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Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 31st-most-populous, and 10th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million (Census estimate for July 1, 2016), approximately 80% of whom live along the Wasatch Front, centering on the state capital Salt Lake City. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.
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The name “Utah” is derived from the name of the Ute tribe. It means “people of the mountains” in the Ute language. According to other sources “Utah” is derived from the Apache name “Yudah” which means “Tall”. In the Spanish language it was said as “Yuta”, subsequently the English-speaking people adapted the word “Utah”.
Approximately 62% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS (Mormons), which greatly influences Utahn culture and daily life. The LDS Church’s world headquarters is located in Salt Lake City. Utah is the only state with a majority population belonging to a single church.
The state is a center of transportation, education, information technology and research, government services, mining, and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation. In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Utah had the second fastest-growing population of any state. St. George was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States from 2000 to 2005. Utah also has the 14th highest median average income and the least income inequality of any U.S. state. A 2012 Gallup national survey found Utah overall to be the “best state to live in” based on 13 forward-looking measurements including various economic, lifestyle, and health-related outlook metrics.
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The state of Utah is home to an extensive highway system. There are 2,061.979 miles of U.S. Highways within the state. The longest highway in Utah is U.S. Route 89 at 502.577 miles. US 89 runs north-south from the Arizona state line inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the Idaho state line at Bear Lake. There are 5 Interstate highways, making up 977.664 miles. The longest interstate is Interstate 15 at 400.592 miles. I-15 is the primary north-south highway, beginning in the south at the Arizona state line in Saint George and continuing to the Idaho state line into Malad City, ID. The longest east-west Interstate highway in Utah is Interstate 70 at 231.673 miles. I-70 is known as the main route connecting Utah and Maryland, beginning in Cove Fort, and ends at the Colorado state line towards Grand Junction, CO. The only auxiliary interstate, Interstate 215, is also the shortest interstate. I-215 exists entirely within Utah, stretching 28.946 miles from Parley’s Canyon to North Salt Lake City. State Route 24 is the longest Utah State Route at 163.243 miles. SR-24 runs east-west from Salina to Green River. State Route 304 is the shortest Utah State Route, being only 0.086 miles long and primarily serving Hyrum Lake State Park.