Taking its name from the Ute tribe of Indians, Utah is the thirteenth largest and sixth most urbanized state in the United States of America. Approximately 80% of its 2.7 million residents live along the North-Central corridor of the state, centering on Salt Lake City. In 2008, Utah had the fastest growing population. Over 60% of the population are of the Mormon religion, making Utah the most densely religiously homogeneous state of them all.
A geologically diverse state, Utah is located at the junction of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin. The state has both deserts and heavy forests as well as low valleys and mountain peaks. Approximately 85,000 square miles make up the state, and the elevation ranges between 2000 to over 13,000 feet above sea level, with a median of 6100 feet above. The Great Salt Lake covers 2,100 square miles, with an average depth of 13 feet. Originally home to primarily the Anasazi and Fremont tribes, Utah was explored by diverse parties from the Conquistador Coronado (who was searching for his Seven Cities of Gold), to fur trappers and traders (one such person, Ernest Provost, was the man that the city of Provo was named after) and religious expeditions, from the Catholic Dominguez-Escalante Expedition of 1776 to the well known Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young in 1847.
When the Mormons arrived the area that became Utah belonged to Mexico, but after the Mexican-American War it became American territory. Tensions quickly arose between the Mormons and the federal government, mostly due to the practice of plural marriage, and troops were even sent in what is referred to as the Utah War. But, when the troops finally arrived, Young surrendered control and a series of governors ruled, though many claim that Young still held the true power. Modern Utah is comprised mostly of Caucasians - 95% of the population is white, with Asians at 2.5%, and the rest between split between African-American, Indian, and Pacific Islanders. Most of the population are descended from Northern Europeans, with British ancestry being the largest at 27%. After the 60% Mormon populations, unaffiliated religious people come in at 16%, followed by Catholics at 10%, and the other 14% filled by various Protestant, Pagan, Oriental religions, and the like. Utah is one of the few non-Southern states that has more males than females, though the gap is less than 1%.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan