What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Utah?
Utah is a historically significant and unique place to live. There are currently 3,205,958 residents living in Utah, and the population is growing. With so many people in one state, one has to wonder: what are the pros and cons of living in Utah?
You can find low housing prices and even lower crime rates in Utah, but tax rates are high. Driving conditions are unfavorable, but luckily, car insurance rates are mostly low. Public transportation is available to 80% of Utah residents, and it can save you hundreds or thousands per year.
You have to take the good with the bad when living in a state like Utah. Let’s take a look at whether or not the pros outweigh the cons for Utah residents.
Benefits of Living In Utah
Living in Utah comes with more good than bad, and the weather is a huge part of that. Great weather, low crime rates, and affordable housing prices can be found throughout the state. Follow along as we dive into some of the key benefits that come with living in Utah.
1. Low Crime Rate
Utah is one of the safest states to live in America, and residents face a small chance of crime. Property crime is the most common in Utah, and theft is the most widespread example. Even still, property crime only affects 1 in 46 residents in Utah, which is low compared to California.
Kaysville and Syracuse are the safest places to live in Utah, but there’s no shortage of options. Even popular cities like Salt Lake City are mostly safe and low key. You can find danger in some areas of Utah, such as Vernal, but you can be safe if you exercise caution.
|Location||Violent Crime||Property Crime||Total Crime|
|Utah||2.36 Per 1,000||21.69 Per 1,000||24.05 Per 1,000|
|California||4.41 Per 1,000||23.31 Per 1,000||27.72 Per 1,000|
|Oregon||2.84 Per 1,000||27.31 Per 1,000||30.15 Per 1,000|
Luckily, violence is extremely rare in Utah which accounts for low crime rates. Violence only affects 1 in 424 Utah residents, so you don’t need to worry about that.
The weather in Utah is one of the main selling points of the state, and it’s beautiful year-round. Utah’s lack of humidity makes the hot summers feel bearable and never lets the winter get too cold. Granted, it can get as cold as 23°F during the winter, but when summer rolls around it stays around 90°F.
December and January are the two coldest months of the year in Utah, and that comes with snow sometimes. The snowfall in Utah is part of what makes the region so distinct, and it can be beautiful to look at. Luckily, Utah is used to the snow, and cities can treat and plow the roads for safe commutes.
Extreme weather, such as tornadoes, is rare in Utah but can occur. If a tornado hits in Utah, it will generally happen between May and June. Even still, the weather in Utah is comfortable and mild throughout the year.
3. Affordable Housing
You can find affordable housing no matter where you live in Utah. Housing prices are only a small part of the cost of living in Salt Lake City, and there’s a mix of expensive and affordable homes. Cities such as West Jordan are highly affordable and just above the statewide median home value.
The median home value in Utah is $279,100 and rent averages $1,037 per month. Monthly housing costs are fairly low in Utah as well, and they average $1,551 including mortgage and bills. Mortgage rates vary in Utah, but the average monthly cost for repairs, maintenance, and utilities totals $430.
|Location||Median Home Value||Median Gross Rent|
|Salt Lake City||$314,500||$985|
The cheapest housing options that you can find in Utah are Pleasant Grove, West Valley City, and Taylorsville. No matter where you choose to call home in Utah, you can find a cheap home to buy or an apartment to rent. The average price per square foot to build a home in Utah costs between $109 and $126 in construction costs.
4. Public Transportation
You don’t need to own a car if you live in places such as Salt Lake City, Utah. Granted, not all Utah cities boast public transportation, but the ones that do are solid and extensive. You can find access to public transportation in 75 different cities in Utah, and that makes up 80% of the state.
Everything from shuttles and light rail to city buses can be found in Utah. There is also a commuter rail system that is perfect for those on their morning commute. If you live in Utah and want to save money, take advantage of the public transportation system.
Downsides of Living In Utah
Living in Utah isn’t all paradise all of the time. The high tax rates, strict laws, and unfavorable driving conditions can be major downsides of living in Utah. Let’s take a look at some of the less than favorable aspects of living in Utah.
1. High Tax Rates
Utah is known for having high tax rates, and that starts right with the state income tax. The state income tax rate is 4.95%, and it is a fixed rate without brackets like other states. That bites a sizable chunk out of your yearly income, and Utah residents should look for any write-off that they can find.
|Tax Rates||Average Rate & Cost|
|State Income Tax||4.95%|
|Gasoline Tax||$0.31 Per Gallon|
Sales taxes are quite high in Utah and range between 6.1% and 9.05%, depending on where you live. The minimum sales tax in Utah is 6.1%, but municipalities are allowed to hike the rate up in any given city. This can be tough when it comes to grocery shopping or buying goods, and it can be difficult to get used to.
Some tax rates, such as property taxes, are below the national average, but that’s as good as it gets in Utah. Even the gasoline tax in Utah is high, and you’re taxed $0.31 for every gallon at the pump. Utah doesn’t have the highest tax rates in the United States, but they’re high enough to be a downside.
Driving can be a problem in Utah for many reasons, and that starts with gasoline prices. Gasoline can currently cost up to $2.35 per gallon in Utah, and that can total $1,541 per year for regular drivers. It’s important to remember that you’ll spend an additional $0.31 per gallon, so your bills at the gas station can be high.
High gas prices aren’t the only problem in Utah, and the remoteness of many cities is a major one. You must fill up on gas before driving long stretches in Utah due to the isolation of many locations. It’s often hard to find gas stations, and if you do, they may be few and far between.
Car insurance costs the average Utah driver $1,112 per year, but that varies based on age group and driving history. If you are in your 20s, expect to pay $1,524 per year, or more if you’ve had accidents, on car insurance in Utah.
3. Inversion Layer
An inversion layer is when temperatures fluctuate based on elevation, and it’s common in Utah. Due to elevation changes, high places in Utah often have an uncomfortable inversion layer. The inversion layer effectively keeps smog trapped in place if you live near mountains, and it can be a disturbing sight.
Not only is an inversion layer strange to look at, but it can also be uncomfortable to live in. The combination of the smog and the high elevation can lead to respiratory problems. Whether you already have respiratory problems or you’re sensitive to the high elevation, breathing problems can easily occur.
4. Strict Laws
There are several strange and strict laws in Utah due to the state’s history of being a mostly Mormon community. For example, it is illegal to perform “rain dances” in the state of Utah, and it is a punishable offense. If you like kegger parties, you won’t be able to legally participate in Utah as kegs of beer are outlawed.
There are also restrictions on alcoholic beverages in Utah, and you can’t order one before 11:30 a.m. You may not be able to get a mimosa brunch in Utah, but you can drink until exactly 1 a.m. Not only that, but you cannot buy beer with an alcohol content that is greater than 3.2% in Utah.
Summing It Up
Living in Utah is wonderful, and the low housing prices have a lot to do with that. Unfortunately, the state makes up for it with its high tax rates that are steep. Luckily, most communities in Utah are quite safe, and the state has one of the lowest crime rates in America.
Gas prices and gasoline taxes are high in Utah and driving conditions can be unfavorable. Luckily, there is a wealth of scenery to gaze out as you make long drives between remote cities. The weather in Utah is gorgeous, but it can change quickly and cause negative effects if you live near mountains.
It is well worth living in Utah, and the pros outweigh the cons.
Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
More by Nick Durante