The State of Utah (or ) is a western state of the United States. It was the 45th state admitted to the Union on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80 percent of Utah's 2,645,330 people, live along the Wasatch Front with Salt Lake City as the center. In contrast, vast expanses of the state are nearly uninhabited, making the population the sixth most urbanized in the U.S. The name "Utah" is derived from the Ute Indian language, meaning "people of the mountains".
Utah is known for being one of the most religiously homogeneous states in the Union, with approximately 58 percent of its adult inhabitants claiming membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church or the LDS Church), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life. It is also known for geological diversity ranging from snowcapped mountains to well-watered river valleys to rugged, stony deserts and open plains.
The state is a center of transportation, information technology and research, government services and mining as well as a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation. St. George, Utah was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States from 2000-2005 with Utah being the sixth fastest growing state overall in 2006.
Following the assassination of Joseph Smith, Jr., in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844, the more than 11,000 Latter-Day Saints remaining in Nauvoo, IL struggled in conflict with neighbors until Brigham Young, the President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, emerged as the leader of the largest portion. (See Succession crisis.)
Brigham Young and the first band of Mormon pioneers came to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Over the next 22 years, more than 70,000 pioneers crossed the plains and settled in Utah. For the first few years, Brigham Young and the thousands of early settlers of Salt Lake City struggled to survive. The barren desert land was deemed by the Mormons as desirable as a place they could practice their religion without interference.
It is not widely known that Utah was the source of many pioneer settlements located elsewhere in the West. From the beginning, Salt Lake City was seen as only the hub of a "far-flung commonwealth of Mormon settlements. Fed by a constant supply of church converts coming from the East and around the world, Church leaders often assigned groups of church members to establish settlements throughout the West. Beginning with settlements along Utah's Wasatch front (Salt Lake City, then Bountiful and Weber Valley, then Provo and Utah Valley), irrigation enabled the establishment of fairly large pioneer populations in an area that Jim Bridger had advised Young would be inhospitable for the cultivation of crops because of frost. Throughout the remainder of the 1800s, Mormon pioneers called by Brigham Young would leave Salt Lake City and establish hundreds of other settlements in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, California, Canada, and Mexico - including such notable places as Las Vegas, Nevada, Franklin, Idaho (the first white settlement in Idaho), San Bernardino, California, Star Valley, Wyoming, and Carson Valley, Nevada.
Prominent settlements in Utah included St. George, Logan, and Manti (where settlers raised the first three temples in Utah, each built many years before the larger and better known temple built in Salt Lake City was completed in 1892), as well as Parowan, Cedar City, Bluff, Moab, Vernal, Fillmore (which served as the territorial capital between 1850 and 1856), Nephi, Levan, Spanish Fork, Springville, Provo Bench (now Orem), Pleasant Grove, American Fork, Lehi, Sandy, Murray, Jordan, Centerville, Farmington, Huntsville, Kaysville, Grantsville, Tooele, Roy, Brigham City, and many other smaller towns and settlements. At the time, Young had an expansionist's view of the territory he and the Mormon pioneers were settling, calling it Deseret - which church founder Smith had taught meant "honeybee" - hence the beehive which can still be found on the Utah flag, and the state's motto, "Industry.
In 1847 when the first pioneers arrived, Utah was still Mexican territory. As a consequence of the Mexican-American War, the land became the territory of the United States upon the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848. The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on March 10. In 1850, the Utah Territory was created with the Compromise of 1850, and Fillmore was designated the capital. It was given the name Utah after the Ute tribe of Native Americans. In 1856, Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the territorial capital.
Disputes between the Mormon inhabitants and the US Government intensified due to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' practice of plural marriage among its members. The Mormons were pushing for the establishment of the State of Deseret. The U.S. Government, which was reluctant to admit a state the size of the proposed Deseret into the union, opposed the polygamous practices of the Mormons.
After news of their polygamous practices spread, the members of the LDS Church were quickly viewed as un-American and rebellious. In 1857, after news of a false rebellion spread, the government sent troops on the "Utah expedition" to quell the supposed rebellion and to replace Brigham Young as territorial governor with Alfred Cumming. The resulting conflict is known as the Utah War.
As troops approached Salt Lake in northern Utah, nervous Mormon settlers and Paiutes attacked and killed 120 immigrants from Arkansas in southern Utah. The attack became known as the Mountain Meadows massacre. The massacre became a point of contention between LDS leaders and the federal government for decades. Only one person, John D. Lee, was ever convicted of the murders, and he was executed at the massacre site.
Before troops led by Albert Sidney Johnston entered the territory, Brigham Young ordered all residents of Salt Lake City to evacuate southward to Utah Valley and sent out a force, known as the Nauvoo Legion, to delay the government's advance. Although wagons and supplies were burned, eventually the troops arrived, and Young surrendered official control to Cumming, although most subsequent commentators claim that Young retained true power in the territory. A steady stream of governors appointed by the president quit the position, often citing the unresponsiveness of their supposed territorial government. By agreement with Young, Johnston established Fort Floyd away from Salt Lake City, to the southwest.
Salt Lake City was the last link of the First Transcontinental Telegraph, completed in October 1861. Brigham Young was among the first to send a message, along with Abraham Lincoln and other officials.
Because of the American Civil War, federal troops were pulled out of Utah Territory, leaving the territory in LDS hands until Patrick E. Connor arrived with a regiment of California volunteers in 1862. Connor established Fort Douglas just three miles (5 km) east of Salt Lake City and encouraged his people to discover mineral deposits to bring more non-Mormons into the state. Minerals were discovered in Tooele County, and miners began to flock to the territory.
Beginning in 1865, Utah's Black Hawk War developed into the deadliest conflict in the territory's history. Chief Antonga Black Hawk died in 1870, but fights continued to break out until additional federal troops were sent in to suppress the Ghost Dance of 1872. The war is unique among Indian Wars because it was a three-way conflict, with mounted Timpanogos Utes led by Antonga Black Hawk exploited by federal and LDS authorities.
On May 10, 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake. The railroad brought increasing numbers of people into the state, and several influential businesspeople made fortunes in the territory.
During the 1870s and 1880s, laws were passed to punish polygamists, and in the 1890 Manifesto, the LDS Church banned polygamy. When Utah applied for statehood again, it was accepted. One of the conditions for granting Utah statehood was that a ban on polygamy be written into the state constitution. This was a condition required of other western states that were admitted into the Union later. Statehood was officially granted on January 4, 1896. Utah was the last state admitted in the Nineteenth century. In 1899, only three years after achieving statehood, the Utah Legislature established the first state art agency in the nation, the Utah Art Institute. Now known as the Utah Arts Council (UAC), and the oldest state arts council in the country, the UAC is located next to the Governor's Mansion in Salt Lake City, maintains the State Fine Art Collection, and provides funding, professional development, as well as technical assistance to artists and art agencies throughout Utah.
Beginning in 1939, with the establishment of Alta Ski Area, Utah has become world-renowned for its skiing. The dry, powdery snow of the Wasatch Range is considered some of the best skiing in the world. Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, and this has served as a great boost to the economy. The ski resorts have increased in popularity, and many of the Olympic venues scattered across the Wasatch Front continue to be used for sporting events. This also spurred the development of the light-rail system in the Salt Lake Valley, known as TRAX, and the re-construction of the freeway system around the city.
During the late 20th century, the state grew quickly. In the 1970s, growth was phenomenal in the suburbs. Sandy was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country at that time. Today, many areas of Utah are seeing phenomenal growth. Northern Davis, southern and western Salt Lake, Summit, eastern Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, and Washington counties are all growing very quickly. Transportation and urbanization are major issues in politics as development consumes agricultural land and wilderness areas.
Utah is generally rocky with three distinct geological regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. Utah is known for its natural diversity and is home to features ranging from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valleys. Utah is one of the Four Corners states, and is bordered by Idaho in the north, Wyoming in the north and east; by Colorado in the east; at a single point by New Mexico to the southeast (at the Four Corners Monument); by Arizona in the south; and by Nevada in the west. It covers an area of 84,899 square miles (219,887 km²). The state is one of only three U.S. states (with Colorado and Wyoming) that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries.
One of Utah's defining characteristics is the variety of its terrain. Running down the northern center of the state is the Wasatch Range, which rises to heights of about 12,000 feet (3,650 m) above sea level. Portions of these mountains receive more than 500 inches (12.7 m) of snow each year and are home to world-renowned ski resorts, made popular by the light, fluffy snow, which is considered good for skiing. In the northeastern section of the state, running east to west, are the Uinta Mountains, which rise to heights of 13,000 feet (3,950 m) or more. The highest point in the state, Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet (4,123 m), lies within the Uinta Mountains. At the western base of the Wasatch Range is the Wasatch Front, a series of valleys and basins that are home to the most populous parts of the state. The major cities of Ogden, Salt Lake City, Layton, West Valley City, Sandy, West Jordan, Orem, and Provo are located within this region, which stretches approximately from Brigham City at the north end to Nephi at the south end. Approximately 75 percent of the population of the state lies in this corridor, and urban sprawl continues to expand along the edges of these valleys.
Western Utah is mostly arid desert with a basin and range topography. Small mountain ranges and rugged terrain punctuate the landscape. The Bonneville Salt Flats are an exception, being comparatively flat as a result of once forming the bed of Lake Bonneville. Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, Sevier Lake, Rush Lake and Little Salt Lake are all remnants of this ancient freshwater lake, which once covered most of the eastern Great Basin. West of the Great Salt Lake, stretching to the Nevada border, lies the arid Great Salt Lake Desert.
Much of the scenic southern landscape is sandstone, specifically Kayenta sandstone and Navajo sandstone. The Colorado River and its tributaries wind their way through the sandstone, creating some of the world's most striking and wild terrain. Wind and rain have also sculpted the soft sandstone over millions of years. Canyons, gullies, arches, pinnacles, buttes, bluffs, and mesas are the common sight throughout south-central and southeast Utah. This terrain is the central feature of protected state and federal parks such as Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks, Cedar Breaks, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Hovenweep, and Natural Bridges national monuments, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (site of the popular tourist destination, Lake Powell), Dead Horse Point and Goblin Valley state parks, and Monument Valley (a popular photographic and filming site).
Southwestern Utah is the lowest and hottest spot in Utah. It is known as Utah's Dixie because early settlers were able to grow limited amounts of cotton there. Beaverdam Wash in far southwestern Utah is the lowest point in the state, at 2,000 feet (610 m). The northernmost portion of the Mojave Desert is also located in this area. Dixie is quickly becoming a popular recreational and retirement destination, and the population is growing rapidly. Just north of Dixie is the state's highest ski resort, Brian Head.
Eastern Utah is a high-elevation area covered mostly by plateaus and basins. Economies are dominated by mining, oil and natural gas-drilling, ranching, and recreation. Much of eastern Utah is part of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. The Navajo Nation also extends into southeastern Utah. The most popular destination within eastern Utah is Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal.
Like most of the Western and Southwestern states, the federal government owns much of the land in Utah. Over 70 percent of the land is either BLM land, Utah State Trustland, or U.S. National Forest, U.S. National Park, U.S. National Monument, National Recreation Area or U.S. Wilderness Area.
Utah features a dry, mostly desert climate, although its many mountains feature a large variety of climates, with the highest points in the Uinta Mountains being above the timberline. The dry weather results from the state lying mostly in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada in California. The eastern half of the state lies in the rain shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. The primary source of precipitation for the state is the Pacific Ocean, with the state usually lying in the path of large Pacific storms from mid-October through April, although northern Utah often sees these large storms earlier and later. In summer, the state, especially southern and eastern Utah, lies in the path of monsoon moisture from the Gulf of California. Most of the lowland areas receive less than 12 inches (300 mm) of precipitation annually, although the I-15 corridor, including the densely-populated Wasatch Front, receive approximately 15 inches (380 mm). The Great Salt Lake Desert is the driest area of the state, with less than 5 inches (125 mm). Snowfall is common in all but the far southern valleys. Although St. George only receives about 3 inches (7.5 cm) per year, Salt Lake City sees about 60 inches (150 cm), enhanced by the lake-effect snow from the Great Salt Lake, which increases snowfall totals to the south, southeast, and east of the lake. Some areas of the Wasatch Range in the path of the lake-effect see up to 500 inches (1,270 cm) per year, and its dry, fluffy density leads to Utah's ski resorts adopting the slogan "the Greatest Snow on Earth". In winter, temperature inversions are an issue across Utah's low basins and valleys, leading to thick haze and fog that can sometimes occur weeks at a time, especially in the Uintah Basin.
Utah's temperatures are extreme, with cold temperatures in winter due to its elevation, and very hot summers statewide (with the exception of mountain areas and high mountain valleys). Utah is usually protected from major blasts of cold air by mountains lying north and east of the state, although major Arctic blasts can occasionally reach the state. Average January high temperatures range from around 30 °F (-1 °C) in some northern valleys to almost 55 °F (13 °C) in St. George. Temperatures dropping below 0 °F (-18 °C) should be expected on occasion in most areas of the state most years, although some areas see it often (for example, the town of Randolph averages about 50 days per year with temperatures dropping that low). In July, average highs range from about 85 °F (29 °C) to 100 °F (38 °C). However, the low humidity and high elevation typically leads to large temperature variations, leading to cool nights most summer days. The record high temperature in Utah was 118 °F (47 °C), recorded south of St. George on July 4, 2007, and the record low was -69 °F (-56 °C), recorded at Peter's Sink in the Bear River Mountains of northern Utah on February 1, 1985.
Utah, like most of the western United States, has few days of thunderstorms. On average there are fewer than 40 days of thunderstorm activity during the year, although these storms can be briefly intense when they do occur. They are most likely to occur during monsoon season from about mid-July through mid-September, especially in southern and eastern Utah. Dry lightning strikes and the general dry summer weather often spark wildfires in summer, while intense thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding, especially in the rugged terrain of southern Utah. Tornadoes are uncommon in Utah, with an average of two striking the state yearly, rarely higher than F1 intensity. One exception of note, however, was the strong F2 Salt Lake City Tornado that sliced across the downtown metro area of Salt Lake City on August 11, 1999, striking large buildings and causing approximately $170 million in damage, and one fatality.
The center of population of Utah is located in Utah County in the city of Lehi.
As of July 1, 2007 the Census Bureau estimated Utah had a population of 2,645,300, an increase of 65,000. The Utah Population Estimate Committee placed Utah's population at 2,699,554, an increase of 84,125 people.
Much of the population lives in cities and towns along the Wasatch Front, a metropolitan region that runs north-south with the Wasatch Mountains rising on the eastern side. The rest of the state is mostly rural or wilderness. Utah has a higher percentage of people sharing a single religious denomination than any other state.
The St. George metropolitan area is currently the second-fastest growing in the country after the Las Vegas metropolitan area, while the Heber micropolitan area is also the second-fastest growing in the country (behind Palm Coast, Florida).
Most Utahns are of Northern European descent.
A majority of the state's residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormons or the LDS Church. As of 2007, the percentage of Utahns that are counted as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is 60.7 percent of the state's population. The Salt Lake Tribune has projected that Latter-day Saints may no longer be a majority in the state, not just the case in Salt Lake City, as early as 2030, though the LDS Church refuted the Tribune's findings by publicly reporting its end-of-year 2007 statistics in January 2008 that 1.8 million (or 72 percent of total Utahns) are recorded on its rolls.
The LDS Church's doctrine's has historically had a strong regional influence and as historically law makers have been church members, the effect has contributed to the state's restrictiveness towards alcohol (sales and content) and gambling. Another doctrine effect can be seen in its high birth rate (25 percent higher than the national average; the highest for a state in the U.S.). The Mormons in Utah tend to have conservative views when it comes to most political issues and the majority of voter-age Utahns are unaffiliated voters (60%) who vote overwhelmingly Republican.
The self identified religious affiliations of adults (note that numbers below do not include children, a possible cause of the disparity with the percentage identified above, though it does include non-lds mormons) living in Utah are:
Totals are rounded. Jehovah's Witness, Orthodox, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other world religions each make up less than .5%. Other faiths total 1%.
The gender makeup of Utah is:
According to the University of Utah the gross state product of Utah in 2005 was $92 billion, or almost 1% of the total United States GDP of $12.4 trillion for the same year. The per capita personal income was $36,457 in 2005. Major industries of Utah include: mining, cattle ranching, salt production, and government services.
According to the 2007 State New Economy Index, Utah is ranked the top state in the nation for Economic Dynamism, determined by
"The degree to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, information technology-driven and innovation-based."
In eastern Utah petroleum production is a major industry. Near Salt Lake City, petroleum refining is done by a number of oil companies. In central Utah, coal production accounts for much of the mining activity.
Utah collects personal income tax within 6 income brackets. The state sales tax has a base rate of 4.65 percent, with cities and counties levying additional local sales taxes that vary among the municipalities. Property taxes are assessed and collected locally. Utah does not charge intangible property taxes and does not impose an inheritance tax.
Utah is well known for its winter activities and has seen an increase in tourism since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Park City is home to the United States Ski Team. Utah's ski resorts are primarily located in northern Utah near Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, and Provo. In 2008, for a second year in a row, Deer Valley, in Park City, was ranked the top ski resort in North America by more than 20,000 subscribers of Ski Magazine. In addition to having prime snow conditions and world-class amenities, Northern Utah's ski resorts are well liked among tourists for their convenience and proximity to a large city and International Airport, as well as the close proximity to other ski resorts, allowing skiers the ability to ski at multiple locations in one day. This is in contrast to most other states with large ski industries, where resorts are more often located in remote locations, away from large cities, and more spread apart. In Southern Utah, Brian Head Ski Resort is located in the mountains near Cedar City. Former Olympic venues including Utah Olympic Park and Utah Olympic Oval are still in operation for training and competition and allows the public to participate in numerous activities including ski jumping, bobsleigh, and speed skating.
Beginning in the late 19th century with the state's mining boom (including the Bingham Canyon Mine, among the world's largest open pit mines), companies attracted large numbers of immigrants (of diverse faiths) with job opportunities. Since the days of the Utah Territory mining has played a major role in Utah's economy. Historical mining towns include Mercur in Tooele County, Silver Reef in Washington County, Eureka in Juab County, Park City in Summit County and numerous coal mining camps throughout Carbon County such as Castle Gate, Spring Canyon, and Hiawatha. These settlements were characteristic of the boom and bust cycle that dominated mining towns of the American West. During the early part of the Cold War era, uranium was mined in eastern Utah. Today mining activity still plays a major role in the state's economy. Minerals mined in Utah include copper, gold, silver, molybdenum, zinc, lead, and beryllium. Fossil fuels including coal, petroleum, and natural gas continue to play a major role in Utah's economy, especially in the eastern part of the state in counties such as Carbon, Emery, Grand, and Uintah.
Interstate 15 is the main interstate highway in the state, entering from Arizona and spanning the state north-south, entering Idaho near Portage. It serves the primary population centers of the state, running past St. George and its suburbs (collectively known as Dixie) and Cedar City, and then spans the length of the Wasatch Front north-south, past such major cities as Provo, Orem, Sandy, West Jordan, Salt Lake City, Layton, and Ogden.
Interstate 80 spans the northern portion of the state west-east. It enters from Nevada at Wendover, traverses Salt Lake City (briefly merging with I-15 west of Downtown), then crosses the Wasatch Range, entering Wyoming just before reaching Evanston. Interstate 84 splits from I-80 at Echo, heading west through the Wasatch Range and joining I-15 southwest of Ogden. The two interstates stay merged until Tremonton, where I-84 heads northwest, entering Idaho near Snowville.
Interstate 70 splits from I-15 at Cove Fort, heading east through the mountains, past Richfield, and then east into Colorado west of Grand Junction, traversing desolate desert terrain and serving the various national parks and national monuments of southern Utah. The 103 mile (165km) stretch of I-70 between Salina and Green River is the longest stretch of interstate in the country without any services.
A light rail system in the Salt Lake Valley, known as TRAX, consists of two lines, both ending in Downtown Salt Lake City. The original line goes south to Sandy, and the other heads east to the University of Utah. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which operates TRAX, also operates a bus system that stretches across the Wasatch Front and west into Tooele, and also provides winter service to the ski resorts east of Salt Lake City. Several bus companies provide access to the ski resorts in winter, and local bus companies also serve Logan, St. George and Cedar City. The Legacy Highway is a freeway that is currently under construction in southern Davis County to relieve congestion on I-15 through the area. A commuter rail line, named FrontRunner, began operation in spring 2008 between Salt Lake City and Ogden, with another station under construction in Pleasant View. FrontRunner is expected to eventually span the Wasatch Front from Brigham City in the north to Payson in the south.
Salt Lake City International Airport is the only international airport in the state and serves as a hub of Delta Air Lines. The airport has consistently ranked first in on-time departures and had the fewest cancellations among U.S. airports. As of August 2008, the airport had non-stop service to over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico as well as daily non-stop service to Paris, France. Canyonlands Field (near Moab), Cedar City Regional Airport, St. George Municipal Airport, and Vernal-Uintah County Airport all provide limited commercial air service. Ground has recently been broken on creating a new, larger regional airport in St. George, due to the rapidly-growing population and the lack of room for expansion for the current airport. Completion is expected in 2011. SkyWest Airlines Airlines is also headquartered in St. George.
Utah government, like most U.S. states, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The current governor of Utah is Jon Huntsman, Jr. The governor is elected for a four year term. The Utah State Legislature consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. State senators serve four year terms and representatives two year terms. The Utah Legislature meets each year in January for an annual forty-five day session. The Utah Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Utah. It consists of five justices, who are appointed by the governor, and then subject to retention election. The Utah Court of Appeals handles cases from the trial courts. Trial level courts are the district courts and justice courts. All justices and judges, like those on the Utah Supreme Court, are subject to retention election after appointment. Many of those who aren't religious and live in Utah would agree the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a heavy influence on laws such as alcohol laws.
|2004||72% 663,742||26% 241,199|
|2000||67% 512,168||26% 201,734|
|1996||54% 361,911||33% 221,633|
|1992||43% 322,632||25% 183,429|
|1988||66% 428,442||32% 207,343|
Historically, politics in Utah have been controversial, such as the Federal government versus the LDS Church on the issue of polygamy. The LDS Church renounced polygamy in 1890, and in 1896 Utah gained admission to the Union. Many new people settled the area soon after the Mormon pioneers. Relations have often been strained between the LDS population and the non-LDS population. These tensions played a large part in Utah's history, such as (Liberal Party vs. People's Party).
The current governor of Utah is Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., a member of the Republican Party. He is a proponent of a flat tax, an opponent to same-sex marriage, while supporting the creation of a reciprocal beneficiary status for same-sex couples, and an opponent to intelligent design being taught in the classroom. He also receives high approval ratings from across the Utah political spectrum.
Both of Utah's U.S. Senators, Orrin Hatch and Robert Foster Bennett, are Republican. Two more Republicans, Rob Bishop and Chris Cannon, as well as one member of the Democratic Party, Jim Matheson, represent Utah in the United States House of Representatives.
While the LDS church maintains an official policy of neutrality in regards to political parties and candidates, Utah votes predominately Republican. Self-identified Latter-day Saints are more likely to vote for Republican ticket than non-Mormons, and Utah is one of the most Republican states in the nation. The connection between the LDS Church and the Republican Party of Utah is controversial.
In the 1970s, then-Apostle Ezra Taft Benson was quoted by the Associated Press that it would be difficult for a faithful Latter-day Saint to be a liberal Democrat. Although the LDS Church has officially repudiated such statements on many occasions, Democratic candidates—including LDS Democrats—believe that Republicans capitalize on the perception that the Republican Party is doctrinally superior. Political scientist and pollster Dan Jones explains this disparity by noting that the national Democratic Party is associated with progressive positions on gay rights and abortion, both of which the LDS Church is against. The Republican Party in heavily Mormon Utah County presents itself as the superior choice for Latter-day Saints. Even though Utahn Democratic candidates are predominantly LDS, socially conservative, and pro-life, no Democrat has won in Utah county since 1994. David Magleby, dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Brigham Young University, a lifelong Democrat and a political analyst, asserts that the Republican Party actually has more conservative positions than the LDS Church. Magleby argues that the locally conservative Democrats are in better accord with LDS doctrine. For example, the Republican Party of Utah opposes almost all abortions while Utah Democrats take a more liberal approach, although more conservative than their national counterparts. On Second Amendment issues, the state GOP has been at odds with the LDS Church position opposing concealed firearms in places of worship.
In 1998 the Church expressed concern that Utahns perceived the Republican Party as an LDS institution and authorized lifelong Democrat and Seventy Marlin Jensen to promote LDS bipartisanship.
Utah is much more conservative than the United States as a whole, particularly on social issues. Compared to other Republican-dominated states in the Mountain West such as Wyoming, Utah politics have a more moralistic and less libertarian character according to David Magleby.
|2004||57% 473,814||42% 350,841|
|2000||56% 422,357||43% 320,141|
|1996||75% 500,293||24% 155,294|
|2004||44% 144,928||48% 157,287|
|2000||52% 158,787||47% 144,011|
|2004||69% 626,640||28% 258,955|
|2000||66% 501,925||32% 241,129|
About 80% of Utah's Legislature are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while they account for 61 percent of the population.
In 2006, the legislature passed legislation aimed at banning joint-custody for a non-biological parent of a child. The custody measure passed the legislature and was vetoed by the governor, a reciprocal benefits supporter.
Carbon County's Democrats are generally made up of members of the large Greek, Italian, and Southeastern European communities, whose ancestors migrated in the early 1900s to work in the extensive mining industry. The views common amongst this group are heavily influenced by labor politics, particularly of the New Deal Era.
The Democrats of Summit County are the by-product of the migration of wealthy families from California in the 1990s to the ski resort town of Park City; their views are generally supportive of the economic policies favored by unions and the social policies favored by the liberals.
The state's most Republican areas tend to be Utah County, which is the home to Brigham Young University in the city of Provo, and nearly all the rural counties. These areas generally hold socially conservative views in line with that of the national Religious Right.
The state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. Historically, Republican presidential nominees score one of their best margins of victory here. Utah was the Republicans' best state in the 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, and 2004 elections. In 1992, Utah was the only state in the nation where Democratic candidate Bill Clinton finished behind both Republican candidate George H. W. Bush and Independent candidate Ross Perot. In 2004, Republican George W. Bush won every county in the state and Utah gave him his largest margin of victory of any state. He won the state's five electoral votes by a margin of 46 percentage points with 71.5% of the vote. In the 1996 Presidential elections the Republican candidate received a smaller 54% of the vote while the Democrat earned 34%.
Utah's population is concentrated in two areas, the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, with a population of over 2 million; and southwestern Utah, locally known as "Dixie", with nearly 150,000 residents.
According the 2000 Census, Utah was the fourth fastest growing state (at 29.6 percent) in the United States between 1990 and 2000. St. George, in the southwest, is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States, trailing Greeley, Colorado.
The state's two fastest growing counties are: Summit (at 91.6 percent; ranking it 8th in the country) and Washington (at 86.1 percent; ranking it 12th). The cities (defined as having at least 9,000 residents in 2000) that saw the greatest increases between 1990 and 2000 were: Draper (248 percent), South Jordan (141 percent), Lehi (125 percent), Riverton (122 percent), and Syracuse (102 percent). Between 1990 and 2000 the five fastest-growing cities of any size were Cedar Hills (302 percent), Draper (248 percent), Woodland Hills (213 percent), Ivins (173 percent), and South Jordan (141 percent). According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the five fastest-growing cities of any size between 2000 and 2005 were Herriman (637 percent), Saratoga Springs (548 percent), Eagle Mountain (380 percent), Cedar Hills (152 percent), and Syracuse (91 percent).
|1||Salt Lake City||178,858||1,666.1||630||Salt Lake|
|2||West Valley City||118,917||3,076.3||1236||Salt Lake|
|4||West Jordan||101,638||2,211.3||1143||Salt Lake|
|Combined statistical area|| Population|
| Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem-Ogden-Clearfield|
Salt Lake City , Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Areas and
Brigham City and Heber Micropolitan Areas (as listed below)
|Metropolitan area|| Population|
|1||Salt Lake City*||1,113,852||Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit|
|2||Ogden-Clearfield*||526,075||Weber, Davis, Morgan|
|5||Logan||121,225||Cache, Franklin (Idaho)|
|Metropolitan area|| Population|
The state of Utah relies heavily on income from tourists and travelers taking advantage of the state's ski resorts and natural beauty, and thus the need to "brand" Utah and create an impression of the state throughout the world has led to several state slogans, the most famous of which being "The Greatest Snow on Earth", which has been in use in Utah officially since 1975 (although the slogan was in unofficial use as early as 1962) and now adorns nearly 50 percent of the state's license plates. In 2001, Utah Governor Mike Leavitt approved a new state slogan, "Utah! Where Ideas Connect", which lasted until March 10, 2006, when the Utah Travel Council and the office of Governor Jon Huntsman announced that "Life Elevated" would be the new state slogan.
See also: Films shot in Utah
DRUG CHARGE IS DROPPED AGAINST OCRACOKE PUB OWNER HE PLEADS GUILTY TO LESS-SERIOUS POSSESSION OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUOR.(LOCAL)
Jul 23, 2003; Byline: CATHERINE KOZAK THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT\ A felony drug charge against the owner of Howard's Pub and Raw Bar on Ocracoke...