Is Utah a Good State to go Off the Grid?

Utah is a very interesting state. It was settled by Mormons and the LDS church still claims a large segment of the population. The scenery is grand with the painted desert in the foreground in many cities. Also, Utah seems to have a lot going for it when it comes to going off the grid; let's take a look and see if Utah is really all it's cracked up to be and if it is in fact a good state to go off the grid.

1. Weather:

The summers are hot with cool crisp nights in Utah and the winter temperatures are low with snow in the north. In the desert the summers are hot but temperatures drop considerably at night. Utah enjoys four distinct seasons and low humidity. The annual average temperature is 48.64. Utah is the 32nd warmest state in the union. The record hottest yeat in Utah was 2012 at an average of 51.63 degrees and the record coldest year was 1917 at an average temperature of 45.5 degrees. Utah's average summer temperatures are 69.6 degrees while the average winter temperature is 28.2 degrees.


2. Precipitation and Snowfall:

The average annual precipitation in Utah is 12.2 inches. Snowfall varies considerably depending on what city your are in. Salt Lake City gets 52.2 inches of snow a year.


3. Building Codes Alternative Housing Materials:


I could only find vague references to alternative building materials and whether the municipalities will let you build with them in Utah. I can only assume, like the rest of the country, if you are in the country rather than in a city that they might allow it. There is a community called the Utah Safe Haven Village Project that is building homes with natural resources so it can be done but you would have to check in the specific town you want to relocate to in order to see if it would be feesible to build a cob, straw-bale or earth-ship house.

4. Cottage Businesses:

Cottage food laws in Utah require a permit to operate a food processing operation in their homes. The foods must be non-potentially hazardous foods and have a broad list of allowed foods sold direct to the consumer. There is no information or requirement in Utah as to where food products can be sold and there is no sales limit. Utah requires a license, registration and/or a permit to sell cottage foods. Also, there are labeling requirements in Utah.

5. Homeschooling laws:

Utah is what is considered a “low” state. The state requires parental notification only.

6. Rainwater Harvesting:

Utah has some restrictions but has recently allowed rainwater harvesting.

7. Taxation:

  • Utah Income Tax rate is a flat tax rate of 5%, one of the lowest.
  • There is a small retirement credit available to some tax-payers. Most pensions are taxable and Utah taxes social security income.
  • Sales Tax is 4.7% however local municipalities may add to that.
  • Utah has a per capita property tax and it is one of the lowest in all fifty states.
  • There is a homestead act for those over 66 who make less than $30,000 a year.
  • There is no estate or inheritance tax.

8. Gay Marriage:

Same sex marriage is illegal in Utah and is banned by the state Constitution and by law.

9. Gun Laws:

Permit to Purchase Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO

Registration of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO

Licensing of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO

Permit to Carry Rifles and Shotguns NO, Permit to Carry Handguns: YES

Utah is ranked 4th out of 50 in the best state for gun owners poll (#1 being the best). Utah is a very pro-gun state, ranking high on the list for best state for gun owners over-all. 44 percent of residents are gun owners, private sales are legal and Utah has a “Stand Your Ground” law with no restriction on location.

10. Garden and Food Laws:

Raw milk is legal only through a retail store if the producer owns and operates the store, like a farmer who has his own store. I could not find any regulations against having a garden in your front yard in Utah.

11. Raising farm animals:

Farm animals can graze year round in Utah which can save a lot of money since you don't have to buy extra feed. However, much of this depends on where you locate, if you are in a snowy area you will have to supplement your animals feed in the winter.

12. Property Prices and Cost of Living:

Cost of Living
Utah
United States
Overall
106
100
Grocery
96.9
100
Health
91
100
Housing
128
100
Utilities
87
100
Transportation
96
100
Miscellaneous
99
100

13. Growing Season:


Due to the high elevation in Utah in certain areas the growing season is not very long. One can extend the growing season through green houses and/or tunnels but on it's own growing vegetables in this climate is a challenge.


Utah is a unique state since the majority of Utah's citizens are Mormons (over 60%). Mormons are compelled by church doctrine to have one year of food storage available. Because of this, if you were to relocate to Utah and the SHTF scenario came to pass, you wouldn't have to worry about your neighbors stealing your provisions. It's an interesting situation and one that should be taken into consideration. Other than this little anomilty Utah also has a low crime rate, low taxes, liberal gun laws, liberal cottage business laws and liberal homeschooling requirements. The cost of housing seems to be rather high when comparing it to other states but that might be primarily in the cities. Also, in some areas ground water may be scarce. However, all in all Utah seems to me to be a pretty good state to go off the grid and I am by no means Mormon!


The cost of living is more expensive in Utah, in general, than in most parts of the United States. The median cost of a home in Colorado as of this writing is $247,600, in 2012, while the median average across the United States is $170,100. All areas related to the cost of living are lower than the rest of the United States with the exception of housing which is over a quarter higher than the rest of the country.


According to people who track these things Utah scores a 106 compared with the average across the United States of 100. The score is based on the U.S. Average. A score above 100 means that the state is more expensive than the average in the United States and a score under means that the state is less expensive than the average.



13. Growing Season:


Due to the high elevation in Utah in certain areas the growing season is not very long. One can extend the growing season through green houses and/or tunnels but on it's own growing vegetables in this climate is a challenge.


Utah is a unique state since the majority of Utah's citizens are Mormons (over 60%). Mormons are compelled by church doctrine to have one year of food storage available. Because of this, if you were to relocate to Utah and the SHTF scenario came to pass, you wouldn't have to worry about your neighbors stealing your provisions. It's an interesting situation and one that should be taken into consideration. Other than this little anomilty Utah also has a low crime rate, low taxes, liberal gun laws, liberal cottage business laws and liberal homeschooling requirements. The cost of housing seems to be rather high when comparing it to other states but that might be primarily in the cities. Also, in some areas ground water may be scarce. However, all in all Utah seems to me to be a pretty good state to go off the grid and I am by no means Mormon!

More by this Author


Comments 11 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I've been there several times. Beautiful state for sure...I'm not sure I would enjoy the extremes in weather that they can have, but beautiful for sure.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan Author

I only drove through as a child but it does have a lot going for it and if the SHTF at least you wont have to worry about zombie hoards coming after your stuff!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

Excellent analysis and statistics. Probably in Utah better than any place else a homeowner could probably find the resources and supplies for disaster food storage. Great hub!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago

Somehow I can never picture myself in Utah. Yhanks for the look at life there. Voted up useful, interesting and awesome.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan Author

Yeah..Utah is an interesting state, I would consider it as a destination if you wanted to go off the grid.

Thanks for stopping by "Mel" and "breakfastpop".


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Growing up, my father moved our family wherever his corporate job took him with promotions. The absolute only place he ever turned down was Utah. Just couldn't be that isolated and of course we weren't Mormons.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan Author

Interesting...I was talking to a woman on a plane once and she loved it and she wasn't Mormon..to each his own.


Jerry 24 months ago

Interesting state, yes. I live here two years. You don't have to be Mormon. They leave you alone if you leave them alone. And yes, pretty low crime rate, relatively safe. Lot of homeless people, but this is caused by Mormon's soft heartiness and generosity. They move here form all over the country. I lived around the world in numerous places, but this is a place I plan to retire.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 24 months ago from Manhattan Author

Interesting take..thanks for giving your two cents Jerry.


Anne Hanks 23 months ago

Mormons aren't COMPELLED to have food storage. It is taught as a good idea and it is strongly suggested, but not forced. Many LDS members do store food and emergency supplies because it is taught that it is a good idea to be prepared for natural disasters, man made disasters, as well as loss of income for any reason.

I've lived in Utah and spoke with many who claimed to have had a downturn in family income and their food storage allowed them to cut costs, feed their families, and survive until they found another job, while only needing to purchase perishables such as milk, eggs, and cheese. It does make good sense.

Thank you for these articles on where the best off grid places are to live.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 23 months ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for you input Annie.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working