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The territory of modern Utah has been inhabited by various indigenous groups for thousands of years, including the ancient Puebloans, the Navajo, and the Ute. The Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive in the mid-16th century, though the region’s difficult geography and climate made it a peripheral part of New Spain and later Mexico.
Disputes between the dominant Mormon community and the federal government delayed Utah’s admission as a state; only after the outlawing of polygamy was it admitted as the 45th, in 1896.
A little more than half of all Utahns are Mormons, the vast majority of whom are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City. Utah is the only state where most of the population belongs to a single church. The LDS Church greatly influences Utahn culture, politics, and daily life, though since the 1990s the state has become more religiously diverse as well as secular.
The state has a highly diversified economy, with major sectors including transportation, education, information technology and research, government services, and mining and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation.
A 2012 Gallup national survey found Utah overall to be the “best state to live in the future” based on 13 forward-looking measurements including various economic, lifestyle, and health-related outlook metrics.