Utahan, Utahn, Utahite: Evaluating Cultural Contrasts in the Beehive State
Both within and outside its borders, Utah is often considered one of the most culturally and socially homogenous states in the US. Phrases such as "that's so Utah" abound in giving distinction to a place in which a majority of residents belong to one church, fry sauce is universal, and mountains labeled with a U or a Y can seemingly be found around every corner. Notwithstanding these perceptions, a closer look reveals a state that has its share of internal variations. Carbon County's coal industry and ethnic diversity, Park City's similarities to Colorado ski towns, and the heavy concentration of Costa Vida franchises in Utah Valley are examples of observations which point to regional contrasts. This study is intended to compare Utah's communities from several standpoints; these include restaurant distributions, religious affiliation, demographics, and voting patterns. When brought together, all of these perspectives offer a comprehensive view of a society that is much more diverse than meets the eye. By developing such an understanding, we not only learn to appreciate these differences but realize that Utah's uniqueness derives from the willingness of its people to use them by innovating and working together.