Utah County has the second largest county population in the State of Utah and ranks 16th out of 29 in total land area. Over 90% of the County's quarter of a million residents live in the area known as Utah Valley, a relatively narrow strip of land situated between the Wasatch Mountains and Utah Lake. In addition to a large population, most of which was realized during the 1970s, Utah Valley also contains the bulk of the County's important agricultural land. Not surprisingly, the expanding population in Utah Valley has created competition between agricultural and urban uses for limited land area. What is surprising, however, is the extensive amount of relatively undisturbed agricultural land in Utah County that, in spite of rapid urban growth, remains in close proximity to adjacent municipalities.
Most of the urban and suburban growth in Utah County has located within the boundaries of existing cities, with little corresponding growth taking place in adjacent unincorporated areas. Research reveals that, of the four most urban counties in the State, Utah County has more fully retained the nuclear pattern of settlement established by the Mormon pioneers who settled the region. Compared with all of the counties in the State, Utah County has the second lowest percent of population living in unincorporated areas. In fact, the unincorporated population in Utah County has actually declined since 1950, in spite of only a normal amount of land falling under city annexations and incorporations.
These peculiar characteristics have developed in Utah County as a result of deliberately chosen County-level planning policies designed to protect "greenbelt" land and discourage residential expansion into unincorporated zones.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Geography
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Johnson, Erik A., "County-Level Land Use Planning Policies and Regulations Impacting the Pattern of Settlement in Utah County, Utah" (1988). Theses and Dissertations. 4833.
Utah County, Utah, Description, travel, Economic conditions, County government