The Salt Lake City Life

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Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With an estimated population of 183,171,  the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area , which has a total estimated population of 1,130,293. Salt Lake City is further situated in a larger  urban area known as the  Wasatch Front, which has an estimated population of 2,298,915.

The city was founded in 1847 as Great Salt Lake City by a group of  Mormon pioneers led by their prophet, Brigham Young, who left behind hostility and violence in the Midwestern U.S. They extensively irrigated and cultivated the arid valley and faced prosecution from the U.S. government for their practice of polygamy, which was officially discontinued in 1890. Today, Salt Lake City is still home to the headquarters of  The Church of Jesus christ of Latter-day Saints.(LDS, also known as the Mormon Church).
Mining Booms and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed the Crossroads of the West. Salt Lake City has since developed a strong outdoor recreation tourist industry based primarily on skiing. Salt Lake City was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics and is the industrial banking center of the United States.

Geography of Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is located at 40°45'N 111°53'W? / ?40.75°N 111.883°W? / 40.75; -111.883. The total area is 110.4 square miles and has an average elevation of 4,327 feet above sea . The lowest point within the boundaries of the city is 4,210 feet near the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake, and the highest is Grandview Peak, at 9,410 feet.


The climate of Salt Lake City is characterized as  semi-arid with four distinct seasons. Both summer and winter are long, with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters, and with spring and fall serving as brief but comfortable transition periods. The city receives 16.50 inches of precipitation annually.Spring is the wettest season, while summer is very dry. Snow occurs on average from November 6 to April 18, producing a total average of 61 inches.


At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 80.6% White (67.3% non-Hispanic White alone), 4.0% Black or African American, 1.9% American Indian and Alaska Native, 4.7% Asian, 1.5% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 9.4% from some other race and 2.0% from two or more races. 21.5% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

37.0% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher. 18.5% of the population was foreign born and another 1.1% was born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s). 27.0% spoke a language other than English at home.

As of the  census of 2000, there are 181,743 people (up from 159,936 in 1990), 71,461 households, and 39,803 families residing in the city. This amounts to 8.1% of Utah's population, 20.2% of  Salt Lake County's population, and 13.6% of the Salt Lake metropolitan population. The area within the city limits covers 14.2% of Salt Lake County. Salt Lake City is more densely populated than the surrounding metro area with a population density of 643.3/km² . There are 77,054 housing units at an average density of 706.4/sq mi.


The modern economy of Salt Lake City is service-oriented. In the past, nearby steel, mining and railroad operations provided a strong source of income with Silver King Coalition Mines, Geneva Stell, Bingham Canyon Mine, and oil refineries. Today the city's major industries are government, trade, transportation, utilities, and professional and business services. The city is known as the "Crossroads of the West" for its central geography in the western United States.

Utah is one of seven states that allow the establishment of commercially-owned industrial banks and most industrial banks in the U.S. have established their headquarters in the Salt Lake City area. High-tech firms with a large presence in the suburbs include eBay, Unisys, Siebel, Micron, L-3 Communications, and 3M.

Law & Government

Since 1979 Salt Lake City has had a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government. The mayor and the seven councilors are elected to four-year terms. Mayoral elections are held the same year as three of the councilors. The other four councilors are staggered two years from the mayoral. Council seats are defined by geographic population boundaries. Each councilor represents approximately 26,000 citizens. Officials are not subject to term limits. The most recent election was held in November, 2009. Three council members were re-elected, including Carlton Christensen, now serving a fourth term and thought to be the longest serving member of the city council in the history of Salt Lake City. Stan Penfold was also elected, and is thought to be the first openly gay member of the council.


The city has elected Democratic Party mayoral candidates since the 1970s. Councilors are elected under specific issues and are usually well-known. Labor politics play no significant role. The city has two elected  openly gay women and an openly gay man, representing the city in the State House and Senate, respectively.

The seperation of church and state was the most heated topic in the days of the Liberal Party and People's Party of Utah, when many candidates would be LDS Bishops. This tension is still reflected today with the Bridging the Religious Divide campaign. This campaign was initiated when some city residents complained that the Utah political establishment was unfair in its dealings with non-LDS residents by giving the LDS Church preferential treatment, while LDS residents perceived a growing anti-Mormon bias in city politics.

The city's political demographics are liberal and Democratic. This stands in stark contrast to the majority of Utah where  Republican and conservative views generally dominate.


In 1847 pioneer Jane Dillworth held the first classes in her tent for the children of the first LDS families. In the last part of the 1800s, there was much controversy over how children in the area should be educated. LDS and non-LDS could not agree on the level of religious influence in schools. Today, many LDS youths in grades 9 through 12 attend some form of religious instruction, referred to as seminary. Students are released from public schools at various times of the day to attend seminary.LDS seminaries are usually located on church-owned property adjacent to the public school and within walking distance.

Because of high birth rates and large classrooms, Utah spends less per student than any other state yet simultaneously spends more per capita than any state with the exception of Alaska. Money is always a challenge, and many businesses donate to support schools. Several districts have set up foundations to raise money. Recently, money was approved for the reconstruction of more than half of the elementary schools and one of the middle schools in the Salt Lake City School District, which serves most of the area within the city limits. There are twenty-three elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools (Highland, East, and West, with the former South High being converted to the South City campus of the Salt Lake Community College, and an alternative high school (Horizonte) located within the school district. In addition, Highland has recently been selected as the site for the charter school Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (SPA). Many Catholic schools are located in the city, including Judge Memorial High School. Rowland Hall- St. Mark's School, established in 1867 by Episcopal Bishop Daniel Tuttle, is the area's premier independent school.

The Salt Lake City Public Library system consists of the main library downtown, and five branches in various neighborhoods. The main library, designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, opened in 2003. In 2006, the Salt Lake City Public Library was named "Library of the Year" by the Amerivan Library Association.

Postsecondary educational options in Salt Lake City include University of Utah, Westminster College, Salt Lake Community College, Stevens-Henager College, Eagle Gate College, The Art Institute of Salt Lake City and LDS Business College. Utah State University and BYU also operate education centers in the city. There are also many trade and technical schools such as Healing Mountain Massage School and the Utah College of Massage Therapy. The University of Utah is noted for its research and medical programs. It was one of the original four universities to be connected to ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet,in 1969, and was also the site of the first artificial heart transplant in 1982.

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