Utah is known to have some of the best skiing in the country and is known as the ‘beehive state’. Well, that’s not really because you get amazing honey here, but because it was originally called the ‘state of Deseret’. And ‘Deseret’ means ‘honeybee’ in the book of Mormon, which brings us to the state’s second nickname, that being ‘The Mormon State’, named after the first residents of the place.
It goes without saying, a move to Utah would require considerable information, something that goes beyond nicknames. Before moving to Utah, you should learn about the kind of life one can expect to live here with the opportunities present. To know about it, keep reading ahead.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Utah?
Utah is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is the thirteenth largest by area, at a total of 84,899 square miles (219,887 km2) of which 2755 square miles (7136 km2) is water. It is also the 30th most populous state with a total of 3,205,958 residents. Majority of the population is either concentrated in Wasatch Front and Washington county.
Utah is known for the quality of life it offers to its residents along with a stunning landscape. This is the home of Salt Lake City that despite its reputation of lowkey homogeneity, manages to sustain an active social scene that can be quite the surprise for many. It doesn’t hurt that it is also quite the travel hub. Film enthusiasts would love the fact that Utah is the host to the annual Sundance Film Festival. Winter sports and stargazing are some of the favorite pastimes of the residents.
The food of Utah deserves its own discussion. The first thing you are likely to notice right away is the ‘fry sauce’. It’s not another name for ketchup and it is something that will intrigue you enough to make it a permanent part of your palette. Some of the other things to have here are the Utah scones, the Blue Lake Raspberries, Utah peaches, green jelly and the Dutch oven which is Utah’s official cooking pot. There is no lack of culinary variety in this state.
Utah is also the place of some amazing ski resorts, located primarily in the north. The Deer Valley especially attracts a lot of tourists in winter. The Brian Head Ski Resort is popular in the south. There are also some former Olympic venues where people come to participate in ski jumping, bobsleigh and speed skating.
Contrary to popular perception, the nightlife in Utah is decently vibrant. There are dive bars, late night restaurants, burlesque shows and a live music scene that is one of the best to be. The state is also highly involved in sports with quite a major professional sports league franchise and universities that regularly engage in competitions of the field.
Crime Rate In Utah
The crime rate in Utah, per 1000 residents is 2.36 as compared to the national crime rate of 4 per 1000 people. This means that the chances of being the victim of such a crime are 1 in 424. The rate of property crime is 21.69 per 1000 residents, putting your chances of being a victim in Utah at 1 in 46. The data, taken from NeighbourhoodScout, goes to show that the crime rate of Utah is one of the lowest in the country and you need not be always looking over their shoulder.
Utah is one of the drier states in the United States with its climate being called ‘semi-arid to desert like’. Geographically speaking, Utah is one of the ‘four corners’ states as well as one of the mountain states.
Summers in Utah are very hot with the hottest month being July recording an average temperature of 95°F (35°C). The state doesn’t experience much humidity but nights are quite cool due to the varying temperatures across the state. It is also during this period that one might see the thunderstorms in Utah. It’s mostly dry lightning and dry weather, though there might be the occasional flash flood, especially in southern Utah.
Winters in Utah are more cool than cold with temperatures in January ranging from 30°F (-1.1°C) to 55°F (12.8°C). While some parts may actually experience temperatures of 0°F (-17.8°C), the state does not experience Arctic blasts, owing to the presence of the mountains in the north and the east. The average snowfall across the state would be 60 inches (152.4 cm).
When it comes to rains, the average annual precipitation varies throughout the state. In Salt Lake City, it is 5 inches (12.7 cm) while in the lowlands, it can be 12 inches (30.48 cm). Wasatch Front gets an average rainfall of 15 inches (38.1 cm). Spring and autumn are known to be the best times of the year.
It has been reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that Utah has warmed up by 2 degrees in the last 100 years. This has led people to understanding that in the foreseeable future, Utah’s rivers will start drying. So considering the natural climate of the state, there will be an increase in the number of wildfires as well as their potency. Also, a portion of Utah’s economy is dependent on its farms and cattle ranches and the increasing temperatures are no good for either. The changing climate means that the demand for water is going to go up but its supply is going to go down. Thankfully, the state has started actively implementing plans to control and reverse the phenomenon.
Is It Expensive To Live In Utah?
So, you have decided to seriously contemplate the move to Utah and are now holding a pen and paper trying to figure out how much you would be spending per month in this state. If you are not, you should. And the information presented here is a helpful guide to the same.
Let’s get taxes out of the way first. The sales tax in the state is 6% and property owners pay about 0.6% of the market value of their property as tax. The state has a flat income tax rate of 4.95%. Considering the tax rates, retirees find Utah to be somewhat tax-friendly for them.
Cost Of Living
Utah has a cost-of-living index of 110.8, which is higher considering it was benchmarked against 100 for the US National cost of living index. An average family, say of four people, would need around $2,996 per month for their expenses and a single person would be in want of $843 monthly. Both these numbers are amounts minus the rent of their accommodation.
As and when you go shopping for groceries, you would spend $0.67 for a litre of milk, $2.69 for a loaf of bread, $2.21 for a dozen eggs and $1.88 for a kilogram of potatoes. On the other hand, if you prefer to eat out occasionally, a meal for a single person at a mid-range restaurant costs $12 and for two people would be around $50.
In Utah, a person would be spending $380 or more for a major medical insurance. However, good health means that the premiums you pay would be lower, as could be the price. For people who qualify, Medicaid provides free or low-cost coverage of health services.
Buying A House
The median home price for an apartment in Utah is $408,466. Home values are adjusted seasonally and it is a fact that the prices in Utah have seen a rise of 14% in the last year. However, if you are looking to live in the Wasatch Front corridor, you would have to pay significantly less to buy a house there.
Renting A House
The average rent for a two-bedroom house in Utah would be no more than $1,600. Rent for houses remains fairly stable in the state of Utah.
There is somehow a certain pain in paying for utilities. In Utah, however, that might be on the lower end of the regret spectrum as utilities like electricity, water, garbage, heating and cooling cost some $135 for an average apartment. An internet connection with an unlimited plan in Utah, which is something nobody can do without in this day and age, costs $62.
Coming to transportation costs, these are that category of expenses that accumulate over time. A one-way ticket in a public transport service would cost $2.5 and a monthly pass, $83.75. If you are a taxi-taker, the base fare for that would be $2.85 and the price you would pay per kilometre after is $1.82. People who own cars must know that gas costs $3.153 per gallon.
Utah Economy And Employment Opportunities
Okay firstly, you should know that the median household income in Utah is $71,621 annually, which is not too bad at all. Secondly, it’s worth noting that the gross state product of Utah was $130.5 billion, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2012. That’s interesting considering Utah’s economy is based upon mining, cattle ranching, salt production and government services.
Utah’s economy has the reputation of being dynamic, as in, knowledge based, global, innovative and entrepreneurial. The state was ranked in the first place by Forbes in the ‘Best States For Business’. Utah has not only been called the ‘the new economic Zion’, it is also extremely ‘small-business friendly’. Also, in eastern and central Utah, petroleum and coal production are major industries respectively.
Some of the other things mined in Utah include copper, gold, silver, zinc, beryllium and molybdenum. A lot of mining companies based in Utah are a source of employment for the residents as well as a significant contributor to the economy.
Utah’s electricity production is a lot more than its consumption. The real energy generation capacity of the state lies in its wind power and solar power. The first nuclear power plant is being built in the state along the Green River by the Blue Castle Project, which is slated to be finished by 2030.
Tourism is a dominating industry in the state of Utah. It is only the beginning of its tourism potential that Utah has five national parks, eight national monuments, two national recreation centres, seven national forests and many other state parks and monuments. Adventure enthusiasts may prefer to go to the Moab area for its mountain biking excursion trails as well as the semi-annual Moab Jeep Safari.
The Sundance Film Festival conducted annually in the state calls for a lot of visitors and this is the crowd that spends, giving a boost to the state’s economy. Some other such attractions are the DOCUTAH Film Festival, Red Rock Film Festival and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. The Temple Square and the Utah Data Centre also feature on the must-visit list of places. And one cannot forget the Great Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats and Lake Powell.
Tourism as an industry gives a boost to the rental market, the food industry as well as local businesses engaging in the manufacture of goods unique to Utah. The importance of tourism is such that the state has branded itself along the lines, so as to attract as many tourists annually as possible.
The education system in Utah is such that the primary and secondary schools are of three types throughout the state, which are the public, charter and private schools. This is the K-12 system that the state follows. The Utah State Board of Education takes care of the maintenance of standards and the stringent application of rules for the schools. There are 42 public and 166 private schools and the current student-teacher ratio stands at 1:21.
The Utah system of Higher Education oversees the public colleges and universities in the state, of which there are currently eight. Some of them are Utah State University, Weber State University and others. There are several private universities as well including Westminster College and Brigham Young University.
Getting Around Utah
The state has one international airport that has a reputation for the fewest cancellations among US airports. It services a hundred destinations and more across the country as well as Canada and Mexico. Flights also take off to London, Paris and Amsterdam among many others.
There are a number of regional airports as well like the Provo Municipal Airport, Vernal Regional Airport, Ogden-Hinckley Airport and others.
There are three light rail lines operated by TRAX in the state – the Blue Line, the Red Line and the Green Line. These service the state in terms of rail travel.
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) operates the bus system in the system. It operates across the Wasatch Front from Grantsville to Park City. It also connects to the ski resorts, as do a few other local bus companies, to the east of Salt Lake City. The state also has its share of interstate highways that are put to ample use and play a prominent role in the state transportation services.
Also Read: 7 Most Outdoorsy Cities In The U.S.
Best Cities Of Utah
1. Salt Lake City
As the heart of Utah, the list had to begin with Salt Lake City. As the business and cultural hub of the state, it is also a rather progressive place, accepting and adapting to people from all walks of life. With several museums, theatres and a one of a kind music scene, supported by a strong festival culture, the city is something that will keep one looking forward to things.
The average price of a house here, as per Zillow, is $477,165 and the rent of such a house would be $1,300.
It’s a suburb connected to Salt Lake City, while managing to stay far away from it as well. Sandy is more upscale and has very good shopping, entertainment centres, offices and restaurants. Its environment of big city amenities with a town’s feel makes it ideal for families.
The cost of a house here, on average is $505,217 and the rent of such a house is $1,650, according to Zillow.
A city in the Cache county of Utah, Logan is home to Utah State University. This is also the place where Utah Festival Opera is placed and it plays host to a number of performances all-year round. Not to forget the Logan Canyon with its hiking and biking trails for the people who prefer such outdoor activities.
The average cost of a house here is $286,210 and the rent to be paid for such a house is $1400.
Is It A Good Idea To Move To Utah?
A conclusive answer to that is that moving to Utah is not the worst decision in the world. But how good it is for you would depend upon your assessment of your needs and expectations with the knowledge of what the state offers. But there has seldom been anyone who has regretted moving to Utah.
If a higher cost of living and extreme temperatures during different seasons don’t bother you much, it might be a good idea for you to move to Utah. But of course, that’s considering the state offers you the kind of employment and educational opportunities you seek.
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