Utah ( or ) is a western state of the United States. It was the 45th state admitted
to the Union, on January
4, 1896. Approximately eighty percent of Utah's
2,736,424 people live along the Wasatch
Front, centering around Salt Lake City.
In contrast, vast expanses of the state are
nearly uninhabited, making the population the sixth most urbanized
in the U.S. The name "Utah" is derived from the Ute Indian
language, meaning "people of the
Utah is known for being one of the most religiously homogeneous
states in the Union. Between 58 percent and 72 percent of Utahns
are reported to be members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(also known as the LDS Church
or Mormon Church), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily
The state is a center of transportation, information technology and
research, government services and mining as well as a major tourist
destination for outdoor recreation. According to the U.S. Census
's population estimates, Utah was the fastest growing
state in the United States as of 2008. St. George,
Utah was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the
United States from 2000–2005.
The Mormon settlement
the assassination of
Joseph Smith, Jr., in Carthage,
Illinois, in 1844, the more than 11,000 Latter Day Saints remaining
IL struggled in conflict with neighbors until Brigham Young, the President of the Council of
the Twelve Apostles of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emerged as the leader of the
(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.
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
It is not widely known that Utah was the source of many pioneer
settlements located elsewhere in the West. From the beginning, Salt
Lake City was seen as only the hub of a "far-flung commonwealth" of
Mormon settlements. Fed by a constant 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, then Bountiful and Weber Valley,
then 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.
the remainder of the 1800s, 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 such notable places as Las Vegas,
Idaho (the first white settlement in Idaho); San Bernardino,
California; Star Valley, Wyoming;
and Carson Valley,
settlements in Utah included St. George, Logan, and
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 1892), 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.
At the time, 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."
when the first pioneers arrived, Utah was still Mexican
territory. Early in the Mexican-American War in late 1846, the
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
March 11. In 1850, 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. In 1856, Salt
Lake City replaced Fillmore as the territorial capital.
Disputes between the Mormon
the US Government
intensified due to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'
practice of plural marriage
its members. The Mormons were pushing for the establishment of the
State of Deseret
. The U.S.
Government, which was reluctant to admit a state the size of the
proposed Deseret into the union, opposed the polygamous practices
of the Mormons.
After news of their polygamous practices spread, the members of the
LDS Church were quickly viewed as un-American and rebellious. In
1857, after news of a false rebellion spread, the government sent
troops on the "Utah expedition" to quell the supposed rebellion and
to replace Brigham Young
territorial governor with Alfred Cumming
. The resulting
conflict is known as the Utah War
approached Salt Lake in northern Utah, nervous Mormon settlers
attacked and killed 120 immigrants from Arkansas in southern Utah.
The attack became known as
the Mountain Meadows
. 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
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
Although wagons and supplies were burned,
eventually the troops arrived, 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 Fort Floyd away from
Salt Lake City, to the southwest.
Salt Lake City was the last link of the First Transcontinental
, 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
, federal troops were pulled out of Utah Territory, leaving
the territory in LDS hands until Patrick E. Connor
arrived with a regiment of
California volunteers in 1862. Connor established Fort
Douglas just three miles (5 km) east of Salt Lake City
and encouraged his people to discover mineral deposits to bring
more non-Mormons into the state. Minerals were
discovered in Tooele
County, and miners began to flock to the
Beginning in 1865, Utah's Black
developed into the deadliest conflict in the
territory's history. Chief Antonga
died in 1870, but fights continued to break out
until additional federal troops were sent in to suppress the
of 1872. The war is unique
among Indian Wars
because it was a
three-way conflict, with mounted Timpanogos Ute
led by Antonga Black Hawk exploited by federal
and LDS authorities.
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
1900s to present
in the early 1900s, with the establishment of such national parks
as Bryce Canyon
National Park and Zion National Park, Utah became known for its natural beauty.
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
to the southern scenic areas was made easier.
in 1939, with the establishment of Alta Ski Area, Utah has become world-renowned for its
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"). 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
be used for sporting events. This also spurred the development of
the light-rail system in the Salt Lake
, known as TRAX
, and the
re-construction of the freeway system around the city.
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, Wasatch, and Washington counties are all growing very quickly.
are major issues in politics as
development consumes agricultural land and wilderness areas.
Alpine Loop near Sundance in the
Utah is generally rocky with three distinct geological regions: the
, 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
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 (at the Four Corners
Monument); by Arizona in the south; and by Nevada in the
It covers an area of 84,899 square miles
(219,887 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
. Running down the northern center of
the state is the Wasatch Range
rises to heights of about 12,000 feet (3,650 m) above sea
level. Portions of these mountains receive more than 500 inches
(12.7 m) of snow each year and are home to
world-renowned ski resorts
, made popular
by the light, fluffy snow, which is considered good for skiing. 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), lies within the
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.
cities of Ogden, Salt Lake
City, Layton, West Valley
City, Sandy, West
Jordan, Orem, and
Provo are located
within this region, which stretches approximately from Brigham
City at the north end to Nephi at the
Approximately 75 percent of the population of the
state lies in this corridor, and urban sprawl continues to expand
along the edges of these valleys.
Western Utah is mostly arid desert with a basin and range
mountain ranges and rugged terrain punctuate the landscape.
Salt Flats are an exception, being comparatively flat as a
result of once forming the bed of ancient Lake
Lake and Utah
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 snowmelt in the
Creek Range, and other tall mountains to the west of Snake
Valley. Great Basin National Park is just over the 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.
Much of the scenic southern and south eastern landscape
(specifically the Colorado Plateau
region) is 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
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 (a popular photographic and
The Navajo Nation also extends into
Southwestern Utah is the lowest and hottest spot in Utah. It is
known as Utah's Dixie
settlers were able to grow limited amounts of cotton there.
in far southwestern
Utah is the lowest point in the state, at 2,000 feet (610 m). The
northernmost portion of the Mojave
is also located in this area. Dixie is quickly becoming
a popular recreational and retirement destination, and the
population is growing rapidly. Just north of Dixie is the state's highest
ski resort, Brian
Eastern (northern quarter) Utah is a high-elevation area covered
mostly by plateaus and basins. Economies are dominated by mining
, oil shale
, and natural
, and recreation
. Much of eastern Utah is part of the
Uintah and Ouray
. The most popular destination within
northeastern Utah is Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal.
Like most of the Western
owns much of the land in Utah. Over 70 percent of the land is
either BLM land
, Utah State
, or U.S. National Forest
, U.S. National Park
, U.S. National Monument
, National Recreation Area
U.S. Wilderness Area
Utah features a dry, mostly desert climate, although its many
mountains feature a large variety of climates, with the highest
points in the Uinta Mountains
above the timberline
. The dry weather
results from the state lying mostly in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada in California.
The eastern half of the state lies in the
rain shadow of the Wasatch
. 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 mid-October through April, although northern
Utah often sees these large storms earlier and later.
summer, the state, especially southern and eastern Utah, lies in
the path of monsoon moisture from the
Most of the lowland areas receive less than
12 inches (300 mm) of precipitation annually, although
the densely-populated Wasatch Front
receive approximately 15 inches (380 mm). The Great Salt
Lake Desert is the driest area of the state, with less than
5 inches (125 mm).
Snowfall is common in all but
the far southern valleys. Although St. George only receives about 3 inches (7.5 cm) per
year, Salt Lake City sees about 60 inches (150 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 700 inches (1,770 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,
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
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 (47 °C),
recorded south of St. George on July 4, 2007, 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.
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
season from about mid-July
through mid-September, especially in southern and eastern Utah. Dry
lightning strikes and the general dry summer weather often spark
wildfires in summer, while intense thunderstorms can lead to
, especially in the
rugged terrain of southern Utah. Tornadoes are uncommon in Utah,
with an average of two striking the state yearly, rarely higher
than F1 intensity. One exception of note, however, was the strong
F2 Salt Lake City Tornado
that sliced across the downtown metro area of Salt Lake City on
August 11, 1999, striking large buildings and causing approximately
$170 million in damage, and one fatality.
center of population of Utah is
located in Utah
County in the city of Lehi.
Utah Population Density Map
of July 1, 2008 the Census Bureau estimated Utah had a population
of 2,736,424. In 2008, the US Census
determined Utah to be the fastest growing state in the
country in terms of population growth.
Much of the population lives in cities and towns along the Wasatch Front
, a metropolitan region that runs
north-south with the Wasatch
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,
contains 5 metropolitan areas
(Logan, Ogden-Clearfield, Salt Lake City, Provo-Orem, and St. George), and 5 micropolitan area (Brigham
City, Heber, Vernal, Price, and
Utah county boundaries
Race and ancestry
The largest ancestry groups in the state are:
Most Utahns are of Northern European
A majority of the state's residents are members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
, commonly referred to as the
or the LDS Church. As of 2007, the
percentage of Utahns that are counted as members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was 60.7 percent of the state's
population. Mormons are now a minority in Salt Lake City, while rural areas tend to be overwhelmingly
Though the LDS Church officially maintains a policy
of neutrality in regards to political parties, the church's
doctrine has a strong regional influence on politics. Historically
a majority of Utah's lawmakers have been church members; the effect
has contributed to the state's restrictiveness towards alcohol
(sales and content) and gambling
. 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
. John McCain
polled 62.5% in the 2008 Presidential Election
70.9% of Utahns opted for George W
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:
Margin of error +/- 6%
Age and gender
Utah has a high total birth rate, and the youngest population of
any U.S. state. It is also one of the few non-Southern
states that has more males
In 2000, the gender makeup of Utah was:
- 49.9 percent female
- 50.1 percent male
Utah Quarter released 2007.
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.
Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon
between Orem and Heber City.
per capita personal income was $24,977 in 2005. Major industries of
Utah include: mining, cattle ranching, salt production, and
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.
In central Utah, coal production accounts for much of the mining
Utah collects personal income tax
6 income brackets. The state sales tax
a base rate of 6.45 percent, with cities and counties levying
additional local sales taxes that vary among the municipalities.
are assessed and
collected locally. Utah does not charge intangible property tax
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
In addition, Utah features seven national
monuments, two national
, six national
, and numerous state parks and monuments.
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
Utah is well known for its winter activities and has seen an
increase in tourism since the 2002
. Park City is home to the United States Ski Team.
ski resorts are primarily located in northern Utah near Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, and
for a third year in a row, Deer Valley, in Park City, has been ranked the top ski resort
in North America by more than 20,000
subscribers of 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.
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 . In Southern Utah,
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
features many cultural attractions such as Temple Square, the Sundance
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
attractions include Monument Valley,
the Great Salt
Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and Lake
Bingham Canyon Mine southwest of Salt
in the late 19th century with the state's mining boom (including
Canyon Mine, among the world's largest open pit mines),
companies attracted large numbers of immigrants with job
Petroleum production is a large part
of the economy in eastern Utah.
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
City in Summit County and numerous coal mining camps
throughout Carbon County such as Castle Gate, Spring Canyon, and
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
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,
Utah state welcome sign
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 entire state
north-to-south, entering from Arizona near St. George, traversing the entire Wasatch Front, and exiting 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
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 also the longest
stretch of entirely new highway constructed in the U.S. since the
Alaska Highway was completed in
rail system in the Salt Lake
Valley, known as TRAX, 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.
Map of Utah, showing major cities and
The system is currently undergoing an
expansion that will see the completion of four additional lines by
Utah Transit Authority ,
which operates TRAX, also operates a bus system that stretches
across the Wasatch Front and west into Tooele, and also 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 currently operates between Salt Lake
City and Pleasant
View, and is also currently undergoing an expansion
south to Provo.
Zephyr, with one train in each direction daily, runs east-west
through Utah with stops in Green River, Helper, Provo, and
City International Airport is the only international airport in the state and
serves as a hub of Delta Air
The airport has consistently ranked first in
on-time departures and had the fewest cancellations among U.S.
airports. The airport currently has non-stop service
to over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as
to Paris and
Canyonlands Field (near Moab),
Regional Airport, St. George Municipal Airport, and Vernal-Uintah County Airport all provide limited commercial air service.
Ground has recently been broken on creating a new, larger regional
airport in St. George, due to the rapidly-growing population and
the lack of room for expansion for the current airport. Completion
is expected in 2011. SkyWest
Airlines is also headquartered in St. George and maintains a hub at Salt Lake City.
Law and government
Utah government, like most U.S. states, is divided into three
branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The current
governor of Utah is Gary Herbert
was sworn in on August 11, 2009. The governor is elected for a four
year term. The Utah State
consists of a Senate
and a House of
. 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.
consists of five justices, who are appointed by the governor, and
then subject to retention election. The Utah Court of Appeals
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
Utah is divided into political jurisdictions designated as
. As of 1918
there were 29 counties in the state, ranging from 611 to 7933
||2008 U.S. Census Est.
||Percent of Total
||Area (Sq. Mi.)
||Salt Lake City
|Total Counties: 29
||Total 2008 Population est.: 2,736,424
||Total State Area: 84,898 square miles
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
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. (See Women's suffrage in Utah
Utah is one of the 15 states that has not ratified the U.S.
Equal Rights Amendment
of Utah was enacted in
1895. Notably, the constitution outlawed polygamy
and reestablished the territorial practice
of women's suffrage
. Utah's Constitution
has been amended
since its inception.
also one of only two states in the United States to outlaw all
forms of gambling; the other is Hawaii.
Utah is an alcoholic beverage control
. 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
Presidential election results
The Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake
The Scott Matheson Courthouse is the
seat of the Utah Supreme Court
Historically, politics in Utah have been controversial, such as the
Federal government versus the LDS Church on the issue of polygamy.
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.
These tensions played a large part in Utah's history, such as
vs. People's Party
Both of Utah's U.S. Senators
and Robert Foster
, are Republican. Two more Republicans, Rob Bishop
, as well as one member of the Democratic Party
, Jim Matheson
, represent Utah in the United States House of
. After Jon Huntsman, Jr., resigned to serve as
U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Herbert was sworn in as governor on
August 11, 2009.
While the LDS church maintains an official policy of neutrality in
regards to political parties and candidates, Utah votes
predominately Republican. Self-identified Latter-day Saints are
more likely to vote for Republican ticket than non-Mormons, and
Utah is one of the most Republican states in the nation. The
connection between the LDS Church and the Republican Party of Utah
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
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. The Republican Party in heavily Mormon
County presents itself as the superior choice for
Even though Utahn 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
issues, the state GOP has been at odds with the LDS
Church position opposing concealed firearms in places of
In 1998 the Church expressed concern that Utahns perceived the
Republican Party as an LDS institution and authorized lifelong
Democrat and Seventy
Jensen to promote LDS bipartisanship.
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.
Governor elections results
Salt Lake County Mayor
Senator Bennett results
Senator Hatch results
Governor (and former Lieutenant
Governor) Gary Herbert
About 80% of Utah's Legislature are members of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, while they 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. 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
and Southeastern European
ancestors migrated in the early 1900s to work in the extensive
mining industry. The views common amongst this group are heavily
influenced by labor politics
particularly of the New Deal
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.
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 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, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, and 2004 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
. 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%.
Important 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 southwestern Utah,
locally known as "Dixie
", with nearly
According the 2000 Census, Utah was the fourth fastest growing
state (at 29.6 percent) in the United States between 1990 and 2000.
George, in the southwest, is the second-fastest growing
metropolitan area in the United States, trailing Greeley,
state's two fastest growing counties are: Summit (at 91.6 percent;
ranking it 8th in the country) and Washington (at 86.1 percent; ranking it 12th).
cities (defined as having at least 9,000 residents in 2000) that
saw the greatest increases between 1990 and 2000 were: Draper (248 percent), South Jordan (141 percent), Lehi (125
percent), Riverton (122 percent), and Syracuse (102 percent). Between 1990 and
2000 the five fastest-growing cities of any size were Cedar
Hills (302 percent), Draper (248 percent), Woodland Hills (213 percent), Ivins (173 percent), and South Jordan (141 percent).
According to U.S. Census
Bureau estimates, the five fastest-growing cities of any size
between 2000 and 2008 were Saratoga Springs (1,501%), Herriman (1,061%), Eagle Mountain (934%), Cedar Hills (209%), and Lehi
||Salt Lake City
||West Valley City
|Combined statistical area
|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
||Salt Lake City*
||Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit
||Weber, Davis, Morgan
- Until 2003, the Salt Lake City and Ogden-Clearfield
metropolitan areas were considered as a single metropolitan
Colleges and universities
Utah Jazz of the National Basketball
Association play in the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City. Utah is the least populous U.S. state to
have a major
professional sports league franchise, although the District
of Columbia has fewer people.
Other teams include
the Utah Blaze
of the Arena Football League
- 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.
Utah, sunk at
Harbor, was named in honor of this state. The
dinosaur Utahraptor was also named after
- 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, 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. While Utah once ranked first in personal
bankruptcies per capita in the US, this is no longer true (as of
2005). 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.
Utah has the lowest child poverty rate
in the country, despite its young demographics.
- 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.
- 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
- Jell-O is the official snack food of
Utah, and Utah is in the center of the "Jell-O Belt", 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, although only about 205,000 professed
to be LDS in the 2000 census of Mexico.
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
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.
Utah is the setting of or the filming location for many books,
films, television series, and music videos. A selective list of
each appears below.
featured a level in the
Bryce Canyon in Utah.Amped 3
level at the Snowbird Ski Resort.Downhill Domination has 6 bike
racing cources, in Moab and in Salt Lake City.Shaun White
Snowboarding features Park City Mountain Resort.Command &
featured a level in Provo city (NOD
campaign) EA Sports Big's Freekstyle
has a level called "Monumental Motoplex" in Monument Valley.
- Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191, 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 inles in
and around Salt Lake
City, Provo, and other locations.
- In Around
the World in Eighty Days, the characters pass through Utah
children's series The Great Brain is
set in a fictional town that is based on Price, Utah.
- 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.
See also: Category:Films shot in
series Donny & Marie
show, and The Osmond Family
Show Were primarily filmed at the former Osmond Studios, in Orem, Utah
- In the Doctor Who episode
"Dalek", Utah was the
base of operations for the fictional character Henry van
Prison Break, D.
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
the series The
Visitor, the main character's spaceship was shot down and
crash-landed in the mountains east of Salt Lake City.
was filmed in Park
City, Ogden and South Salt Lake.
- Regular production for Touched by an Angel was based in
- 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 Utah.
- 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.
- Utah Quick Facts at Utah.gov
- U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 2008, the
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, pp 99-100. Accessed
- LDS Church reports its membership records
- Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton: The
Mormon Experience, page 22. Vintage/Random House, 1979.
- William W. Slaughter and Michael Landon: Trail of Hope -
The Story of the Mormon Trail. Shadow Mountain, 1997.
- Arrington and Bitton, p. 118
- William Clayton, edited by George
D. Smith: "An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton",
p. 300. Signature Books, 1991.
- Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints: "Church History in the Fullness of Times."
- SKI Magazine's Top 30 Resorts for 2008-09
- 'Outside' magazine ranks the top ski
- Morgan, Dale L. (1947). The Great Salt Lake. Salt Lake City:
University of Utah Press. ISBN 0-87480-478-7 p.22
- Fidel, Steve. Utahns feeling hot, hot, hot, Deseret Morning
News, 6 July 2007. Accessed 2008-03-20
- Utah Cold Weather Facts - Snow and Winter
- Annual Average Number of Tornadoes, 1953–2004.
NOAA National Climatic Data Center.
- Utah's Tornadoes and Waterspouts - 1847 to the
Present, the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed 2008-03-20
Utah is Fastest Growing State. Press Release by US Census Bureau.
Dated 12/22/2008. Accessed 12/23/2008.
- Deborah Bulkeley, "St. George growth 2nd fastest in U.S.", Deseret
- Demographics & Statistics. Utah.gov.
less Mormon than ever. Matt Canham, Salt Lake
Tribune. Article archived at rickross.com.
- Deseret Morning News - Utah Voters Shun Labels
- Utah oil & gas production (map) as found at
- Utah Sales and Use Tax Rates, from utah.gov (the State
of Utah's official website). Accessed 2008-03-20.
-  "Deer Valley Resort Ranked #1 Ski Resort in
North America Again!" Press Release. Accessed September 14,
-  "Ski Magazine top 10 list: Reader Resort
-  "Temple Square ranks 16th in visitors"
Deseret News Article. Accessed March 19, 2008
- Utah Department of Community and Culture, Mining Heritage
Alliance, Highlights as found at Utah.gov
- U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of
Statistics Retrieved on 2008-03-05.
of Utah: Office of the Governor
- Utah State Courts, Utah Court
- National Constitution Center, Map: States grant women the right to vote
- Retrieved on 2008-08-05.
- Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives &
Referendums. State of Utah Elections Office.
- James B. Allen, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints",
Utah History Encyclopedia, University of Utah, 1994
- ; see also
- Allan Kent Powell, "United Mine Workers of America", Utah History
Encyclopedia, University of Utah, 1994
- Roster of Utah State Legislators, Utah State
- 2001 Redistricting of Utah: Official maps of
district boundaries, Utah State Legislature
- Leip, David. 1976 Presidential Election Data - National by
State, uselectionatlas.org ("David Leip's Atlas of Presidential
Elections"). Accessed 2008-03-20.
- 1980 Presidential Election Data - National by
- 1984 Presidential Election Data - National by
- 1988 Presidential Election Data - National by
- 1996 Presidential Election Data - National by
- 2000 Presidential Election Data - National by
- 2004 Presidential Election Data - National by
- 1992 Presidential Election Data - National by
- Whitson, James R. Presidential Election 1996, presidentelect.org ("The
Unofficial Homepage of the Electoral College"). Accessed 20 March
- An Economist's Perspective on Urban Sprawl, Part
- Speckman, Stephen and Smeath, Doug "What's in a name? Bit of a hassle", Deseret Morning
News, 2006-11-22. Last accessed 2006-11-22.
- Brenda Motheral, et al., Prescription Drug Atlas, Express Scripts Inc.,
- "Why high antidepressant use in Utah?",
News, July 22, 2006
- "Utah bankruptcy filings down 77 percent from April
2005", Deseret News, May 12, 2006
- "Teenage Abortion and Pregnancy Statistics by
- "Contraception Counts: State-by-State
- "Sampling of Latter-day Saint/Utah Demographics and
Social Statistics from National Sources"
- Volunteering in Utah - Volunteering in America
- "Utah loves Jell-O - official", February 6,
2001, BBC News
- Membership Distribution. LDS.org
- Mexican Census: Religion (Spanish),
Instito Nacional de Estadistica Georafia e Informatica (INEGI),
- As found at utah.travel, official site of the Utah Office of
- Internet Movie Database (IMBd), Filming
Locations in Utah
Maps and Demographics
Tourism and Recreation