The region that now forms the state of Utah was inhabited almost entirely by Native Americans as late as 1847, when Brigham Young led followers of the Mormon Church into the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Since that time, the state’s immigration has been has been colored by the powerful presence of the church, which has maintained an aggressive worldwide missionary program to find new converts, many of whom have come to Utah. The state has also attracted large numbers of American-born Mormons and has one of the most homogenous populations of any American state.
Prior to the arrival of Mormon pioneers in Great Salt Lake Valley, the Native American Ute nation dominated the region now known as Utah. Soon after the establishment of Salt Lake City in 1847, more than 70,000 Americans migrated to Utah. Most of these immigrants were Mormon followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The vast majority of these early settlers were white Americans from the eastern United States. However, as they were moving into the region and establishing new settlements along the Wasatch Mountains range, other new immigrants were also beginning to enter the region.
In 1850, only fifty African Americans were known to be living in Utah; half of them had come as slaves. In 1870,
The main impetus for foreign immigration into Utah was the
The early twentieth century saw the beginnings of heavy industry in Utah with the establishment of large
Most immigrants coming to Utah sought land suitable for farming, while they followed the teachings of the Mormon Church. By the early twentieth century, Utah’s economy was centered on agriculture and the development of sustainable food crops for livestock. Many
By the early twenty-first century, Utah’s population had become more diverse, but 90 percent of the state’s residents were white. The large percentage of white residents was partly due to the high rate of natural increase among Mormons, whose church encourages early marriage and large families. A similar percentage of residents were born in the United States. Thanks in part to the Mormon Church’s past policy of excluding people of African descent from enjoying full membership, Utah’s African American population was very small, but Hispanics constituted about 8 percent of the state’s total population.
Alexander, Thomas G. Mormons and Gentiles: A History of Salt Lake City. Boulder, Colo.: Pruett Publishing, 1984. Mulder, William. Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. Stegner, Wallace. The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. Stipanovich, Joseph. The South Slavs in Utah: A Social History. San Francisco: R&E Research Associates, 1975.
History of immigration after 1891
Pacific Islander immigrants