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Salt Lake City, Utah
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Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah, a state of the United States of America.

As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 181,743 (159,936 in 1990). The population of the Salt Lake Metro Area is over 1 million. It is the largest city in the state and the county seat of Salt Lake County.

Salt Lake City was the host of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Table of contents
1 History
2 City Layout & Major Attractions
3 Economy
4 Higher Education
5 Geography & Climate
6 Demographics
7 Politics
8 External Links


On July 24, 1847 143 men, three women and two children founded Salt Lake City on the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. These members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) sought to escape religious persecution against Mormons and were the first people of European descent to permanently settle in the area now known as Utah. Brigham Young was leading the Saints west after the death of their church founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. Upon arrival to the Salt Lake valley, Young reportedly confirmed a vision by saying, "This is the right place". Originally called "Great Salt Lake City", it was renamed upon becoming a territorial capital.

City Layout & Major Attractions

The city itself is laid out in a grid plan with most streets running precisely north-south or east-west. The origin of the grid is the south-east corner of Temple Square, the location of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Street addresses are coordinates within the grid system, and one might speak of the intersection of 700 East and 3300 South, for instance. Locals verbalize these numbers as either "seventh east and thirty-third south" or "seven hundred east and thirty-three hundred south," both styles indicating the same coordinate. (A street block is commonly 100 units long, 1/8 of a mile) [1].

Salt Lake City's downtown core houses an impressive collection of old and new structures with several twenty-plus story steel and glass towers adjacent to late nineteeth century brick and mortar. The tallest building in the city is the LDS Church Office Building, a 26-story New International style structure housing the major offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other important buildings are the Delta Center, Wells Fargo Center, One Utah Center, the Salt Lake City Public Library, the historic Tabernacle, the Salt Lake LDS Temple, and the newer Conference Center of the LDS Church which seats about 20,000.

Hogle Zoo is at the foot of the mountains on the east bench, and Liberty Park just southeast of downtown. Salt Lake City is serviced by the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Winter snow-skiing destinations such as Alta, Snowbird, Park City, Solitude, Brighton and other ski resorts can be reached in less than a half-hour drive from some places in the metro. The proximity of the ski resorts adds to the Utah boast of the "Greatest Snow on Earth".

Salt Lake City is home to the Utah Jazz National Basketball Association team, as well as the Salt Lake Stingers minor league baseball team.

See also: Buildings and sites of Salt Lake City, Utah


Salt Lake City has quite a number of informal neighborhoods that are well known throughout the city and even noted on most local maps. One of the most recognizable is The Avenues to the northeast. The avenues are a district of old houses built at a similar time on perfectly rectangular blocks defined by streets named after letters of the alphabet, and avenues (1st, 2nd, etc). Other neighborhoods include:

The LDS church also divides the city (and other locations where it is strong) into stakes and wards. A stake is roughly analogous to a diocese, and a ward is similar to a parish. Due to the pervasive influence of the LDS church within Utah, even those who aren't members of the LDS church are often aware of what ward they are in.


The economy of the city is primarily services-oriented. While nearby Kennecott Copper Mine provided a strong source of income during the 19th century, the city has evolved to an economy built on transit hubs, call-centers, and seasonal tourism. The 2002 Olympic Winter Games gave a great boost to the area's economy.

Higher Education

Post-secondary educational options in Salt Lake City include the University of Utah, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Community College, the BYU Salt Lake Center, LDS Business College and a wide range of technical schools.

Geography & Climate

Salt Lake City is located at 40°45'17" North, 111°53'33" West (40.754700, -111.892622)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 285.9 km² (110.4 mi²). 282.5 km² (109.1 mi²) of it is land and 3.3 km² (1.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.17% water.

The city is located in a large valley, the Salt Lake Valley, separated by the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west.

Like most of the cities stretching north and south of Salt Lake City (See Ogden and Provo), it lies at the base of the Wasatch Mountains which in some places rise impressively 6,000 feet above the valley floor. This metro area is known commonly as the Wasatch Front.

Winter weather is not as harsh as Cheyenne, Wyoming or Denver, Colorado because of the moderating effect of the Great Salt Lake to the northwest of the city. Temperatures seldom fall below 0°F/-18°C for any length of time.

Summers are likewise moderated somewhat by the lake, but also by the city's elevation of approximately 4,400 feet. Days over 100°F/38°C occur on average 8 times per year, but such days are not terribly uncomfortable due to generally low humidity in arguably the most arid area of the country.

Snowfall is frequent from December through March, but it is unusual for any one storm to accumulate more than 12 inches/30 cm on the valley floor. Bench locations near the mountains often receive substantially more. Rain in summer is sporadic. The summer monsoons rising from Mexico and Arizona begin affecting the region by mid July and continue through September, occasionally bringing intense thunderstorm activity.


As of the census of 2000, there are 181,743 people, 71,461 households, and 39,803 families residing in the city. The population density is 643.3/km² (1,666.1/mi²). There are 77,054 housing units at an average density of 272.7/km² (706.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 79.20% White, 1.89% African American, 1.34% Native American, 3.62% Asian, 1.89% Pacific Islander, 8.52% from other races, and 3.54% from two or more races. 18.85% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 71,461 households out of which 27.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% are married couples living together, 10.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 44.3% are non-families. 33.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.48 and the average family size is 3.24.

In the city the population is spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 15.2% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 101.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,944, and the median income for a family is $45,140. Males have a median income of $31,511 versus $26,403 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,752. 15.3% of the population and 10.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 18.7% are under the age of 18 and 8.5% are 65 or older.


Salt Lake City's political demographics are unlike much of the rest of Utah and its cities and counties where mostly Republicanss or conservative citizens dominate and are represented by politicians of similar persuasion. About half of Salt Lake City's population are members of the LDS Church compared with about 75% for Utah as a whole or about 90% for the State's more rural municipalities.

External Links

Regions of Utah
Great Salt Lake Area | Wasatch Front
Largest Cities
Bountiful | Centerville | Cottonwood Heights | Draper | Kearns | Layton | Logan | Midvale | Murray | Ogden | Orem | Provo | Roy | Salt Lake City | Sandy | South Jordan | St. George | Taylorsville | West Jordan | West Valley City
Beaver | Box Elder | Cache | Carbon | Daggett | Davis | Duchesne | Emery | Garfield | Grand | Iron | Juab | Kane | Millard | Morgan | Piute | Rich | Salt Lake | San Juan | Sanpete | Sevier | Summit | Tooele | Uintah | Utah | Wasatch | Washington | Wayne | Weber