I’ve lived in Salt Lake City for the last year and had lots of experience around the entire city and valley. Even before living here, I visited Salt Lake many times growing up so I am very familiar with the city. I talked with a lot of people who live here on why it can stink living here.
These are the top 17 reasons not to live in Salt Lake City, as voted by the locals who live here.
1. The Stigma
Of this list of 17 reasons not to move to Salt Lake City, the biggest reason the locals had was the stigma behind being a permanent resident.
To the outside world, there are two types of people who live in Salt Lake: crazy liberals and rich Mormons. This, however, is far from the truth. Salt Lake City has become a very diverse city in many ways, especially in the last few years.
There is a large Mormon population there, yes. There is also a liberal influence among the younger population. But, there are a lot of people in between these two groups.
Salt Lake City is home to many new immigrants and their families who belong to different religions and come from very diverse ethnic backgrounds. So, the stigma of being a crazy liberal or a very rich Mormon is far from the truth.
2. The Traffic
It’s no secret that in any city, especially up and coming areas, traffic is an issue. This is true when it comes to Salt Lake City. From 7:00 am to 10:00 am there is usually bumper-to-bumper traffic on the I-15 and on all the main roads in town.
This also happens from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Sadly, the traffic is almost unavoidable due to the infrastructure of the city. Most people who reside in Salt Lake City don’t actually work there but work in surrounding cities and areas.
So, if someone needed to be at their place of employment by 8:00 am, they need to account for at least 30 minutes of traffic.
3. Crime Rate
Living in a bigger city has its perks, but also has its downfalls. The increasing crime rate is one of these cons in Salt Lake City.
Crime is measured, typically, on a scale from 0 (no crime at all) to 100 (crime all day, every day). According to Best Places, Salt Lake City had a property crime score of 95. The national average for property crime is 35. These types of crime include burglary, arson, theft, and robbery.
The violent crime score was only 42. This includes murder, assault, rape, and battery. The national average score for violent crime was only 22. Those numbers are pretty alarming and it’s becoming an increasing issue with the locals.
4. Growing Population
Another big reason NOT to move to Salt Lake City is the already growing general population. Salt Lake City is a big, booming tech and start-up area.
This means that a lot of new businesses, especially tech businesses, move into the Salt Lake Area. And because of the nature of these businesses, they require a lot of manpower which means a high number of residential transplants.
So not only are more commercial buildings being built, more people are moving to the city. The infrastructure wasn’t made to handle a huge amount of people so it’s becoming increasingly crowded. This seems to cause issues with the long-time locals.
5. Drive/Travel Time
Salt Lake City is a city all its own, but the Salt Lake Valley covers a very large area that includes many other cities and towns.
When I lived in Salt Lake City, I drove to Primary Children’s Hospital every single day and lived just down the hill from the Capitol Building. There are approximately 4.2 miles between my place of residence and the hospital.
That might not seem like a large distance to travel but in Salt Lake City, it took almost 20 minutes to get from my house to the hospital. Let me reiterate: it takes 20 minutes to go less than 5 miles.
Now, these numbers are just in the city. It’s a completely different story when it comes to the surrounding areas and towns. In the Salt Lake Valley, following the I-15, starting in Ogden and going to Lehi, plan on driving for at least an hour, depending on the time of day.
If you find yourself on the freeway during the rush hour times add at least 30 minutes to your drive time.
6. Growing Homeless Population
The overall general population isn’t the only thing that’s growing. The homeless population in Salt Lake City has been an issue for a long time, but it seems as though it’s an increasing issue, especially for the locals.
There are 3 definite hot spots in the actual city that are only known for their homeless population. These are the spots, that I have personally witnessed, where the homeless people congregate, gather, and live.
They are spread all through the city, of course, but there are places that you just know not to go; especially if you’re alone and it’s night time.
Nobody can explain why the homeless population is growing, or why they are choosing Salt Lake City, but it has become a real issue in this area and it’s a major concern for the locals.
7. Religious Affiliation
Anytime someone mentions Salt Lake City the word “Mormon” comes to mind.
This has been the case for hundreds of years and this trend will, most likely, continue. As long as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints headquarters is in Salt Lake City, the two will be linked.
Now, usually, a large population of one religious people isn’t a problem, but it seems to be in Salt Lake City, even to the members of this same faith. A lot of the local stores and restaurants are influenced by this faith and that deters a lot of new-comers and even makes long-time residents want to relocate.
8. High Tax Rates
Tax rates will also be an ongoing issue in the United States. But, they seem to be especially high in Salt Lake City. On a national level, it’s only ranked 25th highest in the country. But, compared to some other smaller cities, and to the locals, the tax rates are extraordinary and climbing.
For example: the current income tax is, at its lowest, 4.95%. The sales tax ranges anywhere from 5.95% to 8.70%. The property tax is, at its lowest, 0.66%. All these numbers taken into account puts Salt Lake City 25th in the nation for their tax rates.
9. Expensive Housing Market
As mentioned above, Salt Lake Valley is continuously growing and there seems to be no end in sight. Usually, with constant population growth, housing growth follows the trend. This is not the case here.
Because Salt Lake City had already been well established, there’s no room for new residency growth. So the solution, right now, is to tear down old homes and put in apartment complexes. Because of this, the housing market is outstanding and almost laughable.
Houses are hard to come by now, especially a newer or remodeled one so you can’t find a home to purchase for under $500,000. Even then, with this large sum of money, the home that is available for purchase will be less than desirable.
On the street we lived on, there was a house for sale. I was curious as to the specifics of the home so I looked it up on the website it was listed on. Now, this house looked condemned so I really didn’t expect to see what I found. It was built in 1923 and I’m sure when it was built it was grand and beautiful.
This specific run down home was listed for $650,000. Mind you, the windows were all broken and some even missing, the steps to the front door were non-existent and the shingles on the roof were few and far between.
But, because it was downtown Salt Lake City and it was an actual home for sale, the price was extremely high.
This is an issue for the locals, especially, because if someone is renting one of the new apartments and wants to purchase a home, they can’t because of the ridiculous housing market.
10. Political Affiliation
Another big issue the locals have living in Salt Lake City is the population’s growing political affiliation.
According to the locals, political party affiliation never used to matter; nobody talked about it and it didn’t matter which party you supported, anyone could still be friendly towards one another. This seems to not be the case anymore.
The separation between the two political parties seems to be so prevalent in this city that it’s causing a lot of intense feelings in the community and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
11. Student Population
Another reason not to move to Salt Lake City is the college student population. Right in the heart of the city sits The University of Utah campus.
This adds a growing number of bodies in the city during the school year and all the rambunctious goings-on of young people, as well.
There is also Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University 30 minutes south in Orem and Provo. These students come to Salt Lake frequently. Not to mention Westminster, Snow College, and Weber State.
12. Impolite Driving Etiquette
Utah drivers are especially known for their terrible driving. This isn’t an issue, according to the locals. The issue with driving in Salt Lake City is etiquette. In fact, it apparently doesn’t exist.
Driving here is a struggle. People run red lights, they don’t stop at stop signs, they speed like crazy, they don’t let you merge or switch lanes, and you’re constantly getting cut off.
I’ve seen multiple people drive the wrong way on a one-way street.
13. Poor Air Quality
Salt Lake City is located in a valley and, as a result, the air quality is very poor. The cold air in the valley gets trapped under the warm air above the mountains and creates an inversion.
This inversion traps all the smog and pollution and keeps it in the valley. There are also 2 large oil refineries in North Salt Lake that add to this issue. Inversion is especially bad during the warmer months of the year.
So, people with allergies really struggle living in the city because of this inversion.
14. Alcohol Regulations
As mentioned above, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a heavy influence on the local stores and restaurants. One core belief of the LDS church is to refrain from consuming any type of alcohol.
Because of this, it is illegal to serve alcohol anywhere before 11 am and no alcohol can be purchased anywhere on Sunday.
This is an issue with the locals, especially for those who enjoy Brunch. They can’t have mimosas with their brunch because brunch stops at 11 am.
15. Eternal Road Construction
Another great reason, according to the locals, not to move to Salt Lake City is the never-ending road construction. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving on the freeway or in the actual city; if you are driving in a car, chances are you will encounter some road construction.
A lot of the time, one or more of the lanes on the road will be closed which causes issues with other drivers. Like I mentioned before, there’s no driving etiquette so you have to really pay attention and merge early so you get stuck behind traffic cones with nowhere to go.
The I-15 is a completely different story. There isn’t a chance you’ll run into construction, that’s an absolute fact: you WILL hit construction at some point while driving on the I-15. It just never ends. And once one project is finished, another one starts.
16. Constant Rallies/Protests and Political Unrest
Going along with the political unrest and rift it’s creating in the community, the constant presence of protesters and rally participators is an ongoing issue with the locals.
I lived in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City and my 20-minute drive to the hospital would turn into an hour drive. If there was a rally or protest, which happened at the capitol building, the local law enforcement would close all the roads around the area.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting a cause, but it’s an issue with the locals when the roads and businesses around them have to shut down because of the constant goings-on.
Lastly, the weather is a great reason not to move to Salt Lake City. There’s really no telling what the weather will be like. During the summer, the temperature gets upwards of 90 degrees and it’ll very dry here so it’s a flat 90+ degrees. It’s hot.
But, during the winter, the temperatures can get clear down to 15 to 20 degrees. And that’s the actual temperature. Not the “feels like temperature”. The wind is a common thing in Salt Lake City. It almost seems like the wind never relents. So, with the wind chill, the feels like the temperature could be even closer to 10 or 0 degrees.
Even with these high and low temperatures, the weather changes day to day. One day it can be a beautiful sunny day with a high temperature and the next day there could be tsunami-like winds and buckets of rain. Sometimes it could even snow.
All in all, according to the locals, Salt Lake City could be a great place to live! But these 17 factors make it quite undesirable.
If you like the article above, here are some other similar articles you should check out!