Is Utah a Good Place to Live? (15 Pros and Cons)

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Essential Things To Know Before Moving To Utah

Is Utah a good place to live? I will address the question and present the pros and cons of living in Utah to help you decide.

Is Utah A Good Place To Live?

Based on the state’s vibrant economy, good jobs, family-friendly features, and proximity to beautiful outdoor spaces, Utah is among the best places to live in the United States.

However, local real estate professional Cody Steck says the state isn’t the right fit for everyone. High home prices, expensive rental units, poor walkability, and less than the best commercial entertainment options detract from the region’s otherwise excellent appeal (source).

Consider the above comments a solid starting point. To expand on them, I recommend considering all of the following pros and cons of Utah.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Utah: Side-By-Side Comparison

Living in Utah ProsLiving in Utah Cons
1. Favorable demographics9. Extreme weather
2. Family-friendly10. Drought conditions
3. Outdoor recreation11. Expensive homes
4. Five National Parks12. High income taxes
5. Arts and festivals13. Costly sales taxes
6. Four-season living14. Strict liquor laws
7. Vibrant economy15. Lack of diversity
8. Access to air travel
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Living and Retiring in Utah

Next, let’s go through the pros and cons of moving to Utah in greater detail.

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros Of Living In Utah

1. Utah Is Experiencing Excellent Demographic Trends

Utah’s population is growing.

According to a recent U.S. census report, the state’s population increased by more than 18% during the last ten years. However, the resident count remains well below 4 million people.

Considering the state’s immense wide open spaces, Utah has not experienced the widespread effects of urbanization like other popular destinations in the U.S.

Utah’s population consists of many young people.

The state boasts one of the lowest median ages in the country. A youthful population leads to new ideas, innovation, and economic productivity versus a state with mostly older residents.

2. Utah Is A Family Friendly Place To Live

Utah has low crime and ranks high for personal safety.

A WalletHub study puts Utah near the top of its list as one of the safest states in America. The report is based on various factors, including safety at home, work, and on the roads.

In Utah, students make the most of their educational opportunities.

The state boasts an excellent high school graduation rate. A large percentage of high school graduates also go on to earn bachelor’s degrees.

Utahans are considered friendly and generous by nature. Locals are willing to lend a helping hand and donate to their favorite charities.

3. Outdoor Recreation When Living In Utah

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Utah’s outdoor recreation opportunities are second to none.

Hike and bike in the mountains and forests. Enjoy water sports and fishing in the abundant lakes and rivers.

Cast your gaze at night to some of the brightest, clearest views of the stars you will find.

Ski or snowboard the mountain slopes from fall to spring. Visitors come from far and wide to play on “the greatest snow on earth.”

4. National Parks To Explore And Enjoy While Living In Utah

Utah is home to 5 national parks and is located close to an abundance of scenic beauty and other natural wonders.

The state’s national parks include:

  • Arches
  • Capitol Reef
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Canyonlands
  • Zion

This is not as many national parks as the state of California. But I doubt you will be disappointed.

You can also take a road trip to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. It is nearby and one of the fantastic natural wonders of the world.

While you are in Arizona, check out Flagstaff. You will discover a vibrant mountain town nestled in the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world.

5. Arts And Festivals To Explore And Adore In Utah

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Utah is home to some popular art events and festivals.

First, the well-known Sundance Film Festival is among the largest and most popular festivals. It is held each year in Park City, Utah.

The Utah Arts Festival is held annually in Salt Lake City. Visitors enjoy the live music, film screenings, theatre, and literature this gathering offers.

6. Enjoy Pleasant Climate And 4 Seasons After Moving To Utah

Utah offers four distinct weather seasons for variety throughout the year.

Summers are hot, but humidity is not a factor. Daytime temperatures reach the 80s and 90s. Evenings cool down, making the nights very comfortable.

Fortunately, tornadoes are less significant than in neighboring states like Oklahoma and Kansas.

For Utah winter sports enthusiasts, there is no shortage of snow in this state. But once you leave the mountains, the warmer afternoon temperatures in the valleys quickly reduce the snow to puddles on the ground.

Finally, January is the coldest month. Nighttime lows probe ten degrees. Daytime highs push into the 30s and 40s.

7. Robust Economic Growth In Utah

Utah has a strong economy. Business taxes are some of the most favorable in the United States. Utah also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

For example, U.S. News recently ranked Utah as a top state for business environment, job market, and growth rate.

In comparison, the local economy is not nearly as large as the state of Florida or Texas. But size isn’t everything when it comes to economic productivity.

8. Convenient Air Travel For Coming And Going In Utah

Utah’s Salt Lake City airport is a Western hub for Delta Airlines.  Non-stop international flights are available.

If travel is an essential aspect of your life for business or leisure, then Salt Lake City International Airport covers your needs.

Okay. That concludes the pros of Utah living. But stick around. I have more for you.

5 benefits of living in UtahPin
The benefits of living in Utah

Next, we are reviewing a few reasons not to move to Utah in the first place.

Cons Of Living In Utah

9. Extreme Weather Conditions Can Spoil Your Day In Utah

Utah is in the high desert, so the state gets hot in the summer.

First, it’s common in Central and Southern Utah for warm summer days to turn into consecutive days where the temperature breaks 100.

Next, seasonal thunderstorms can produce flash floods. Lightning strikes will spark summer wildfires. The area also experiences low-intensity earthquakes.

Finally, Northern Utah experiences winter aversion from December through February. Winter aversion occurs when the conditions trap pollutants in the atmosphere. Air quality reaches unhealthy levels and can remain that way for several days.

Fortunately, residents do not have to worry much about hurricanes and tropical cyclones like a warm-weather state on the Gulf of Mexico.

10. Utah Has Been Dealing With Drought Conditions

Utah’s water supply is a concern. A series of droughts in recent years is why large-scale lakes and reservoirs remain nowhere near the desired levels.

For example, Lake Powell remains at 36% of capacity, while the Great Salt Lake’s levels are close to 6 feet below what scientists call the lake’s minimum healthy level.

11. High Cost Of Living In Utah

Utah has a higher-than-average cost of living, led by the rising home prices here.

The increasing population has left houses in short supply. Thus, the region has been in a seller’s market for a while. For example, the median home price in Utah is about 40% higher than the national average.

Search outside of the Salt Lake City, Provo, and Park City metro areas for the lowest home prices. In these areas, the housing stock is the most expensive.

12. Excessing Income Taxes When Living In Utah

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Utah businesses benefit from low corporate tax rates. However, Utah is a high income tax state for individuals.

Plan on paying the government nearly 5% of your income through income taxes. If that sounds unappealing, consider moving to Nevada nearby. Nevada does not charge its residents an income tax.

13. Costly Sales Taxes In Utah

Utah has high sales taxes, averaging more than 7% on purchases. The tax combines the state’s nearly 5% base rate with additional levies from local governments.

So, if you plan on making a lot of money in Utah and spending your money, then the combination of income and sales taxes will take a chunk of your budget here.

14. Utah Is Known For Its Conservative Liquor Laws

Utah is known for its restrictive liquor laws.

Fortunately, gone are the days of private clubs. Previously, you registered as a club member to get a drink. But the laws have changed for the better.

However, it would be best if you still planned for a few inconveniences. For example, you must have food to order an alcoholic beverage. Liquor stores are state-run. Furthermore, the liquor stores are closed on Sundays and certain holidays.

Finally, businesses that sell beer, wine, or spirits must shut down by 1 am. So, if you are an evening person and enjoy frequenting the local establishments late at night, this law may not be for you.

Okay. One last negative about living in Utah. Then, I will wrap up.

15. There Is A Lack Of Diversity In Utah

As I said earlier, Utahans are known to be friendly, helpful, and accepting. However, you won’t find much ethnic, racial, or religious diversity here.

First, most people in this state are white. Furthermore, a majority of the population is Mormon with strong religious beliefs.

Not that there is anything wrong with those things. But, it may make it more challenging to fit in and make friends for some people moving to Utah.

If diversity and fitting in are concerns, you might consider moving to New Mexico. Bordering Utah to the southeast, New Mexico is a state rich in diversity.

Okay. That concludes my top pros and cons of living in Utah. Please allow me to wrap up with some parting thoughts.

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The reasons not to live in Utah explained.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Utah (A Good Place To Live?)

I suspect these points about living in Utah have helped you with these critical questions:

  1. Is Utah a good place to live?
  2. What is living in Utah like?
  3. Is Utah a good place to retire?

Above all, choose your location within the state wisely and carefully consider all of Utah’s pros and cons.

Good luck with your decision, no matter where you choose to live!

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

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The Pros And Cons Of Living In Utah Explained