Are you thinking about moving to Salt Lake City? Nestled along the Wasatch Mountains, this gorgeous city has so much to offer, from its strong job market and beautiful scenery to outdoor recreation and exciting attractions. Salt Lake City is famous for its nearby ski resorts and the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but you definitely don’t need to be Mormon (or a skier!) to love this diverse city.
Nicknamed the Crossroads of the West and the City of Saints, Salt Lake City is usually abbreviated as SLC or just Salt Lake. The city was founded by Brigham Young and a group of followers in 1847. These early Mormon pioneers were escaping religious persecution and, after arriving in the valley, realized it had everything they needed. They created an elaborate irrigation system and laid out the street grid system for the city which was originally called Great Salt Lake City for the nearby Great Salt Lake.
Young and his pioneers created a state known as the State of Deseret and petitioned for federal recognition in 1849. However, the U.S. Government instead established the Utah Territory. Salt Lake’s population grew rapidly due to an influx of Mormon converts along with Gold Rush prospectors.
Today, Salt Lake City is known for its diverse population, winter sports, and strong economy. Still wondering what makes moving to Salt Lake City a great idea? For a start, it’s been ranked the least stressed city thanks to abundant jobs and a low cost of living – but keep reading to learn more about this gem of a city and all it has to offer.
Salt Lake City Population & Demographics
Salt Lake City is the county seat of Salt Lake County. The largest of Salt Lake County cities, it’s also the capital of Utah and largest city in the state. The population of Salt Lake City is 199,723 with a metro population of 1.256 million. The larger Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo combined statistical area stretches 120 miles along the Wasatch Front with a population of 2.6 million people.
Salt Lake City is located in the Salt Lake Valley of northern Utah sandwiched between the Great Salt Lake, Wasatch Range, and Oquirrh Mountains. The city covers 110 square miles at an elevation of 4,200 to 9,400 feet. It’s about equal distance from Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
The racial and ethnic composition of SLC is 64.5% non-Hispanic white, 5.5% Asian, 2.5% Black or African American, 1.5% American Indian, and 1.5% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Almost 22% of the population is Hispanic.
While Salt Lake City is famous as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons are now a minority in the city. About 49% of Salt Lake County residents are Mormon, but the rate is higher in more rural areas of the county than SLC.
The city is more diverse than many realize! Salt Lake City has a large LGBTQ community and an ever-growing population of immigrants from around the world. The city has a large Hispanic population with Glendale and Rose Park neighborhoods representing the largest populations of Spanish-speaking residents. The city has a Bosnian-American population of 8,000 and communities of immigrants from Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Salt Lake has a notable Pacific Islander population, mostly from Tonga and Samoa, who mostly belong to the LDS Church and live in Poplar Grove, Glendale, and Rose Park neighborhoods.
There have been plenty of famous Salt Lake City residents including singer Stevie Nicks, rapper Post Malone, and actor Robert Redford.
Additional Salt Lake City demographics:
- Median age: 32.9
- Sex ratio: 51% male to 49% female
- Median household income: $63,971
- Per capita income: $39,695
- Educational attainment: 90% high school grad or higher; 47% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Foreign-born population: 17.8%
What Is the Cost of Living in Salt Lake City, UT?
Can I afford to live in Salt Lake City? That may be a big question you are asking yourself ahead of moving to Salt Lake City, UT. The cost of living index and the average cost for common items can help you compare SLC to where you are living now.
The Salt Lake City cost of living index (COLI) is 104.7. That means it’s 3.3% more expensive than the national average. Groceries, healthcare, and housing are a bit over average, but utilities are 12% more affordable than the U.S. average.
The BLS tracks consumer prices and average annual expenditures, helpful tools for understanding how much it costs to live in the area. Salt Lake City is in the Mountain division which has seen consumer prices increase 7.7% year-over-year compared to the national city average increase of 6.8%. According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average household in the West has the following annual spending:
- Housing: $25,548
- Transportation: $10,146
- Food: $8,398
- Insurance and pensions: $7,724
- Healthcare: $4,916
- All other spending: $11,037
Learn more about the Salt Lake City cost of living here.
SLC Typical Living Expenses
You can better understand the average cost of living in Salt Lake City by comparing these typical expenses to what you pay now.
- Dozen eggs: $2.21
- Potatoes (5 lb. bag): $3.40
- Steak (1 lb. ribeye): $11.90
- Loaf of bread: $2.40
- Gallon of milk: $2.70
- Chicken breast (1 lb.): $3.73
- Average monthly utility bill: $130.09
- Monthly UTA pass: $83.75/adults, $62.75/youth, $41.75/seniors or $198/$99 including FrontRunner commuter rails
Salt Lake City Tax Rates
- Utah income tax rate: 4.95% (flat tax rate)
- Salt Lake City sales tax: 6.85% (additional 1% restaurant tax)
- Salt Lake City property tax: Nominal tax rate of 1.2227% assessed on 55% of your home’s market value (effective tax rate of 0.68%)
Property taxes in SLC are well below the national average of 1.1%. Learn more here.
Salt Lake City Real Estate – Average Rent & Home Prices
How much does it cost to live in SLC? Housing isn’t just your biggest expense: it’s one of the biggest factors pushing the cost of living in Salt Lake slightly higher than the national average.
The Salt Lake City housing market is expected to be #1 in the U.S. in 2022 with prices expected to rise 8.5%. Between 2020 and 2022, Utah home prices increased a whopping 28.3%. SLC currently has a very hot housing market with homes selling quickly and for more than list price.
The median home price in Salt Lake City is $490,000. By comparison, the median U.S. home price is $358,000. You can see Salt Lake City, UT homes for sale here to get an idea of what you can afford and explore prices by neighborhood. Make sure you read our complete guide to buying a house in Salt Lake City for tips and first-time buyer programs!
Planning to rent after moving to Salt Lake? The average rent is $1,478 according to RentCafe. Prices vary significantly by neighborhood and you’ll find lower rent in adjacent cities.
- Sugar House: $1,603
- Capitol Hill: $1,575
- The Avenues: $1,568
- Downtown SLC: $1,493
- South Salt Lake: $1,383
- Taylorsville: $1,322
- University of Utah: $1,094
Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City
Want to explore the best places to live in Salt Lake City ahead of your move? The city is home to several large neighborhoods or districts, each with a unique vibe. You’ll find quiet, suburban neighborhoods nestled in the mountains and bustling urban communities packed with amenities. Here’s a quick look at some of the top Salt Lake City neighborhoods!
Sugar House – Exciting Gay-Friendly Neighborhood in Salt Lake Great for Millennials
Sugar House is one of the oldest neighborhoods in SLC and one of the most exciting for singles, millennials, and foodies. Home to several new mixed-use developments, the neighborhood boasts an eclectic business district with fun boutiques, bookshops, art galleries, cocktail lounges, sports bars, and locally owned restaurants. It’s also home to Sugar House Park, one of the city’s best outdoor destinations with lakes, a forest, and rolling hills.
Be sure you read our guide to living in Sugar House and why it’s THE place to be in SLC!
The Avenues – Historic Neighborhood Known for Its Art Scene
The Avenues is one of the safest neighborhoods in Salt Lake and one of the most beautiful. Residents enjoy gorgeous views of the Capitol and the valley with top-rated parks and hiking spots. It’s also home to several art galleries with a thriving art scene and annual street fair.
Capitol Hill – Hippest Neighborhood in Salt Lake City for Singles & Young Professionals
Known for its gothic and Victorian homes, Capitol Hill boasts sweeping views of the city, world-class hiking, and tons to explore. This diverse neighborhood is home to cute bed and breakfasts, artisan coffee shops, lively bars, and, of course, Temple Square, SLC’s most iconic destination.
East Bench – Safe Salt Lake City Neighborhood for Families
East Bench is a perfect community if you can’t decide between the excitement of downtown and close proximity to outdoor recreation. Set against the Wasatch Mountains, East Bench residents enjoy a short drive to downtown or the U of U plus some of SLC’s best elementary schools.
Salt Lake City Climate – What’s the Weather Like in SLC?
Salt Lake City has a humid continental or subtropical climate with four seasons to enjoy. The region is known for having the Greatest Snow on Earth, although Salt Lake City gets far less snow than the famous ski resorts just 30 to 50 miles away! Its valley location, high elevation, and the Great Salt Lake all contribute to climate conditions in the city.
Spring is a pleasant season with high temperatures of 61 to 72°F, but summer highs often soar past 90 or 100°F. Winter brings a great deal of snow with average annual snowfall of 56” and average lows of 21°F.
Be sure to read our in-depth guide to the Salt Lake City climate for a month-by-month look at weather trends and statistics.
Top Places to Eat in SLC
Get ready to dive into the diverse cuisine in SLC where you’ll find everything from Navajo tacos and Northern Italian fare to Japanese ramen and authentic Lebanese food. Here are the best places to hit for a meal after moving to Salt Lake City.
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- The Bayou. This lively eatery serves up Cajun-inspired pub fare with a large selection of beer. The Bayou, 645 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 (801) 961-8400
- R&R BBQ. You’ll love the best Salt Lake City restaurant for barbeque! This fun counter-serve chain serves BBQ by the pound or plate with beers and sides. R&R BBQ, 307 W 600 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 (801) 364-0443
- Caffe Molise. This gorgeous Italian restaurant is a great place for a date or catching up with friends with a cozy, art-filled environment and diverse wine selection. Caffe Molise, 404 S W Temple St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 (801) 364-8833
Fun Things to Do in Salt Lake City
While living in Salt Lake City, you’ll enjoy seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor recreation plus excellent cultural attractions, a fun nightlife, and family-friendly attractions. Here are some of the top things to do in Salt Lake City with kids, on a warm day, or when you’re looking for a thrill!
- This Is The Place Heritage Park is an important Salt Lake landmark with a monument marking where Brigham Young, leading a congregation of Mormon followers, declared “This is the place” he saw in his vision as they emerged from Emigration Canyon.
- Lagoon Amusement Park in neighboring Farmington is one of the top Salt Lake City attractions for thrill-seekers with 10 roller coasters
- Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is a fun, family-friendly destination with more than 2,400 marine animals including stingrays and penguins!
- Temple Square is the iconic city center of Salt Lake and a 10-acre complex owned by the LDS Church. Known for its gorgeous landscaping and architecture, it features holiday lights and regular events.
- Hogle Zoo is one of SLC’s best family-friendly attractions with 42 acres of exhibits and over 800 animals to see!
- Clark Planetarium is located at The Gateway Mall and boasts 10,000 sq ft of free exhibits and a 3D IMAX Theater! Check out our Clark Planetarium visitors guide before you go.
- Vivint Arena is an upscale arena home to the Utah Jazz that hosts regular concerts and touring acts.
Entertainment & Arts
- Salt Lake Tabernacle is home to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and iconic organ with more than 11,600 pipes.
- Abravanel Hall is home to the Utah Symphony, known for its unique performances and long recording history.
- USANA Amphitheater is the largest music venue in metro SLC and hosts major artists and events.
- Eccles Theater is a beautiful performing arts venue with a small black-box theater and large main stage.
- Natural History Museum of Utah is the best museum in Salt Lake City for dinosaur lovers with an impressive fossil collection including one-of-a-kind specimens.
- Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City with kids with dozens of interactive exhibits for all ages. Check our complete guide to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum.
- The Leonardo is an exciting art and science museum inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s philosophy on education and curiosity.
- Church History Museum in Temple Square is open to the public and features artifacts and art covering the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the founding of Salt Lake Valley.
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Parks & Outdoors
- Sugar House Park is a top destination for bicycling, picnics, and soccer games in the summer.
- Liberty Park is one of the largest parks in Salt Lake City with paddle boats, a duck pond, a museum, and an aviary.
- Great Salt Lake State Park is a large recreation area with beautiful views of the lake and boat slips. Check out our complete guide to visiting the Great Salt Lake!
- Red Butte Garden is a beautiful botanical garden and arboretum next to the Natural History Museum of Utah.
- Trolley Square is an iconic early 20th century trolley barn-turned-mall with a small museum and restaurants.
- City Creek Center is an upscale shopping center with dining and more than 100 shops.
- The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City is SLC’s main entertainment district. This outdoor shopping center is home to the planetarium, children’s museum, and movie theater.
Map of Salt Lake City Attractions
Salt Lake City Utilities & Getting a UT Driver’s License
Set on moving to Salt Lake City, UT? Make sure you know how to set up SLC utilities and get your driver’s license before you settle in!
The following are utility providers in SLC.
- Electricity: Rocky Mountain Power (start service)
- Natural gas: Dominion Energy Utah (start service)
- Water & trash: City of Salt Lake
To transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you will need to visit a Driver License Division office. You can complete the application online here. You will need to provide proof of residency, identity, and Social Security number then pass a written test. Read our step-by-step guide on how to get a Utah driver’s license for more information!
Salt Lake City Sports
Is Salt Lake City a good place to live for sports? Absolutely, especially if you love outdoor recreation!
Salt Lake City is home to several major-league sports teams:
- Utah Jazz (NBA) play at Vivint Arena
- Real Salt Lake (MLS) play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy
- Utah Warriors (Major League Rugby) play at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman
The city is also home to a minor league baseball and ice hockey team.
Outside professional sports, Salt Lake and the greater Wasatch Front offers world-class outdoor recreation and sports. While living in Salt Lake City, you can enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Snowboarding and skiing are very popular in the area with 8 ski resorts within 50 miles of Salt Lake City!
How to Get Around Salt Lake City | SLC Public Transportation, Airport & Highways
Getting around Salt Lake City is easy as a resident or visitor! You’ll notice SLC has unusual addresses – that’s because the city has a street grid system created when it was founded. The Salt Lake Temple has a stone marker that is the Base and Meridian, the epicenter of the grid (0 East, 0 West, 0 North, and 0 South). The grid system and street numbering system expands outward from there in increments of 100. You can read addresses like coordinates, thus one block north of the temple is 100 North.
You can use public transportation in Salt Lake City to make your commute or night out easier. There is a light rail system called TRAX with 50 stops on three lines, a UTA bus system that serves downtown and the suburbs, FrontRunner, the commuter rail that runs along the Wasatch Front corridor from Provo to Ogden, and the Sugar House streetcar serving the South Salt Lake area.
Salt Lake City is also served by I-15, I-80, and I-215 and the Salt Lake City International Airport just four miles outside downtown.
Click here to check our complete guide to Salt Lake City public transportation and getting around the city!
Salt Lake City Crime
Is Salt Lake City, UT safe? Ahead of living in SLC, you probably want to know about crime and the safest places to live.
The Salt Lake City crime rate is 6,907 total crimes per 100,000 people, more than twice the national average. The violent crime rate is 730 violent crimes per 100,000 people and there are 6,177 property crimes per 100,000 people.
Despite this high crime rate, Salt Lake City is a safe city with the vast majority of crime focused in just a handful of areas.
We have an in-depth guide to crime in Salt Lake City that covers crime statistics, a SLC crime map, dangerous areas, and the safest neighborhoods. Make sure you check this resource to find the safest places to live!
Salt Lake City Economy
Salt Lake City’s economy is diverse with major industries that include:
- Finance with the country’s largest industrial banking center
- Shipping and transit thanks to its strategic location as the Crossroads of the West
- Government with federal, state, and local governments all maintaining a large presence in SLC
- Health care with the region’s largest healthcare provider and several hospitals
- Education with several major universities and colleges
- Seasonal tourism with several major ski resorts nearby
Utah is #1 in the nation for GDP growth with a GDP that grew more than 19% over the last five years.
Salt Lake City, UT Healthcare
Health care education and health care services are major aspects of the SLC economy. Intermountain Healthcare, headquartered in the city, is the Intermountain West’s largest healthcare system with hospitals, clinics, a medical group, affiliate networks, telehealth, and homecare services. Utah has one of the best healthcare systems in the country, ranking #2 for healthcare quality and #1 for cheapest healthcare premiums.
Salt Lake City’s University of Utah Hospital is ranked the #1 hospital in Utah by U.S. News. This teaching hospital is nationally ranked in 2 specialties: #11 in the nation for ophthalmology and #30 for cancer. U of U Health is frequently honored as one of America’s best hospitals.
Jobs in Salt Lake City | Average Salary & Major Industries
How much does it cost to live in Salt Lake City? The average salary is a helpful place to start. The average salary in SLC is $70,000 or $19.33 per hour according to Payscale. The BLS reports an average weekly wage of $1,211 for the Salt Lake City area during the second quarter of 2021. That’s average for the U.S. and far above the average of $862 for neighboring Tooele.
Here is the average income for common job titles.
- Software Engineer: $81k
- Human Resources Manager: $69.5k
- Financial Analyst: $58k
- Registered Nurse (RN): $28/hour
- Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA): $14/hour
- Office Manager: $20/hour
Many Salt Lake City jobs are created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The church operates its central offices and a for-profit wing called Deseret Management Corporation. Subsidies include Deseret Mutual (insurance carrier), Bonneville International Corporation (KSLAM, KSL-TV, and other radio stations), Deseret Book (publisher and bookstores), Deseret Morning News (second-largest daily paper in Utah), Temple Square Hospitality (operates downtown properties), and Utah Property Management Associates (manages apartment and commercial properties).
Other major employers in Salt Lake City include:
- Intermountain Healthcare
- Sinclair Oil Corporation
- University of Utah
- Zion’s Bank
- State of Utah
- Delta Airlines
- Utah Transit Authority
Ready to explore career opportunities before moving to Salt Lake City? You can start your search on Indeed, the City of Salt Lake job board, and the Salt Lake County jobs center. You can also explore the best places to work in Salt Lake City according to Glassdoor employee ratings.
Schools in Salt Lake City, UT
While living in Salt Lake City, you will likely be served by the Salt Lake City School District which serves most neighborhoods in the city limits. The district has over 23,000 enrolled students in 42 schools. Unfortunately, high birth rates in SLC mean large classrooms and low spending per student. It pays to research neighborhoods carefully when choosing where to live.
There are several highly rated private schools in SLC as well as public charter schools that offer a good alternative to traditional public schools. Salt Lake’s Academy for Math Engineering and Science is rated the #1 high school in Utah with a STEM-based curriculum while Rowland Hall is a private college preparatory school with an internationally renowned ski academy!
You can learn more with our complete guide to the best school districts in Salt Lake City.
After moving to Salt Lake City, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for higher education:
- University of Utah or The U is a nationally ranked public research university with 150 departments and programs divided into 17 schools and colleges including the College of Health, College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing.
- Westminster College, a private liberal arts college.
- Salt Lake Community College
- Brigham Young University (45 miles away in Provo)
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Does living in Salt Lake City sound like the right move for you? At Wasatch Moving Company, we’re standing by to help you settle into your new neighborhood without the stress, no matter where you’re coming from!