Study: Best Cities to Live in Utah


Utah's landscape makes it one of the most geographically diverse states in the U.S. as well as one of the most beautiful. Whether you prefer to see the sights from the peaks of the Rockies, explore the canyons and valleys of the low country or take in the desert flats surrounding Great Salt Lake, you won't be disappointed.

Summers here are warm but in the winter, residents see their fair share of snow. You'll find a mix of smaller towns and larger cities, with Provo and Salt Lake City accounting for the two largest metro areas. The economy is varied and draws its strength from the mining, manufacturing, technology, petroleum production, and tourism industries.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah

To help you in your search for the perfect place to call home, the CreditDonkey experts have ranked the top cities to live in Utah.

Study Methodology

For each city on our list, we considered the following:

  1. Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime
  2. Commute Time
  3. Income
  4. Residents Who Attended Some College
  5. Restaurants Per Capita

Whether you're at home or out on the town, you want to know that you and your family will be safe. We ranked each city based on the odds of becoming the victim of a violent crime.

If you're used to living in a larger city, you know what a nightmare trying to navigate rush hour traffic can be. For our study, we included only cities that had an average commute time of less than 25 minutes.

Having a job you enjoy can be a reward in itself, and being paid well to do it is the icing on the cake. We looked at average incomes as well as the education level of each city's population. Educational attainment is high for every city on our list, with approximately one-third of residents attending some college.

Cooking at home is a great way to save money, but every once in a while it's nice to splurge on a night out. We focused on the number of restaurants per capita for each city as a measure of the dining scene.

10 Best Cities to Live in Utah

10. South Jordan

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 2,264
  • Commute Time: 24.3 minutes
  • Income: $91,548
  • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 29.6%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 1398 inhabitants

    Just seventeen miles south of Salt Lake City, South Jordan is one of the fastest growing cities in Utah. In terms of income, South Jordan is the most affluent city on our list, with residents earning an average of over $90,000 annually. Thanks to the scarcity of violent crime and a short commute, the city is especially popular with working professionals and young families.

    Did You Know: South Jordan's most famous landmark is the Jordan River Utah Temple, the second-largest Latter-day Saint temple in Utah.

    9. Layton

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 826
    • Commute Time: 23.8 minutes
    • Income: $64,923
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 29.4%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 568 inhabitants

    Layton sits on the eastern shore of Great Salt Lake, approximately 24 miles north of Salt Lake City. Like South Jordan, Layton is a younger town demographically speaking, with the majority of residents under the age of 45. Commute times are a bit shorter here at just under 24 minutes, and average incomes are in the mid-$60,000 range. Violent crime rates are low, and you'll find a variety of culinary delights ranging from gourmet pizza to authentic British fare.

    Did You Know: Layton is named for Christopher Layton, an early bishop in the Mormon Church.

    8. Roy

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 881
    • Commute Time: 22.6 minutes
    • Income: $59,207
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 31.3%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 940 inhabitants

    If you're on the hunt for an affordable community with short commute times and low crime rates, Roy has everything you're looking for. Just a short distance north of Layton, this city of just over 37,000 features some of the lowest home prices in the state, which is great for potential homebuyers. Restaurants aren't as plentiful here but there's still plenty to choose from, whether you prefer seafood, Greek or a good old-fashioned burger.

    Did You Know: Entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond hail from nearby Ogden.

    7. Pleasant Grove

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 3,490
    • Commute Time: 21.6 minutes
    • Income: $63,920
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 29%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 1381 inhabitants

    If you're looking for a city where violent crime is virtually nonexistent, look no further than Pleasant Grove. Approximately 13 miles north of Provo, Pleasant Grove is nestled between Utah Lake and Wasatch Mountain State Park, making it an ideal pick for outdoorsy types. Foodies will appreciate the assortment of restaurants, including local favorite Chubby's Cafe, which serves up classic burgers and sandwiches with a Cajun twist.

    Did You Know: The Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days celebration is the longest continuously running event in Utah, tracing its origins back to 1921.

    6. Cedar City

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 390
    • Commute Time: 17 minutes
    • Income: $40,700
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 29.8%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 410 inhabitants

    Perhaps the most remarkable thing about living in Cedar City is the breathtaking views residents enjoy on a daily basis. This town of 29,000 residents sits roughly halfway between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, just on the outskirts of the Markagunt Plateau. Aside from its natural beauty, Cedar City offers one of the shortest average commute times of any of the cities on our list, clocking in at 17 minutes flat.

    Did You Know: Cedar City, known as Festival City USA, plays host to a number of major events annually, including Utah Shakespeare Festival, the American Southwest Classic Film Festival and the Utah Summer Games.

    5. Bountiful

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 1,186
    • Commute Time: 20.3 minutes
    • Income: $65,561
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 28.3%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 631 inhabitants

    Bountiful's unique proximity to both the Ogden and Salt Lake City metro areas makes it an ideal location for professionals seeking a shorter commute, but it's also an excellent place to raise a family. Violent crime is rare and incomes average over $65,000 annually. If you're looking for a unique dining experience, head to Mo' Bettah's Steaks, which specializes in food with an authentic Hawaiian flavor.

    Did You Know: Originally known as Sessions' Settlement, Bountiful was just the second settlement founded in Utah.

    4. Draper City

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 1,014
    • Commute Time: 24.6 minutes
    • Income: $89,848
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 29.8%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 668 inhabitants

    Close to South Jordan, Draper sits on the southern edge of the Salt Lake metro area. This city of just over 44,000 boasts a strong economy largely due to the presence of several major employers, including eBay and 1-800-Contacts. Average incomes here are among the highest of any of the cities on our list, approaching nearly $90,000 annually. The town was included on Money magazine's list of the Best Places to Live in 2011.

    Did You Know: Draper City's Point of the Mountain is considered one of the best spots in the world for hang gliding and paragliding.

    3. St. George

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 489
    • Commute Time: 14.9 minutes
    • Income: $47,484
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 30.7%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 507 inhabitants

    The city of St. George is tucked away in the southwest corner of Utah, close to both the Nevada and Arizona borders. Despite its seemingly out of the way location, St. George is one of the top ten largest cities in the state. While there are plenty of young families here, the city is also popular among retirees. CNN Money named St. George one of the 25 Best Places to Retire in 2012.

    Did You Know: Nearby Zion National Park has been used as the backdrop for a number of films, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

    2. Orem

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 2,243
    • Commute Time: 18 minutes
    • Income: $52,876
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 29%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 744 inhabitants

    With a population of over 90,000, Orem is not only the largest city on our list, it's also one of the safest. In addition, the city is one of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. and is considered the technical and commercial hub of central Utah. Less than a ten-minute drive from Provo, Orem is an ideal choice if you're looking for a short commute.

    Did You Know: Orem is home to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the largest storytelling festival in the West.

    1. Spanish Fork

    • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 2,582
    • Commute Time: 21.1 minutes
    • Income: $61,737
    • Residents Who Attended Some College, No Degree: 30.4%
    • Restaurants: 1 per 1067 inhabitants

    Approximately 10 miles south of Provo, the small town of Spanish Fork has it all: extremely low crime rates, a short average commute, and convenient access to the metropolitan area. This quiet little community is especially attractive to families and retirees. Residents earn a respectable five-figure income and the cost of living here is significantly lower than the national average.

    Did You Know: The first permanent settlement of Icelandic pioneers in the U.S. was established in Spanish Fork in the 1860s.


    For newcomers and current residents alike, Utah can be a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. Whether you're moving to the next town over or seeing the sights for the first time, it's easy to fall in love with everything the state has to offer. With our rankings as a guide, finding the right place to settle down should be a breeze.

    Data Sources:

    • U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates
    • FBI, Uniform Crime Reports
    • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey
    • U.S. Census Bureau, Economic Census

  • Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy decisions. (read more)

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