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­WELCOME TO UTAH

From its roots as a youthful Western state known for its spectacular scenery, Utah has emerged as a vital force within the western United States, the nation, and the global marketplace. Since the last decade of the 20th century, the state's exceptional resources and economic growth have drawn praise and attention from every sector. Utah has garnered accolades for its leading economy, fiscal management, booming housing market, healthy populous, educated workforce, positive business environment, and recreational amenities.

Expert voices from the Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast to Financial World, US News and World Report, and Time magazine have all recognized the emergence of Utah as one of the nation's premier areas. Demographically, the state is unique. Within the area known as the Wasatch Front, 77 percent of the state's population occupies only 4.4 percent of the land. Taking its name for the views of the Wasatch Mountains to the east, this region includes Salt Lake City, Ogden, Orem, and Provo. As metropolitan centers expand, the pristine rural areas that surround them continue to develop as well.

Transportation amenities include an efficient interstate network supported by 43,000 miles of highways and Amtrak passenger rail service. Utah Transit Authority (UTA) provides public transportation service to the Wasatch Front with a focus on the metropolitan areas of Salt Lake, Ogden, Provo, and Orem. In addition to extensive bus service, UTA operates TRAX, a light rail network that offers daily commuter service to thousands of regional residents.

Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of Utah's robust economy, spearheaded by an active service sector that includes computer software, healthcare, catalog divisions, and temporary services. Telemarketing operations are prolific, encouraged by the state's geography, time zone, and multilingual employees. Booms in trade, tourism, manufacturing, and construction have encouraged the growth of finance, insurance, aerospace, electronics, and real estate.

Services

Utah's educational system is strongly supported, and nearly half of the state's budget is devoted to public school districts or state-supported colleges and universities. The results are impressive: Utah claims the nation's highest literacy rate and ranks among leading states for percentage of college graduates. More than 80 private schools and nearly a dozen private institutions of higher education guarantee expansive opportunities for a first-rate education.

Recognized as one of the healthiest states, Utah is a leader in affordable healthcare. Statewide efforts have resulted in a collaboration between hospitals and service providers to contain costs. Respected medical schools and research facilities ensure state-of-the-art care, anchored by the University of Utah Health Sciences Center with its University Hospital, School of Medicine, and School of Nursing. More than 50 hospitals throughout the state combine with a network of clinics, specialized professionals, and social services to meet every need.

Lifestyle

From the earliest days of its settlement, Utah has encouraged artistic expression and appreciation. The Utah Arts Council is distinguished as the oldest state arts council in the nation, representing more than 400 organizations and groups for the performing, visual, and literary arts. The magnificent 2,800-seat Abravanel Hall and Art Center Complex as well as the elegant 2,000-seat Capitol Theatre are just two of the outstanding venues dedicated to the performing arts.

Talented performing companies and cultural organizations guarantee a calendar of world-class entertainment. One of the largest ballet companies in the nation, Ballet West attracts elite dancers from around the globe. Other popular groups include the Repertory Dance Theatre, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Pioneer Theatre Company, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Utah Opera Company, and the Utah Symphony.

Utah has always been associated with breathtaking scenery, dramatically diverse terrain, spectacular rock formations, deep gorges, rushing rivers and streams, and acres of virgin forest. Low humidity and high-mountain splendor combine to offer the "Greatest Snow on Earth." The ideal skiing conditions of fresh powder and sunny skies draw residents and visitors to the state's world-class resorts. So outstanding are these winter-sport facilities that the International Olympic Committee selected Salt Lake City as the site of the 2002 Winter Games.

The natural wonderland of Utah boasts five national parks, six national monuments, two national recreational areas, and nine million acres of national forests for virtually unlimited outdoor adventure and exploration. Nearly 80 percent of Utah's land is publicly owned. Considered the cycling center of the United States, the state offers alpine vistas or red-rock beauty to mountain bikers and road cyclists. Idyllic settings are available for hiking, backpacking, rock-climbing, off-roading, horseback riding, boating, water-skiing, hot air ballooning, parasailing, skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, and skating.

The percentage of homeowners in Utah is high, encouraged by affordable housing and a wide selection of attractive homes. Newcomers can choose from charming older homes surrounded by mature greenery in established neighborhoods or newer construction. Spacious tri-levels in modern developments, sprawling ranch-style houses surrounded by generous acreage, horse properties, magnificent mansions, or handsome estates are all available in Utah's blend of urban and rural areas.

Many of the quality of life distinctions that continue to attract new business to Utah serve as magnets for residential growth as well: The comparatively low cost of living, educational excellence, superb healthcare facilities, and the kaleidoscope of recreational and cultural opportunities. Little wonder that an exclamation point often follows the state name. For climbing the career ladder or speeding down the ski slope, the place to be is Utah!