Blog: Utah trivia buff? Here’s a book you’ll like

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Blog: Utah trivia buff? Here’s a book you’ll like

By: A. Scott Anderson

Originally published in the Deseret News

Did you know that Salt Lake City’s population has reached the lofty milestone of 200,000 residents? However, as a proportion of Salt Lake County, its population has never been smaller.

What region of the world are most Utah immigrants coming from? If you guessed Latin America (like I did), you would be wrong.

Did you know that Utah national park and monument visitation increased from 10 million in 2010 to over 18 million in 2018, while the number of national park jobs in Utah actually declined over the same period?

Did you ever want to be a Utah trivia champion?

If so, (or even if you just want to learn some interesting things about the state) you should get a copy of the new edition of “Utah Informed: Visual Intellection for 2019.” This 80-page book full of fascinating facts and figures about Utah is published annually by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

The book offers visual snapshots of Utah, ranging from interesting trivia to substantive data. Sections and topics covered include current affairs, Utah’s economy, economic development, public finance, energy and environment, health, real estate and construction, travel and tourism and Utah demographics.

Here’s a sample:

  • Visitors from which foreign country spent the most in Utah in 2017? Canadians spent $190 million. Second was China, whose visitors spent $140 million. France ($42 million), Germany ($42 million) and the U.K. ($40 million) round out the top five.
  • Utah enjoys the nation’s most diverse economy, followed by Missouri, Arizona, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
  • Utah also topped the nation in employment growth in the life sciences industry from 2012 to 2017. Utah’s 5 percent growth was followed by Georgia (4.4 percent), Colorado (3 percent) and Texas and Massachusetts (2.4 percent).
  • Apartments are king in Salt Lake City. A whopping 75 percent of residential building permits in Salt Lake City have been for apartments between 2000 and 2017. Only 11 percent were for single-family detached housing in the city. By contrast, in the balance of Salt Lake County, only 21 percent of building permits were for apartments, while 59 percent were for single-family homes. And in the rest of the state, apartment building permits were only 9 percent, while 69 percent were single family.
  • In 1980, the Utah Jazz took 185 3-point shots and made 59. In 2018, the Jazz attempted 2,425 3-point shots, and made 887.
  • Why are the governor and state legislators seeking to broaden Utah’s sales tax base? In 1980, the sales tax base as a percentage of total personal income was 67 percent. In 2017 it was 42 percent. It is projected to be only 35 percent in 10 more years.
  • Among the 11 western states, Utah’s overall tax burden, at 9.3 percent of personal income, is in the middle of the pack. California, Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico have higher tax burdens, while tax burdens in Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Washington are slightly lower.
  • Residential water bills vary wildly across the state, from $348 for 30,000 gallons in Park City to $26 in Hyrum. Eagle Mountain charges $44, while nearby American Fork charges $140, for the same amount of water.

By the way, most immigrants to Utah are coming from Asia, not Latin America, as I would have guessed. After 2010, some 44.5 percent of Utah’s foreign-born population came from Asia, compared to 34.3 percent from Latin America. But that’s a relatively new phenomenon. Between 2000 and 2010, 63 percent of immigrants came from Latin America, with only 20.2 percent from Asia.

And, while Salt Lake City’s population has reached 200,000, it is only 17.7 percent of the Salt Lake County population. Back in 1920, SLC’s population was about 115,000, but that constituted a whopping 73 percent of the county population.

You can read the book here.

A. Scott Anderson is the President and CEO of Zions Bank.