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State of Utah

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named for the Ute Indians.

NICKNAME: The Beehive State.

CAPITAL: Salt Lake City.

ENTERED UNION: 4 January 1896 (45th).

SONG: "Utah, We Love Thee;" "Utah, This is the Place."

MOTTO: Industry.

COAT OF ARMS: In the center, a shield flanked by American flags shows a beehive with the state motto and six arrows above, sego lilies on either side, and the numerals "1847" (the year the Mormons settled in Utah) below. Perched atop the shield is an American eagle.

FLAG: Inside a thin gold circle, the coat of arms and the year of statehood are centered on a blue field, fringed with gold.

OFFICIAL SEAL: The coat of arms with the words "The Great Seal of the State of Utah 1896" surrounding it.

BIRD: California sea gull.

FISH: Bonneville cutthroat trout.

FLOWER: Sego lily.

TREE: Blue spruce.

GEM: Topaz.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Washington and Lincoln Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Pioneer Day, 24 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 5 AM MST = noon GMT.


Located in the Rocky Mountain region of the western United States, Utah ranks 11th in size among the 50 states.

The area of Utah totals 84,899 sq mi (219,899 sq km), of which land comprises 82,073 sq mi (212,569 sq km) and inland water 2,826 sq mi (7,320 sq km). Utah extends 275 mi (443 km) e-w and 345 mi (555 km) n-s.

Utah is bordered on the n by Idaho; on the ne by Wyoming; on the e by Colorado; and on the s by Arizona (with the two borders joined at Four Corners); and on the w by Nevada. The total boundary length of Utah is 1,226 mi (1,973 km). The state's geographic center is in Sanpete County, 3 mi (5 km) n of Manti.


The eastern and southern two-thirds of Utah belong to the Colorado Plateau, a region characterized by deep river canyons; erosion has carved much of the plateau into buttes and mesas. The Rocky Mountains are represented by the Bear River, Wasatch, and Uinta ranges in the north and northeast. These ranges, rising well above 10,000 ft (3,000 m), hold the highest point in UtahKings Peak in the Uintasat an altitude of 13,528 ft (4,126 m). The mean elevation of the state is approximately 6,100 ft (1,861 m).

The arid, sparsely populated Great Basin dominates the western third of the state. Drainage in this region does not reach the sea, and streams often disappear in the dry season. To the north are the Great Salt Lake, a body of hypersaline water, and the Great Salt Lake Desert (containing the Bonneville Salt Flats), both remnants of a vast prehistoric lake that covered the region during the last Ice Age. The lowest point in Utah2,000 ft (610 m) above sea leveloccurs at Beaverdam Creek in Washington County, in the southwest corner of the state.

The western edge of the Wasatch Range, or Wasatch Front, holds most of Utah's major cities. It also attracts the greatest rainfall and snowfall, particularly in the north. Two regions rich in fossil fuels are the Kaiparowits Plateau, in southern Utah, and the Overthrust Belt, a geologic structural zone underlying the north-central part of the state.

The largest lake is the Great Salt Lake, which at the end of 1984 covered 2,250 sq mi (5,827 sq km) and was 34% larger than in 1976. In 1984, as a result of increased precipitation, the lake rose to 4,209.25 ft (1,283 m) above sea level, its highest level since 1877; the lake has been rising steadily since 1963, causing severe flooding, and its waters, diluted by runoff, have lost some salinity. Other major bodies of water are Utah Lake, Bear Lake (shared with Idaho), and Lake Powell, formed by the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. Other important rivers include the Green, flowing into the Colorado; the Sevier, which drains central and southern Utah; and the Bear, which flows into the Great Salt Lake.


The climate of Utah is generally semiarid to arid. Temperatures are favorable along the Wasatch Front, where there are relatively mild winters. At Salt Lake City, the normal daily average temperature is 52°f (11°c), ranging from 28°f (2°c) in January to 78°f (26°c) in July. The record high temperature, 117°f (47°c), was set at St. George on 5 July 1985; the record low temperature, 69°f (56°c), in Peter's Sink, on 1 February 1985. The average annual precipitation varies from less than 5 in (12.7 cm) in the west to over 40 in (102 cm) in the mountains, with Salt Lake City receiving about 15.6 in (39 cm) per year. The annual snowfall for the state is about 59 in (150 cm) and remains on the higher mountains until late summer.


Botanists have recognized more than 4,000 floral species in Utah's six major life zones. Common trees and shrubs include four spe-cies of pine and three of juniper; aspen, cottonwood, maple, hawthorn, and chokecherry also flourish, along with the Utah oak, Joshua tree, and blue spruce (the state tree). Among Utah's wild-flowers are sweet William and Indian paintbrush; the sego lily is the state flower. In April 2006, 24 of Utah's plant species were classified as threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, including five species (San Rafael, Siler pincushion, Wright fishhook, Uinta Basin hookless, and Winkler) of cactus, dwarf bear-poppy, five species (Shivwitz, Deseret, Holmgren, heliotrope, and Welsh's) of milk-vetch, and autumn buttercup.

Mule deer are the most common of Utah's large mammals; other mammals include pronghorn antelope, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, lynx, grizzly and black bears, and white- and black-tailed jackrabbits. Among native bird species are the great horned owl, plain titmouse, and water ouzel; the golden eagle and great white pelican are rare species; and the sea gull (the state bird) is a spring and summer visitor from the California coast. The pygmy rattler is found in southwest Utah, and the Mormon cricket is unique to the state.

In April 2006, 16 animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were listed as threatened or endangered in Utah. Among them were the bald eagle, Utah prairie dog, three species (bony-tail, humpback, and Virgin River) of chub, two species of sucker, southwestern willow flycatcher, and woundfin. Many birds and fish have been killed or imperiled by the inundation of freshwater marshes with salt water from the flooding Great Salt Lake.


Divisions of the Department of Natural Resources oversee water and mineral resources, parks and recreation, state lands and forests, and wildlife. The Department of Agriculture is concerned with soil conservation and pesticide control. The Department of Environmental Quality has separate divisions dealing with air quality, drinking water systems, water quality, and regulation of water pollution, radioactive, hazardous, and solid wastes.

Air pollution is a serious problem along the Wasatch Front where 70% of the state's population resides. Automobiles are a major contributor to the high levels of ozone and carbon monoxide impacting the communities in the Salt Lake, Weber, and Utah counties. Also of considerable concern is the quality of drinking water. Other environmental issues of concern in the state are transportation safety of hazardous materials, chemical warfare agent storage and disposal, a proposed nuclear fuel storage site in the western part of the state (which, as of March 2003 had been approved despite widespread protests against it, but had not yet built), and interstate transportation of hazardous waste for disposal. In 2003, 242 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state.

Another environmental problem is the pollution of Great Salt Lake by industrial waste. In 1996, the lake and its surrounding wetlands were designated a Hemispheric Reserve in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. The move was taken in recognition of the area's importance to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

In 2003, Utah had 197 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 14 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including Hill Air Force Base. As of 2003, Utah's Carbon County was home to the second-largest landfill in the United States. In 2005, the EPA spent over $33.9 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $8.2 million for the drinking water state revolving fund and $5.6 million for the clean water revolving fund. Other grants included $1.3 million for implementation of the Utah Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Program.


Utah ranked 34th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 2,469,585 in 2005, an increase of 10.6% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Utah's population grew from 1,722,850 to 2,233,169, an increase of 29.6%, the fourth-highest percentage gain in the decade among the 50 states. The population is projected to reach 2.78 million by 2015 and 3.2 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 29.1 persons per sq mi (11.2 persons per sq km).

Because of the state's consistently high birthrate, Utahans tend to be much younger than the US population as a whole. In 2004, the median age was 28 (compared with the US average of 36.2). In the same year, about 9.7% of state residents were under 5 years of age, and about 31% were younger than 18 years of age (compared with the national average of 25%); only 8.7% of the populace was age 65 or older.

Nearly 90% of all Utahans live in cities and towns, mostly along the Wasatch Front. Salt Lake City is Utah's most populous urban center, with an estimated 2004 population of 178,605 in the city proper and an estimated 1,018,826 in its metropolitan region. Other major cities with large populations include Provo, Ogden, and Orem. The Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan area had an estimated population of 477,455 in 2004 and the Provo-Orem metropolitan area had an estimated population of 412,361.


Hispanics and Latinos constitute the largest ethnic minority in Utah, with an estimated 2000 population of 201,559 or 9% of the total, up from 6.8% in 1990. That percentage had increased to 10.6% by 2004.

American Indians are the third-largest minority group in Utah, numbering an estimated 29,684 in 2000, up from 24,000 in 1990. In 2004, American Indians accounted for 1.3% of the population. Indian lands covered 2,331,000 acres (943,000 hectares) in 1982, all but 35 acres (14 hectares) of which were tribal landholdings. The Uintah and Ouray Indian reservation, in the northeast (2000 population 19,182), and the Navaho Indian reservation, in the southeast, are the largest. Far smaller are the Skull Valley and Goshute reservations, in the west.

About 37,108 Asians resided in the state as of 2000, including 8,045 Chinese, 6,186 Japanese, and 5,968 Vietnamese. Pacific Islanders numbered 15,145. In 2004, Asians accounted for 1.9% of the population, and Pacific Islanders 0.7%. Utah also had an estimated black population of 17,657 as of 2000, up from 12,000 in 1990. In 2004, blacks accounted for 0.9% of the state's population. Until 1978, blacks were denied full church membership as Mormons. In 2004, 1.3% of the population reported origin of two or more races.

Utah had 158,664 residents who were foreign born, or 7.1% of the population, up from 58,600 in 1990. Among persons report-ing at least one specific ancestry in 2000, 647,987 persons claimed English descent, 258,496 German, 163,048 Danish, 144,713 Irish, and 94,911 Swedish.


Forebears of the Ute, Goshute, and Paiute contributed to English only a few place-names, such as Utah itself, Uinta (and Uintah), Wasatch, and Tavaputs.

Utah English is primarily that merger of Northern and Midland carried west by the Mormons, whose original New York dialect later incorporated features from southern Ohio and central Illinois. Conspicuous in Mormon speech 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; this was a decrease from 92.2% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Pacific Island languages" includes Chamorro, Hawaiian, Ilocano, Indonesian, and Samoan.

Population 5 year and over 2,023,875 100.0
  Speak only English 1,770,626 87.5
  Speak a language other than English 253,249 12.5
Speak a language other than English 253,249 12.5
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 150,244 7.4
  German 12,095 0.6
  Navajo 9,373 0.5
  Other Pacific Island languages 8,998 0.4
  Frenca (incl. Patois, Cajun) 7,905 0.4
  Chinese 7,903 0.4
  Portuguese or Portuguese Creole 5,715 0.3
  Vienamese 5,202 0.3
  Japanese 5,032 0.2


The dominant religious group in Utah, accounting for 66% of the entire state population in 2000, was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons. The church was founded by Joseph Smith Jr., in 1830, the same year he published the Book of Mormon, the group's sacred text. The Mormon's arrival in Utah climaxed a long pilgrimage that began in New York State and led westward to Missouri, then back to Illinois (where Smith was lynched), and finally across Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming to Salt Lake City in 1847.

The Mormon Church and its leadership continue to play a central role in the state's political, economic, and cultural institutions. Among other assets in the state, the church owns Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institute (the largest department store in Salt Lake City), one of the leading newspapers, one television station, and holdings in banks, insurance companies, and real estate. The Salt Lake City Temple on Temple Square has nearly 5 million visitors each year; as of 2006, there were 10 other temples throughout the state. Brigham Young University, named for the second president of the Mormon Church, was established by the church in Provo in 1875.

In 2006, the Church of Latter-day Saints reported a statewide membership of 1,720,434 in 4,307 congregations. The next largest Christian groups include Roman Catholics, with 150,000 members in 2004 and Southern Baptists, with 13,258 members in 2000. In 2000, there were an estimated 4,500 Jews and 3,645 Muslims in the state. About 25.3% of the population did not specify a religious affiliation.


Utah, where the golden spike was driven in 1869 to mark the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, had 2,067 rail mi (3,327 km) of track in 2003. The state is served by six railroads, of which two are Class I railroads: the Burlington Northern Santa Fe; and the Union Pacific. As of 2006, Amtrak provided east-west passenger service via its California Zephyr train to Salt Lake City, Provo, Helper, and Green River.

The Utah Transit Authority, created in 1970, provides bus service for Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden. In 2004, Utah had 42,710 mi (68,763 km) of public roads and streets. In that same year, there were 2.100 million registered motor vehicles in the state and 1,582,599 licensed drivers. The main east-west and north-south routes (I-80 and I-15, respectively) intersect at Salt Lake City.

In 2005, Utah had a total of 143 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 99 airports and 44 heliports. By far the busiest was Salt Lake City International Airport, with 8,884,880 passengers enplaned in 2004.


Utah's historic Indian groups are primarily Shoshonean: the Ute in the eastern two-thirds of the state, the Goshute of the western desert, and the Southern Paiute of southwestern Utah. The Athapaskan-speaking Navaho of southeastern Utah migrated from western Canada, arriving not long before the Spaniards. The differing lifestyles of each group remained essentially unchanged until the introduction of the horse by the Spanish sometime after 1600. White settlement from 1847 led to two wars between whites and Indiansthe Walker War of 185354 and the even more costly Black Hawk War of 186568resulting finally in the removal of many Indians to reservations.

Mexicans and Spaniards are the first non-Indians known to have entered Utah, with Juan María Antonio Rivera reportedly arriving near present-day Moab as early as 1765. In July 1776, a party led by two Franciscan priests, Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalanta, entered Utah from the east, traversed the Uinta basin, crossed the Wasatch Mountains, and visited the Ute encampment at Utah Lake. Trade between Santa Fe, the capital of the Spanish province of New Mexico, and the Indians of Utah was fairly well established by the early 1800s.

Until 1848, the 1,200-mi (1,900-km) Spanish Trail, the longest segment of which lies in Utah, was the main route through the Southwest. Following this trail, mountain men competing for fur explored vast areas of the American West, including most of Utah's rivers and valleys. In the 1840s, Utah was traversed by California-bound settlers and explorers, the most notable being John C. Frémont.

When Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), was lynched at Carthage, Ill., in June 1844, Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders decided to move west. By April 1847, the pioneer company of Mormons, including three blacks, was on its way to Utah, the reports of Frémont hav-ing influenced their choice of the Great Basin as a refuge. Advance scouts entered the Salt Lake Valley on 22 July, and the rest of the company two days later. Planting and irrigation were begun immediately. Natural resources were regarded as community property, and the church organization served as the first government.

After the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (1848) gave the US title to much of the Southwest, the Mormons established the provisional state of Deseret. Congress refused to admit Deseret to the Union, choosing instead to create Utah Territory "with or without slavery." The territory encompassed, in addition to present-day Utah, most of Nevada and parts of Wyoming and Colorado; land cessions during the 1860s left Utah with its present boundaries.

The territorial period lasted for 46 years, marked by immigration, growth, and conflict. Reports that Utahns were in rebellion against federal authority led President James Buchanan to send an expeditionary force under Albert Sidney Johnston to Utah in 1857. On 11 September, Mormon militiamen and their Indian allies, caught up in an atmosphere of war hysteria, massacred some 120 California-bound migrants at Mountain Meadowsthe darkest event in Utah history and the only major disaster of the so-called Utah War. Peace was attained in June 1858, and Alfred Cumming assumed civil authority, replacing Brigham Young as territorial governor. Cumming's appointment signaled the beginning of prolonged hostility between Mormon leaders and federal authorities.

Almost 98% of Utah's total population was Mormon until after 1870, and the Mormon way of life dominated politics, economics, and social and cultural activities. As church president, Brigham Young remained the principal figure in the territory until his death in 1877. He contracted in 1868 with the Union Pacific to lay part of the track for the transcontinental railroad in Utah, and on 10 May 1869, the Central (now Southern) Pacific and Union Pacific were joined at Promontory. During the 1870s, new rail lines connected many settlements with the capital, Salt Lake City, spurring commerce and mining. Young had discouraged mining until agriculture and manufacturing were firmly established. Not until 1863, with the rediscovery of silver-bearing ore in Bingham Canyon, did the boom in precious metals begin. Those connected with mining, mostly non-Mormons, began to exert influence in the territory's business, politics, and social life.

Several factors made the non-Mormon minority fearful of Mormon domination: communitarian economic practices, lack of free public schools, encouragement of immigration of Mormon converts, church authoritarianism, and the mingling of church and state. But the most sensational reason was the Mormon practice of polygamy. Congress passed the Anti-Bigamy Act in 1862, but it was generally not enforced. After the Edmunds Act of 1882 was upheld by the US Supreme Court, arrests for polygamy greatly increased. Finally, in 1887, the Edmunds-Tucker Act dissolved the Mormon Church as a corporate entity, thereby threatening the survival of all Mormon institutions.

In fall 1890, Mormon president Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto renouncing the practice of polygamy. The following year, the Republican and Democratic parties were organized in Utah, effectively ending political division along religious lines. A constitutional convention was held in 1895, and statehood became a reality on 4 January 1896. The new state constitution provided for an elected governor and a bicameral legislature, and restored the franchise to women, a privilege they had enjoyed from 1870 until 1887, when the Edmunds-Tucker Act had disfranchised Utah women and polygamous men.

The early 20th century saw further growth of the mineral industry. Many of those who came to mine copper and coal were foreign immigrants. Militant union activity had begun slowly during the 1890s, until an explosion that killed 200 miners at Scofield on 1 May 1900 dramatized the plight of the miners and galvanized radical organizers in the state. It was in Utah in 1915 that a Swedish miner and songwriter named Joe Hill, associated with the Industrial Workers of the World ("Wobblies"), was executed for the murder of a Salt Lake City grocer and his son, a case that continues to generate controversy because of the circumstantial quality of the evidence against him.

Gradually, modern cities emerged, along with power plants, interurban railroads, and highways. By 1920, nearly half the population lived along the Wasatch Front. The influx of various ethnic groups diversified the state's social and cultural life, and the proportion of Mormons in the total population declined to about 68% in 1920.

Utah businesses enjoyed the postwar prosperity of the 1920s. On the other hand, mining and agriculture were depressed throughout the 1920s and 1930s, decades marked by increased union activity, particularly in the coal and copper industries. The depression of the 1930s hit Utah especially hard. Severe droughts hurt farmers in 1931 and 1934, and high freight rates limited the expansion of manufacturing. With the coming of World War II, increased demand for food revived Utah's agriculture, and important military installations and war-related industries brought new jobs to the state.

In the years after World War II, the state's population more than doubled, while per capita income declined relative to the national averageboth trends indicative of a very high birthrate. Politics generally reflect prevailing Mormon attitudes and tend to be conservative. The state successfully opposed plans for storing nerve gas bombs in Utah and for the location in the western desert of an MX missile racetrack system. In 1967 work began on the Central Utah Project, a dam and irrigation program still under way in the early 2000s and intended to assure an adequate water supply for the state through the year 2020.

Utah had one of the nation's fastest growing economies in the 1990s and one of its lowest rates of unemployment. The state's leading industry was the manufacture of transport equipment, including aircraft parts and parts for missiles and rockets. At the beginning of the 21st century, Utahns were divided over the issue of protecting the state's natural areas from residential and commercial development.

Salt Lake City was the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The selection of Salt Lake City as the site for the games was controversial and mired in a scandal that broke in 1998, as bid leaders for Salt Lake City's selection were charged with bribing International Olympic Committee officials in exchange for their support of Salt Lake City's bid. Ten International Olympic Committee members either resigned or were expelled as a result of the scandal. The 2002 Winter Olympics generated $56 million in profits.

Governor Michael O. Leavitt became the second Utah governor to be elected to a third term in 2000. He was responsible for cutting income and property taxes, and pledged to balance Utah's budget without raising taxes. Leavitt maintained economic prosperity would be achieved through reforming Utah's education system, including adopting a competency standard for high school graduation. In August 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Leavitt to become administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; he took office that October. Bush then chose Leavitt in December 2004 to become Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; he was inaugurated in January 2005.

Wildfires and serious drought conditions plagued Utah in the early 2000s. By 2005, however, the Utah Center for Climate and Weather had declared Utah's six-year drought to be over.


The state legislature, as established in the constitution of 1896, consists of a 29-member Senate and a 75-seat House of Representatives; senators serve for four years, representatives for two. Annual sessions begin in January and are limited to 45 calendar days. Legislators must be at least 25 years old, US citizens, state residents for at least three years, district residents for at least six months, and qualified voters in their districts. In 2004 legislators received a per diem salary of $120 during regular sessions.

The chief executive officers, all elected for four-year terms, include the governor, lieutenant governor (who also serves as secretary of state), attorney general, treasurer, and auditor. The governor must be at least 30 years old, a qualified voter, and must have been a state resident and citizen for at least five years. The governor and lieutenant governor are jointly. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $101,600.

A bill passed by the legislature becomes law if signed by the governor, if left unsigned by the governor for 60 days after it has adjourned, or if passed over the governor's veto by two-thirds of the elected members of each house.

Amending the constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature and ratification by majority vote at the next general election. The Utah Constitutional Revision Commission has been a permanent commission since 1977, recommending and drafting proposed constitutional changes. In 2002 voters approved the Commission's recommended constitution changes regarding taxation and state revenue. In 1994 Utah's voters approved constitutional amendment dealings with the rights of crime victims. The state's constitution had been amended 106 times by January 2005.

Voters must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and have been residents of the state 30 days prior to election day. Restrictions apply to those convicted of certain crimes and to those judged by the court as mentally incompetent to vote.


The Republican and Democratic parties are the state's leading political groups. Though there is no party registration in the state, Utah's voting record shows its voters to be heavily Republican. In the elections of 2000, Orrin Hatch was reelected to a fifth term in the US Senate. Utah's other US senator, Republican Robert F. Bennett, was last reelected in 2004. In the 2004 elections, voters sent two Republicans and one Democrat to Washington as their delegation in the US House. At the state level, Republicans continued to dominate the Assembly, with 56 members to the Democrats' 19; while the state Senate had 21 Republicans and 8 Democrats. Republican governor Michael O. Leavitt was first elected in 1992

Utah Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
**IND. candidate Ross Perot received 203,400 votes in 1992 and 66,461 votes in 1996.
1948 4 *Truman (D) 149,151 124,402
1952 4 *Eisenhower (R) 135,364 194,190
1956 4 *Eisenhower (R) 118,364 215,631
1960 4 Nixon (R) 169,248 205,361
1964 4 *Johnson (D) 219,628 181,785
1968 4 *Nixon (R) 156,665 238,728
1972 4 *Nixon (R) 126,284 323,643
1976 4 Ford (R) 182,110 337,908
1980 4 *Reagan (R) 124,266 439,687
1984 5 *Reagan (R) 155,369 469,105
1988 5 *Bush (R) 207,343 428,442
1992** 5 Bush (R) 183,429 322,632
1996** 5 Dole(R) 221,633 361,911
2000 5 *Bush, G. W. (R) 203,053 515,096
2004 5 *Bush, G. W. (R) 241,199 663,742

and secured a third term in the 2000 election. In November 2003, he resigned to become the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Lt. Gov. Olene Walker became governor. Jon Huntsman, Jr. was elected governor in 2004.

In November 2000, true to form, Utahns cast 67% of their presidential votes for Republican George W. Bush; 26% for Democrat Al Gore; and 5% for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. In 2004, incumbent President Bush won even greater support, at 71% of the vote to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 26.4%. In 2004 there were 1,278,000 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state. The state had five electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.


Utah has 29 counties, governed by elected commissioners. Other elected county officials include clerk-auditor, sheriff, assessor, recorder, treasurer, county attorney, and surveyor. Counties are the most powerful form of local government, having administrative, judicial, and financial authority. They also are responsible for law enforcement, education, and welfare.

There were 236 municipal governments in 2005. Larger cities were run by an elected mayor and two commissioners while smaller communities were governed by mayor and city council. Nevertheless, the state's largest municipality, Salt Lake City, adopted the mayor-council system. Additionally, the state had 40 public school districts and 300 special districts in 2005.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 78,549 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Utah operates under state statute; the public safety director is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

The Office of Education is responsible for public instruction, and the Utah State Board of Regents oversees the state college and university system. Highways and airports are the responsibility of the Department of Transportation.

The Department of Commerce supports economic and technological development programs in the state. Agencies dealing with the elderly, disabled, family services, mental health, assistance payments, and youth corrections are under the Department of Human Services. The Department of Health oversees public health and health care for the indigent. Other state departments deal with natural resources, business, labor, agriculture, corrections, and public safety.


Utah's highest court is the Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and four other justices, each serving a 10-year term. As of 1999 there were 37 district court judges, each one serving a 6-year term. Supreme court justices and district court judges are appointed by the governor with the consent of the state Senate. Appointments must be ratified by the voters at the next general election. In 1984, to ease the supreme court's caseload, residents approved a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to create an intermediate court.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 5,989 prisoners were held in Utah's state and federal prisons, an increase from 5,763 of 2.5% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 510 inmates were female, up from 427 or 19.4% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Utah had an incarceration rate of 246 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Utah in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 236 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 5,639 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 97,607 reported incidents or 4,085.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Utah has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution. However, those inmates sentenced to death prior to the passage of legislation banning the firing squad may still opt for that method of execution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state carried out six executions, the last of which was in October 1999. As of 1 January 2006, Utah had nine inmates on death row.

In 2003, Utah spent $47,120,361 on homeland security, an average of $20 per state resident.


In 2004, there were 5,756 active-duty military personnel and 14,715 civilian personnel stationed in Utah, the majority of whom were at Hill Air Force Base near Ogden and, in the Great Salt Lake Desert, Tooele Army Depot. Dugway Proving Groundwhere nerve gas tests have been conductedand the USAF Utah Test and Training Range are near the Nevada line. State firms were awarded more than $1.87 billion in federal contracts during the same year. In addition, there was another $1.54 billion in payroll outlays by the Department of Defense in the state.

In 2003, there were 151,129 veterans living in Utah, of whom 21,934 were veterans of World War II, 17,133 of the Korean conflict, 44,416 of the Vietnam era, and 25,822 of the Persian Gulf War. In 2004, the Veterans Administration expended more than $369 million in pensions, medical assistance, and other major veterans' benefits.

As of 31 October 2004, the Utah Highway Patrol employed 387 full-time sworn officers.


After the initial exodus of Latter-day Saints from the eastern United States to Utah, Mormon missionaries attracted other immigrants to the state, and some 90,000 foreign converts arrived between 1850 and 1905. Many non-Mormons were recruited from overseas to work in the mines, especially during the early 20th century. Utah had a net gain from migration of 176,000 between 1940 and 1985. From 1985 to 1990, there was a net loss from migration of 10,500. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 86,000 in domestic migration and 27,000 in international migration. In 1998, some 3,360 foreign immigrants arrived in Utah; of these, 1,035 came from Mexico. The state's population increased 21.9% between 1990 and 1998, making it the fourth-fastest growing state in the nation. In the period 200005, net international migration was 49,995 and net internal migration was 33,822, for a net gain of 16,173 people.


Utah participates in several regional agreements, including the Bear River Compact (with Idaho and Wyoming), Colorado River Compact, and the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact. The state is also a signatory to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, Western Interstate Corrections Compact, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and Western Interstate Energy Compact. Federal grants in fiscal year 2005 amounted to $2.107 billion, an estimated $2.144 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $2.252 billion in fiscal year 2007.


Trade replaced government as the leading employer in Utah in 1980. Nearly 14% of personal income in the state was derived from government sources in 1995, a proportion that increased to 14.7% by 1997. With more than 70% of Utah's land under US control and some 37,750 civilian workers on federal payrollsand others employed by defense industries or the militarythe federal presence in Utah is both a major economic force and a controversial political issue. On one hand, elected officials have sought federal funds for mammoth reclamation and power projects. On the other hand, they resent many federal programs concerned with social welfare, land use, or environmental protection. Employment in the 1990s shifted away from agriculture, mining, transportation, and communications toward government, trade, and service occupations, and to a much lesser extent, manufacturing. Utah suffered disproportionately from cuts in the federal military budget in the early nineties, but from 1997 to 2001, output from the government sector increased 27%, including a 30.7% increase from federal operations, civilian and military. Even stronger growth was shown in other service sectors, with financial services up 55%, and general services up 33.8%. Output from Utah's manufacturing sector increased 18% between 1997 and 2000, increasing its share in the gross state product from 14.1% to 15.6%. However, it plummeted 11.7% in the national recession and slowdown of 2001, reducing its share in total state output to 11.5%. In 2002, Utah ranked seventh in the nation in job losses. Construction jobs were down 7%, in part because of the end of work for the 2002 Winter Olympics that were held in Utah. Manufacturing jobs in December 2002 were down 3.2% year-on-year, and the loss of high-paying jobs in high-tech and venture capital fields was seriously impacting personal income in the state. As of September 2002, personal bankruptcy filings had increased 15% over the year before, as Utah continued to have among the highest foreclosure and bankruptcy rates in the country.

In 2004, Utah's gross state product (GSP) was $82.611 billion, of which the real estate sector accounted for the largest share at $10.101 billion or 12.2% of GSP, followed by manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) at $8.567 billion (10.3% of GSP), and professional and technical services at $4.917 billion (5.9% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 203,468 small businesses in Utah. Of the 61,118 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 59,025 or 96.6% were small companies. An estimated 11,357 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 6.6% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 11,579, up 11.9% from 2003. There were 440 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 15.2% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 931 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Utah as the fourth-highest in the nation.


In 2005 Utah had a gross state product (GSP) of $90 billion which accounted for 0.7% of the nation's gross domestic product and ranked the state 33rd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Utah had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $26,603. This ranked 47th in the United States and was 80% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.2%. Utah had a total personal income (TPI) of $64,398,905,000, which ranked 35th in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.8% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 6.5%. Earnings of persons employed in Utah increased from $49,557,449,000 in 2003 to $53,256,554,000 in 2004, an increase of 7.5%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $50,614 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 9.6% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Utah 1,314,200, with approximately 46,200 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 3.5%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 1,185,100. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Utah was 9.7% in March 1983. The historical low was 3% in April 1997. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 7.5% of the labor force was employed in construction; 10.1% in manufacturing; 19.5% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5.8% in financial activities; 13% in professional and business services; 11.2% in education and health services; 8.9% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.3% in government.

The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 51,000 of Utah's 1,035,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 4.9% of those so employed, down from 5.8% in 2004, and well below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 63,000 workers (6.1%) in Utah were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Utah is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Utah had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 44.5% of the employed civilian labor force.


Despite a dry climate and unpromising terrain, Utah ranked 37th in the United States in value of farm marketings in 2005, with $1.25 billion. Crops accounted for $292 million; livestock and livestock products for $961 million. The first pioneers in Utah settled in fertile valleys near streams, which were diverted for irrigation. Modern Utah farmers and ranchers practice comprehensive soil and water conservation projects to help maximize crop yields and protect the natural resources. A farmland preservation movement is under way to protect valuable food-producing land from urban sprawl. In 2004 there were some 15,300 farms and ranches, covering 11,600,000 acres (4,700,000 hectares). The chief crops in 2004 were hay, 2.5 million tons; wheat, 5.8 million bushels; and tart cherries, 22 tons.


Livestock and livestock products accounted for 77% of Utah's agricultural income in 2004. In 2005, there were an estimated 860,000 cattle and calves, valued at nearly $808.4 million, on Utah farms and ranches. During 2004, hogs and pigs numbered 690,000 and were valued at around $75.9 million. Utah farms produced 20.4 million lb of sheep and lambs in 2003, and an estimated 2.25 million lb (1 million kg) of shorn wool in 2004. Dairy farms had around 91,000 milk cows, which produced 1.62 billion lb (0.74 billion kg) of milk.


Fishing in Utah is for recreation only. The state maintains egg-taking facilities at Bear Lake, Swan Creek, St. Charles, and Big Spring Creek to support 5.2 million angler days annually. There are two national fish hatcheries in the state (Ouray and Jones Hole). Fish restoration projects seek to recover razorback sucker and cutthroat trout. In 2004, Utah issued 373,834 sport fishing licenses.


In 2004, Utah had 15,173,000 acres (6,141,000 hectares) of forestland. In 2004, 8,189,000 acres (3,314,000 hectares) were in the state's six national forestsAshley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-La Sal, Uinta, and Wasatch-Cache. Only 2,746,000 acres (1,111,000 hectares) were private commercial timberland in 2004. In the same year, lumber production was 57 million board feet.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Utah in 2003 was $1.26 billion, an increase from 2002 of about 2%. The USGS data ranked Utah as ninth among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 3% of total US output.

According to the preliminary data for 2003, the production of metals were the state's top nonfuel minerals sector, accounting for some 59% of all nonfuel minerals output, of which copper accounted for over 60% of all metals produced. By descending order of value, magnesium metal was the state's top nonfuel mineral, followed by beryllium concentrates. Nationally, Utah was second in the production of copper, magnesium compounds and potash, third in the production of gold and molybdenum concentrates, fourth in phosphate rock and silver, and sixth in the output of salt. The state also ranked third in perlite.

Preliminary data for 2003, showed salt production totaling 2.2 million metric tons, with a value of $112 million, while the output of construction sand and gravel, that same year, totaled 26.5 million metric tons, with a value of $101 million. Crushed stone production in 2003 stood at 8 million metric tons, and was worth $40 million. Utah in 2003 produced 2.5 million metric tons of beryllium contrates, which were valued at $ million.

Utah was also the only US source of mined beryllium during the year. The largest operating beryllium mine in the world is in Juab County, located at Spor Mountain. Utah was also a producer of portland cement and lime.


As of 2003, Utah had 52 electrical power service providers, of which 41 were publicly owned and nine were cooperatives. Of the remainder, one was investor owned, and one was federally operated. As of that same year there were 929,903 retail customers. Of that total, 699,483 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 33,957 customers, while publicly owned providers had 196,459 customers. There were four federal customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 5.798 million kW, with total production that same year at 38.023 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 98.7% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 35.978 billion kWh (94.6%), came from coal-fired plants, with natural gas fueled plants in second place at 1.385 billion kWh (3.6%) and hydroelectric plants in third at 421.339 million kWh (1.1%). Other renewable power sources and petroleum fired plants accounted for the remaining production.

As of 2004, Utah had proven crude oil reserves of 215 million barrels, or 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 40,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 13th (12th excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and 14th (13th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Utah had 2,143 producing oil wells and accounted for 1% of all US production. As of 2005, the state's five refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 167,350 barrels per day.

In 2004, Utah had 3,657 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 277.969 billion cu ft (7.89 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 3,866 billion cu ft (109.79 billion cu m).

Utah is the only coal-producing state whose entire production comes from underground mines. In 2004, there were 13 producing coal mines in the state. Coal production that year totaled 21,746,000 short tons, down from 23,044,000 short tons in 2003. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 317 million short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).


Utah's diversified manufacturing is concentrated geographically in Salt Lake City, Weber, Utah, and Cache counties.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Utah's manufacturing sector covered some 16 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $29.588 billion. Of that total, food manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $4.369 billion. It was followed by transportation equipment manufacturing at $3.210 billion; miscellaneous manufacturing at $3.123 billion; computer and electronic product manufacturing at $2.704 billion; and primary metal manufacturing at $2.540 billion.

In 2004, a total of 107,362 people in Utah were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 72,810 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the miscellaneous manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees with 16,401 (10,632 actual production workers). It was followed by food manufacturing, with 14,440 (10,624 actual production workers); computer and electronic product manufacturing, with 11,804 (5,674 actual production workers); transportation equipment manufacturing, with 10,773 (7,204 actual production workers); and fabricated metal product manufacturing, with 10,016 (7,282 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that Utah's manufacturing sector paid $4.202 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $627.344 million. It was followed by miscellaneous manufacturing at $569.037 million; transport equipment manufacturing at $514.227 million; food manufacturing at $437.197 million; and fabricated metal product manufacturing at $410.073 million.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Utah's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $22.9 billion from 3,369 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 2,111 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 988 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 270 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $10.07 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $9.2 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $3.5 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Utah was listed as having 8,135 retail establishments with sales of $23.6 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (1,110); clothing and clothing accessories stores (1,038); miscellaneous store retailers (902); and gasoline stations (884). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $6.4 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $3.8 billion; food and beverage stores at $3.2 billion; and gasoline stations at $2.1 billion. A total of 121,745 people were employed by the retail sector in Utah that year.

Foreign exports of Utah's manufactured goods totaled $6.05 billion in 2005.


Consumer protection issues in Utah are primarily handled by the Division of Consumer Protection and the Committee of Consumer Services, both of which are under the state's Department of Commerce, although the Office of the Attorney General does have limited consumer protection responsibilities through its Commercial Enforcement Division.

The Consumer Protection Division investigates and mediates complaints and allegations of unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices. It also conducts ongoing consumer education programs to teach consumers how to recognize consumer fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim. The right's division supplies attorneys for subsequent legal action. The Committee of Consumer Services is the state's consumer advocate regarding utility matters, representing the state's residential, small commercial and agricultural users of electricity, natural gas, and telephone services before the Utah Public Service Commission.

The Commercial Enforcement Division of the Office of the Attorney General is charged with protecting Utah's consumers, specifically in the areas of enforcing federal and state antitrust laws, handling cybercrime, enforcing laws to protect consumers from fraud, identity fraud, and ensuring against Medicaid fraud, as well as consumer related issues associated with the national tobacco settlement, access to government records and with the Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office has exclusive authority to file civil proceedings and to represent the state before regulatory agencies. The office can also file criminal proceedings, but has no authority to administer consumer education programs. In addition, the Attorney General's Office can only handle legal issues regarding the administration of formal consumer complaints, and has only limited subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can only offer legal opinions regarding the state's ability to act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own, and on the representation of counties, cities and other governmental entities in the recovering of civil damages under state or federal law. However, the office can initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts and initiate criminal proceedings.

The offices of the Division of Consumer Protection are located in Salt Lake City.


As of June 2005, Utah had 68 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 66 state-chartered and 50 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Salt Lake City market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 58 institutions and $101.616 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 4.5% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $9.792 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 95.5% or $207.630 billion in assets held.

The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered savers and the higher rates charged on loans was 6.09% as of fourth quarter 2005, up from 5.13% in 2004 and 5.26% in 2003. The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans was 1.45% as of fourth quarter 2005, down from 2.17% in 2004 and 2.82% in 2003.

Regulation of Utah's state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions is the responsibility of the Utah department of Financial Institutions.


Utahans held some 797,000 individual life insurance policies in 2004 with a total value of about $106 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $144.9 billion. The average coverage amount is $133,200 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $381.2 million.

As of 2003, there were 7 property and casualty and 17 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $2.89 billion. That year, there were 2,862 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $452 million.

In 2004, 62% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 7% held individual policies, and 17% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 13% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 19% for single coverage and 28% for family coverage. The state offers a six-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 1.5 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $15,000. Personal injury protection is also required. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $732.35.


There are no securities exchanges in Utah. In 2005, there were 800 personal financial advisers employed in the state. In 2004, there were over 127 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 33 NASDAQ companies, 7 NYSE listings, and 2 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had two Fortune 500 companies; Hunts-man Corp. ranked first in the state and 172nd in the nation with revenues of over $12.9 billion, followed by Autoliv at 351st in the nation with revenues of $6.2 billion. Both companies were listed on the NYSE. Questar, Zions Bancorp, and SkyWest are listed on the Fortune 1,000.


The annual budget is prepared by the State Budget Office and submitted by the governor to the legislature for amendment and approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 July through 30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $4.4 billion for resources and $4.4 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Utah were $2.9 billion

In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Utah was slated to receive: $39.8 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to help the state provide health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid. This funding is a 23% increase over fiscal year 2006; and $10 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help Utah fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. This funding is a 12% increase over fiscal year 2006.


In 2005, Utah collected $4,686 million in tax revenues or $1,897 per capita, which placed it 38th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 36.5% of the total, selective sales taxes 13.2%, individual income taxes 41.1%, corporate income taxes 4.0%, and other taxes 5.1%.

As of 1 January 2006, Utah had six individual income tax brackets ranging from 2.30% to 7.0%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 5.0%.

In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $1,668,988,000 or $689 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 39th nationally. Utah has no state level property taxes.

Utah taxes retail sales at a rate of 4.75%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 2.25%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 7%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is taxable. The tax on cigarettes is 69.5 cents per pack, which ranks 29th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Utah taxes gasoline at 24.5 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Utah citizens received $1.14 in federal spending.


The economic development of Utah has been dominated by two major forces: the relatively closed system of the original Mormon settlers and the more wide-open, speculative ventures of the state's later immigrants. The Mormons developed agriculture, industry, and a cooperative exchange system that excluded non-Mormons. The church actively opposed mining, and it was mostly with non-Mormon capital, by non-Mormon foreign immigrants, that the state's mineral industry was developed.

In the 1990s, these conflicts were supplanted by a widespread fiscal conservatism that supports business activities and opposes expansion of government social programs at all levels. One Utah politician, J. Bracken Lee, who served as governor from 1949 to 1957, and as mayor of Salt Lake City from 196072, became nationally famous for his call to repeal the federal income tax.

Until 2005, Department of Community and Economic Development was the state agency responsible for the expansion of tourism and industry. Effective 1 July 2005, the Division of Business and

UtahState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available (X) not applicable
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 13,167,850 5,439.01
  General revenue 9,560,033 3,948.80
    Intergovernmental revenue 2,877,849 1,188.70
    Taxes 4,195,962 1,733.15
      General sales 1,560,902 644.73
      Selective sales 581,338 240.12
      License taxes 156,999 64.85
      Individual income tax 1,692,035 698.90
      Corporate income tax 145,005 59.89
      Other taxes 59,683 24.65
    Current charges 1,853,528 765.60
    Miscellaneous general revenue 632,694 261.34
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue 141,859 58.60
  Insurance trust revenue 3,465,958 1,431.62
Total expenditure 10,794,264 4,458.60
  Intergovernmental expenditure 2,112,921 872.75
  Direct expenditure 8,681,343 3,585.85
    Current operation 6,224,862 2,571.19
    Capital outlay 1,001,804 413.80
    Insurance benefits and repayments 937,202 387.11
    Assistance and subsidies 331,187 136.80
    Interest on debt 186,288 76.95
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 2,029,544 838.31
Total expenditure 10,794,264 4,458.60
  General expenditure 9,752,869 4,028.45
    Intergovernmental expenditure 2,112,921 872.75
    Direct expenditure 7,639,948 3,155.70
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 4,335,952 1,790.98
    Public welfare 1,992,986 823.21
    Hospitals 505,963 208.99
    Health 304,254 125.67
    Highways 817,113 337.51
    Police protection 114,615 47.34
    Correction 275,912 113.97
    Natural resources 172,767 71.36
    Parks and recreation 41,745 17.24
    Government administration 571,909 236.23
    Interest on general debt 186,288 76.95
    Other and unallocable 433,365 179.00
  Utility expenditure - -
  Liquor store expenditure 104,193 43.04
  Insurance trust expenditure 937,202 387.11
Debt at end of fiscal year 4,962,141 2,049.62
Cash and security holdings 19,472,625 8,043.22

Economic Development (DBED) and the Division of Travel Development became part of the new Governor's Office of Economic Development. Programs that are part of the governor's economic include tourism, corporate site selection, rural development, film, science and technology, and international business development. Also created in 2005 was the Department of Community and Culture, which administers programs for volunteers, the Division of Housing and Community Development, the Division of Indian Affairs, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, the Office of Museum Services, the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, the Utah Arts Council, the Utah Citizens Corps, the Division of Utah State History, and the Utah State Library.


Health conditions in Utah are exceptionally good. The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 4.4 per 1,000 live births, the lowest rate in the country for that year. The birth rate in 2003 was the highest in the nation at 21.2 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 6.6 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 80.3% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 71% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three; this was the second-lowest rate in the nation for immunizations (above Nevada).

The crude death rate in 2003 was 5.7 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 128.5; cancer, 102.6; cerebrovascular diseases, 39; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 26; and diabetes, 22. The mortality rate from HIV infection was unavailable that year. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 3.3 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 52.1% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 10.5% of state residents were smokers, the lowest percentage of the 50 states.

In 2003, Utah had 42 community hospitals with about 4,400 beds. There were about 215,000 patient admissions that year and 4.5 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 2,500 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,654. Also in 2003, there were about 90 certified nursing facilities in the state with 7,438 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 71.3%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 72.3% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Utah had 215 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 630 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there was a total of 1,573 dentists in the state.

About 12% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 9% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 13% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $1.5 million.


In 2004, about 45,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $266. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 133,263 persons (53,162 households); the average monthly benefit was about $88.31 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $141.2 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Utah's TANF program is called the Family Employment Program (FEP). In 2004, the state program had 23,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $56 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 262,330 Utah residents. This number included 171,520 retired workers, 22,770 widows and widowers, 27,120 disabled workers, 17,420 spouses, and 23,500 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 11% of the total state population and 91.5% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $959; widows and widowers, $954; disabled workers, $886; and spouses, $498. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $494 per month; children of deceased workers, $642; and children of disabled workers, $267. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 21,646 Utah residents, averaging $394 a month.


In 2004, there were an estimated 848,737 housing units in Utah, of which 780,029 were occupied; 69.7% were owner-occupied. About 67.4% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Utility gas was the most common energy source for heating. It was estimated that 20,431 units lacked telephone services, 2,612 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 3,489 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 3.01 members, the highest average in the nation.

In 2004, 24,300 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $157,275. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,164. Renters paid a median of $662 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of $550,000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $6.5 million in community development block grants.


In 2004, 91% of Utah residents had graduated from high school, significantly higher than the national average of 84%. Some 30.8% had four or more years of college, surpassing the national average of 26%.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Utah's public schools stood at 489,000. Of these, 343,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 147,000 attended high school. Approximately 83.4% of the students were white, 1.1% were black, 11% were Hispanic, 2.9% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.5% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 489,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 562,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 14.9% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $3 billion or $5,008 per student, the lowest among the 50 states. There were 15,907 students enrolled in 108 private schools in fall 2003. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005 eighth graders in Utah scored 279 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 178,932 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 8% of total post-secondary enrollment. In 2005 Utah had 28 degree-granting institutions. Major public institutions include the University of Utah; Utah State University; and Weber State College. Brigham Young University (Provo), founded in 1875 and affiliated with the Latterday Saints, is the main private institution.


The Utah Arts Council (UAC) was founded in 1899 as the Utah Art Institute, only three years after it achieved statehood. UAC sponsors exhibitions, artists in the schools, rural arts and folk arts programs, and statewide arts competitions in cooperation with arts organizations throughout the state. In addition, the partially state-funded Utah Arts Festival has been held each year, since 1984, in Salt Lake City. In 2006, the Utah Arts Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary.

In 2005, the Utah Arts Council and other Utah arts organizations received 20 grants totaling $1,071,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Utah Humanities Council was established in 1975 and promotes several literacy and history-related programs and exhibits. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $1,109,314 for eight state programs. In addition, the state and private sources provide substantial contributions to the arts.

Music has a central role in Utah's cultural life. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has won world renown, and Ballet West is ranked among the nation's leading dance companies. The Utah Symphony (Salt Lake City), founded in 1940, has also gained a national reputation. The Utah Symphony works with the Utah State Office of Education to bring concerts to schools throughout the state; as of 2006 the symphony performed for over 80,000 students each year. Opera buffs enjoy the Utah Opera Company, founded in 1976.

Kenneth Brewer was named Utah's poet laureate in 2003; he later died in March 2006. His books include The Place In Between (1998), Lake's Edge (1997), Hoping for All, Dreading Nothing (1994), and his final title, Whale Song: A Poet's Journey Into Cancer (2006)it includes poems that were written after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Utah has several art museums and galleries, including Utah State University's Nora Eccles Harrison Museum in Logan and the LDS Church Museum of Art and History in Salt Lake City. Other major facilities are the Brigham Young University Art Museum Collection, Provo and the Springville Art Museum. The Museum of Fine Arts of the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) houses a diverse permanent collection that includes but is not limited to, African Art, German Art, American Art, Flemish Art, Japanese Art and Scottish Art.

Living Traditions: A Celebration of Salt Lake's Folk and Ethnic Arts is an annual festival that takes place on the weekend before Memorial Day. As of 2005, the three-day event attracted over 45,000 people with continuous music and dance on two stages, as well as crafts demonstrations and sales that incorporate the cultural traditions of the state. The Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford in 1981, presents the annual Sundance Film Festival, which is widely regarded as one of the nation's most influential gatherings for independent filmmakers. The Sundance Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006 and the 22nd annual Sundance Film Festival.


In December 2001, Utah had 70 public library systems, with a total of 107 libraries, of which there were 56 branches. For that same year, the systems had a combined 6,064,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and a total circulation of 24,592,000. The system also had 371,000 audio and 253,000 video items, 25,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 25 bookmobiles. The Salt Lake County library system had 1,765,295 volumes (not including Salt Lake City, whose system has 704,123 volumes). The Weber County system (including Ogden) has 382,024. The leading academic libraries are the University of Utah (Salt Lake City), 2,350,297, and Brigham Young University (Provo), 2,500,849. Other collections are the Latter-day Saints' Library-Archives and the Utah State Historical Society Library, both in Salt Lake City.

During 2000, Utah had at least 60 museums, notably the Utah Museum of Natural History and Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City; Hill Aerospace Museum near Ogden; College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum, Price; and Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Provo. Some homes are maintained as museums, including Beehive House and Wheeler Historic Farm, Salt Lake City, and Brigham Young's Winter Home, St. George. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system was $56,915,000 and included $354,000 in federal funds, and $908,000 in state funds.


In 2004, 96.3% of Utah's occupied houses had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 1,229,029 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 74.1% of Utah households had a computer and 62.6% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 261,135 high-speed lines in Utah, 231,418 residential and 29,717 for business.

A total of 45 major radio stations broadcast in Utah in 2005; 14 were AM stations, 31 FM. There were 8 major television stations in 2005. The Salt Lake City area had 720,860 television households, 53% ordering cable in 1999. In the year 2000, Utah had registered 64,217 Internet domain names.


In 2005, Utah had six daily newspapers and six Sunday papers. The following table shows leading daily newspapers as of 2005:

*operated by Newspaper Agency Corp
Ogden Standard-Examiner (m,S) 60,844 63,649
Provo Daily Herald (m,S) 42,744 34,324
Salt Lake City Desert News *(m,S) 72,008 73,601
Tribune *(m,s) 133,025 152,859


In 2006, there were over 1,140 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 817 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. Salt Lake City is the world headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). The city is also home to the Mental Retardation Association of America, the National Energy Foundation, and Executive Women International.

The Utah Arts Council and the Utah State Historical Society are primary organizations for promoting arts and culture in the state. The organization Artists of Utah was founded in 2001. Offices for the Sundance Institute, a resource center for independent filmmakers, are in Salt Lake City. The national office of the US Ski and Snowboarding Association is in Park City. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Ride With respect are state environmental and conservation associations.


In 2003, some 16.9 million visitors traveled to Utah, down 1.3% over the 17.5 million visitors spending a total of approximately $4.15 billion in 2002, the year Salt Lake City hosted the Olympic Games. In 2003, 83% of all trips were made by residents within the state and by those traveling from California, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, and Washington. International visitors accounted for 3.1% of all travel to the state. The top international markets were Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. Also in 2002, nearly 5.8 million visitors came to state parks and 5.2 million came to national parks. Skier visits totaled 3 million. In 2003, The industry supported some 130,000 jobs.

The top five tourist attractions in 2002 (by attendance) were Temple Square (5-7 million), Zion National Park (2.6 million), Glen Canyon National Recreation Center (2.1 million), Wasatch Mountain State Park (1.2 million), and Lagoon Amusement Park (1.1 million). Pioneer Trail State Park and Hogle Zoological Gardens are leading attractions of Salt Lake City, about 11 mi (18 km) east of the Great Salt Lake. At the Bonneville Salt Flats, experimental automobiles have set world land-speed records. Utah considers itself the ice cream capital of the world; the state's well-known Blue Bunny ice cream parlor is in St. George.

Utah has 41 state parks, 5 national parks (Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef), and 8 national monuments. Mountain and rock climbing, skiing, fishing, and hunting are major forms of recreation.


Utah has two major professional sports teams, both located in Salt Lake City: the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA), which moved from New Orleans at the close of the 1979 season, and Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. The Jazz, led by John Stockton and Karl Malone, advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in 1997, but lost to the Chicago Bulls. The Jazz again advanced to the Finals in 1998, but were again defeated by the Chicago Bulls in Michael Jordan's last game. Utah hosted the Starzz of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) until the team's relocation to San Antonio prior to the 2003 season. Basketball is also popular at the college level. The University of Utah's Running Utes have had great success in the recent past and won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship back in 1944 and the National Invitation Tournament in 1947, while the Cougars of Brigham Young won National Invitational Tournament titles in 1951 and 1966, and were named college football's national champions in 1984. Salt Lake City is also home to minor league baseball and hockey teams.

Other annual sporting events include the Easter Jeep Sandhill Climb in Moab, the Ute Stampede (a rodeo) in Nephi in July, and various skiing events at Utah's world-class resort in Park City. Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002.


George Sutherland (b.England, 18621942) capped a long career in Utah Republican politics by serving as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court (192238). Other important federal officeholders from Utah include George Dern (b.Nebraska, 18721936), President Franklin D. Roosevelt's secretary of war from 1933 to 1936; Ezra Taft Benson (Idaho, 18991994), a high official of the Mormon Church and President Dwight Eisenhower's secretary of agriculture; and Ivy Baker Priest (190575), US treasurer during 195361. Prominent in the US Senate for 30 years was Republican tariff expert Reed Smoot (18621941), also a Mormon Church official. The most colorful politician in state history. J(oseph) Bracken Lee (18991996), was mayor of Price for 12 years before serving as governor during 194957 and mayor of Salt Lake City during 196072. Jacob "Jake" Garn (b.1932), first elected to the US Senate in 1974, was launched into space aboard the space shuttle in 1985.

The dominant figure in Utah history is undoubtedly Brigham Young (b.Vermont, 180177), the great western colonizer. As leader of the Mormons for more than 30 years, he initiated white settlement of Utah in 1847 and, until his death, exerted almost complete control over life in the territory. Other major historical figures include Eliza R. Snow (b.Massachusetts, 180487), Mormon women's leader; Wakara, anglicized Walker (c.180855), the foremost Ute leader of the early settlement period; Colonel Patrick Edward Conner (b.Ireland, 182091), founder of Camp Douglas and father of Utah mining; George Q. Cannon (b.England, 18271901), editor, businessman, political leader, and a power in the Mormon Church for more than 40 years; and Lawrence Scanlan (b.Ireland, 18431915), first Roman Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City, founder of schools and a hospital.

Utah's most important scientist is John A. Widtsoe (b.Norway, 18721952), whose pioneering research in dryland farming revolutionized agricultural practices. Noted inventors are gunsmith John M. Browning (18551926) and television innovator Philo T. Farnsworth (190671). Of note in business are mining entrepreneurs David Keith (b.Canada, 18471918), Samuel Newhouse (b.New York, 18531930), Susanna Emery-Holmes (b.Missouri, 18591942), Thomas Kearns (b.Canada, 18621918), and Daniel C. Jackling (b.Missouri, 18691956). Labor leaders include William Dudley "Big Bill" Haywood (18691928), radical Industrial Workers of the World organizer, and Frank Bonacci (b.Italy, 18841954), United Mine Workers of America organizer.

Utah's artists and writers include sculptors Cyrus E. Dallin (18611944) and Mahonri M. Young (18771957), painter Henry L. A. Culmer (b.England, 18541914), author-critic Bernard A. DeVoto (18971955), poet-critic Brewster Ghiselin (b.Missouri, 1903), folklorist Austin E. Fife (b.Idaho, 190986), and novelists Maurine Whipple (190492), Virginia Sorensen (b.191291), and Edward Abbey (b.19271989).

Actors from Utah are Maude Adams (18721953), Robert Walker (19181951, Loretta Young (19132000), Laraine Day (b.1920). Donald "Donny" Osmond (b.1957) and his sister Marie (b.1959) are Utah's best-known popular singers. Emma Lucy Gates Bowen (18801951), an opera singer, founded her own traveling opera company, and William F. Christensen (19022001) founded Ballet West. Maurice Abravanel (b.Greece, 19031993) conducted the Utah Symphony for many years. Other musicians of note include jazz trumpeter Ernest Loring "Red" Nichols (19051965).

Sports figures include former world middleweight boxing champion Gene Fullmer (b.1931), former Los Angeles Rams tackle Merlin Olsen (b.1940), and NFL quarterback Steve Young (b.1961) of the San Francisco 49ers.


Arrington, Leonard J., and Davis Bitton. The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints. 2nd ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Busby, Mark (ed.). The Southwest. Vol. 8 in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

McPherson, Robert S. Navajo Land, Navajo Culture: The Utah Experience in the Twentieth Century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001.

Parzybok, Tye W. Weather Extremes in the West. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press, 2005.

Preston, Thomas. Intermountain West: Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Vol. 2 of The Double Eagle Guide to 1,000 Great Western Recreation Destinations. 2nd ed. Billings, Mont.: Discovery Publications, 2003.

Smart, William B., and Donna T. Smart (eds.). Over the Rim: the Parley P. Pratt Exploring Expedition to Southern Utah, 184950. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999.

Stanley, David (ed.). Folklore in Utah: A History and Guide to Resources. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2004.

Topping, Gary. Utah Historians and the Reconstruction of Western History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Utah, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

Utah History Encyclopedia. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994.

Verdoia, Ken. Utah: The Struggle for Statehood. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1996.

Watkins, Tom H. The Redrock Chronicles: Saving Wild Utah. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Webb, Robert H. Cataract Canyon: A Human and Environmental History of the Rivers in Canyonlands. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2004.

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UTAH. In a nation without an established church, Utah represents the closest thing to a theocracy that the United States has ever seen. With a land area of 82,168 square miles and despite a swelling urban population in the late twentieth century, Utah remains one of the least densely populated states in the United States with 27.2 persons per square mile. Physically, the Wasatch Mountains divide the state of Utah into the Central Rocky Mountain Province, the Colorado Plateau Province, and the Great Basin, where the greatest concentration of hot springs in the United States is to be found. Elevation varies from a high of 13,258 feet to a low of 2,350 feet and there is considerable climatic variation, with the highest rainfall in the mountains. The 2000 Census reported 2,233,169 residents, 89.2 percent of whom were white and only 0.8 percent black, with 9.0 percent of Hispanic origin.

More than two-thirds of Utah's residents belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

From Native Americans to Latter-day Saints

Utah's earliest inhabitants, the Anasazi, occupied southern Utah, living in permanent villages and using flood-plain agriculture. Around a.d. 1100, the Numic Indians settled the Great Basin with more efficient harvesting technology, an organization that was familial, and with weak tribal structures. Although Utah lay on the borders of the Spanish Empire, trade developed with Spanish communities in present-day New Mexico and further south. It was not until the 1820s, however, that American and British fur trappers entered the region, erecting a number of forts that were later to provide assistance to migrants crossing to California. Increasing acquaintance with the Utah region drew the attention of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, seeking land in the remote West after the murder in 1844 of its leader, Joseph Smith. In February 1846 the Mormons left Illinois, led by their president, Brigham Young. The members of an advance party reached the Salt Lake Valley on 22 July 1847, where they found fertile soils and an adequate growing season at the crossroads of the overland route to California. By 1860, forty thousand Euro-Americans resided in Utah. The church used a lottery to assign town lots and distributed land and water rights systematically, with water held on the principle of cooperative ownership. Although more sympathetic to the Numic Indians than other Euro-Americans, the Mormons still sought to acquire their lands and interfered in the Ute trade in slaves, leading to the Walker War of 1853.

The First Years of Settlement

Negotiations in 1849 to create a state proved abortive and instead Utah Territory was established. Conflict arose in 1857, after the territory had accorded local probate courts original jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases to avoid federally administered justice. That year President James Buchanan sent out the army to remove Brigham Young as governor of the territory. After a standoff in which the Mormons destroyed Forts Bridger and Supply, fortified Echo Canyon, and sought to deny the invaders access to grass and livestock that they would need, a compromise was reached whereby the federal government offered an amnesty in return for submission, although federal troops remained until 1861. The Mormon state continued to grow, with twenty thousand new immigrants arriving between 1859 and 1868. They spread out into the higher valleys and created settlements to mine minerals and grow cotton and flax. During the Civil War they remained loyal to the Union, despite passage of the Morrill Anti-bigamy Act (1862), which targeted the practice of polygamy in the territory. In 1868, the church established Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution to serve as wholesaler and distributor for a network of cooperative enterprises in Mormon communities. At Brigham Young's behest, an attempt was also made to foster a more comprehensive cooperative system—the United Order—but it ultimately failed.

Economic Development

During the 1860s, the first commercial mining of silver took place at Bingham Canyon. The full potential of mining was only realized, however, with the completion of a trans-state rail link in 1869. The new mines that resulted benefited from new technologies, outside investment, and the cooperation of the Mormon communities, many of which were involved in selling agricultural produce to the mining districts. Although not initially working as miners, Mormons were increasingly encouraged by the church to do so, provided they continued to work their farms. Despite the fact that mine work was dangerous, most Mormon miners refused to join unions and were regarded unfavorably by their non-Mormon neighbors. By 1880, Utah Territory had become dependent on coal mining, while wheat, sugar beets, and growing numbers of sheep and cattle gave a boost to commercial agriculture. The LDS Church created Zion's Central Board of Trade to plan home industry and provide a market for goods; the board also worked with non-Mormon businesses. By 1890, 36 percent of Utah Territory's residents lived in cities, a greater proportion than in the rest of the nation, although water supply and sewerage systems remained of low quality. Culturally, too, Utah attracted attention, with the formation of the Salt Lake Art Association in 1881 (later to become the Utah Art Association) and the new prominence accorded the Mormon Tabernacle Choir after its appearance at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The War Against Polygamy

Such progress, however, was hampered by the federal prosecution of the practice of polygamy by members of the LDS Church. The territory's chief justice, James McKean, worked to exclude Mormons from jury service and brought charges of immorality against Mormon leaders. Although around three-quarters of Mormon families were monogamous, polygamy was often regarded as the basis for holding high office in the church. In 1882, the Edmunds Act provided sanctions for unlawful cohabitation and allowed exclusion of jurors who supported polygamy. Over one thousand Mormons were imprisoned during the 1880s for violating the act, but the Mormon-dominated People's Party retained control of the legislature. The Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 targeted the LDS Church by providing for the confiscation of all church property above fifty thousand dollars. During the 1880s, moreover, the gentile population of Utah Territory rose considerably and the anti-Mormon Liberal Party gained control of the cities of Ogden and Salt Lake City. The threatened confiscation of church property led LDS president Wilford Woodruff to issue the Manifesto of 1890, which revoked the practice of polygamy. The church also had some of its prominent figures join the Republican Party in order to avoid a political schism on religious lines since, prior to statehood, most Mormons had belonged to the national Democratic Party, which was more sympathetic to their call for states' rights. In preparation for statehood in 1896, Utah drafted a constitution that enshrined religious freedom and prohibited polygamy. At the same time, church property and civil rights were restored to the Latter-day Saints.

Commercial Agriculture and Mining

Before 1896 the farm frontier was concentrated on the irrigated and urbanized Wasatch Front and Sanpete Valley. Afterward, it shifted to more rural areas, aided by dry farming, made possible by hoarding moisture from winter rain; this helped increase farm size. Dairy farming came to northern Utah around 1900 and horticulture to the central Utah Valley in the early twentieth century. Attitudes toward water rights became less communitarian, allowing owners to buy and sell them, but in 1898 the state supreme court ruled that water could not be appropriated except for a beneficial purpose. Damage to grazing land led to the setting aside of forest reserves in 1897 and 1902 to protect watersheds and timberlands, a move supported by the LDS Church and Senator Reed Smoot. Mining production also expanded dramatically, rising from a return of $10.4 million in 1896 to $99.3 million in 1917. The exploitation of low-grade copper was a key factor here, and the world's largest copper smelter was installed at Garfield in 1906. The mines attracted Italian and Greek immigrants who were not Mormons and had their own network of ethnic associations and churches. They formed the basis for new industrial unions like the Western Federation of Miners, which established its headquarters in Salt Lake City for a time during the late 1890s. In strikes by the United Mine Workers against the Utah Fuel Company in 1903–1904 and by the Western Federation of Miners against the Utah Copper Company in 1912 the unions were decisively beaten.

The Progressive Era

Republicans exploited the rising tide of national prosperity at the turn of the century to achieve political dominance. In 1903, LDS apostle Reed Smoot gained a U.S. Senate seat and built a political machine in Utah known as the Federal Bunch. Only in 1916 did Progressives succeed in electing its first Democratic governor, Simon Bamberger, and a new legislature that enacted statewide prohibition, established public utility and industrial commissions, and allowed peaceful picketing. The Progressive impulse extended to Salt Lake City, where the Utah Federation of Women's Clubs was active in social reform. A Civic Improvement League was created in 1906, bringing together a variety of interest groups of different religious and political backgrounds that called for better paving and more parks. A comprehensive planning system for the city was conceived in 1917 and carried through in the 1920s. One aspect of this effort at urban improvement was the fight against air pollution, led by businessman and state legislator George Dern, who sponsored a bill in 1915 to set up a cooperative research program to investigate the smelter smoke problem from the burning of soft coal.

During World War I, the LDS Church and its affiliates were active in Liberty Bond work and offered Americanization classes for new immigrants, while Utah provided 20,872 recruits for the armed services of whom 447 were killed. With the coming of the 1920s, the state turned back to the Republican Party, but in 1924 Democrat George Dern was elected governor thanks to Republican intraparty strife. Although the legislature remained under Republican control, it signed on to the federal Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act of 1923 that provided matching health-care grants for infants and their mothers. The state also participated in negotiations that led to the Colorado River Compact, designed to ensure reasonable use of the river's water by states through which it flowed.

The Great Depression

Mining and agricultural activity remained at a comparatively low level during the 1920s. After 1920, Utah's mining and agricultural sectors failed to sustain the levels enjoyed during the first two decades of the twentieth century. When the Great Depression struck the Utah economy it completely collapsed. Per capita income stood at only $300 in 1933, farm income fell from $69 million in 1929 to $30 million in 1932, and unemployment reached 36 percent in 1932–1933. Governor Dern called for an increase in the money supply and short-term federal aid for the unemployed. Relief was initially handled by county governments and private charity, of which the LDS Church was an important source, and in 1931 Dern appointed Sylvester Cannon of the LDS Church to chair the State Advisory Council on Unemployment. Victorious in 1932, the new Democratic governor, Henry Blood, called for a reasonable minimum wage, old age insurance, unemployment relief, and a state anti-injunction law to protect the rights of organized labor. Blood quickly turned to the federal government for assistance, seeking $57 million in building, sewage, and reclamation work from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration. A new burst of unionization took place in Carbon County, where the United Mine Workers achieved recognition in most mines. The Democratic Party was dominant in Utah throughout the 1930s, with state senator Herbert Maw as the party's radical champion. In 1936, Utahns voted 63.9 percent for President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, despite an LDS Church decision to publish a front-page editorial in the Church-operated Deseret News that some interpreted as a tacit endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Alfred Landon. Unhappy with the extensive federal intervention of the Roosevelt administration, the church in 1936 adopted its own welfare plan in an effort to divorce the Saints from secular government by providing them with church-sponsored work.

World War II and the Transformation of Utah

A great transformation of Utah came with World War II. In the mid-1930s, it was decided to upgrade Ogden Arsenal and build Hill Air Force Base to provide storage and training facilities for the military. This vastly expanded federal presence fueled dramatic in-migration as civilian defense jobs increased from 800 in 1940 to 28,800 in 1945. The government also built the Geneva Steel Plant near Provo for $214 million, although it was operated under private contract. Governor Herbert Maw proved particularly effective in lobbying the president for locating military sites in Utah. An activist for his state, he created the Department of Publicity and Industrial Development in 1941 to plan for the postwar economic world. The new demand for labor also led to an increased hiring of women workers, who constituted 37 percent of the labor force by 1944. Some 71,000 Utahns served in the armed forces and 3,600 were killed. By 1943, 52,000 people were working in defense installations and pressure for new housing was high, while food and clothing costs grew dramatically.

The Postwar Economy

Defense employment declined in the late 1940s but revived during the Korean War, when Hill Air Force Base was assigned responsibility for storing and repairing jets. Nuclear weapons were stored and tested in Utah and Nevada; atomic tests from 1951 to 1958 at the Nevada Test Site released radiation that affected residents of southwestern Utah. The new demand for uranium fueled Utah's economy and Moab, located near uranium ore deposits, became a boomtown in the mid-1950s. The new prosperity led to a conservative shift in politics, with Republicans making striking gains in 1946 and 1948. The Republican Party in Utah was racked by dissension, however, after Senator Arthur Watkins, one of its own, chaired the committee investigating censure of Joseph McCarthy. The resulting split between moderates and conservatives in Utah helped Democrat Frank Moss to defeat Watkins in 1958. In the same period, the appointment of Hugh Brown to the First Presidency in 1961 placed a liberal Democrat in an influential advisory position to the president of the LDS Church, while in secular politics democrat Calvin Rampton served as governor from 1965 to 1977.

The Minority Question

Minorities in Utah faced challenges in the 1950s and 1960s. The redistribution of tribal lands to the Paiute Indians by the federal government did not begin to compensate for their loss of access to federal health insurance, education, and employment programs, and many were forced to sell their new land because it generated so little income. The position of African Americans improved in the late 1940s, when many businesses and swimming pools were integrated, and again in the mid-1960s when Utah, along with the federal government, began to pass civil rights legislation. The LDS Church found itself obliged to reflect on its own ban, dating from the nineteenth century, against black males holding priestly office, and in 1978 President Spencer Kimball received a revelation that permitted African Americans to enter the priesthood.

Modern Utah

Since 1970 Utah has become a Republican stronghold, voting 54 percent to 33 percent for Bob Dole over Bill Clinton in 1996 and 67 percent to 26 percent for George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000. Democrats have not won a majority in the legislature since the 1974 election and have not held the governorship since 1985. A part of the reason for this shift has been the negative reaction to federal ownership of public lands. President Clinton's creation of the 1.7-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument helped defeat conservative Democratic U.S. representative Bill Orton that year. Even former Democratic governor Scott Matheson argued that the federal government had encroached too far on the rights of the states.

A new post-industrial economy in Utah has arisen, in which sixteen of the twenty-four largest employers are neither military nor absentee. The electronics industry includes Word Perfect, Novell, and Unisys, while manufacturing has shifted to electronic and aerospace components. Delta Airlines has made Salt Lake City a national hub, opening the Wasatch Front to business and tourism. During the 1990s, the state's population grew by 29.6 percent. Utah had a high school graduation rate of 82.1 percent in 1989 and was fifth in the nation in SAT scores in 1994. The state boasted good public health indicators and low rates of cancer. Cultural institutions include the Utah Symphony, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Ballet West, the Brigham Young University Folk Dance Ensemble, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.


Alexander, Thomas G. Utah, the Right Place: The Official Centennial History. Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 1995.

Arrington, Leonard J. Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958.

———, Feramorz Y. Fox, and Dean L. May. Building the City of God: Community and Cooperation Among the Mormons. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1976.

Hundley, Norris, Jr. Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact and the Politics of Water in the American West. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.

Logue, Larry M. A Sermon in the Desert: Beliefand Behavior in Early St. George, Utah. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

May, Dean L. Utah: A People's History. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987.

———. Three Frontiers: Family, Land, and Society in the American West, 1850–1900. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Papanikolas, Helen Z., ed. The Peoples of Utah. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1976.

Powell, Allan Kent. The Next Time We Strike: Labor in Utah's Coal Fields, 1900–1933. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1985.

Stegner, Wallace. Mormon Country. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981. Originally published in 1942.


See alsoCopper Industry ; Latter-day Saints, Church of Jesus Christ of ; Mormon Expedition ; Mormon Trail ; Mormon War ; Polygamy ; Salt Lake City ; Tabernacle, Mormon ; Tribes: Southwestern .

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Utah (state, United States)

Utah (yōō´tä´), Rocky Mt. state of the W United States. It is bordered by Idaho and Wyoming (N), Colorado (E), Arizona (S), and Nevada (W), and touches New Mexico in the SE, at the Four Corners.

Facts and Figures

Area, 84,916 sq mi (219,932 sq km), including 2,577 sq mi (6,674 sq km) of inland water surface. Pop. (2010) 2,763,885, a 23.8% increase since the 2000 census. Capital and largest city, Salt Lake City. Statehood, Jan. 4, 1896 (45th state). Highest pt., Kings Peak, 13,528 ft (4,126 m); lowest pt., Beaverdam Creek, 2,000 ft (610 m). Nickname, Beehive State. Motto, Industry. State bird, seagull. State flower, sego lily. State tree, blue spruce. Abbr., UT


Utah has two dissimilar regions sharply divided by the Wasatch Range (part of the Rocky Mts.), which runs generally south from the Idaho border. To the east of the Wasatch rise high mountains and irregular plateaus; along its western foothills lie the major cities of Utah, while farther west is the Great Basin. In the northeast the snowcapped Uinta Mts. reach the state's highest elevation in Kings Peak (13,528 ft/4,123 m). The dissected Colorado Plateau stretches southward, rugged and largely uninhabitable except in isolated river valleys. Deep, tortuous canyons cut by the Colorado River and its tributaries impede travel but create vistas of remarkable grandeur.

Western Utah, part of the Great Basin, was once submerged beneath an extensive Pleistocene lake, Lake Bonneville. For many thousands of years the water level in the lake fluctuated, finally subsiding entirely to leave behind a salt-strewn desert, wide expanses of arid but nonalkaline soil, and a series of lakes. Great Salt Lake, the largest of these, has through evaporation reached a concentration of mineral salts several times that of the ocean. Gulls, pelicans, and blue herons are found around the lake and on its islands. Much of the lake shore is bordered by mud and salt flats. The haze-covered Oquirrh Mts., rising south of the lake, dip to form pleasant beaches at the water's edge, then emerge as islands within the lake and rise again in the Promontory Mts. on the northern shore.

Utah Lake, to the south, is the largest natural body of freshwater in the state and drains into Great Salt Lake through the Jordan River. Between Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range and curving southwest toward the Arizona line is the river-crossed Wasatch Front, an agricultural strip that is the center of the life of Utah. Major cities are situated on terraces left by Lake Bonneville.

Irrigation of the rich but arid land has long been crucial to Utah's agricultural development. Major reclamation projects, such as the Weber River, Weber River Basin, Moon Lake, and Strawberry Valley projects, assist numerous private enterprises in storing water for distribution and in aiding flood control. The Central Utah project carries water from streams in the Uinta Mts. through a vast complex of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, canals, and aqueducts across the Wasatch Range to the Salt Lake valley. Lake Powell, the reservoir of Glen Canyon Dam just beyond the Arizona line, and Flaming Gorge Dam are important parts of the Colorado River storage project in Utah.

The state's unusual geologic history has produced many natural wonders, most notably Great Salt Lake and the spectacular Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks. Other attractions are Canyonlands and Arches, national parks; Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Grand Staircase–Escalante, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, and Timpanogos Cave national monuments; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; and Golden Spike National Historic Site (see National Parks and Monuments, table). The Bonneville Salt Flats are famous as an automotive speedway. There are many national forests and a number of Native American reservations. Capitol Reef National Park contains ancient cliff dwellings (see cliff dwellers), glyphs, and other prehistoric artifacts.

Salt Lake City is the capital and largest city; it is also the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), which founded the state and to a large extent still dominates it. Other important cities are Ogden and Provo.


Cultivated land, including isolated farms in river valleys and considerable dry-farming acreage, is limited to a small percentage of the state's total area. Major crops are hay, corn, barley, and wheat, but the bulk of income from agriculture comes from livestock and livestock products, including sheep, cattle, dairying, and an expanding poultry industry. Abundant sunshine provides some compensation for inadequate rainfall, and the climate is generally moderate, allowing for substantial fruit production. Agrarian life was well suited to the principles of the Mormon settlers; moreover, they hoped that the difficulties of successfully farming the dry land would discourage non-Mormons from settling in the area.

The development of nonagricultural resources was more or less frowned upon by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, in general, was initiated by non-Mormons. However, a wealth of minerals made mineral exploitation almost inevitable and, in turn, stimulated the construction of railroads. Today many residents are engaged in mining or mining-related industries. Copper is the chief metal, followed by gold, molybdenum, and magnesium. Other important mineral products include beryllium, asphalt, silver, lead, tin, fluorspar, mercury, vanadium, potassium salts, manganiferous ore, and uranium.

For many years high freight rates and the long distances to major markets, together with a Mormon distrust of industrialization, tended to discourage manufacturing. However, the establishment of defense plants and military installations during World War II spurred phenomenal industrial growth. The proximity of high-grade iron, coal, and limestone made Provo a steel center. Industrial plants extend from Provo to Brigham City, with the largest concentration in the Salt Lake City area. Utah is now a center for aerospace research and the production of missiles, spacecraft, computer hardware and software, electronic systems, and related items. Other major manufactures are processed foods, machinery, fabricated metals, and petroleum products.

Tourism has become increasingly important to the state's economy. In addition to the five national parks and seven national monuments, ski resorts, particularly in the Wasatch Range, are popular destinations. Since 1984, Park City has hosted the annual Sundance Film Festival.

Government and Higher Education

Utah still operates under its first constitution, adopted in 1895 and effective with statehood in 1896. The executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. Utah's legislature has a senate with 29 members and a house of representatives with 75 members. The state sends two senators and four representatives to the U.S. Congress and has six electoral votes. Michael O. Leavitt, a Republican elected governor in 1992, was reelected in 1996 and 2000. Leavitt resigned in 2003 to head the Environmental Protection Agency and was succeeded by Lt. Gov. Olene S. Walker, also a Republican, who became Utah's first woman governor. Republican Jon Huntsman was elected to the office in 2004 and reelected in 2008. Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, succeeded him in 2009 when Huntsman resigned to become ambassador to China; he was elected to the post in 2010 and reelected in 2012. State politics are solidly Republican.

Utah's leading institutions of higher learning include Brigham Young Univ., at Provo; Southern Utah Univ., at Cedar City; the Univ. of Utah, at Salt Lake City; Utah State Univ., at Logan; and Weber State Univ., at Ogden.


Spanish Exploration and Possession

Recent anthropological studies have produced evidence that the Utah area was inhabited as early as c.9,000 BC Although some of Coronado's men under García López de Cárdenas may have entered S Utah in 1540, the first definite penetration by Europeans did not occur until 1776, when the Spanish missionaries Silvestre Vélez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio Domínguez opened the route for the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Utah Lake. By the Treaty of 1819 between the United States and Spain, the large area of which Utah was a part was officially recognized as a Spanish possession (it passed to the United States in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War).

Mountain Men and Wagon Trains

In the 1820s the mountain men, in search of rich beaver streams, made their way over the difficult terrain, thoroughly exploring the region. The discovery of Great Salt Lake is generally credited to James Bridger, but Étienne Provot, Jedediah S. Smith, and others also have claims. The Canadian fur trader Peter Skene Ogden led four expeditions into the Snake River area; he and his explorations are commemorated in the name of one of Utah's leading cities. Between 1824 and 1830 the riches in furs were exhausted, and a decade was to pass before the arrival of the next transients—westward-bound emigrants.

In 1841 the first California-bound group of emigrants, usually called the Bidwell party, left the Oregon Trail and made its way across the Great Salt Lake Desert. Several years later Miles Goodyear became Utah's first settler when he set up a trading post at the site of present-day Ogden, naming it Fort Buenaventura. The ill-fated Donner Party broke trail over the difficult mountains E of Great Salt Lake in 1846 and proceeded in their tragic journey westward across the desert.

Mormon Settlement and Territorial Status

Permanent settlement began in 1847 with the arrival of the first of the hosts of persecuted Mormons, seeking a "gathering place for Israel" in some undesired and isolated spot. It is said that when Brigham Young, their leader, surmounted the Wasatch Range and looked out over the green Great Salt Lake valley, he knew that the place had been found. On July 24, 1847, now celebrated as Pioneer Day, he entered the valley. Young was to prove himself one of the greatest administrators and leaders in 19th-century America. Under his direction and in communal fashion the ground was plowed and planted, the Temple foundation was laid, and Salt Lake City was platted directly on compass lines.

Gradually the Latter-Day Saints assembled, their ranks swelled by streams of emigrants from the United States and abroad (particularly Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries). More and more of the arid land yielded to their pioneering irrigation. In the next 50 years they not only had to learn the techniques of wresting a living from the desert, of combating frequent invasions of grasshoppers, and confronting the Native Americans, but they also had to face opposition from the federal government. In 1850 a large area, of which the present state was a part, was constituted Utah Territory and Young was appointed governor. The name Deseret [honeybee], chosen by the Mormons, was discarded, but the beehive remains a ubiquitous symbol of Mormon activity throughout Utah.

Friction with Native Americans and the U.S. Government

The Native Americans, dispossessed of their lands and foreseeing further encroachment, became embittered, and the Mormons were threatened by the powerful Ute. The confrontation eventually lead to the Walker War (1853–54) and the Black Hawk War (1865–68). There were also conflicts between the Mormons and the California-bound immigrants, but the real trouble came with the gradual disintegration of relations between the Mormons and the federal government. Numerous petitions for statehood were denied because of the practice of polygamy, publicly avowed by the Mormons in 1852. Friction was increased by the assigning of non-Mormon and often incompetent federal judges to Utah, and clashes between church and federal interpretation of the law became frequent. Stories of Mormon violence toward non-Mormon settlers circulated in the East, and antagonism, much of it based on misunderstanding, grew out of proportion.

In 1857 a "state of substantial rebellion" was declared by the federal government; Young was removed from his post, and President James Buchanan directed U.S. army troops to proceed against the Mormons. The Mormons prepared for warfare, calling in outlying settlers, and guerrilla bands harassed the westward-bound troop supply trains of Albert S. Johnston. The affair, known as the "Utah War" or the "Mormon campaign," was finally settled peacefully, but great ill feeling had developed, particularly after the massacre at Mountain Meadows. Some settlers who during the disturbances had traveled to land south of the Utah Valley remained to spread colonization there.

This turbulent episode was followed by several difficult decades. Congress passed acts forbidding polygamy in 1862, 1882, and 1887. In the attempt to enforce them, civil liberties were infringed upon and some Mormon church properties were expropriated. In 1890 a church edict advising members to abstain from the practice of polygamy was ratified, and civil rights and church properties were restored.

Statehood and the End of Isolation

Long before Utah became a state in 1896, its area had been reduced to its present size by the creation of the Nevada and Colorado territories in 1861 and the Wyoming Territory in 1868. The influx of settlers included many non-Mormon groups, and cultural and economic isolation was largely ended by the development of mining as well as by the completion of the Union Pacific RR, which in 1869 joined the Central Pacific RR northwest of Ogden, completing the nation's first transcontinental railroad.

Twentieth-Century Developments

Agriculture was long hampered by an 1880 court ruling favoring a concept of water as private property. Not until the Reclamation Act of 1902 was the principle of water as public property restored, reinforced by state legislation in 1903 vesting ownership of water in the state. World War II spurred industrial growth, and the development of hydroelectric power during the 1950s attracted new industries. The federal government, which owns over 60% of Utah's land, has become one of the state's largest employers, at both military and civilian facilities. Computer-software and other high-technology firms have recently given the state a diversified and robust economy.


See D. W. Meinig, "The Mormon Culture Region: Strategies and Patterns in the Geography of the American West, 1847–1964" in Annals of the Association of American Geographers (vol. 55, 1965); L. J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-Day Saints (1966); W. D. Stout, History of Utah (3 vol., 1967–71); F. J. Buttle, Utah Grows (1970); R. J. Dwyer, The Gentile Comes to Utah (1971); R. V. Francaviglia, The Mormon Landscape (1979); W. Wahlquist et al., Atlas of Utah (1981); J. V. Young, State Parks of Utah: A Guide and History (1989).

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Provo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497

Salt Lake City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509

The State in Brief

Nickname: Beehive State

Motto: Industry

Flower: Sego lily

Bird: California gull

Area: 84,898 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 13th)

Elevation: Ranges from 2,000 feet to 13,528 feet above sea level

Climate: Generally arid with abundant sunshine, higher temperatures in the southwestern desert, cooler weather and lower temperatures in high plateaus and mountains

Admitted to Union: January 4, 1896

Capital: Salt Lake City

Head Official: Governor John Huntsman (R) (until 2009)


1980: 1,461,000

1990: 1,722,850

2000: 2,233,169

2004 estimate: 2,389,039

Percent change, 19902000: 29.6%

U.S. rank in 2004: 34th

Percent of residents born in state: 62.9% (2000)

Density: 27.2 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 103,129

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 1,992,975

Black or African American: 17,657

American Indian and Alaska Native: 29,684

Asian: 37,108

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 15,145

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 201,559

Other: 93,405

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 209,378

Population 5 to 19 years old: 601,599

Percent of population 65 years and over: 8.5%

Median age: 27.1 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 49,949

Total number of deaths (2003): 13,426 (infant deaths, 252)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 1,098


Major industries: Manufacturing; trade; government; finance, insurance, and real estate; services; mining; agriculture; tourism

Unemployment rate: 4.8% (February 2005)

Per capita income: $25,230 (2003; U.S. rank: 48th)

Median household income: $49,143 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 9.4% (1999)

Income tax rate: Ranges from 2.30% to 7.0%

Sales tax rate: 4.75%

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Utah State in the w USA in the Rocky Mountains; the state capital is Salt Lake City, other cities include Provo and Ogden. The region was ceded to the USA at the end of the Mexican War in 1848, and Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896. The influence of the Mormon Church is strong in the state, and in 1857–58 there were conflicts between federal troops and the Mormons. In the n the Wasatch Range separates the mountainous e from the Great Basin, which includes the Great Salt Lake. The arid climate hinders agriculture, but hay, barley, wheat, beans, and sugar beet grow with the aid of irrigation. The chief farming activity is stock raising. Mining is also important: there are rich deposits of copper, petroleum, coal, molybdenum, silver, lead, and gold. With many national parks and monuments, tourism is vital to the economy. Area: 219,931sq km (84,915sq mi). Pop. (2000) 2,233,169.

Statehood :

January 4, 1896

Nickname :

The Beehive State

State bird :

Sea gull

State flower :

Sego lily

State tree :

Blue spruce

State motto :


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Utah, like the early Massachusetts colonies, developed as a theocracy, in which church leaders controlled both spiritual and secular life. The Church of Latter-day Saints has dominated Utah's social, political, and economic life since the first Mormon pioneers traversed the desert to set up their earthly paradise in Salt Lake City. According to Utah historian Charles S. Peterson, "To the spiritual goals of salvation and world reform they added the temporal objectives of growth and survival." After much wrangling with the federal government, both the territory and (later) the state of Utah reluctantly decided to cooperate with the rest of the nation and managed to become economically successful in the social context of the United States.

Spanish and Mexican explorers were the first non-Indians to explore Utah. By the early 1800s, trade was common between the Indians of Utah and the Spanish provincial capital of Santa Fe. The main route through the old Southwest, the Spanish Trail, traversed Utah, at first bringing fur traders and later settlers bound for California. In 1847, following the death of the Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) leader Joseph Smith by lynching in Illinois, Brigham Young and a band of Mormon pioneers set out for Utah's Great Basin, seeking refuge from persecution in the East. Upon arrival, they established Salt Lake City and set about cultivating the arid environment by planting crops and establishing irrigation systems.

During four decades of the colonization of Utah, 450 towns and hamlets were set up, all located near a source of water, a precious commodity in the arid territory. From the beginning, the church was involved in all aspects of the settlers' lives, and all natural resources were considered communal. In the Great Basin, the church leaders undertook to create a self-sufficient economy, planning and organizing various enterprises and using an "in kind," or barter, system to exchange goods and services. After the initial migration of U.S. Mormons, around 90,000 foreign converts arrived between 1850 and 1905.

The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 gave the United States title to much of the land in the Southwest, and the Mormons set up a provisional state they called Deseret. Congress called it the Utah Territory; the area at that time encompassed most of Nevada and parts of Wyoming and Colorado, as well as the present state of Utah. The 46 years of territorial status were marked by a number of conflicts between Mormons and the federal government. Albert Cummings replaced Brigham Young as territorial governor in 1858, marking the beginning of a prolonged period of hostility against federal authorities.

Mormon traditions dominated the territory, since 70 percent of the population was of the Mormon faith, until 1870. Despite their desire to be self-sufficient, Mormons began to embrace economic opportunities as they presented themselves from outside the community. As president of the Church, Brigham Young had great economic as well as ecclesiastical and civic authority. He contracted with the Union Pacific Railroad in 1868 to lay part of the track in Utah. An historic day for Utah was the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, when the Central Pacific joined with the Union Pacific at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. New rail lines sprang up during the 1870s, making immigration to the state easier and creating a significant population growth in Salt Lake City. Agriculture dominated the economy until 1863, when silver was discovered in Bingham Canyon.

With mining of precious metals came the first influx of entrepreneurs. At first Mormons opposed mining but eventually came to see it as a natural way of developing the territory. Outside businessmen were suspicious of the Church's pervasive influence over all aspects of Utah's life, including the Mormons' practice of communitarian economics. The most hostility to Mormonism, however, was over the issue of polygamy, sanctioned by the Church until 1890. Many arrests were made by federal authorities among polygamous families.

Utah became a state in 1896. Mineral production increased in the new century. The mine owned by Utah Copper at Bingham was a prime example of the potential of mineral wealth in the state. Exploiting an entire mountain of copper, the company built mills, its own railroad, and a steam-generating plant. The considerable output of the mine, along with its gigantic open pit, was heralded as a wonder of modern industrialism. By 1930 Utah Copper was responsible for 50 percent of Salt Lake City's assessed valuation and 13 percent of the value of the whole state. With burgeoning mineral mining also came increased union activity. After an explosion that killed 200 miners at Scofield in 1900, radical union activity became commonplace. Joe Hill, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (nicknamed the Wobblies), was executed in 1915 for the murder of two Salt Lake City citizens.

Modern cities began to grow in the new state, along with highways, power plants, and interurban railroads. In 1920 one-half of the population lived along the Wasatch Front. Although a number of ethnic groups were coming into the state and changing its demography, the Mormon population was still at 68 percent in 1920.

Prosperity marked the business sector of Utah in the 1920s, but agriculture and mining were depressed. In the 1930s union activity increased, mostly in the coal and copper industries. The Great Depression (19291939) was especially hard on Utah after severe droughts in both 1931 and 1934. High freight rates also hindered manufacturing. During World War II (19391945), however, wartime demands for food helped Utah's agricultural production; military installations and warrelated industries brought about economic recovery.

Because of the high birthrate in Utah, the state's population more than doubled in the time since the war, while the per capita income decreased compared to the national average. In 1995 it was just over $18,000, ranking the state only forty-sixth in the nation. To ensure an adequate water supply for the future, in 1967 the state began work on the Central Utah Project, a dam and irrigation program which continued into the 1990s. Throughout the 1990s Utah's economy was one of the fastest growing in the nation, and the state boasted a low unemployment rate. The state had a budget surplus in 1994 and its population grew by 16.1 percent between 1990 and 1996.

Utah's leading industry is transport equipment manufacture, including aircraft parts and parts for missiles and rockets. A continuing source of controversy in the state is how to balance growth against the protection of the state's beautiful natural areas. On the Wasatch Front, air pollution is a problem, and the Division of Environmental Health is particularly concerned with the dumping of dangerous materials.

Trade has replaced the government as the largest employer in Utah. The federal government is still a major player in the state's economy, however, with around 14 percent of personal income derived from government sources. Since the government owns around 70 percent of all the land in the state and provides many jobs in the defense industry or the military, the federal presence is a rather controversial issue in the state today. Significant declines in military spending in the late 1980s and the 1990s have hurt Utah's economy. Though agriculture has declined in recent years, it is still a significant sector of the economy, with livestock and livestock products responsible for three-fourths of the agricultural income. Utah's mines are mostly noted for metal and coal extraction. In 1995 the state was the only producer of beryllium. Tourism is also a growing industry, focused on Utah's large number of national and state parks, as well as skiing, hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities. Economic development policy in the state is conservative, supporting business activities and opposing expansion of government social programs.

See also: Santa Fe


Alexander, Thomas. Mormons and Gentiles: A History of Salt Lake City. Boulder, CO: Pruett, 1984.

Arrington, Leonard J., and Davis Bitton. The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Ellsworth, Samuel G. Utah's Heritage. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1984.

Peterson, Charles S. Utah: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1977.

Poll, Richard D., et al. Utah's History. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1978.

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Utah (indigenous people of North America)

Utah, Native North Americans: see Ute.

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Utah •cantor • lector • caveat emptor •centaur, mentor, stentor •Wichita • Choctaw • coldstore • Utah •drugstore • megastore • Minotaur •superstore

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  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.