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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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State of Utah
Flag of Utah Seal of Utah
Nickname(s): Beehive State, Mormon State
Motto(s): Industry

Official language(s) English
Capital Salt Lake City
Largest city Salt Lake City
Area Ranked 13th
- Total 84,876 sq mi
(219,887 km²)
- Width 270 miles (435 km)
- Length 350 miles (565 km)
- % water 3.25
- Latitude 37°N to 42°N
- Longitude 109°W to 114°W
Population Ranked 34th
- Total (2000) 2,233,169
- Density 27.2/sq mi
10.50/km² (41st)
- Median income $50,614 (11th)
- Highest point Kings Peak[1]
13,528 ft (4,126 m)
- Mean 6,100 ft (1,860 m)
- Lowest point Beaver Dam Wash[2]
2,178 ft (664 m)
Admission to Union January 4, 1896 (45th)
Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. (R)
U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R)
Bob Bennett (R)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Abbreviations UT US-UT
Web site www.utah.gov

Utah State Symbols Living Symbols
-Animal Rocky Mountain Elk
-Bird California Seagull
-Butterfly N/A
-Fish Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
-Flower Sego Lily
-Furbearer N/A
-Grass Indian ricegrass
-Insect European Honey Bee
-Reptile N/A
-Tree Blue Spruce
-Wildflower N/A
Beverage N/A
Capital Salt Lake City
Colors N/A
Dance Square Dance
Fossil Allosaurus
Gemstone Topaz
Mineral Copper
Motto Industry
Musical Instrument N/A
Neckwear N/A
Nickname Beehive State
Rock Coal
Game Chess
Ship(s) USS Utah (BB-31)
Song Utah, This is the Place
Soil N/A
Tartan Utah State Tartan
Waltz N/A

Utah (IPA: [ˈjutɑː]) is a U.S. state located in the western United States. It was the 45th state admitted to the union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 88% of Utah's 2,500,000 people, known as "Utahns," live in an urban concentration with Salt Lake City as the center, known as the Wasatch Front. In contrast, vast expanses of the state are nearly uninhabited, making the population the sixth most urbanized in the U.S.[3] The name "Utah" is derived from the Ute Indian language, meaning "people of the mountains"[13].

Utah is known for its geological diversity ranging from snowcapped mountains to well-watered river valleys to rugged, stony deserts. Meanwhile, Utah is also known for being one of the most religiously homogeneous states in the Union, with approximately 62%[4] of its inhabitants claiming membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which greatly influences Utahn culture and daily life.

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. Utah has a long tradition of resourcefulness and hard work, as reflected in its state motto, Industry. St. George, Utah was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States from 2000-2005 with Utah being the sixth fastest growing state overall in 2006.[14]

Contents [hide]
1 Geography
1.1 Climate
2 History
2.1 Early history
2.2 Mormon settlement
2.3 1900s to present
3 Demographics
3.1 Race and ancestry
3.2 Religion
3.3 Age and sex
4 Economy
5 Tourism
6 Mining
7 Transportation
8 Law and government
8.1 Early suffrage
8.2 Constitution
8.3 Other laws
8.4 Politics
8.5 Important cities and towns
9 Education
9.1 Colleges and universities
10 Sports
11 Miscellaneous
11.1 Famous Utahns
11.2 Branding
11.3 In entertainment
11.3.1 Books
11.3.2 Film
11.3.3 Television
12 See also
13 References
14 External links

Utah is generally rocky with three distinct geological regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. Utah is known for its natural diversity and is home to features ranging from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valleys.\



Utah is one of the Four Corners states, and is bordered by Idaho and Wyoming in the north; 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 west. It covers an area of 84,899 square miles (219,887 km²).

One of Utah's defining characteristics is the variety of its terrain. Running down the center of the state is the Wasatch Range, which 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 an elevation of 13,528 feet (4,123 m),[1] 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. The major 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 south end. Approximately 75% of the population of the state lies in this corridor, and urban sprawl continues to expand along the edges of these valleys.

UtahWestern Utah is mostly arid desert with a basin and range geology. Small mountain ranges and rugged terrain punctuate the landscape. However, the Bonneville Salt Flats are an exception, being comparatively flat as a result of once forming the lake bed of Lake Bonneville. Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, Sevier Lake, Rush Lake and Little Salt Lake are all remnants of this ancient freshwater lake,[5] which once covered most of the eastern Great Basin. West of the Great Salt Lake, stretching to the Nevada border, lies the Great Salt Lake Desert, the most arid area in Utah.[citation needed]

Much of the scenic southern landscape is sandstone, more specifically Kayenta sandstone and Navajo sandstone. The Colorado River and its tributaries wind their way through the sandstone, creating some of the most striking and wild terrain in the world. 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 accentuated in protected 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 filming site.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
Utah from space. The state is known for its diversity in geology, climate, and ecosystems.Southwestern Utah is the lowest and hottest spot in Utah. It is known as Dixie because early settlers were able to grow limited amounts of cotton there. Beaverdam Wash in far southwestern Utah is the lowest point in the state, at an elevation of 2,000 feet (610 m).[1] The northernmost portion of the Mojave Desert is also located in this area. Dixie is quickly becoming a popular recreational and retirement destination, and the population is growing rapidly. Just north of Dixie is the state's highest ski resort, Brian Head.

Eastern Utah is a high elevation area covered mostly by plateaus and basins. Economies are dominated by mining, oil and natural gas-drilling, ranching, and recreation. Much of eastern Utah is part of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. The Navajo Nation also extends into southeastern Utah. The most popular destination within eastern Utah is Dinosaur National Monument.

Like most of the west and southwest states, the federal government owns much of the land in Utah. Over seventy percent of the land is either BLM land, Utah State Trustland, or U.S. National Forest, park, U.S. National Monument, National Recreation Area or U.S. Wilderness Area.

See also: List of Utah counties

Most of Utah is arid and high in elevation. Most of eastern and southern Utah receive 12 inches (300 mm) or less of precipitation per year, while many mountain areas receive more than 40 inches (1 m) per year, with some areas receiving up to 60 in (1.5 m). Much of western Utah receives less than 10 inches (25 cm), while the Wasatch Front receives approximately 15 inches (38 cm). The Great Salt Lake Desert is especially dry, receiving less than 5 inches (13 cm) annually. Snowfall is common in winter everywhere except the southern border and the Great Salt Lake Desert. St. George averages about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of snow per year, while Salt Lake City receives almost 60 inches (1.5 m) annually (amplified by the lake effect from the Great Salt Lake). Many mountain areas receive in excess of 350 inches (9 m) of snow in a year, while portions of the Wasatch Range receive up to 500 inches (12.7 m). Snowfall is common from late November through March in the lower elevations and from October through May in the mountains. The mountains often remain snow-covered into July. Fog and haze often caused by temperature inversions are common in the valleys and basins during winter, especially the Uinta Basin, just south of the Uinta Mountains.

During summer and fall, most of the precipitation is received from the storms coming from the south and consists of short, sporadic, and intense thunderstorms that can cause wildfires and flash floods. Most precipitation during the rest of the year is received from the Pacific Ocean. Spring is the wettest season across the north while late summer and early fall are the wettest times in the south and winter is the wettest season in most of the mountain areas.

Temperatures during the winter across much of Utah are below freezing. High temperatures average between 25 °F (-4 °C) and 50 °F (10 °C) across the state. Days below 0 °F (-18 °C) can be expected in many areas at least once a year, but they are usually short in duration and not terribly severe. Mountains to the north and east of the state serve as barriers to Arctic air. In the summer, high temperatures average between 85 °F (29 °C) and 100 °F (38 °C). Days over 100 °F (38 °C) can be expected in most areas below 5,000 feet (1,500 m) at least once per year and are the norm in the southern valleys. The record high temperature in Utah was 117 °F (47 °C), recorded at St. George on July 5, 1985,[citation needed] 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.[6]

Utah, like most of the western United States, has very few days of thunderstorms annually. On average there are less than 40 days of thunderstorm activity on a yearly basis, although there can be brief intense thunderstorms when they do occur. Tornadoes are uncommon in Utah with an average of two striking the state annually.[7]

Main article: History of Utah

Early history

Zion National ParkNative Americans have lived in what is now Utah for several thousand years; most archeological evidence dates such habitation about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Some left petroglyphs and pictographs which exist throughout the state.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado may have crossed into what is now southern Utah in 1540, when he was seeking 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 California coast. The expedition traveled as far north as Utah Lake and encountered the native residents.

Fur trappers—including Jim Bridger—explored some regions of Utah in the early 1800s. The city of Provo was named for one such man, Étienne Provost, a Frenchman operating out of Santa Fe under Mexican license, who visited the area in 1825.

Mormon settlement
Mormon pioneers first came to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. At the time, Utah was still Mexican territory. As a consequence of the Mexican-American War, the land became the territory of the United States upon the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848. The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on March 10. In 1850, the Utah Territory was created with the Compromise of 1850, and Fillmore was designated the capital. In 1856, Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the territorial capital.

Disputes between the Mormon inhabitants and the US Government intensified due to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' practice of plural marriage among 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 as territorial governor with Alfred Cumming. The resulting conflict is known as the Utah War.

As troops approached Salt Lake in northern Utah, nervous Mormon settlers and Paiutes attacked and killed 120 immigrants from Arkansas in southern Utah. The attack became known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The massacre became a point of contention between LDS leaders and the federal government for decades. Only one man, John D. Lee, was ever convicted of the murders, and he was executed at the massacre site.

Before troops led by Albert Sidney Johnston entered the territory, Brigham Young ordered all residents of Salt Lake City to evacuate southward to Utah Valley and sent out a force, known as the Nauvoo Legion, to delay the government's advance. Although wagons and supplies were burned, eventually the troops arrived, 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 unresponsiveness of their supposed territorial government. By agreement with Young, Johnston established Fort Floyd 40 miles away from Salt Lake City, to the southwest.

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

Bonneville Salt FlatsBecause of the American Civil War, 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 men 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 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 Antonguer Black Hawk exploited by federal and LDS authorities.

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

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

1900s to present

Snowbird ski resortBeginning in the early 1900s, with the establishment of such national parks as Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, Utah began to become known for its natural beauty. Southern Utah became a popular filming spot for arid, rugged scenes, and such natural landmarks as Delicate Arch and "the Mittens" of Monument Valley are instantly recognizable to most national residents. During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, with the construction of the Interstate highway system, accessibility to the southern scenic areas was made easier.

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

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. Transportation and urbanization are major issues in politics as development consumes agricultural land and wilderness areas.

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

Utah Population Density MapThe center of population of Utah is located in Utah County in the city of Lehi [15]. As of 2005, Utah has an estimated population of 2,469,585, which is an increase of 48,877, or 2.0%, from the prior year and an increase of 236,387, or 10.6%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 186,411 people (that is 254,433 births minus 68,022 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 16,173 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 49,995 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 33,822 people.

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. The rest of the state is mostly rural or wilderness. Utah has a higher percentage of people sharing a single religious denomination than any other state.

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

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).[8] Rural agricultural areas of Juab and Millard counties have seen rapid-growth in population as well.[citation needed]

Race and ancestry
Demographics of Utah (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 95.20% 1.14% 1.84% 2.20% 0.97%
2000 (Hispanic only) 8.62% 0.16% 0.26% 0.08% 0.05%
2005 (total population) 95.01% 1.32% 1.69% 2.40% 0.95%
2005 (Hispanic only) 10.39% 0.23% 0.26% 0.10% 0.05%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 10.37% 28.78% 2.04% 21.00% 8.53%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-Hispanic only) 8.09% 23.37% 0.78% 20.69% 8.43%
Growth 2000-2005 (Hispanic only) 33.30% 61.74% 9.53% 28.88% 10.45%

The five largest ancestry groups in the state are:

29.0% English
11.6% German
6.8% Native American
6.5% Danish
6.1% Mexican
Most Utahns are of Northern European descent.[9] The state has the largest percentage of residents who claim British ancestry and the largest percentage of residents of Danish ancestry in the nation[citation needed]. Anglo-Utahns are the largest group in every county except for San Juan County, which has a large Navajo Indian population. Chinese form the largest Asian group followed by other Asian groups (i.e. Japanese-Americans, Koreans, Indians and Pakistanis), and Tongans form the largest Pacific Islander group, the majority are Mormons converted in the south Pacific under LDS missionary work programs.[citation needed] Hispanics are rapidly growing in the state, especially in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Orem/Provo area from recent immigration from Latin America, mostly from Mexico but some Central American and South American groups.[citation needed] Despite its relatively scarce black population, Utah does have African-Americans and a sizable proportion of new Utah residents are blacks, usually made up of middle-class professionals from California, while there's a small black community in southern Salt Lake city and Ogden near Hill Air Force Base.[citation needed]


The Great Salt Lake
Red CanyonA majority of the state's residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called the Mormons or the LDS Church. As of 2004, the percentage of Utahns that are counted as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is 62.4% of the state's population,[4] which represent less than 50% of the population in urban areas and over 90% in rural areas.[citation needed] The only other state in the nation in which a majority of the population belongs to a single religious body is Rhode Island. There is a large and increasing number of Catholics in Utah as a result of immigration from Mexico, along with previous waves of Catholics from Italy, Austria, Germany and Ireland. Utah always had a non-Mormon Christian minority, mostly made up of Protestants like Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists, about one-quarter of Utah's population. [citations needed] The Salt Lake Tribune has projected that Latter-day Saints may no longer be a majority in the state, not just the case in Salt Lake City, as early as 2030.[4]

The religion known as Mormonism has historically had a strong regional influence and has contributed to the state's restrictive attitude towards alcohol and gambling, while also contributing to its high birth rate (25% higher than the national average; the highest for a state in the U.S.).[10] Before the 1890 Manifesto, the Church's teachings of plural marriage had led to confrontation with the U.S. federal government in the Utah War.[11] The Mormons in Utah tend to have conservative views when it comes to most political issues and the majority of Utahns are registered Republicans. But the state's Mormons have shown they are moderate in certain social/moral issues[citation needed] and the early Mormon settlers in the 19th century had more registered Democrats, a common trait in farmers in the Midwestern US where most Mormons briefly lived at the time. Historically, the founders of the LDS church considered the importance of socialism in the Mormons' tradition of social welfare provided by the church and Mormon values in family, community and assistance, or "looking out for each other" would placed them in the liberal category in terms of theology.[citation needed]

The self identified religious affiliations of adults (note that numbers below do not include children, thus the disparity with the percentage identified above) living in Utah are:[12]

Latter-day Saints - 57%
Roman Catholics - 6%
Episcopalians - 3%
Baptists - 2%
Other Christians - 3%
Evangelicals - 1%
Presbyterians - 1%
Lutherans - 1%
Methodists - 1%
Non-religious - 17%
Refused to identify - 4%
Other - 3%
Muslim - 1%
Totals are rounded. Pentecostal, Judaism, Church of Christ, Non-denominational, United Church of Christ, Jehovah's Witness, Assemblies of God, Buddhist, Church of God, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church each represent less than .5% of the population.

Age and sex
Due to its high total birth rate (highest of any state in the U.S.), Utah has the youngest population of any state.

The age distribution in Utah is:

9.4% under age 5
32.2% under age 18
59.3% ages 18 through 64
8.5% 65 or older
The gender makeup of Utah is:

49.9% female
50.1% male


Bryce Canyon National Park is a major tourist attractionAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross state product of Utah in 2004 was $82.6 billion. The per capita personal income was $26,606 in 2004. 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. [16] Near Salt Lake City, petroleum refining is done by a number of oil companies. In central Utah, coal production accounts for much of the mining activity.

Tourism is a major industry in Southern Utah, with Utah's five national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion) and many other attractions. In Moab mountain biking is a popular sport. Research, information technology development, and service based industries are important economic activities along the Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo corridor. Utah is also noted for its ski resorts, near Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Provo, and Cedar City (Brian Head).

Utah collects personal income tax within 6 income brackets. The state sales tax has a base rate of 5.75%, 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.

Utah has a large tourism business and was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics. The ski resorts in the northern Wasatch Range, the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Great Salt Lake, the five national parks in the south, such as Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon, and cultural attractions such as Temple Square, Sundance Film Festival, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival are among the most visited.

Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon between Orem and Heber City.
Beginning in the late 19th century with the state's mining boom (including Kennecott Copper Mine, now the world's largest open pit mine), companies attracted large numbers of immigrants (of diverse faiths) 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, and Park City in Summit County were characteristic of the boom and bust cycle that dominated mining towns of the American West. During the early part of the Cold War era, uranium was mined in eastern Utah. Today mining activity still plays a major role in the state's economy. Minerals mined in Utah include copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead, and beryllium. Fossil fuels include coal, petroleum, and natural gas.[17]

Kennecott Copper Mine southwest of Salt Lake City.
Further information: List of Utah State Routes and Utah Transit Authority
Interstate 15 is the main interstate highway in the state, entering from Arizona north to Idaho and serving such cities as St. George, Orem, Provo, Salt Lake City, and Ogden. Breaking from Interstate 80 at Echo, Interstate 84 heads northwest through the mountains and out onto the Wasatch Front, merging with I-15 at Roy and staying merged until Tremonton. I-84 then continues northwestwardly into Idaho near Snowville. I-80 enters from Nevada at Wendover and heads east through Salt Lake City, briefly merging with I-15 before climbing into the mountains and weaving through canyons and across plateaus into Wyoming, just before reaching Evanston. Interstate 70 begins at Cove Fort and heads east through mostly uninhabited areas, providing access to many of southern Utah's recreation areas before entering Colorado. The stretch of I-70 between Salina and Green River is the longest stretch of interstate in the nation without any services.

A light rail system in the Salt Lake Valley known as TRAX consists of two lines, one providing access from downtown Salt Lake City and Sandy, and the other providing access to the University of Utah east of downtown. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) operates a bus system stretching across the Wasatch Front and into Tooele, and also provides winter service to the ski resorts above Salt Lake City. Several bus companies provide access to the ski resorts in winter, and local bus services also serve Logan, St. George and Cedar City. The Legacy Highway is a controversial freeway that is planned to eventually run down the entire length of the Wasatch Front. The first portion, known as the Legacy Parkway, in southern Davis County, began construction in spring 2006. A commuter rail line, named FrontRunner, is under construction between Salt Lake City and Pleasant View, north of Ogden, and will be complete by 2008. FrontRunner is expected to eventually span the Wasatch Front from Brigham City in the north to Payson in the south.

Law and government

Bryce CanyonFurther information: List of Utah Governors, List of Utah State Legislatures, Utah State Senate, and Utah State House of Representatives
Utah government, like most U.S. states, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The current governor of Utah is Jon Huntsman, Jr. The governor is elected for a four year term. The Utah State Legislature consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. State senators serve four year terms and representatives two year terms. The Utah Legislature meets each year in January for an annual forty-five day session. The Utah Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Utah. It consists of five justices, who are appointed by the governor, and then subject to retention election. The Utah Court of Appeals[18] 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.

Early suffrage
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. [19] However, in 1887 the 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 suffrage; full suffrage was not returned until Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896.

The constitution 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 many times since its inception.[13]

Other laws
Utah is 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 state. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulates the sale of alcohol; wine and spiritous liquors may only be purchased at state liquor stores, and local laws may prohibit the sale of beer and other alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Presidential elections results Year Republican Democratic
2004 71% 663,742 26% 241,199
2000 67% 512,168 26% 201,734
1996 54% 361,911 33% 221,633
1992 43% 322,632 25% 183,429
1988 66% 428,442 32% 207,343
Historically, politics in Utah have been controversial, such as the Federal government versus the LDS Church on the issue of polygamy. The LDS Church renounced polygamy 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.[20] These tensions played a large part in Utah's historical (Liberal Party vs. People's Party).

The Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City.The current governor of Utah is Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.,[14] a member of the Republican Party. He is a proponent of a flat tax,[15] an opponent to same-sex marriage, while supporting the creation of a reciprocal beneficiary status for same-sex couples,[16] and an opponent to intelligent design being taught in the classroom.[17] He also receives high approval ratings from across the Utah political spectrum.[18]

Both of Utah's U.S. Senators, Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, are Republican. Two more Republicans, Rob Bishop and Chris Cannon, as well as one member of the Democratic Party, Jim Matheson, represent Utah in the United States House of Representatives.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the religion of the majority of Utahns, and the majority of politicians in Utah from both political parties are LDS.[citation needed] While the Church maintains an official policy of neutrality in regards to political parties and candidates,[19] 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.[20] The connection between the LDS Church and the Republican Party of Utah is controversial.

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.[21] 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.[22] Political scientist and pollster Dan Jones explains this disparity by noting that the national Democratic Party is associated with progressive positions on gay rights and abortion that make Latter-day Saints uncomfortable.[23] The Republican Party in heavily Mormon Utah County presents itself as the superior choice for Latter-day Saints. Even though Democratic candidate are predominantly LDS, socially conservative, and pro-life, no Democrat has won in Utah county since 1994.[24] 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.[25] For example, the Republican Party of Utah opposes all abortions while the LDS Church and Utah Democrats allow exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. Similarly, the state GOP has been at odds with the LDS Church position opposing concealed firearms in places of worship.

The LDS Church itself has been troubled by the perception of political bias in the wake of Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney's prospective presidential run.[26] In 1998 the Church expressed concern that Utahns perceived the Republican Party as an LDS institution and authorized lifelong Democrat and Seventy Marlin Jensen to promote LDS bipartisanship.[21]

Governor elections results Year Republican Democratic
2004 57% 473,814 42% 350,841
2000 56% 422,357 43% 320,141
1996 75% 500,293 24% 155,294
The state's leadership is run by the Republican Party. State governors are usually centrist on social issues and favor free trade on economic policies, while the state senate and house are much more polarized with Republican members passing very socially conservative policies on party-line and partisan votes. Many of these bills have been subsequently vetoed by the governors.[citation needed]

While the people of the state are generally more tolerant of gay rights and polls indicate that a majority of residents support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, the state legislature is markedly more hostile.[citation needed] About 80% of Utah's Legislature are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[27] while they account for 62% of the population.[4]

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.

Senator Bennett results Year Republican Democratic
2004 69% 626,640 28% 258,955
1998 64% 33%
Prayers are commonplace in Utah politics, and lawmakers of both parties, whether liberal or conservative, speak of their relationship with God or their religious beliefs in ordinary conversation.[original research?]

Utah's liberal areas include Carbon County, Grand County, Salt Lake County, and Summit County. Currently, both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have Democratic Party mayors and are home to about one million of the state's two and a half million residents. Salt Lake City's Mayor Rocky Anderson is supports same-sex marriage and the Kyoto Treaty, while the county mayor Peter Corroon is a relative of Howard Dean and shares similar views.[citation needed] Salt Lake City has not voted for a Republican mayor since the 1970s. Salt Lake County's Democrats tend to favor the economic policies of free trade while being socially liberal, particularly with gay rights and less so with abortion.[citation needed]

Senator Hatch results Year Republican Democratic
2006 NA NA
2000 66% 501,925 32% 241,129
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 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 Era.[28]

Grand County's politics are heavy on environmentalism and being socially liberal. The county has a large hippie community situated in the popular tourist destination, Moab,[citation needed] in red rock country between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

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

Salt Lake County Mayor Year Republican Democratic
2004 44% 144,928 48% 157,287
2000 52% 158,787 47% 144,011
The state's most Republican areas tend to be Utah County, which is the home to Brigham Young University and Provo, and nearly all the rural counties.[21][22] 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,[29] 1980,[30] 1984,[31] 1988,[32] 1996,[33] 2000[34] and 2004[35] 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.[36] 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 5 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%.[37]

Important cities and towns

Salt Lake City
Park City
St. GeorgeLists of cities in Utah: Alphabetical—Ranked by population

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

According the 2000 Census, Utah was the fourth fastest growing state (at 29.6%) in the United States between 1990 and 2000. St. George, in the southwest, is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States, trailing Las Vegas, Nevada.

The state's two fastest growing counties are: Summit (at 91.6%; ranking it 8th in the country) and Washington (at 86.1%; ranking it 12th). The cities (defined as having at least 9,000 residents in 2000) that saw the greatest increases between 1990 and 2000 were: Draper (248%), South Jordan (141%), Lehi (125%), Riverton (122%), and Syracuse (102%). Between 1990 and 2000 the five fastest-growing cities of any size were Cedar Hills (302%), Draper (248%), Woodland Hills (213%), Ivins (173%), and South Jordan (141%). According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the five fastest-growing cities of any size between 2000 and 2005 were Herriman (637%), Saratoga Springs (548%), Eagle Mountain (380%), Cedar Hills (152%), and Syracuse (91%).

Rank City Population
city limits Land
sq. miles Population
per sq mi County
1 Salt Lake City 178,097 109.1 1,632.4 Salt Lake
2 Provo 113,459 39.6 2,865.1 Utah
3 West Valley City 113,300 35.4 3,200.5 Salt Lake
4 West Jordan 91,444 30.9 2,959.3 Salt Lake
5 Orem 89,713 18.4 4,875.7 Utah
6 Sandy 89,664 22.3 4,020.8 Salt Lake
7 Ogden 78,309 26.6 2,943.9 Weber
8 St. George 64,201 64.4 996.9 Washington
9 Layton 61,782 20.7 2,984.6 Davis
10 Taylorsville 58,009 10.7 5,421.4 Salt Lake


Combined Statistical Area Population
Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield
comprised of:
Salt Lake City and Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Areas and
Brigham City and Heber Micropolitan Areas (as listed below) 1,559,230


Rank Metropolitan Area Population
(2004) U.S.
Rank Counties
1 Salt Lake City* 1,018,826 50 Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit
2 Ogden-Clearfield* 477,455 101 Weber, Davis, Morgan
3 Provo Orem 412,361 112 Utah
4 St. George 109,924 318 Washington
5 Logan 109,666 320 Cache, Franklin (Idaho)

* Until 2003, the Salt Lake City and Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan areas were considered as a single metropolitan area.[38]


Rank Micropolitan Area Population
(2004) U.S.
1 Brigham City 44,810 280
2 Cedar City 36,285 386
3 Vernal 26,671 495
4 Price 19,689 550
5 Heber 18,139 560

See also Utah locations by per capita income

Utah has recently enacted a universal school voucher program.

Colleges and universities
Brigham Young University in Provo
College of Eastern Utah in Price
Dixie State College of Utah (formerly Dixie College) in St. George
ITT Technical Institute in Murray
LDS Business College in Salt Lake City
Neumont University in South Jordan
Provo College in Provo
Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville
Snow College in Ephraim and Richfield
Southern Utah University (formerly Southern Utah State College) in Cedar City
Stevens-Henager College at various locations statewide
University of Phoenix at various locations statewide
University of Utah in Salt Lake City
Utah College of Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City
Utah State University in Logan (satellite campuses at various state locations)
Utah Valley State College (formerly Utah Valley Community College) in Orem
Weber State University in Ogden
Western Governors University an online university, begun by former Utah Governor, Michael O. Leavitt
Westminster College in Salt Lake City


Alpine Loop near Sundance in the fall.The Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association play in the EnergySolutions Arena[39] in Salt Lake City. Utah is by far 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:

Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer in Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City (a soccer-specific stadium has been approved for Sandy, and ground was broken for the new stadium on August 12, 2006)[40]
Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League in Franklin Covey Field in Salt Lake City
Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League in Lindquist Field in Ogden
Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League in Parkway Crossings in Orem
Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL in the E Center in West Valley City
Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City
See also List of professional sports teams in Utah



Panoramic view of the salt flats of the Great Salt Lake Desert.
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, Pineveiw Reservoir, East Canyon, and Rockport reservoirs. The mountains are popular camping, rock-climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking destinations.
The USS Utah was named in honor of this state.
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.
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.[41] While Utah once ranked first in personal bankruptcies per capita in the US, this is no longer true (as of 2005).[42] It ranks 47th in teen pregnancy (although at least some of these are married teenagers, which is not uncommon in the state), 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.[43][44] Utah has the lowest child poverty rate in the country, despite its young demographics.[45]
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.[45]
Jell-O is the official snack food of Utah, giving rise to the term the Jello Belt.[46]
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). However, the growing presence of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Utah may be a reason for his visit.[citation needed] The LDS Church also has a large presence in Mexico, with 1,043,718 members as of December 31, 2005.[47]
The popular subculture, Straight Edge, is an anti-drug/anti-alcohol rock music scene which had its origins in college students, including large numbers of Mormons, in Salt Lake City and Provo in the 1980s.[citation needed]

Famous Utahns
Roseanne Barr - Comedian, actress, writer, talk-show host.
Shawn Bradley - Former NBA player.
John Moses Browning - Designer of popular firearms like the M2 .50 caliber machine gun and the Colt Model 1911 .45 semi-automatic handgun.
Butch Cassidy - Outlaw.
Gary Coleman - Relocated to Utah after the filming of the movie Church Ball.[23]
Andre Dyson - NFL player
Kevin Dyson - NFL player
Marriner Eccles - Banker, economist, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve during Roosevelt and Truman administrations.
Philo Farnsworth - Inventor of the electronic television.
John D. Fitzgerald - Author of The Great Brain series of children's books.
Brandon Flowers - Lead singer of The Killers (although born in Las Vegas he was raised in Nephi, Utah)
Jake Garn - Former U.S. Senator and one-time astronaut.
John Gilbert - Silent-film actor.
Orrin Hatch - U.S. Senator
Jon Huntsman, Sr. - Businessman, philanthropist.
Jewel - Musician, author.
Chad Lewis - NFL player
Maddox - Internet satirist and author of The Best Page In The Universe and The Alphabet of Manliness.
John Willard Marriott - Founder of worldwide hotel business Marriott International, Inc..
Bert McCracken - Lead singer of The Used Raised in Utah, moved away at age 18.
Larry H. Miller - Businessman, philanthropist.
Merlin Olsen - Former National Football League player and actor.
Donny Osmond - Singer, actor, former talk-show host.
Marie Osmond - Singer, actor, businesswoman.
The Osmonds - Show-business family, former pop-music group.
Neil Papiano - Internationally prominent Los Angeles lawyer
Kim Peek - The world renowned savant that the title character of "Rain Man" was modeled after.
Robert Redford - Actor, director, movie producer, environmentalist, philanthropist
Cael Sanderson - Four-time NCAA champion wrestler, 2004 Olympic Gold Medal winner, and current wrestling coach of his alma-mater Iowa State. Grew up in Heber City.
Brent Scowcroft - National Security Advisor to presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush.
SheDaisy - Country music group. All 3 members born in Utah.
Branden Steineckert - Drummer of Rancid and ex-drummer of The Used, was raised in Utah from an early age and currently lives there, but was born in Idaho.
Mack Swain - Vaudeville performer and silent-film actor.
The band The Used was formed in Utah, all current members were born there.
Mike Weir - Professional golfer.
Scott Wolf - Actor.
James Woods - Born in Vernal, Utah. A well renowned actor, appearing in several major motion pictures, including Casino. As well as many high profile videogames, including Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
Loretta Young - Actress
Mahonri Young - Sculptor and artist.
Steve Young - Hall of Fame quarterback for San Francisco 49ers, won NFL's Most Valuable Player award 1992 and 1994, direct descendant of Brigham Young.

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% of the state's license plates. In 2001, Utah Governor Mike Leavitt approved a new state slogan, "Utah! Where Ideas Connect," which lasted until March 10, 2006, when the Utah Travel Council and the office of Governor Jon Huntsman announced that "Life Elevated" would be the new state slogan.

Joshua Trees, yucca plants, and Jumping Cholla cactus occupy the far southwest corner of the state in the Mojave Desert.
In entertainment
Utah is the setting of or the filming location for many books, films,[48] and television series.[49] A selective list of each appears below.

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 in battles in and around Salt Lake City, Provo, and other locations.
In Around the World in Eighty Days, the characters pass through Utah by train.
The children's series The Great Brain is set in a fictional town that is based on Price, Utah.
Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang is set in Southern Utah and Norther Arizona. The characters' ultimate goal is the destruction of the Glen Canyon Dam.

SLC Punk! takes place in Salt Lake City.
Broken Arrow was filmed in Moab.
Some scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed in Moab.
Scenes from Dumb and Dumber were filmed in Utah.
High School Musical was shot at East High School.
Footloose was shot in Payson and Lehi.
Three O'Clock High was shot at Ogden High School.
Carnival of Souls
The Cheyenne Social Club
Harry in Your Pocket
Head,(The Monkees)
The World's Fastest Indian
Jeremiah Johnson
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Eiger Sanction
The Electric Horseman
The Car
The House of Seven Corpses
Airport 1975
2001: A Space Odyssey
Easy Rider
Electra Glide in Blue
How the West Was Won
Stagecoach (film)
The Trial of Billy Jack
Vacation Chevy Chase
Rio Grande,(John Wayne, John Ford)
Mission: Impossible
Thelma & Louise
The Sandlot
Some parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest were shot at the Salt Flats

In the Doctor Who episode "Dalek," Utah was the base of operations for the fictional character Henry van Statten.
In Prison Break, D.B. Cooper buried his money under a silo in the Utah desert, somewhere near Tooele. Much of the first half of the second season involves the characters attempting to reach Utah and recovering the money.
In the series The Visitor, the main character's spaceship was shot down and crash-landed in the mountains east of Salt Lake City.
Everwood was filmed in Ogden and South Salt Lake.
Regular production for Touched by an Angel was based in Salt Lake City.
Big Love, an HBO television drama about a polygamous family, is set in Utah.