Bigger families translate into bigger houses, right? In Utah, that’s definitely the case.

Three of the top five places in LawnStarter’s new ranking of the metro areas with the biggest houses are held by metro areas in Utah. Provo-Orem grabs the No. 1 spot, with 57 percent of owner-occupied homes there containing at least eight rooms. In second place is Ogden-Clearfield, UT, where 52.1 percent of homes sitting at the eight-room-or-more mark. Salt Lake City, UT, comes in at No. 4, with 48.9 percent of homes at the eight-room level or higher.

LawnStarter’s analysis relies on newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2015. Our ranking is based on the number of homes in a metro area with at least eight rooms, rather than on the square footage of those homes. The analysis covers the 100 most populous metros in the U.S.

In counting the number of rooms in a house, the Census Bureau includes living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, finished recreation rooms and family rooms, but not bathrooms or unfinished basements.

John Curtis

John Curtis has been mayor of Provo, UT, since 2010.
Photo: JohnCurtis.org

Mormon Roots

So, why are there so many big homes in Provo-Orem, Ogden-Clearfield and Salt Lake City? It’s largely a matter of faith.

The headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is in Salt Lake City, and the church-run Brigham Young University (BYU) is in Provo. As such, more than half of Utah’s residents are Mormon.

At the core of the church’s beliefs is the sanctity of family and marriage, resulting in Mormons having a higher rate of marriage among adults (66 percent) than any other religious group in the U.S., as well as the biggest families, according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center.

“God ordained that men and women should marry and give birth to children, thereby creating, in partnership with God, the physical bodies that are key to the test of mortality and essential to eternal glory with Him. He also ordained that parents should establish families and rear their children in light and truth, leading them to a hope in Christ,” D. Todd Christofferson, one of the highest-ranking LDS officials, said in April 2015.

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University is in Provo, UT.
Photo: Brigham Young University

At Home in Provo

That philosophy contributes significantly to the demand for bigger homes in the Provo-Orem, Ogden-Clearfield and Salt Lake City areas. That need is especially pronounced in Provo-Orem, where the Census Bureau says:

  • Nearly 61 percent of the residents are married, with the average household having nearly 3.6 people. Nationally, the marriage rate is 51.4 percent and the average household has 2.6 people.
  • 87 percent of households are characterized as “family” households, compared with 73.2 percent nationally.
  • 47.7 percent of owner-occupied homes have at least four residents, compared with 23.5 percent nationally.

Provo Mayor John Curtis, a Mormon, exemplifies the big-family tradition in his area. He and his wife, Sue, have six children. Curtis is a Salt Lake City native and BYU graduate.

“I’ve been a Mormon my entire life and come from a very traditional Mormon family,” the mayor says on the Mormon.org website. “My ancestors migrated to the United States as Mormons and came to Utah as pioneers.”

Below, check out our complete ranking of the 12 Metro Areas With the Biggest Houses, with Curtis’ home turf at No. 1.

12 Metro Areas With the Biggest Houses

Metro area% of owner-occupied homes with at least 8 rooms
1. Provo-Orem, UT57.0%
2. Ogden-Clearfield, UT52.1%
3. Washington, DC51.1%
4. Salt Lake City, UT48.9%
5. Colorado Springs, CO46.3%
6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN44.7%
7. Baltimore, MD43.5%
8. Richmond, VA43.4%
9. Denver, CO43.2%
10. Atlanta, GA43.1%
11. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT42.5%
12. Omaha, NE40.5%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey

Top photo: The Daily Universe

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