San Juan County, Utah
San Juan County
|Founded||February 17, 1880|
|Named for||San Juan River|
|• Total||7,933 sq mi (20,550 km2)|
|• Land||7,820 sq mi (20,300 km2)|
|• Water||113 sq mi (290 km2) 1.4%|
|• Density||1.8/sq mi (0.71/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
San Juan County (/ / san-WAHN) is a county in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 14,746. Its county seat is Monticello, while its most populous city is Blanding. The county was named by the Utah State Legislature for the San Juan River, itself named by Spanish explorers (in honor of Saint John).
The Utah Territory authorized creation of San Juan County on February 17, 1880, with territories annexed from Iron, Kane, and Piute counties. There has been no change in its boundaries since its creation. Monticello was founded in 1887, and by 1895 it was large enough to be designated the seat of San Juan County.
San Juan County lies at the southeastern corner of the state of Utah. Its borders coincide with the borders of the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona with Utah. The convergence point of these borders, Four Corners Monument, is located at the extreme southeastern corner of the county.
The county's terrain generally slopes to the west and the south, with its highest point, Mount Peale, at 12,726 feet (3,879 m) above sea level. The county has a total area of 7,933 square miles (20,550 km2), of which 7,820 square miles (20,300 km2) is land and 113 square miles (290 km2) (1.4%) is water. It is the largest county by area in Utah.
The county's western and southern boundaries lie deep within gorges carved by the Colorado and San Juan Rivers. Tributary canyons, cutting through rock layers of the surrounding deserts, have carved the land up with chasms, cliffs and plateaus. In the center of the county are Cedar Mesa, Comb Wash, Natural Bridges and Hovenweep National Monuments. Canyonlands National Park lies mostly within the county borders. The Eastern side of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area / Lake Powell is also in the county.
The Blue (Abajo) Mountains and the La Sal Mountains exceed 12,000 feet (3,700 m) in elevation. Both ranges are covered with lush forests, in stark contrast to the scenery below. The elevation change within the county is from nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in the La Sal Mountains to 3,000 feet (910 m) at Lake Powell, a difference of about 10,000 feet (3,000 m).
San Juan County is home to numerous oil and gas fields that produce primarily from the Desert Creek and Ismay Formations.
- Grand County - north
- Mesa County, Colorado - northeast
- Montrose County, Colorado - northeast
- San Miguel County, Colorado - east
- Dolores County, Colorado - east
- Montezuma County, Colorado - east
- San Juan County, New Mexico - southeast
- Apache County, Arizona - south
- Navajo County, Arizona - south
- Coconino County, Arizona - southwest
- Kane County - west
- Garfield County - west
- Wayne County - west
- Emery County - northwest
San Juan County is bordered by more counties than any other county in the United States, at 14.
- Bears Ears National Monument
- Canyonlands National Park (part)
- Dark Canyon Primitive Area
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (part)
- Grand Gulch Primitive Area
- Hovenweep National Monument (part)
- Manti-La Sal National Forest (part)
- Natural Bridges National Monument
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument
|US Decennial Census|
1990–2000 2010–2018 2020
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 14,746 people and 4,505 households in San Juan County. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 50.4% Native American, 45.8% white, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% African American and 2.3% reporting two or more races. 4.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 14,413 people, 4,089 households and 3,234 families in the county. The population density was 1.84/sqmi (0.71/km2). There were 5,449 housing units at an average density of 0.70/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 40.77% White, 0.12% Black or African American, 55.69% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.70% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. 3.75% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the 4,089 households, 47.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.40% were married couples living together, 14.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.90% were non-families. 18.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.46 and the average family size was 4.02.
The county population contained 39.30% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 17.10% from 45 to 64, and 8.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 99.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $28,137, and the median income for a family was $31,673. Males had a median income of $31,497 versus $19,617 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,229. About 26.90% of families and 31.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.70% of those under age 18 and 35.10% of those age 65 or over.
Politics and Government
San Juan County has supported Republican presidents since voting for Wendell Willkie in 1940. It supported a Democrat for president in 1896 (William Jennings Bryan), 1916 (Woodrow Wilson), and 1936 (Franklin D. Roosevelt). Though a Republican vote currently secures elections, the area has voted less Republican than the rest of Utah in many national elections. In 2004, for example, George W. Bush won 60.02% in San Juan County versus 71.54% in the state as a whole. In 2020, Democrat Joe Biden needed 6.13% more votes to win the county from Donald Trump, who secured 51.2% in the county as opposed to 58.13% in the state as a whole. The county is more competitive at the state level due to its high Native American population, which leans Democratic. Notably, the county voted for the Democratic candidates in the 1988 and 2000 gubernatorial elections, both of which Republican candidates won.
Federally mandated commissioner districts put many Navajo voters in one district. The San Juan County Board of Commissioners has been majority white for many years. In 2016, a Federal District Court decision found voting districts violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Before the 2016 court decision, the county used an at-large voting system to elect commissioners. 
In 2018, the first ever majority-Navajo commission was seated. Two of the three county commissioners, Willie Grayeyes and Kenneth Maryboy, are board members of Utah Diné Bikeyah, which supported the creation of Bears Ears National Monument. In a 2019 special election, Proposition 10, which would have changed the structure of the county government to include five county commissioners, was blocked needing 153 more populous votes. The proposition, spearheaded by Blanding Mayor Joe Lyman, was characterized by opponents as an effort to undermine the Navajo-majority county commission. Mayor Joe Lyman characterized the proposition as a way to restore representation to Blanding, the county's largest city. He states, "I don't like how we arrived at the commissioners we have because it felt like a judicial appointment," and that, "the vote is very evenly split."
|House of Representatives||73||Phil Lyman||Republican||2018|
|Board of Education||14||Mark Huntsman||Nonpartisan||2014|
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- San Juan County UT Google Maps (accessed March 31, 2019)
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- 2020 Population and Housing State Data | Utah
- Census QuickFacts page for San Juan County accessed June 7, 2012
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- Cindy Yurth (December 27, 2018). "2018: A year of schism". Navajo Times. p. A1.
- Grabar, Henry (August 25, 2020). "The Battle for San Juan County, Utah". SLATE. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
- Podmore, Zak (November 8, 2019). "San Juan County voters defeat ballot measure to study change in government". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
- Groetzinger, Kate (November 9, 2019). "County Government Fails By Close Margin". KUER. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
- "Senator Hinkins Utah Senate". senate.utah.gov. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
- "Rep. Lyman, Phil". Utah House of Representatives. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
- "Mark Huntsman". www.schools.utah.gov. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
- Leip, David. "US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
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