Utah (/ˈjuːtɑː/ YOO-tahYOO-taw state western United States 45th state U.S. anuary 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 30th-most-populous, and 11th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.
Approximately 62% of Utahns are reported to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), making Utah the only state with a majority population belonging to a single church. This greatly influences Utahn culture, politics, and daily life. The LDS Church's world headquarters is located in Salt Lake City.
The state is a center of transportation, education, information technology and research, government services, and mining and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation.
A common folk etymology is that the name Utah is derived from the name of the Ute tribe, purported to mean 'people of the mountains' in the Ute language. However, no such word actually exists in the Utes' language, and the Utes referred to themselves as Noochee. The connection of "Utah" to mountains likely originated as a "Mormonization" of references to mountains made by members of the Ute tribe. According to other sources, Utah is derived from the Apache name Yuttahih, which means 'one that is higher up' or 'those that are higher up'. In Spanish it was pronounced Yuta; subsequently English-speaking people may have adapted the word as 'Utah'.
Thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers, the Ancestral Puebloans and the Fremont people lived in what is now known as Utah, some of which spoke languages of the Uto-Aztecan group. Ancestral Pueblo peoples built their homes through excavations in mountains, and the Fremont people 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 became known as part of its territory of Alta California.
European trappers and fur traders explored some areas of Utah in the early 19th century from Canada and the United States. The city of Provo, Utah was named for one, 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 known English-speaking person to sight the Great Salt Lake. Due to the high salinity of its waters, He thought he had found the Pacific Ocean; he subsequently learned this body of water was a giant salt lake. After the discovery of the lake, hundreds of American and Canadian traders and trappers established trading posts in the region. In the 1830s, thousands of migrants traveling from the Eastern United States to the American West began to make stops in the region of the Great Salt Lake, then known as Lake Youta.
Following the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, Brigham Young, as president of the Quorum of the Twelve, became the effective leader of the LDS Church in Nauvoo, Illinois. To address the growing conflicts between his people and their neighbors, Young agreed with Illinois Governor Thomas Ford in October 1845 that the Mormons would leave by the following year.
Young and the first band of Mormon pioneers reached 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. For the first few years, Brigham Young and the thousands of early settlers of Salt Lake City struggled to survive. The arid desert land was deemed by the Mormons as desirable as a place where they could practice their religion without harassment.
The Mormon settlements provided pioneers for other settlements in the West.
Prominent settlements in Utah included St. George, Logan, and Manti (where settlers completed the first three temples in Utah, each started after but finished 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 an ancient word for "honeybee". This is symbolized by the beehive on the Utah flag, and the state's motto, "Industry".
Utah was Mexican territory when the first pioneers arrived in 1847.
The Utah Territory was much smaller than the proposed state of Deseret, but it still contained all of the present states of Nevada and Utah as well as pieces of modern Wyoming and Colorado. It was created with the Compromise of 1850, and Fillmore, named after President Millard Fillmore, was designated the capital. The territory 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 U.S. government intensified due to the practice of plural marriage, or polygamy, among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons were still pushing for the establishment of a State of Deseret with the new borders of the Utah Territory. Most, if not all, of the members of the U.S. government 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 September 1857, about 120 American settlers of the Baker–Fancher wagon train, en route to California from Arkansas, were murdered by Utah Territorial Militia and some Paiute Native Americans in the Mountain Meadows massacre.
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 (4.8 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 fighting 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 territory and several influential businesspeople made fortunes there.
During the 1870s and 1880s laws were passed to punish polygamists due, in part, to the stories coming forth regarding Utah.
T. B. H. Stenhouse, former Utah Mormon polygamist, Mormon missionary for thirteen years and a Salt Lake City newspaper owner, finally left Utah and wrote The Rocky Mountain Saints. His book gives a witnessed account of his life in Utah, both the good and the bad. He finally left Utah and Mormonism after financial ruin occurred when Brigham Young sent Stenhouse to relocate to Ogden, Utah, according to Stenhouse, to take over his thriving pro-Mormon Salt Lake Telegraph newspaper. In addition to these testimonies, The Confessions of John D. Lee, written by John D. Lee—alleged "Scape goat" for the Mountain Meadow Massacre—also came out in 1877. The corroborative testimonies coming out of Utah from Mormons and former Mormons influenced Congress and the people of the United States.
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.
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 featured in the popular mid-century western film genre. From such films, most US residents recognize such natural landmarks as Delicate Arch and "the Mittens" of Monument Valley. During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, with the construction of the Interstate highway system, accessibility to the southern scenic areas was made easier.
Since the establishment of Alta Ski Area in 1939 and the subsequent development of several ski resorts in the state's mountains, Utah's skiing has become world-renowned. The dry, powdery snow of the Wasatch Range is considered some of the best skiing in the world (the state license plate once claimed "the Greatest Snow on Earth"). Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and this served as a great boost to the economy. The ski resorts have increased in popularity, and many of the Olympic venues built along the Wasatch Front continue to be used for sporting events. Preparation for the Olympics 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 four parks.
During the late 20th century, the state grew quickly.
Geography and geology
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. It is a rugged and geographically diverse state that is at the convergence of three distinct geological regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.
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.
One of Utah's defining characteristics is the variety of its terrain. Running down the middle of the state's northern third is the Wasatch Range, which rises to heights of almost 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 winter storms which regularly dump 1 to 3 feet of overnight snow accumulation. In the state's northeastern section, running east to west, are the Uinta Mountains, which rise to heights of over 13,000 feet (4,000 m). The highest point in the state, Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet (4,123 m), 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 state's population lives 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, 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 impressive, but least visited attractions is Notch Peak, the tallest limestone cliff in North America, located west of Delta.
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, but lofty 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.
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. Utah is the only state where every county contains some national forest.
Utah features a dry, semi-arid to desert 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, receives 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 (76 mm) per year, Salt Lake City sees about 60 inches (1,524 mm), 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 (12,700 mm) per year. This micro climate of enhanced snowfall from the Great Salt Lake spans the entire proximity of the lake. The cottonwood canyons adjacent to Salt Lake City are located in the right position to receive more precipitation from the lake. The consistently deep powder 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.
Previous studies have indicated a widespread decline in snowpack over Utah accompanied by a decline in the snow–precipitation ratio while anecdotal evidence claims have been put forward that measured changes in Utah's snowpack are spurious and do not reflect actual change.
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).
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 to 100 °F (29 to 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, and the record low was −69 °F (−56 °C), recorded at Peter Sinks in the Bear River Mountains of northern Utah on February 1, 1985. However, the record low for an inhabited location is −49 °F (−45 °C) at Woodruff on December 12, 1932.
Utah, like most of the western United States, has few days of thunderstorms.
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. 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.
Mammals are found in every area of Utah.
There are many different insects found in Utah.
Several thousand plants are native to Utah.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Utah was 3,161,105 on July 1, 2018, an 14.37% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The center of population of Utah is located in Utah County in the city of Lehi. 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).
Utah ranks among the highest in total fertility rate, 47th in teenage pregnancy, lowest in percentage of births out of wedlock, lowest in number of abortions per capita, and lowest in percentage of teen pregnancies terminated in abortion. However, statistics relating to pregnancies and abortions may also be artificially low from teenagers going out of state for abortions because of parental notification requirements. Utah has the lowest child poverty rate in the country, despite its young demographics. According to the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index as of 2012, Utahns ranked fourth in overall well-being in the United States. A 2002 national prescription drug study determined that antidepressant drugs were "prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate nearly twice the national average." The data shows that depression rates in Utah are no higher than the national average.
At the 2010 Census, 86.1% of the population was non-Hispanic White, down from 93.8% in 1990, 1% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 1.2% non-Hispanic Native American and Alaska Native, 2% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.9% non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 1.8% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 13.0% of Utah's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (of any race).
The largest ancestry groups in the state are:
- 26.0% English
- 11.9% German
- 11.8% Scandinavian (5.4% Danish, 4.0% Swedish, 2.4% Norwegian)
- 9.0% Mexican
- 6.6% American
- 6.2% Irish
- 4.6% Scottish
- 2.7% Italian
- 2.4% Dutch
- 2.2% French
- 2.2% Welsh
- 1.4% Scotch Irish
- 1.3% Swiss
Most Utahns are of Northern European descent. In 2011 one-third of Utah's workforce was reported to be bilingual, developed through a program of acquisition of second languages beginning in elementary school, and related to Mormonism's missionary goals for its young people.
In 2011, 28.6% of Utah's population younger than the age of one were ethnic minorities, meaning that they had at least one parent who was of a race other than non-Hispanic white.
A majority of the state's residents are members of the LDS Church.
Though the LDS Church officially maintains a policy of neutrality in regard to political parties, the church's doctrine has a strong regional influence on politics. 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.). 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. Mitt Romney received 72.8% of the Utahn votes in 2012, while John McCain polled 62.5% in the 2008 United States presidential election and 70.9% for George W. Bush in 2004. In 2010 the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) reported that the three largest denominational groups in Utah are the LDS Church with 1,910,504 adherents; the Catholic Church with 160,125 adherents, and the Southern Baptist Convention with 12,593 adherents. There is a small but growing Jewish presence in the state.
According to results from the 2010 United States Census, combined with official LDS Church membership statistics, church members represented 62.1% of Utah's total population. The Utah county with the lowest percentage of church members was Grand County, at 26.5%, while the county with the highest percentage was Morgan County, at 86.1%. In addition, the result for the most populated county, Salt Lake County, was 51.4%.
According to a Gallup poll, Utah had the 3rd-highest number of people reporting as "Very Religious" in 2015, at 55% (trailing only Mississippi and Alabama). However, it was near the national average of people reporting as "Nonreligious" (31%), and featured the smallest percentage of people reporting as "Moderately Religious" (15%) of any state, being 8 points lower than 2nd-lowest state Vermont. In addition, it had the highest average weekly church attendance of any state, at 51%.
The official language in the state of Utah is English. Utah English is primarily a merger of Northern and Midland American dialects carried west by LDS Church members, whose original New York dialect later incorporated features from southern Ohio and central Illinois. Conspicuous in the speech of some in the central valley, although less frequent now in Salt Lake City, is a reversal of vowels, so that 'farm' and 'barn' sound like 'form' and 'born' and, conversely, 'form' and 'born' sound like 'farm' and 'barn'.
In 2000, 87.5% of all state residents five years of age or older spoke only English at home, a decrease from 92.2% in 1990.
Utah has the highest total birth rate and accordingly, the youngest population of any U.S. state.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross state product of Utah in 2012 was US$ 130.5 billion, or 0.87% of the total United States GDP of US$14.991 trillion for the same year. The per capita personal income was $45,700 in 2012. 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 eastern Utah petroleum production is a major industry. Near Salt Lake City, petroleum refining is done by a number of oil companies.
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. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Utah had an average of 884,000 volunteers between 2008 and 2010, each of whom contributed 89.2 hours per volunteer. This figure equates to $3.8 billion of service contributed, ranking Utah number one for volunteerism in the nation.
Utah collects personal income tax; since 2008 the tax has been a flat 5 percent for all taxpayers. The state sales tax has a base rate of 6.45 percent, 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.
Utah 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. Between 2007 and 2011 Deer Valley in Park City, has been ranked the top ski resort in North America in a survey organized by Ski Magazine.
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. 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. 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, the Utah Data Center, 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.
The state of Utah relies heavily on income from tourists and travelers visiting the state's parks and ski resorts, 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.
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.
In 2007, nine people were killed at the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse.
On March 22, 2013, one miner died and another was injured after they became trapped in a cave-in at a part of the Castle Valley Mining Complex, about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of the small mining town of Huntington in Emery County.
Utah has the potential to generate 31.6 TWh/year from 13.1 GW of wind power, and 10,290 TWh/year from solar power using 4,048 GW of photovoltaic (PV), including 5.6 GW of rooftop photovoltaic, and 1,638 GW of concentrated solar power.
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 mi (166 km) stretch from Salina to Green River is the country's longest stretch of interstate 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 three lines. The Blue Line (formerly Salt Lake/Sandy Line) begins in the suburb of Draper and ends in Downtown Salt Lake City. The Red Line (Mid-Jordan/University Line) begins in the Daybreak Community of South Jordan, a southwestern valley suburb, and ends at the University of Utah. The Green Line begins in West Valley City, passes through downtown Salt Lake City, and ends at Salt Lake City International Airport.
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which operates TRAX, also operates a bus system that stretches across the Wasatch Front, west into Grantsville, and east into Park City. In addition, UTA provides winter service to the ski resorts east of Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo. Several bus companies also provide access to the ski resorts in winter, and local bus companies also serve the cities of Cedar City, Logan, Park City, and St. George. A commuter rail line known as FrontRunner, also operated by UTA, runs between Ogden and Provo via Salt Lake City. 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 one of the hubs for Delta Air Lines. The airport has consistently ranked first in on-time departures and had the fewest cancellations among U.S. airports. The airport has non-stop service to over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as to Amsterdam, London and Paris. Canyonlands Field (near Moab), Cedar City Regional Airport, Ogden-Hinckley Airport, Provo Municipal Airport, St. George Regional Airport, and Vernal Regional Airport all provide limited commercial air service. A new regional airport at St. George opened on January 12, 2011. SkyWest Airlines is also headquartered in St. George and maintains a hub at Salt Lake City.
Law and government
Utah government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
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. 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
- Total Counties: 29
- Total 2010 population: 2,763,885
- Total state area: 82,154 sq mi (212,780 km2)
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. However, in 1887 the initial Edmunds-Tucker Act was passed by Congress in an effort to curtail 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.
In March 2018, Utah passed America's first "free-range parenting" bill.
The constitution of Utah was enacted in 1895.
Utah's laws in regard to alcohol, tobacco and gambling are strict. 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. The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act is a statewide smoking ban, that prohibits smoking in many public places. Utah is one of few states to set a smoking age of 19, as opposed to 18, as in most other states. Utah is also one of only two states in the United States to outlaw all forms of gambling; the other is Hawaii.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Utah on December 20, 2013 when judge Robert J. Shelby of the United States District Court for the District of Utah issued a ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert. As of close of business December 26, more than 1,225 marriage licenses were issued, with at least 74 percent, or 905 licenses, issued to gay and lesbian couples. The state Attorney General's office was granted a stay of the ruling by the United States Supreme Court on January 6, 2014 while the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the case. On Monday October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States declined a Writ of Certiorari, and the 10th Circuit Court issued their mandate later that day, lifting their stay. Same-sex marriages commenced again in Utah that day.
In the late 19th century, the federal government took issue with polygamy in the LDS Church.
Utah votes predominantly Republican. Self-identified Latter-day Saints are more likely to vote for the Republican ticket than non-Mormons.
Both of Utah's U.S. Senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, are Republican. Three more Republicans—Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart, and John Curtis—represent Utah in the United States House of Representatives. Ben McAdams, the sole Democratic member of the Utah delegation, represents the 4th congressional district. After Jon Huntsman Jr. resigned to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Herbert was sworn in as governor on August 11, 2009. Herbert was elected to serve out the remainder of the term in a special election in 2010, defeating Democratic nominee Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon with 64% of the vote. He won election to a full four-year term in 2012, defeating the Democrat Peter Cooke with 68% of the vote.
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. 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. Political scientist and pollster Dan Jones explains this disparity by noting that the national Democratic Party is associated with liberal positions on gay marriage and abortion, both of which the LDS Church is against. 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.
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. 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 and in public spaces.
Utah is much more conservative than the United States as a whole, particularly on social issues.
About 80% of Utah's Legislature are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while members account for 61 percent of the population. Since becoming a state in 1896, Utah has had only two non-Mormon governors.
In 2006, the legislature passed legislation aimed at banning joint-custody for a non-biological parent of a child.
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.
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. These areas generally hold socially conservative views in line with that of the national Religious Right. The most Democratic areas of the state lie currently in and around Salt Lake City proper.
The state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.
Major cities and towns
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 Washington County, in southwestern Utah, locally known as "Dixie", with over 150,000 residents in the metropolitan area.
According to the 2010 Census, Utah was the second fastest-growing state (at 23.8 percent) in the United States between 2000 and 2010 (behind Nevada).
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.
- Until 2003, the Salt Lake City and Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan areas were considered as a single metropolitan area.
Colleges and universities
- Ameritech College of Healthcare in Draper
- The Art Institute of Salt Lake City in Draper
- Bridgerland Technical College in Logan
- Broadview University in Salt Lake City, Layton, Orem, West Jordan
- Brigham Young University in Provo (satellite campus in Salt Lake City)
- Certified Career Institute in Salt Lake City and Clearfield
- Davis Technical College in Kaysville
- Dixie State University in St. George
- Eagle Gate College in Murray and Layton
- George Wythe University in Salt Lake City
- LDS Business College in Salt Lake City
- Mountainland Technical College in Lehi
- Neumont University in South Jordan
- Ogden–Weber Technical College in Ogden
- Provo College in Provo
- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo
- Roseman University in South Jordan, Utah
- Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville
- Snow College in Ephraim and Richfield
- Southern Utah University (formerly Southern Utah State College) in Cedar City
- Southwest Technical College in Cedar City
- Stevens-Henager College at various locations statewide
- Tooele Technical College in Tooele
- Uintah Basin Technical College in Roosevelt
- University of Phoenix at various locations statewide
- University of Utah in Salt Lake City
- Utah College of Applied Technology in Lehi
- Utah State University in Logan (satellite campuses at various state locations)
- Utah State University Eastern in Price (formerly the College of Eastern Utah until 2010)
- Utah Valley University (formerly Utah Valley State College) in Orem
- Weber State University in Ogden
- Western Governors University an online only university, headquartered in Salt Lake City
- Westminster College in Salt Lake City
Utah is the second-least populous U.S. state to have a major professional sports league franchise, after the Vegas Golden Knights joined the National Hockey League in 2017. The Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association play at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. 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). Salt Lake City was previously host to the Utah Stars, who competed in the ABA from 1970–76 and won 1 championship, and to the Utah Starzz of the WNBA from 1997 to 2003.
Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer was founded in 2005 and play their home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. RSL remains the only Utah major league sports team to have won a national championship, having won the MLS Cup in 2009. RSL currently operates three adult teams in addition to the MLS side. Real Monarchs, competing in the second-level USL Championship, is the official reserve side for RSL. The team began play in the 2015 season at Rio Tinto Stadium, remaining there until moving to Zions Bank Stadium, located at RSL's training center in Herriman, for the 2018 season and beyond. Utah Royals FC, which shares ownership with RSL and also plays at Rio Tinto Stadium, has played in the National Women's Soccer League, the top level of U.S. women's soccer, since 2018. Before the creation of the Royals, RSL's main women's side had been Real Salt Lake Women, which began play in the Women's Premier Soccer League in 2008 and moved to United Women's Soccer in 2016. RSL Women currently play at Utah Valley University in Orem.
The Utah Blaze began play in the original version of the Arena Football League in 2006, and remained in the league until it folded in 2009. The Blaze returned to the league at its relaunch in 2010, playing until the team's demise in 2013. They competed originally at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, and later at Vivint Smart Home Arena when it was known as EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah's highest level minor league baseball team is the Salt Lake Bees, who play at Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City and are part of the AAA level Pacific Coast League. Utah also has one minor league hockey team, the Utah Grizzlies, who play at the Maverik Center and compete in the ECHL.
Utah has six universities that compete in Division I of the NCAA, with a seventh set to move to Division I in 2020. Three of the schools have football programs that participate in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision: Utah in the Pac-12 Conference, Utah State in the Mountain West Conference, and BYU as an independent (although BYU competes in the non-football West Coast Conference for most other sports). In addition, Weber State and Southern Utah (SUU) compete in the Big Sky Conference of the FCS. Utah Valley, which has no football program, is a full member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Dixie State, currently a member of NCAA Division II, will begin a four-year transition to Division I in 2020 as a member of the WAC. Since the WAC has been a non-football conference since 2013, Dixie State football will play as an FCS independent.
Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. After early financial struggles and scandal, the 2002 Olympics eventually became among the most successful Winter Olympics in history from a marketing and financial standpoint. Watched by over 2 billion viewers, the Games ended up with a profit of $100 million.
Rugby has been growing quickly in the state of Utah, growing from 17 teams in 2009 to 70 teams as of 2013, including with over 3,000 players, and more than 55 high school varsity teams. The growth has been inspired in part by the 2008 movie Forever Strong. Utah fields two of the most competitive teams in the nation in college rugby – BYU and Utah. BYU has won the National Championship in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Formed in 2017, Utah Warriors is a Major League Rugby team based in Salt Lake City.
- 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 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
- 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.
- Mark Twain's book Roughing It
- In Dean Koontz's book Dark Rivers of the Heart
- The backstory of Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, takes place in Utah.
Category:Films shot in Utah
The fictional metropolis of Mesa City, Utah was featured as the second level of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus