Utah’s ascension to the top spot in the Best US States Rankings can be attributed to a combination of its robust economy and fiscal stability. While the state’s economic prowess and business-friendly environment undoubtedly contribute to its appeal, the Beehive State’s allure extends far beyond these factors, as experts and residents are quick to emphasize.

At the core of Utah’s success lies its thriving economy, characterized by sustained growth and a diverse range of industries. The US state has cultivated a business environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting companies and talent alike.

USNews Best US State Score

This economic vibrancy not only ensures job opportunities for its residents but also creates a ripple effect that positively impacts various sectors, contributing to the overall well-being of the US state.

Chicago Native Discovers Unexpected Joys in Utah

Vanessa Charcas, an associate account director for a marketing agency, relocated from Chicago to Salt Lake City in 2020, and her experience in Utah has been nothing short of surprising. Hailing from Florida, she never anticipated embracing the slopes, but now, she proudly identifies as part of the local skiing community.

Charcas has found that Utah has a unique way of unlocking hidden aspects of oneself, prompting her to explore new activities and embrace a different side of life in the Beehive State.

“Unless you know someone that lives here or you have visited, you don’t know how much of a gem it is,” adds Charcas, 30. “If you do visit, I’m pretty sure immediately you realize how beautiful it is and what it has to offer.”

Utah’s exceptional qualities, particularly in fields such as the economy and education, have secured its position as the top-ranked state in the United States, according to the 2023 Best States rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

In its fifth iteration, this comprehensive project assesses the performance of all 50 states by evaluating over 70 metrics across eight key categories, including the economy, fiscal stability, healthcare, and crime and corrections. The recognition underscores Utah’s comprehensive strengths and its commitment to providing residents with a high quality of life across various essential aspects.

Utah Tops U.S. Rankings for Economy and Fiscal Stability

Utah, predominantly home to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exhibits consistent success across multiple categories, securing top-15 performances in six of eight categories and a top-20 ranking in another, according to the U.S. News analysis.

Notably, the US state shines brightest in the economy, claiming the No. 1 spot in that category and fiscal stability. Furthermore, Utah excels in the employment and growth subcategories, ranking first and second, respectively, solidifying its position as a leader in economic prowess.

“I think Utah has one of the strongest economies in the country and has for some time,” says Phil Dean, the chief economist and public finance senior research fellow at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Dean, who held a position in the administration of former Republican Governor Gary Herbert, highlights that Utah boasts a “stable tax and regulatory structure,” aligning with the preferences of business leaders.

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The US state’s economic resilience is further emphasized by its industry diversification, encompassing robust energy and tourism sectors, along with a burgeoning finance sector in Salt Lake City, as noted by Ben Blau, Head of the Department of Economics and Finance at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

How Utah’s Educated Population Boosts Economic Success

Blau and Dean emphasize that Utah’s economic strength is influenced by its highly educated population. The US state secures the 5th position in the education category of the Best States project, excelling in metrics such as college graduates‘ debt at graduation and math and reading scores among eighth-grade students.

Additionally, Utah shares the 13th spot with Hawaii for having the highest percentage of the population aged 25 and older with an associate degree or higher.

“I think this human capital aspect from the education system is carrying over into the economy,” Blau says.

Blau and Dean also highlight Utah’s favorable environment for entrepreneurs and startup ventures, a significant driver in its economic narrative. The US state secures the impressive 3rd position in the business creation rate metric of the Best US States rankings, reflecting substantial growth in the private sector.

Furthermore, companies originating in Utah tend to achieve notable success post-inception. Research conducted by Stanford University professor Ilya Strebulaev reveals that, statistically, 1 out of every 61 Utah startups backed by venture capital attains unicorn status—denoting a privately held startup valued at over $1 billion. Notably, Utah’s success rate in this regard surpasses the national average by almost 70%.

Utah’s Unicorn-Friendly Business Scene: Silicon Slopes Insider

Ryan Boswell, senior director of growth at Silicon Slopes—an influential nonprofit fostering connections in Utah’s business, startup, and technology sectors—points to a specific factor behind the US state’s welcoming atmosphere for unicorns.

This compelling aspect not only motivated him to offer free social media support for Silicon Slopes’ 2022 conference but also prompted his full-time commitment to the team

“It’s an ecosystem and community that is different from anything else that I’ve ever seen,” says Boswell, who notes he’s done work on the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast. “There’s not a whole lot of competition, per se. Yes, businesses compete and have competitors. But Utah is all about building up one another and connecting people to create opportunity.”

What Draws Tech Workers to Utah? University Research Points to Natural Beauty.

The allure of Utah for technology sector professionals seems to be closely tied to the state’s breathtaking natural scenery, according to recent research from the University of Utah.

A survey, conducted in late 2020 in collaboration with the university’s Gardner Institute, the nonprofit Utah Outdoor Partners, and Silicon Slopes, revealed that for Utah natives who had left the US state and returned, 82% considered “outdoor recreation options and/or access to wilderness and public lands” as the most crucial factor.

Family (76%) and career opportunities (76%) closely followed. Among those who moved to Utah from elsewhere, 79% cited the outdoors as the primary motivation for choosing the state as their new home.

Utah’s Allure: A Magnet for Talent and Youthful Energy

In a prior survey, 75% of executives from 50 thriving Utah companies cited the ability to attract and retain workers as a decisive factor in choosing the US state as their business location.

Across industries, data reveals a steady influx of newcomers to Utah, particularly among young adults. According to the Best States analysis, the US state leads in the growth rate of 25- to 29-year-olds—a metric within the economy category.

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Consistently ranked as the youngest US state in America by the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah’s appeal extends beyond industries, attracting a vibrant influx of youth. Vanessa Charcas, who joined the networking group Young Professionals Salt Lake City, believes that Utah’s outdoor beauty and booming status contribute to its draw for young people.

“I think people come here and they just see this entire package,” adds Peter Hodgson, co-president of the young professionals group and director of technical product management for an avatar company headquartered in Salt Lake City.

“You can be in a lot of different places at once but still kind of thrive at these bigger companies. And what keeps people here, too, is that there are also maybe smaller or more … entrepreneurial companies. So there’s a lot of opportunity at different levels here.”

Nevertheless, Utah, much like any other US state, faces areas that demand attention and improvement. Despite its renowned national parks and picturesque landscapes, the US state occupies the 46th position in the natural environment category of the Best US States rankings.

This category primarily evaluates US states based on issues related to pollution. Furthermore, recent warnings from scientists and conservationists emphasize a looming threat to the Great Salt Lake, indicating a high risk of its disappearance despite substantial winter precipitation.

Diversity Challenges in Utah: A Local Perspective

According to Charcas, who serves as a committee co-chair at her workplace, she has observed challenges related to diversity and inclusion in the US state.

She notes that many individuals in Utah seem “oblivious” or “close-minded” about diversity and integration issues, potentially stemming from a significant portion of the population being native to the US state and having limited exposure to other perspectives.

Supporting this perspective, data reveals significant inequities in Utah. The US state is ranked 48th in the equality subcategory of the Best States analysis, with particularly poor performance on metrics related to income and labor force participation gaps by gender, as well as educational gaps by race.

Yet while Utah faces deep-rooted problems that won’t be solved overnight, Dean also points to the concept of the “Utah way,” in which people talk to each other and work through issues “instead of just yelling at each other all the time.”

The US state earned its nickname from the concept of bees collaborating harmoniously to sustain the hive.

“That’s sometimes what we call the secret sauce,” Dean says. “That you have all these people that come together, and then that we still can try to work through issues. I’m sure we’re imperfect at doing it, but we try to do that.”

In Conclusion

Utah’s multifaceted appeal, encompassing its thriving economy, fiscal stability, natural beauty, and commitment to education, paints a picture of a US state that not only excels in various key metrics but also fosters a high quality of life for its residents.

From the majestic landscapes that attract outdoor enthusiasts to the vibrant business environment supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, Utah stands as a testament to the harmonious synergy between economic success and the well-being of its diverse population.

As the Beehive State continues to evolve and address challenges, it remains a beacon of growth, resilience, and community – a testament to the collective efforts of those who call it home.

FAQs

Which US State Has the Best Economy?

Utah claims the top spot in the economy and holds the overall #1 position in the Best States rankings. Following closely, Idaho secures the #2 position in the economy and ranks #3 overall. Colorado, with a #3 ranking in the economy, lands at #15 overall. New Hampshire shines at #4 in the economy and secures the #6 position in the Best States

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Overall category. Arizona stands at #5 in the economy but ranks #37 overall. Montana follows at #6 in the economy. Florida takes the #7 spot in the economy, and Texas rounds out the top eight with a strong performance in the economy category. This snapshot illustrates the diverse economic strengths and overall standings of these states.

What US State Has the Best Quality of Life 2023?

WalletHub has recently revealed its rankings for the best and worst US states to live in for 2023. Massachusetts claims the coveted top position, recognized as the most desirable state to reside in.

On the flip side, New Mexico finds itself at the bottom of the rankings, earning the distinction of being the least favorable state to live in. This comprehensive assessment by the personal finance website provides valuable insights into the overall livability and desirability of US states across the nation.

Which State is the Cheapest to Live in the US?

The most budget-friendly states to reside in include Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Mississippi claims the title of the least expensive state to live in the U.S., boasting a cost of living index of 85.

Following closely, Oklahoma secures the second spot as the second cheapest US state to live in, with a cost of living index of 85.8. These US states provide residents with a more economical living environment based on their favorable cost of living indices.

What is the Safest State to Live in the US?

In its recently released 2023 report, WalletHub conducted a comprehensive assessment of safety across the United States, considering 52 safety indicators, including work safety and emergency preparedness. Topping the list as the safest US state is Vermont, earning the highest score for its overall safety measures.

Following closely, Maine secures the second position in the rankings. This thorough evaluation by WalletHub sheds light on the US states that prioritize and excel in various aspects of safety, contributing to the well-being of their residents.

What US State Has the Lowest Economy?

In 2022, California boasted a gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately 3.59 trillion U.S. dollars, solidifying its position as the leading contributor to the country’s GDP for that year. In stark contrast, Vermont held the lowest GDP among the US states, amounting to 40 billion U.S. dollars. This stark difference in economic output highlights the significant variations in economic scale among the states in the United States.

Which US City Has the Lowest Cost of Living?

According to its recent report, Forbes has identified the most affordable places to live in the U.S. Topping the list this year is Brownsville, Texas.

Brownsville has exhibited a consistent ascent in Niche’s Lowest Cost of Living ranking, progressing from the sixth position in 2021 to the third in 2022, and ultimately securing the top spot in 2023. This trend underscores Brownsville’s affordability and makes it a notable destination for those seeking a cost-effective living environment.

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