ Utah State Courts, Utah Court of Appeals
  52. ^ National Constitution Center, Map: States grant women the right to vote
  53. ^ [7] Retrieved on 2008-08-05.
  54. ^ Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives & Referendums. State of Utah Elections Office.
  55. ^ Leip, David. "Presidential General Election Results Comparison – Utah". US Election Atlas. Retrieved December 29, 2009. 
  56. ^ James B. Allen, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", Utah History Encyclopedia, University of Utah, 1994
  57. ^ Harrie, Dan (2002-12-06). "Mormon, GOP Link Doomed Democrats; Religion statistics paint a bleak picture for party; LDS-GOP Link Dooms Democrats". Salt Lake Tribune. ; see also Bernick, Jr., Bob (2006-07-28). "Utah No. 1 in approval of Bush". Deseret Morning News.,1249,640198210,00.html. 
  58. ^ a b Harrie, Dan (1998-05-03). "GOP Dominance Troubles Church; It hurts Utah, says general authority, disavowing any perceived Republican-LDS Link; LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity". Salt Lake Tribune. 
  59. ^ Henetz, Patty (2003-05-17). "Utah's theocratic past colors church-state perceptions". Deseret Morning News. 
  60. ^ Winters, Rosemary (2006-08-14). "Pollster: Demos share blame for GOP lock on Utah". Salt Lake Tribune. 
  61. ^ Walsh, Tad (2006-11-05). "A lonely place for Demos". Deseret Morning News.,1249,650204528,00.html. 
  62. ^ Rolly, Paul (2002-04-28). "Far Right Wing of Utah GOP at Odds With LDS Positions". Salt Lake Tribune. 
  63. ^ Bernick, Jr., Bob (2001-05-21). "Utah conservatives put U.S. peers to shame". Deseret Morning News.,1249,270020446,00.html. 
  64. ^ Bernick, Jr., Bob (2006-03-15). "Letter by LDS leaders cheers Utah Democrats". Deseret Morning News.,1249,635191859,00.html. 
  65. ^ "The Church's Growth, Structure and Reach". The Mormons. April 2007. 
  66. ^ Allan Kent Powell, "United Mine Workers of America", Utah History Encyclopedia, University of Utah, 1994
  67. ^ Roster of Utah State Legislators, Utah State Legislature
  68. ^ 2001 Redistricting of Utah: Official maps of district boundaries, Utah State Legislature
  69. ^ Leip, David. 1976 Presidential Election Data – National by State, ("David Leip's Atlas of Presidential Elections"). Retrieved 2008-03-20.
  70. ^ "1980 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  71. ^ "1984 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  72. ^ "1988 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  73. ^ "1996 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  74. ^ "2000 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  75. ^ "2004 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  76. ^ "1992 Presidential Election Data – National by State". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  77. ^ Whitson, James R. Presidential Election 1996, ("The Unofficial Homepage of the Electoral College"). Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  78. ^ An Economist's Perspective on Urban Sprawl, Part 1
  79. ^ Speckman, Stephen and Smeath, Doug "What's in a name? Bit of a hassle", Deseret Morning News, 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2006-11-22.
  80. ^ Brenda Motheral, et al., Prescription Drug Atlas, Express Scripts Inc., 2002
  81. ^ "Why high antidepressant use in Utah?", Deseret News, July 22, 2006
  82. ^ "Utah bankruptcy filings down 77 percent from April 2005", Deseret News, May 12, 2006
  83. ^ "Teenage Abortion and Pregnancy Statistics by State, 1992". 1997-05-30. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  84. ^ "Contraception Counts: State-by-State Information". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  85. ^ a b "Sampling of Latter-day Saint/Utah Demographics and Social Statistics from National Sources". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  86. ^ Edelman, Benjamin. "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 23, Number 1 (Winter 2009), pages 209–220.
  87. ^ "Volunteering in Utah – Volunteering in America". 2008-04-27. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  88. ^ "Utah loves Jell-O – official", February 6, 2001, BBC News
  89. ^ Membership Distribution. Newsroom.
  90. ^ Mexican Census: Religion (Spanish), Instito Nacional de Estadistica Georafia e Informatica (INEGI), México.
  91. ^ As found at, official site of the Utah Office of Tourism
  92. ^ a b Internet Movie Database (IMBd), Filming Locations in Utah

External links

Definitions from Wiktionary
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Images and media from Commons
News stories from Wikinews
Learning resources from Wikiversity

Geographic data related to Utah at OpenStreetMap General



Maps and Demographics

Tourism and Recreation


Related information

Template:UT Parks

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on January 4, 1896 (45th)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 39°30′N 111°30′W / 39.5, -111.5

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Utah. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.