Utah (/ˈjuːtɑː/ YOO-tah, /ˈjuːtɔː/ (listen) YOO-taw) is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 30th-most-populous, and 11th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.
Utah is known for its natural diversity and is home to features ranging from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valleys. It is a rugged and geographically diverse state that is at the convergence of three distinct geological regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.
Utah is one of the Four Corners states, and is bordered by Idaho in the north, Wyoming in the north and east; by Colorado in the east; at a single point by New Mexico to the southeast; by Arizona in the south; and by Nevada in the west. It covers an area of 84,899 sq mi (219,890 km). The state is one of only three U.S. states (with Colorado and Wyoming) that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries.
One of Utah’s defining characteristics is the variety of its terrain. Running down the middle of the state’s northern third is the Wasatch Range, which rises to heights of almost 12,000 ft (3,700 m) above sea level. Utah is home to world-renowned ski resorts, made popular by the light, fluffy snow, and winter storms which regularly dump 1 to 3 feet of overnight snow accumulation. In the state’s northeastern section, running east to west, are the Uinta Mountains, which rise to heights of over 13,000 feet (4,000 m). The highest point in the state, Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet (4,123 m), lies within the Uinta Mountains.
At the western base of the Wasatch Range is the Wasatch Front, a series of valleys and basins that are home to the most populous parts of the state. It stretches approximately from Brigham City at the north end to Nephi at the south end. Approximately 75 percent of the state’s population lives in this corridor, and population growth is rapid.
Western Utah is mostly arid desert with a basin and range topography. Small mountain ranges and rugged terrain punctuate the landscape. The Bonneville Salt Flats are an exception, being comparatively flat as a result of once forming the bed of ancient Lake Bonneville. Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, Sevier Lake, and Rush Lake are all remnants of this ancient freshwater lake, which once covered most of the eastern Great Basin. West of the Great Salt Lake, stretching to the Nevada border, lies the arid Great Salt Lake Desert. One exception to this aridity is Snake Valley, which is (relatively) lush due to large springs and wetlands fed from groundwater derived from snow melt in the Snake Range, Deep Creek Range, and other tall mountains to the west of Snake Valley. Great Basin National Park is just over the Nevada state line in the southern Snake Range. One of western Utah’s most impressive, but least visited attractions is Notch Peak, the tallest limestone cliff in North America, located west of Delta.
Much of the scenic southern and southeastern landscape (specifically the Colorado Plateau region) is sandstone, specifically Kayenta sandstone and Navajo sandstone. The Colorado River and its tributaries wind their way through the sandstone, creating some of the world’s most striking and wild terrain (the area around the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers was the last to be mapped in the lower 48 United States). Wind and rain have also sculpted the soft sandstone over millions of years. Canyons, gullies, arches, pinnacles, buttes, bluffs, and mesas are the common sight throughout south-central and southeast Utah.
This terrain is the central feature of protected state and federal parks such as Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks, Cedar Breaks, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Hovenweep, and Natural Bridges national monuments, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (site of the popular tourist destination, Lake Powell), Dead Horse Point and Goblin Valley state parks, and Monument Valley. The Navajo Nation also extends into southeastern Utah. Southeastern Utah is also punctuated by the remote, but lofty La Sal, Abajo, and Henry mountain ranges.
Eastern (northern quarter) Utah is a high-elevation area covered mostly by plateaus and basins, particularly the Tavaputs Plateau and San Rafael Swell, which remain mostly inaccessible, and the Uinta Basin, where the majority of eastern Utah’s population lives. Economies are dominated by mining, oil shale, oil, and natural gas-drilling, ranching, and recreation. Much of eastern Utah is part of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. The most popular destination within northeastern Utah is Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal.
Southwestern Utah is the lowest and hottest spot in Utah. It is known as Utah’s Dixie because early settlers were able to grow some cotton there. Beaverdam Wash in far southwestern Utah is the lowest point in the state, at 2,000 feet (610 m). The northernmost portion of the Mojave Desert is also located in this area. Dixie is quickly becoming a popular recreational and retirement destination, and the population is growing rapidly. Although the Wasatch Mountains end at Mount Nebo near Nephi, a complex series of mountain ranges extends south from the southern end of the range down the spine of Utah. Just north of Dixie and east of Cedar City is the state’s highest ski resort, Brian Head.
Like most of the western and southwestern states, the federal government owns much of the land in Utah. Over 70 percent of the land is either BLM land, Utah State Trustland, or U.S. National Forest, U.S. National Park, U.S. National Monument, National Recreation Area or U.S. Wilderness Area. Utah is the only state where every county contains some national forest.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Utah was 3,161,105 on July 1, 2018, an 14.37% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The center of population of Utah is located in Utah County in the city of Lehi. Much of the population lives in cities and towns along the Wasatch Front, a metropolitan region that runs north–south with the Wasatch Mountains rising on the eastern side. Growth outside the Wasatch Front is also increasing. The St. George metropolitan area is currently the second fastest-growing in the country after the Las Vegas metropolitan area, while the Heber micropolitan area is also the second fastest-growing in the country (behind Palm Coast, Florida).
Utah contains five metropolitan areas (Logan, Ogden-Clearfield, Salt Lake City, Provo-Orem, and St. George), and 6 micropolitan areas (Brigham City, Heber, Vernal, Price, Richfield, and Cedar City).
Utah ranks among the highest in total fertility rate, 47th in teenage pregnancy, lowest in percentage of births out of wedlock, lowest in number of abortions per capita, and lowest in percentage of teen pregnancies terminated in abortion. However, statistics relating to pregnancies and abortions may also be artificially low from teenagers going out of state for abortions because of parental notification requirements. Utah has the lowest child poverty rate in the country, despite its young demographics. According to the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index as of 2012, Utahns ranked fourth in overall well-being in the United States. A 2002 national prescription drug study determined that antidepressant drugs were “prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate nearly twice the national average.” The data shows that depression rates in Utah are no higher than the national average.
At the 2010 Census, 86.1% of the population was non-Hispanic White, down from 93.8% in 1990, 1% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 1.2% non-Hispanic Native American and Alaska Native, 2% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.9% non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 1.8% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 13.0% of Utah’s population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (of any race).
The largest ancestry groups in the state are:
Most Utahns are of Northern European descent. In 2011 one-third of Utah’s workforce was reported to be bilingual, developed through a program of acquisition of second languages beginning in elementary school, and related to Mormonism’s missionary goals for its young people.
In 2011, 28.6% of Utah’s population younger than the age of one were ethnic minorities, meaning that they had at least one parent who was of a race other than non-Hispanic white.
A majority of the state’s residents are members of the LDS Church. As of 2012, 62.2% of Utahns are counted as members. Members of the LDS Church currently make up between 34%–41% of the population within Salt Lake City. However, many of the other major population centers such as Provo, Logan, Tooele, and St. George tend to be predominantly LDS, along with many suburban and rural areas. The LDS Church has the largest number of congregations, numbering 4,815 wards.
Though the LDS Church officially maintains a policy of neutrality in regard to political parties, the church’s doctrine has a strong regional influence on politics. Another doctrine effect can be seen in Utah’s high birth rate (25 percent higher than the national average; the highest for a state in the U.S.). The Mormons in Utah tend to have conservative views when it comes to most political issues and the majority of voter-age Utahns are unaffiliated voters (60%) who vote overwhelmingly Republican. Mitt Romney received 72.8% of the Utahn votes in 2012, while John McCain polled 62.5% in the 2008 United States presidential election and 70.9% for George W. Bush in 2004. In 2010 the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) reported that the three largest denominational groups in Utah are the LDS Church with 1,910,504 adherents; the Catholic Church with 160,125 adherents, and the Southern Baptist Convention with 12,593 adherents. There is a small but growing Jewish presence in the state.
According to results from the 2010 United States Census, combined with official LDS Church membership statistics, church members represented 62.1% of Utah’s total population. The Utah county with the lowest percentage of church members was Grand County, at 26.5%, while the county with the highest percentage was Morgan County, at 86.1%. In addition, the result for the most populated county, Salt Lake County, was 51.4%.
According to a Gallup poll, Utah had the 3rd-highest number of people reporting as “Very Religious” in 2015, at 55% (trailing only Mississippi and Alabama). However, it was near the national average of people reporting as “Nonreligious” (31%), and featured the smallest percentage of people reporting as “Moderately Religious” (15%) of any state, being 8 points lower than 2nd-lowest state Vermont. In addition, it had the highest average weekly church attendance of any state, at 51%.
The official language in the state of Utah is English. Utah English is primarily a merger of Northern and Midland American dialects carried west by LDS Church members, whose original New York dialect later incorporated features from southern Ohio and central Illinois. Conspicuous in the speech of some in the central valley, although less frequent now in Salt Lake City, is a reversal of vowels, so that ‘farm’ and ‘barn’ sound like ‘form’ and ‘born’ and, conversely, ‘form’ and ‘born’ sound like ‘farm’ and ‘barn’.
In 2000, 87.5% of all state residents five years of age or older spoke only English at home, a decrease from 92.2% in 1990.
Utah has the highest total birth rate and accordingly, the youngest population of any U.S. state. In 2010, the state’s population was 50.2% male and 49.8% female. The life expectancy is 79.3 years.
Zip Code Map
Utah neighborhoods include: Alpine, Altamont, American Fork, Aneth, Apple Valley, Ballard, Beaver, Beryl, Bingham Canyon, Blanding, Bluebell, Bountiful, Brian Head, Brigham City, Brighton, Cedar City, Cedar Valley, Centerville, Central, Clearfield, Coalville, Collinston, Corinne, Dammeron Valley, Deweyville, Draper, Duchesne, Dugway, Dutch John, Eagle Mountain, East Carbon, Eden, Farmington, Ferron, Fielding, Fort Duchesne, Fruitland, Garden City, Garland, Genola, Grantsville, Green River, Greenville, Grouse Creek, Hanna, Heber City, Helper, Herriman, Hideout, Highland, Hill Afb, Honeyville, Hooper, Huntington, Huntsville, Hurricane, Ivins, Jensen, Kamas, Kaysville, Lapoint, La Verkin, Layton, Lehi, Lindon, Logan, Magna, Manila, Mantua, Mapleton, Midvale, Midway, Milford, Moab, Modena, Monticello, Morgan, Mountain Home, Myton, Neola, Nephi, Newcastle, New Harmony, North Salt Lake, Ogden, Orem, Paragonah, Park City, Park Valley, Parowan, Payson, Peoa, Pine Valley, Pleasant Grove, Plymouth, Portage, Price, Provo, Randlett, Riverton, Roosevelt, Roy, Rush Valley, Saint George, Salem, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Santa Clara, Santaquin, Saratoga Springs, Snowville, South Jordan, Spanish Fork, Springville, Stockton, Summit, Sundance, Syracuse, Tabiona, Talmage, Terra, Thompson, Tooele, Tremonton, Tridell, Vernal, Vernon, Veyo, Vineyard, Wallsburg, Washington, Wellington, Wendover, West Bountiful, West Haven, West Jordan, West Valley City, Whiterocks, Willard, Woodland Hills, Woodruff, Woods Cross
For more information, see Utah wiki