Salt Lake City (often shortened to Salt Lake and abbreviated as SLC) is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Utah, and county seat of Salt Lake County. With an estimated population of 190,884 in 2014, the city is the core of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a population of 1,153,340 (2014 estimate). Salt Lake City is further situated within a larger metropolis known as the Salt Lake City–Ogden–Provo Combined Statistical Area, a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along a 120-mile (190 km) segment of the Wasatch Front, comprising a population of 2,423,912 (as of 2014 estimates). It is one of only two major urban areas in the Great Basin.
The world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is located in Salt Lake City. The city was founded in 1847 by followers of the church, led by Brigham Young, who were seeking to escape persecution that they had experienced while living farther east. The Mormon pioneers, as they would come to be known, at first encountered an arid, inhospitable valley that they then extensively irrigated and cultivated, thereby establishing the foundation to sustain the area's present population. Salt Lake City's street grid system is based on the north-south east-west grid plan developed by early church leaders, with the Salt Lake Temple constructed at the grid's starting point.
Immigration of international members of the church, mining booms, and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed the Crossroads of the West. It was traversed by the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, in 1913. Two major cross-country freeways, I-15 and I-80, now intersect in the city. Salt Lake City has developed a strong outdoor recreation tourist industry based primarily on skiing, and the city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is the industrial banking center of the United States.