Facts about Utah

Find fast facts and figures about Utah.
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Capital: Salt Lake City

Governor: Michael O. Leavitt, R (to Jan. 2005)

Lieut. Governor: Olene Walker, R (to Jan. 2005)

Senators: Robert F. Bennett, R (to Jan. 2005); Orrin G. Hatch, R (to Jan. 2007)

Treasurer: Edward T. Alter, R. (Jan. 2005)

Auditor: Auston G. Johnson, R (Jan. 2005)

Atty. General: Mark Shurtleff, R (to Jan. 2005)

Organized as territory: Sept. 9, 1850

Entered Union (rank): Jan. 4, 1896 (45)

Present constitution adopted: 1896

Motto: Industry

State Symbols:

flower sego lily (1911)
tree blue spruce (1933)
bird California gull (1955)
emblem beehive (1959)
song “Utah, We Love Thee” (1953)
gem topaz
animal Rocky Mountain elk (1971)
insect honeybee (1983)
grass Indian rice grass (1990)
fossil allosaurus (1988)
cooking pot dutch oven (1997)
fish Bonneville cutthroat trout (1997)
fruit cherry (1997)
mineral copper
rock coal (1991)

Nickname: Beehive State

Origin of name: From the Ute tribe, meaning “people of the mountains”

10 largest cities (2000): Salt Lake City, 181,743; West Valley City, 108,896; Provo, 105,166; Sandy, 88,418; Orem, 84,324; Ogden, 77,226; West Jordan, 68,336; Layton, 58,474; Taylorsville, 57,439; St. George, 49,663

Land area: 82,168 sq mi. (212,816 sq km)

Geographic center: In Sanpete Co., 3 mi. N. of Manti

Number of counties: 29

Largest county by population and area: Salt Lake, 898,387 (2000); San Juan, 7,821 sq mi.

National parks: 5

National monuments : 7

State parks/forests: 45 (64,097 ac.)

Residents: Utahan, Utahn

2000 resident census population (rank): 2,233,169 (34). Male: 1,119,031 (50.1%); Female: 1,114,138 (49.9%). White: 1,992,975 (89.2%); Black: 17,657 (0.8%); American Indian: 29,684 (1.3%); Asian: 37,108 (1.7%); Other race: 93,405 (4.2%); Two or more races: 47,195 (2.1%); Hispanic/Latino: 201,559 (9.0%). 2000 percent population 18 and over: 67.8; 65 and over: 8.5; median age: 27.1.

The region was first explored for Spain by Franciscan friars Escalante and Dominguez in 1776. In 1824 the famous American frontiersman Jim Bridger discovered the Great Salt Lake.

Fleeing religious persecution in the East and Midwest, the Mormons arrived in 1847 and began to build Salt Lake City. The U.S. acquired the Utah region in the treaty ending the Mexican War in 1848, and the first transcontinental railroad was completed with the driving of a golden spike at Promontory Summit in 1869.

Mormon difficulties with the federal government about polygamy did not end until the Mormon Church renounced the practice in 1890, six years before Utah became a state.

Rich in natural resources, Utah has long been a leading producer of copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, and molybdenum. Oil has also become a major product. Utah shares rich oil shale deposits with Colorado and Wyoming. Utah also has large deposits of low sulphur coal.

The state's top agricultural commodities include cattle and calves, dairy products, hay, greenhouse and nursery products, and hogs.

Utah's traditional industries of agriculture and mining are complemented by increased tourism and growing aerospace, biomedical, and computer-related businesses.

Utah is a great vacationland with 11,000 mi of fishing streams and 147,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs. Among the many tourist attractions are Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Parks; Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, Timpanogos Cave, and Grand Staircase (Escalante) National Monuments; the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City; and Monument Valley. Salt Lake City will be the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Famous natives and residents:

  • Maude Adams actress;
  • Roseanne actress;
  • Frank Borzage film director and producer;
  • John M. Browning inventor;
  • Butch Cassidy outlaw;
  • Laraine Day actress;
  • Bernard De Voto writer;
  • Avard Fairbanks sculptor;
  • Philo Farnsworth television pioneer;
  • Jake Garn senator;
  • John Gilbert actor;
  • J. Willard Marriott restaurant and hotel chain founder;
  • Peter Skene Ogden fur trader and trapper;
  • Merlin Olsen football player;
  • Donny Osmond, Marie Osmond singers;
  • Ivy Baker Priest former U.S. treasurer;
  • Lee Greene Richards painter;
  • Leroy Robertson composer;
  • Brent Scowcroft business executive and consultant;
  • Reed Smoot first Mormon elected to U.S. Senate;
  • Mack Swain actor;
  • Everett Thorpe painter;
  • Robert Walker actor;
  • James Woodsactor;
  • Brigham Young territory governor and religious leader;
  • Loretta Young actress.
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