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Moving From California to Utah: Benefits, Cost & More

We've created a comprehensive guide for anyone thinking about moving from California to Utah. Read on to learn about the potential benefits and drawbacks of moving between these states. We'll cover the best movers to work with, compare cost of living, discuss possible lifestyle changes, and answer other questions you might have about relocating to Utah.

    Best Movers from California to Utah

    If you’ve already decided that moving to Utah is right for you, consider working with a professional moving team. Traveling long distances across state lines can be a logistical challenge if you try to do it on your own. A moving company can help to make the process much easier while ensuring all of your belongings make it to your new home safely. Here are some of the best movers operating between these two states today:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Should You Move from California to Utah?

    There are many reasons that might inspire you to make a move. Whether you’re looking for a cheaper home, a new job, or a different pace of life, it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at the two states so you can determine which is right for you and your family:

    Housing Costs

    Whether you’re renting or planning to purchase a home, there is a major opportunity for savings by moving to Utah from California. Here’s what you need to know:

    California Utah CA to UT
    Avg. Home Cost (source) $683,996 $465,012 -$218,984 (-32%)
    Avg. Rent (source) $2,542 $1,441 -$1,101 (-43%)
    Utilities (source) $401 $352 -$49 (-12%)

     

    • Home Prices. If you plan to sell your current home in California, you can get an equivalently sized home for much cheaper in Utah and pocket the extra money. Or, you could purchase a larger home in a better community with the leftover funds. On average, homes are about 32% cheaper in Utah.
    • Rent. While rental rates are higher in bigger cities like Salt Lake City, the average monthly rent is nearly 43% cheaper in Utah. If you can keep the same level of income, perhaps by working remotely, you can enjoy more money in your savings account.
    • Utilities. A $49 difference each month may not seem like much, but if you stretch that out over a year, that’s an extra $588. Over 10 years, that’s $5,880.

    Cost of Living

    There is no question that Californians pay more than Utah residents for pretty much everything. On average, the Golden State is about 20% more expensive than Utah for everything from a bottle of Coke to simple grocery staples, gasoline and restaurants. Here’s a quick review of the most common expenses and how they compare between the two states:

    Expense CA to UT
    Groceries -29.5%
    Restaurants -17.2%
    Transportation -8.3%
    Childcare -37.0%
    Entertainment -24.0%
    Clothes -8.7%
    Average Savings -20.8%

    Source

    Weather & Climate

    When it comes to weather and climate, Utah and California are as different as entirely separate countries. Here’s how they compare:

    California Utah CA to UT
    Average Temp July 87.1 83.9 -3.2
    Comfort Index Summer 8.7/10 8.5/10 -1.8
    Average Temp Jan 53.5 32 -21.5
    Comfort Index Winter 7.5/10 5.1/10 -0.8
    Average Sunny Days 69% 62% -7%
    Average Daily Rainfall (in) 1.69 1.26 -0.43

     

    Utah: Utah enjoys four seasons, with summer temperatures averaging in the 80’s and winter temperatures often dropping below freezing. Utah is a sunny state with rare thunderstorms. While the state sees relatively low rainfall, it has a higher snowfall average than the rest of the country. Most of Utah features a desert climate, but its mountainous regions see tundra climate conditions during winter.

    California: California’s weather varies greatly depending on whether you are in the north or south of the state. Southern California experiences relatively stable temperatures year-round, with heat being the primary variable. The mornings and evenings can be cool and windy, while the middle of the day can be warm and muggy. However, northern California sees more varied weather patterns. There is more seasonal variety with ample rainfall. California’s climate is truly remarkable, ranging all over the state from polar in the mountains to dry, arid desert in the Mojave. If you’re considering moving to California, be aware that the risk of uncontrolled wildfires is significantly higher than in the Beehive State as well.

    Job Opportunities

    Regarding employment, both states are seeing a rise in entrepreneurial endeavors and high-tech industries.

    Utah: The largest economic sector in Utah is agriculture, branching off into cattle ranching and salt production. However, throughout the past decade, high-tech companies and new businesses have been flocking to Salt Lake City in droves. Small businesses and large corporations alike have prospered there. In Utah as a whole, the current unemployment rate is 2.3%. Outside of large cities like SLC, major industries include mining, petroleum production, and tourism.

    • Average Salary: The average salary in Utah is $55,841 annually, which is 8% lower than the national average of $61,248.
    • Income Taxes: Utah has a flat income tax of 4.95% for all residents regardless of income level. This is lower than the national average.

    California: In California, financing services and the real estate business are booming. Software development and other jobs in information technology are readily available if you’ve got the skills and the drive. If California were listed as a separate country from the United States, its economy would rank the fifth largest in the entire world. If you’re a medical or health professional or an educator, that’s good news; that sector has seen steady growth in recent years. Although the unemployment rate in California is around 5.8%, there are still many areas in which the state is growing.

    • Average Salary: The average salary in California is $62,356 annually, which is 2% higher than the national average of $61,248. Of course, salaries can be much higher in the state’s famous Silicon Valley.
    • Income Taxes: Income tax rates in California vary by income level. Taxes start as low as 1% but can be as steep as 13.3% for top earners.

    Things to Do

    The challenge with both California and Utah is what to leave out when it comes to things to do. The list of possibilities for each day seems infinite.

    Utah: There is not a single county in Utah without some portion of national forest in its borders. Skiing is hugely popular, as is hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. Utah has the third most national parks in the country, with only Alaska and California having more. Besides exploring the majestic national parks, digging for dinosaur fossils, or wandering ancient forests, you can visit Hill Aerospace Museum or Temple Square. Temple Square, Utah’s most popular tourist attraction, is a complex owned by the Mormon Church within the center of Salt Lake City. Utah is also home to the Sundance and Red Rock Film Festivals.

    California: California has an extensive range of outdoor pursuits available, from kayaking across Lake Tahoe and exploring ghost towns abandoned after the Gold Rush to surfing and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The magnificent redwood forests can be found in the northwestern part of the state. As if the wonders of nature aren’t enough, California boasts some of the most famous tourist sites in the world, including Disneyland, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Old Sacramento, the vineyards in Napa Valley, and so much more. The bottom line is that you can spend a lifetime trying to complete the list of all the things there are to do in the state, and that still wouldn’t be enough.

    Lifestyle & Culture

    Whether you stay in glorious Utah or relocate to fabulous California, you can’t lose. Still, there are some major differences in overall lifestyle and culture. Here’s what you should know:

    Utah

    • Culture. Utah is very family-oriented, with half the population identifying as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon families tend to have several children. Surprisingly, in Salt Lake City, LDS members are not the majority. But in other major cities such as Provo, Mormon families are the norm. This means that many restaurants may not officially serve alcohol.
    • Adventure. The state’s breathtaking desert landforms are alien and invite adrenaline seekers from all over the world. Climbing and hiking are hugely popular.
    • Politics. Utah has a strong conservative political leaning, with nearly 50% of active voters registered as Republican and only 14% as Democrat.

    California

    • Surf’s Up. California is best known for its surfer culture and Hollywood, but it’s so much more than that.
    • Melting Pot. Californians have a history of being self-reliant and tough, starting with its native Paiute and Mojave populations, among many others. Those who later settled California continued that tradition, building communities from nothing.
    • Regulation. California has a reputation for imposing too many rules and regulations on business, commerce, and traffic. Californians are easygoing and friendly.
    • Politics: California leans more left, with 46% of active voters registered as Democrat and 24% as Republican.

    How Much Does It Cost to Move From California to Utah?

    The average cost to move from California to Utah is around $3,378.20. However, the actual price that you can expect to pay for your move will vary depending on the specifics of your journey, when you’re moving, and the type of move you’re making.

    You have three main options to move to a new state, which each have their pros and cons to consider:

    • Full-service moving: If you’re looking for the easiest possible moving process, consider hiring a full-service moving company. Full-service moving companies are advanced, highly-trained moving teams specializing in providing you with the easiest and most streamlined move possible. In addition to handling all the loading, unloading, and transportation, these companies can provide extra services like packing and storage to take some of the most tedious moving tasks off your plate. While this can be the most expensive way to move, it can be a lifesaving resource if you need to be out of your home by a specific date and can’t handle the move yourself.
    • Moving container services: If you need help with your move but don’t have the money to hire a full-service moving company, you might consider working with a moving container service. Moving container services provide you with one or more weatherproof containers that you will load yourself. The company will pick it up when you’re finished, delivering it to your new home for you to unload. Moving container services are more affordable than full-service moving companies because you do the labor yourself while they take care of the transportation.
    • Renting a moving truck: Renting a moving truck is also your most affordable option. It can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Of course, these savings come with a tradeoff, as you’ll have to do all the packing, loading, and transportation services yourself, which can be very time consuming and physically demanding.

    Average Moving Costs

    Provider 2 BR Cost 4 BR Cost Get A Quote
    Full-Service Move International Van Lines $1,900 – $4,900 $5,100 – $8,100 Free Quote
    Allied Van Lines $2,400 – $5,400 $5,700 – $8,700 Free Quote
    Safeway Moving Systems $2,100 – $5,100 $4,700 – $6,700 Free Quote
    Moving Container U-Pack $1,200 – $2,200 $1,800 – $2,800 Free Quote
    PODS $1,300 – $2,300 $1,900 – $2,900 Free Quote
    Truck Rental National Average $750 – $1,000 $1,500 – $2,000 Free Quote

     

    Cost Factors

    Many factors can impact your moving cost, including:

    • The size of your home. If you’re moving a larger home, you’ll need to rent more space in a moving truck or moving container to get everything to your new property. Generally, you can expect to pay more for your move as the number of bedrooms in your home increases.
    • The total distance you’re traveling. If you’re traveling further away from your current property, you’ll pay more for your moving services. This is because your moving company will need to spend more money on fuel expenses, workers’ wages, toll charges, and other expenses associated with being on the road for an extended period.
    • When you’re moving. Did you know that some seasons (and even some days of the week) are busier for moving companies than others? If you’re moving during the summer season or a weekend, you can usually expect to pay more for your move.
    • Additional services. While full-service moving companies can provide you with a wealth of services to enhance your move, you’ll pay more as you add extras to your moving agenda.

    Best Places to Move to in Utah

    Are you still deciding where you want to move? Here are some of the best places to live in Utah:

    Salt Lake City

    One of the most popular destinations for California residents moving to Utah, there are plenty of things to love about the state’s capital, Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City is renowned for its natural beauty. The rugged peaks of the Wasatch Mountains frame the city, and there are many more natural wonders awaiting you as well. Salt Lake City residents have easy access to a wealth of hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and camping activities in pristinely preserved national reserves. In the winter, residents enjoy skiing and snowboarding in what has been called “the greatest snow on Earth.”

    Though California is known for its technology industry, many major tech giants are now setting up offices in Salt Lake City. Adobe, Microsoft, and Oracle have all opened an office in Salt Lake City in recent years, which can allow tech transplants to enjoy a lower cost of living while also working in their sector of choice. Salt Lake City is also one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in the state, meaning that both job opportunities and diverse communities abound in this area.

    Find the Best Movers in Salt Lake City, UT

    St. George

    Another of Utah’s largest cities, St. George has been particularly popular with California families in recent years thanks to the city’s thriving education system. St. George residents have access to 12 elementary schools, five middle schools, five high schools, and three accredited colleges. National test scores in St. George’s regularly top the strongest scores in other parts of the state. For example, Desert Hill High School has been ranked as one of the top ten schools in all of Utah. The student-to-teacher ratio in St. George is also 21:1, which means students receive a significant amount of one-on-one instruction.

    St. George can also be an excellent choice for anyone who thinks that they’ll miss the warm weather found throughout California. Because the city is situated near the Mojave Desert, it enjoys much warmer weather when compared to the rest of the state. These sunny skies can provide you with a little taste of home at a much more affordable price than California living.

    Find the Best Movers in St. George, UT

    Provo

    If you think it’s impossible to enjoy big-city conveniences in Utah, you’ve never been to Provo. Because the university town caters to a younger population, Provo is developing a thriving and thrilling nightlife scene at a price that even a broke college student can afford. Not many cities offer world-class eating and shopping options at affordable prices. Simply taking a walk downtown will introduce you to boutique shopping and every type of food you would want to try.

    Because of the large student population, public transportation options in Provo are also exceptionally strong compared to the rest of Utah. There is a well-designed bus system, including an express bus line that can help you get to some of the most popular destinations in the city faster than the standard bus system. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent an electric scooter by the hour. Bike and pedestrian lanes are also plentiful, which many residents consider being essential.

    Find the Best Movers in Provo, UT

    Orem

    Are you looking to live in an area with a community feel and a lower cost of living? If so, you might want to consider moving to Orem. Though Orem is largely considered a commercial area, its dense suburban feel allows residents to enjoy the modern conveniences of some of the country’s largest cities alongside the intimacy of knowing your neighbors. The average home price in Orem is about $272,000, which is lower than the national average. Many of Orem’s residents own their own homes and consider commuting from this area to be a snap.

    Find the Best Movers in Orem, UT

    Sandy

    Sandy is a quiet community that has been growing over the past few years. The city is known for its picturesque planning, effortlessly combining commercial and suburban areas while maintaining a high level of cleanliness.

    This city is also nestled in an area that’s ideal for commuters and weekend warriors. About 30 minutes to downtown Salt Lake City, Sandy is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to work in the city but prefers suburban living. Sandy residents also have access to recreation and protected mountain land just 15 minutes outside of town.

    Find the Best Movers in Sandy, UT

    How to Choose a Moving Company

    The moving company you choose will play a direct role in how easy (or difficult) your move ends up being. Knowing what to look for when comparing companies can help ensure that you enjoy the best possible moving experience. Here are a few key things to look for when comparing your moving options.

    • Pricing: The best moving companies aim to limit frustration and confusion in the moving process by providing you with the most accurate pricing estimate possible. The best companies offer in-person or virtual estimates to see exactly what you’re moving and the total size of your home. Be very wary of working with a moving company that claims it can provide you with an accurate estimate without seeing your things or that says that they charge by square foot of your home. This is a common bait-and-switch pricing tactic that can leave you with extra fees on your bill come moving day.
    • FMCSA License: If you’re moving between states, your moving company must be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is a government body that keeps moving companies honest in their pricing and ensures up-to-date vehicles. FMCSA-licensed movers must also have proper insurance, which is crucial if your mover is involved in a collision or damages your things. To tell if your moving company is registered with the FMCSA, you should ask the company for their USDOT number. A USDOT number is a unique identification number assigned to each carrier and moving broker registered with the FMCSA. You can verify each company’s USDOT number using the FMCSA’s search tool here. Do not work with any interstate moving company that is not registered with the FMCSA.
    • Customer Service: If you’re moving for the first time, it can be very comforting to know that you have a friendly customer service team to help if you run into some confusion. Before you book your moving date, you may want to make a call to a few moving companies you’re considering working with to ask a few sample questions. This can help you better understand what type of service you can expect during the stressful moving process.

    Book Your Move Today

    Have you decided that moving to Utah from California is right for you? Start planning your move by requesting quotes and comparing rates from top moving companies serving this route:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Moving from California to Utah FAQs

    Is it better to live in Utah or California?

    The answer to this question will vary depending on what you’re looking for. If you value low property taxes and want a lower cost of living, Utah is the better option. However, if you’re looking for a more diverse community to call home, value thriving art and cultural scenes, or are interested in finding a job in the technology or tourism sector, California can be a better choice.

    Why are Californians moving to Utah?

    The main reason Californians are migrating to Utah is to enjoy a lower cost of living. Utah residents spend less on nearly everything ranging from transportation to a gallon of milk. Housing prices in Utah’s major cities are also significantly more affordable compared to those in California.

    What is the cheapest way to move out of state?

    The cheapest way to move out of state is to rent a moving truck and handle all the packing, loading, and transportation yourself. While this is the most affordable way to move, it can also be the most taxing, and it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you don’t have a current driver’s license or you’re looking for a more convenient way to move without overspending, you might want to consider working with a moving container service like U-Pack or PODS.