Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Utah
Moving to Utah — also known as the Beehive State — is an appealing idea. The state is known for its high quality of life, low crime rates, and breathtaking natural vistas, and as a bonus, it’s also cheaper than nearby Colorado. But, you won’t have to compromise when it comes to outdoor recreation or job opportunities.
Even so, the idea of moving can be overwhelming. You might be relocating to one of the most scenic states in the country, but moving is still one of the most stressful events a person may experience. That’s why it’s essential to give yourself peace of mind as much as you possibly can.
The best way to move with confidence is to plan ahead and do your research. Whether you’re merely interested in learning more about the state or are in the beginning stages of relocating, this guide will tell you what you need to know about moving to Utah.
Like the other southwestern states, Utah has a dry, semi-arid climate. It does see four seasons, with hot, sunny summers and snowy winters. Average temperatures range from a brisk 23°F in the winter to 93°F during the summer months.
Utah residents experience some of the lowest humidity in the country. In December, humidity levels can hit 74.3%, and in July, humidity levels drop to 35.9%. Compared to states like Florida, which often reaches humidity levels of 74% or more, Utah is a comfortable place to live for those who don’t like muggy weather.
The arid climate occurs in most parts of the state because of the nearby mountain systems like the Oquirrh Mountain and the Wasatch Range, which form along Utah’s western side. These mountains divert a lot of the precipitation that neighboring states like Oregon and Washington receive from the Pacific Ocean.
However, Utah still exhibits varying weather depending on where you live. For example, southwestern Utah is warm and subtropical. It’s often called Utah’s “Dixie” because it has wet, humid days like many southern states.
Meanwhile, the southern part of the Colorado Plateau provides dry winters and wet summers. In contrast, northern Utah experiences air masses from the north Pacific Ocean and receives more precipitation than other parts of the state.
Moving to Utah presents significant tax advantages. There is a single personal income tax with a flat rate of 5%. State income tax averages $981 per person, which is the 25th highest in the country when compared to the national average. Utah also boasts low property taxes at around 0.58% and no estate tax whatsoever.
In terms of sales taxes, these numbers vary depending on local tax rates. They may be anywhere between 6.10% to 9.05%. Utah sits evenly in the middle on the scale of low to high rates, while California and Washington are among the highest, and Montana and Wyoming are among the lowest.
Generally speaking, Utah could be more tax-friendly, but it has one of the least expensive tax rates in the area compared to the neighboring states. WalletHub ranked Utah as #7 on its list of the best states to be a taxpayer.
Utah Cost of Living
Compared to the national average, the cost of living in Utah is relatively high. Rent, home buying costs, and utilities are higher than in other states, but this is mostly because Utah is home to the ever-growing city of Salt Lake City.
Outside of Salt Lake City, the cost of living isn’t as high, but the quality of life is still excellent. For example, in cities like Logan, Provo, and Ogden, you still have winter sports, great restaurants, and mountain biking opportunities, but you can avoid the higher home prices.
Monthly utility costs are lower than in many other states. However, water costs are high. Utah is in the top ten states for household water bills.
The most expensive places in Utah are Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Sandy, Saint George, and South Jordan. According to salary.com, these cities have a cost of living index of 96.63% or higher, which is slightly below the standard of 100%.
However, Utah’s viable job market and low unemployment rate of 2.6% (compared to the national average of 5.2%) help level out the higher cost of living in the state.
Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Utah expanded its labor force — especially in the tech industry — and still boasts one of the strongest job markets in the country.
In Utah, health insurance is required under the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 84% of Utahns are insured. Most have employer-sponsored coverage, followed by Medicaid and individual private insurance.
Aside from obtaining coverage via the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid, residents can choose from seven major health insurers in the state:
- HS – BridgeSpan Health Company
- HS – Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company
- HS – Molina Healthcare of Utah
- HS – Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah
- HS – SelectHealth
- Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah
Of the best states for education, Utah ranks 10th overall. For higher education, the state ranks 6th, and for pre-K through 12th grade, it is the 21st best state.
Graduation rates are consistently high in Utah. Compared to neighboring states, it had the highest graduation rate in the 2012-2013 school year at 83%. In 2019, the state graduation rate reached 87.4%.
Two Utah high schools were recently ranked among the top 500 in the U.S. News’ Best High Schools rankings, based on college readiness, student performance, and graduation rates.
The state is also home to major universities like the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah State University in Logan, Utah Valley University in Orem, Brigham Young University in Provo, and Weber State University in Ogden. Some of the most popular majors among students in Utah are:
- Research and Experimental Psychology
- Speech Communication and Rhetoric
- Exercise Science and Kinesiology
- Biological Sciences
- Registered Nursing
- Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
- Mechanical Engineering
Most people know Utah for its landscape and access to mountains, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking — but what many may not know is that the area also holds a fascinating history. There is a large Mormon population in Utah, and the state is the center of the religion’s cultural influence.
It’s also the birthplace of the Robin Hood of the West, Butch Cassidy.
In 1844, thousands of Latter Day Saints began to support their new leader, Brigham Young, after the murder of their founder, Joseph Smith. In 1846, Young led his followers about 1,300 miles to the Rocky Mountains and eventually settled in Utah.
Over the next two decades, thousands of Mormon immigrants moved into the Great Salt Lake Valley area. Today, there are more than 2 million Mormons in Utah, which accounts for about a third of the country’s Mormon population.
Prominent outlaw trail for Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch
Interestingly, a couple of Utah’s early Mormon settlers birthed one of the West’s most villainous robbers and outlaws. Robert LeRoy Parker, also known as Butch Cassidy, was considered the Robin Hood of the West.
He was the infamous leader of a gang of criminal outlaws known as the Wild Bunch in the Old West throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of their biggest heists included robbing the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, Colorado of $20,000 in cash — which equates to $600,000 today.
How to Make Moving to Utah Hassle-Free
Although exciting, moving to Utah may still feel like a challenge because there seems to be a never-ending list of things to do. To lessen the load, here are some tasks you can do now to decrease the stress:
- Clean out your home and leave behind what you won’t use. There’s no reason to bring along something that you may end up giving or throwing away later. Plus, excess weight will affect your total cost for moving.
- Pack fragile items using bubble wrap and label their boxes with the appropriate “Fragile” stickers to ensure safe transport.
- Hold onto essential documents you may need immediate access to when you arrive in Utah, like birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, and school records.
- If you have a car and plan to fly or drive the moving van, begin researching travel arrangements for shipping your vehicle out of state.
Best Places to Live in Utah
At first glance, Utah appears to be a primarily rural, desert, and farmland state. While geographically this is true, 89% of the population lives in urban areas, with 37% of the total population in Salt Lake City County.
While many popular cities are in the Salt Lake City metro area, it can still be a challenge to figure out which town or city is ideal for you. Here are some of the best places to live in Utah.
It is 85 miles north of Salt Lake City and sits along a valley near the U.S. Highway 89, so you can expect both easy commutes and access to the greatest snow in the country during ski season.
Logan is known for being tucked away in vast green pastureland, with plenty of farms, breathtaking foliage, as well as arts, culture, and cuisine. Located near several state parks, it’s a prime location for raising children and enjoying the great outdoors.
Ogden is a bustling city about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City with a growing population of 87,000 people.
Ogden is known for its historic buildings, proximity to the Wasatch Mountains, and Weber State University campus. There are hundreds of locally-owned restaurants, bars, and retailers, but it also serves as an excellent area for high adventure sports like rock climbing and snowboarding.
As part of the Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan area, Kaysville is a beautiful suburban city with around 32,000 residents. There are many things to do, such as adult and youth sports leagues, community events, parks, and hiking trails.
Kaysville is a great family town. It’s perfect for growing households who want a tight-knit community with an urban feel.
Salt Lake City
The Salt Lake City population, sitting at around 1.25 million people, makes the area the most populous in Utah. In fact, nearly 200,000 people (and counting) currently live directly in the city.
Nicknamed the “Crossroads of the West,” Salt Lake City is home to ski resorts and red rock country, which means you’ll never run out of outdoor recreation options. Culture, arts, dining, shopping, hiking, and, of course, skiing are aplenty in the Salt Lake City area.
Sandy is located within the Salt Lake City metropolitan area and is the sixth-largest city in the state. It is home to the Shops at South Town Mall, the Jordan Commons entertainment, office, and dining complex, and the Mountain America Exposition Center.
Sandy is a hub for all things entertainment, arts, and culture. The city also plans to expand on walkability and become a transit-oriented city.
St. George is located on the southwestern corner of Utah. It is famous for its outdoor recreational activities and proximity to several state and national parks like Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Sand Hollow State Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and the Grand Canyon.
There are plenty of trails, dunes, streams, and cliffs to explore in this southern region of Utah, and it is also close to tourist hotspots like Las Vegas and Phoenix. There are currently around 90,000 residents with a regional population in the Metropolitan Statistical Area of about 172,000.
There’s no question as to why moving to Utah is a grand idea. It’s a breathtaking state with five national parks, vast mountains, flowing rivers, hiking trails, and fantastic ski opportunities at sites like Park City Mountain Resort. It’s also known as a cultural hub for arts and entertainment, with world-famous events such as the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
If you’re ready to move to Utah, you’ll want to plan ahead to ensure that the move is stress-free and everything goes according to plan. One of the best things you can do is to set up car transportation arrangements as soon as possible. Check out how to ship your car to Utah with Guardian Auto Transport.
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