Sampling of Latter-day Saint/Utah Demographics and
Social Statistics from National Sources
Note: This document is intended only for sociological and statistical research. It should not be interpreted as a condemnation or endorsement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Similar statistical anomalies and outlying trends are being presented for all other religious groups as applicable research becomes available.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830, in Fayette, New York. Today it is the fourth largest religious body in the United States and the sixth largest international Christian religious body in the world. The Church of Jesus Christ owns over 16,000 meetinghouses (church buildings) throughout the world.
Approximately 12% of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live in the state of Utah. Approximately 48% live in the United States.
In 19% of the counties in the United States, at least 1% of the population are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 34% of U.S. counties, at least 1% of the religiously affiliated population are members of the Church.
(Source: Glenmary Research Center study: "Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990")
Latter-day Saints Exhibit a Variety of Outlying Demographic Statistics
The high degree to which Latter-day Saints follow the moral and dietary laws of their church (including sexual abstinence outside of marriage, emphasis on education, prohibition of abortion, proscriptions against violence, and total avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea and illegal narcotics) cause their population and/or Utah to stand out in interesting ways in a variety of national demographic and sociological studies. Adherents.com presents some interesting statistical data relating to other religious groups, but in the U.S. no other group yields such a broad array of statistically significant sociological data using geographically-based sources. Below are a few examples:
Data from the U.S. Govt. Census Bureau lists Utah as the state with the lowest teen pregnancy rate and the lowest abortion rate in the United States. [Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States 1997: National Data Book. Washington, D.C.: Census Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Commerce (1997).]
The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics abortion statistics (1993) listed only two states with lower abortion ratios than Utah: Idaho (where 27% are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Wyoming. But, whereas in Wyoming and Idaho the percentage of out-of-state residents included in the state's abortion figures were only 6 or 7 percent, the proportion in Utah was 30 percent.
Since 2002, Utah has been the state with the #1 highest bankruptcy rate in the nation. Economists and sociologists seem uncertain about exactly why this is the case. Various observers have noted factors such as large family size, the state's high proportion of entrepreneurs (or "would-be" entrepreneurs), the state's status as having the youngest average population, higher-than-average home size, and higher-than-average number of vehicles per household. Some of these are social demographic factors tied directly to the predominanty LDS makeup of the state. The state's bankruptcy rate may be indirectly tied to these other demographic trends and the state's religious makeup. But such a connection is not entirely clear, given the fact that the state's rise in bankruptcy rates has occurred during a time when the proportion of the state's population which is non-LDS has increased rapidly. In 1960 Utah was ranked #16 in the nation for bankruptcy rate, and the state was #19 in 1970. Since then Utah has slowly climbed this ranking, to its current status at #1 in 2002 (passing Tennessee). As the proportion of Utah's population which are Latter-day Saints has decreased, the bankruptcy rate has increased. The Census Bureau and American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) data used to rank the states in this category do not provide any information about the religious affiliation or activity of people declaring bankruptcy, so it may be impossible to determine the relative rates at which LDS and non-LDS populations are declaring bankruptcy. An executive summary report on Utah's rising bankruptcy rate can be found in this PDF file: Utah Foundation Executive Summary: Utah's Alarming Bankruptcy Problem (December 2004).
Based on a large variety of factors, Utah was ranked as the #1 best state in which to raise children in the 1996 rankings by the Children's Right's Council. [Source: Children's Rights Council Annual Ranking of States Based on Child Well Being]
According to the 2002 Kids Count data book released by the Maryland-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, Utah ranked 3rd nationwide as the best place for children:
It gave Utah high marks for low levels of infant mortality, a low percentage of single-parent families and low numbers of children living in low-income families. The report compares states with one another and with the nation as a whole in 10 categories including death rates, poverty and education. Minnesota and New Hampshire finished first and second, respectively... The number of single-parent families in Utah increased by 6 percent during the 1990s, less than half of the national increase of 13 percent. Despite the drop, Utah remained No. 1 in the nation for fewest one-parent families.
[Source: Ashley E. Broughton, "Statistics Show Utah Is 3rd-Best for Kids", Salt Lake Tribune, 23 May 2002.]
The latest federal health figures (1997) rank Utah as having the fewest births to unwed mothers. 16% of all births in Utah were to unmarried mothers. The national average was over 30%. The next lowest state after Utah was Idaho, with 20%. (Idaho is the second most Latter-day Saint state, with approx. 1/3 of the population belonging to the Church.)
An article (Lee Davidson, "Utah's birthrate is highest in the nation: But out-of-wedlock birthrate is lowest", 18 April 2001) citing data from the National Center for Health Statistics reported:
WASHINGTON -- Utah women again labored to the highest birthrate -- by far -- among the states in 1999, according to federal data released Tuesday.
They also led America in another key category: They delivered the lowest percentage of babies out of wedlock, according to a final report on 1999 birth data by the National Center for Health Statistics.
That may result from values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to which a majority of Utahns belong. It puts a premium on family life and keeping child-bearing within marriages...
The new federal study reported that Utah's "fertility rate" -- the number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 -- was 93.1. That is 41 percent higher than the national average of 65.9. The next highest fertility rate among the states was 81.1 in Arizona...
The report also figured the state's "birthrate" -- the number of live births per 1,000 residents. Utah's birthrate was 21.7 per 1,000 residents -- again, the highest in the nation, and a third higher than the national average of 14.5.
Meanwhile, Utah also led the nation with the lowest percentage of out-of-wedlock births: 16.7 percent, or one of every six.
That was less than half the national average of 33.0 percent, marking the first time that a full third of all U.S. births were to unwed mothers.
The highest rate of births to unwed parents in America was 67.1 percent in the Virgin Islands, followed by 61.7 percent in the District of Columbia.
According to another article published in 2001, unwed births are in Utah are half the national average, due to the high degree to which Latter-day Saints observe Church prohibitions against premarital sex:
Births to unmarried women in Utah have quadrupled in the past 29 years, in step with a national trend, but the state still has the nation's lowest percentage of out-of-wedlock births.
[Source: Ashley Estes. Births to Unwed Mothers... in Salt Lake Tribune, 4 April 2001.]
About 33 percent of babies born across the nation in 1999 have unmarried parents, according to a research brief released last week by Child Trends, a Washington-based organization that studies children and families.
The national percentage has remained unchanged since it peaked in 1994, but is a threefold increase from a 1970 level of 11 percent, the brief said.
In Utah, almost 17 percent of births in 1999 were to unmarried women, compared with 4 percent in 1970.
Of those, 37 percent were between the ages of 20 and 24, according to the Office of Vital Records and Statistics at the state Department of Health. Utah's percentage is on a par with national numbers for births to women in their early 20s.
The increase may be the result of several factors, said Brigham Young University sociology professor Tim Heaton.
In general, Americans are waiting longer to marry, Heaton said. Also, the number of couples choosing to cohabit is increasing, despite a relatively flat divorce rate, and many of those cohabiting couples have previously been married, he said.
In Utah, the low rate of births to unwed mothers may be due to the fact that nearly 70 percent of the state's population belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Bruce Chadwick, also a sociology professor at BYU. The LDS Church considers premarital sex and cohabiting a sin
Article by Stephen J. Bahr, referring to material from Brinkerhoff and Mackie (1985):
LDS women are more likely to graduate from college than Catholic or Protestant women, but less likely than Jewish or nonaffiliated women. For
graduate education the pattern was similar--a higher percentage of LDS than Catholic or Protestant women have received graduate education.
[Original source: Brinkerhoff, Merlin B., and Marlene MacKie. "Religion and Gender: A Comparison of Canadian and American Student Attitudes." Journal of
Marriage and the Family 47 (1985):415-29.]
LDS women are more likely to be employed in professional occupations than Catholic or Protestant women. Twenty-three percent of LDS women
are employed in professional occupations, which is similar to Jewish women and women with no religious affiliation.
According to U.S. Bureau of Census data released April 2000, Utah "spends a larger percentage of state dollars on education" than any other state. Also, because of the high proportion of Latter-day Saints and the Church's own comprehensive welfare system, Utah spends much less of its budget on public welfare than the other states. "On average, other states spend 22.4 percent of their budgets on public welfare; Utah spends 14 percent." Utah also has the lowest Utah has the lowest child poverty rate in the county. [Source: Maria Titze, Utah's '98 budget slice for schools highest in nation in Deseret News, 28 April 2000.]
Latter-day Saints generally adhere strictly to their health code which prohibits the use of tobacco and alcohol. These practices have always shown up in national health data, which consistently rate Utah as having the lowest rates of smoking, alcohol use, lung cancer, etc. The National Institute of Mental Health ranked Utah as the second-lowest U.S. state in new inpatient admissions to state mental hospitals and the ranked Utah as having the lowest per-capita alcohol consumption. (The other religious group in the U.S. known to have health statistics comparable to Latter-day Saints are the Seventh-Day Adventists, who practice similar health laws. SDAs, however, do not form a clear majority in any geographic region, so statistics indicative of their health practices are not part of national health data sets, but come from smaller studies, many of which they have sponsored themselves.) [Sources: MMR Weekly, July 28, 1989 / 38(29);501-505; Neergaard, Lauran (Associated Press). "Cancer rates inch down, mostly for men", Wednesday, April 21, 1999; National Institute of Mental Health. Additions and Resident Patients at End of Year 1986. Rockville, Md., 1988]
The latest report (1999) by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta confirmed that Utah still has the lowest smoking rate in the U.S. The report said that in Utah, 14.2 percent of adults smoke. The next lowest rate was in Minnesota, with 18 percent. Kentucky had the highest smoking rate in the country. Michael Eriksen, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said that "Utah historically has had lower rates because of the large Mormon population." [Source: Mike Cooper (Reuters) "Utah Has Lowest Smoking Rate in U.S.", 19 November 1999; Center for Disease Control statistics, 1998.]
In 2000 Self magazine ranked Provo, Utah as the number 1 healthiest city in the country for women. The article said that the Mormon influence is the reason women in Provo experience such low incidents of cancer, smoking, drinking, violence, depression, etc. [Source: MSNBC]
STANDOUT QUALITY: low disease rate
MOVE THERE IF: you'd like to live cleaner
This scenic ski-country town draws lots of tourists, but what put it at the top of our list is the influence of local folks: the Mormons, who set a healthy-living tone that even non-Mormons benefit from. The 320,800 people in the Provo-Orem area average less than one drink and one cigarette per month, among the lowest rates in our survey. That means less cardiovascular disease, women's biggest health enemy, and almost no lung cancer, the deadliest cancer for women. The water is clean, unemployment is low and motor-vehicle deaths are below average. The city is also a fitness mecca. Nestled in a canyon, Provo is close to Sundance ski resort. After moving to Provo, one resident, Heather Smith, 24, a computer-company product manager, dived into sports: skiing, mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding. "After work, I go blading with a friend," she says. "The path starts at the lake and ends at a waterfall." Provo isn't perfect. It doesn't have big-city health-care resources, a possible drawback for many residents. But all that clean living doesn't mean nobody has fun. "When people get here, they can't believe there are no places to go drinking," Smith says. Instead, she says, "we have bonfires in the canyon."
The smoking rate among Utah teens is the lowest in the nation: 7.3% in Utah, compared to 16.9% nationally. [Source: Center for Disease Control, 1998.]
In other figures published by the Center for Disease Control, Utah was ranked at or near the bottom in live births to teens, cases of gonorrhea among men, and cases of gonorrhea among women. This data set reports the state with the highest rates of sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases are in the South, especially Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. [Online source]
American Journal of Epidemiology:
Active Latter-day Saints Seven Times Less Likely to Commit Suicide
SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology 2002;155:413-419. Write-up in: "High Religious Commitment Linked to Less Suicide", by Charnicia E. Huggins (Reuters Health), Daily News (6 March 2002), URL: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/nm/20020306/hl/religion_1.html
[As separate page.]
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Young Mormon men living in Utah who closely adhere to the dictates of their faith are less likely to commit suicide than their peers who are less active in the church, study findings show.
The Mormon Church is known formally as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
For more than 10 years, 15- to 34-year-old males in Utah have had suicide rates markedly higher than those seen nationally. In fact, in the early to mid-1990s, suicide was the number one cause of death among 25- to 44-year-old men in the state and the second-leading cause of death among men aged 15 to 24.
"These results provide evidence that a low level of religious commitment is a potential risk factor for suicide," Dr. Sterling C. Hilton of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and his colleagues write in the March 1st issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
"If the observed association is real, then it gives us another piece of information that helps us understand suicide...which might help efforts to reduce it," Hilton told Reuters Health.
Hilton and his colleagues investigated the relationship between suicide and religiosity in an analysis of 1991-1995 state death records from the Utah State Department of Health, as well as data from the LDS church and the US Census Bureau.
Roughly 27,740 male deaths occurred during the study period, including 551 suicides among 15 to 34 year olds, the investigators report. About 6 in 10 of these suicides were committed by male members of the LDS church.
Suicide rates in each of the four age categories studied--15 to 19 years, 20 to 24 years, 25 to 29 years, and 30 to 34 years--were lower among active members of the LDS church than among less active LDS church members, nonmembers and males in the general US population, the report indicates.
For example, the suicide rate among less active LDS church members aged 25 to 29 was seven times higher than among their active church peers. Nationally, the suicide rate among 20- to 34-year old males was 2.5 to 3 times higher than among active LDS church members of the same age. Suicide risk was also 3 to 6 times higher among nonmembers in comparison to active members of the LDS church.
In addition, the risk of suicide among males aged 15 to 19 was three times higher among the less active church members than among their active peers, but the rate among the active youth was comparable to the national suicide rate.
One potential reason for the association between lower suicide risk and high levels of religiosity may be the fact that some religions forbid substance abuse or other harmful behaviors that may be associated with suicide, the researchers speculate.
In addition, they suggest, the social structure and support provided by many religions may reduce feelings of isolation and help individuals who are suffering bouts of depression, thereby acting as a suicide prevention measure.
Lastly, the high value placed on life by many religions may also be an indirect method of suicide prevention, since individuals who are strongly committed to their faith may have a greater desire to live.
"Since the possible explanations (given)... for the observed association are not unique to the LDS church, I believe that these findings are most likely generalizable to other religions," Hilton said.
In a ranking of "Family Values", based on marriage rate, divorce rate, suicide rate, AIDS rate data from the World Almanac of the U.S.A. Utah was ranked 4th highest in the nation (with statistics most indicative of traditional family values). The states that ranked higher by this cumulative score were Iowa, Idaho, and South Dakota. [Online source.]
According to the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics, Utah has fewer people per capita in prison (a lower incarceration rate) than all but six states. In 1998 Utah's incarceration rate was only 205 per 100,000 residents, compared to the national average of 423. The states with lower rates were all more rural than Utah: West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Minnesota. The states with the highest incarceration rates were: Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Carolina.
According to IRS tax returns, Utahns rank first among all U.S. states in the proportion of income given to charity by the wealthy (households with annual gross income of more than $200,000). Of the "9,800 Utah filers with adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000, donations per filer stood at $42,000. Their average assets were $3.2 million... In wealthier states, where a relatively higher number of people have large incomes, giving tends to be lower relative to assets, according to the San Francisco-based group. California, which has 248,000 filers at $200,000 or more, is 28th on the list, even though the state's relatively expensive homes are discounted... Delaware ranked lowest on the list..."[Source: Kent Allen. "Philanthropy: Give and Take: Individual Potential in Relative Terms" in Washington Post (3 January 1999), pg A17.]
Longstanding Latter-day Saint emphasis on secular education and learning, in addition to religious education, can be seen in federal education statistics. The American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) Report Card on Education 1996 reported that Utah was ranked 7th academically in the nation, despite the fact that the state spent less money (49th in expenditures per pupil) than most other states. [Source: Center for Education Reform, 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 204, Washington, D.C.]
In the 1987 General Social Survey project funded by the National Science Foundation, 56.7% of Latter-day Saints surveyed identified themselves as "born-again" Christians, a statistical tie with Baptists, and a figure higher than many other Christian denominations (including Church of Christ, Nazarenes, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist). [Source: Classifying Protestant Denominations by Tom W. Smith.]
"A recent national Advanced Placement study found Utah ranked first in the nation in both [AP] exams taken and exams passed on a per capita basis. In 1997, more than one-fourth of Utah's high school graduates earned twelve or more hours of college credits while still in high school through the Advanced Placement Program." [Source: The "Core" of public schools by Eileen Rencher, Utah State Office of Education.]
Utah has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation (ranked third in 1990-92, with 93.9%, behind North Dakota and Iowa. Tennesee was ranked last.) [Source: Graduation Rates in the United States, National Center for Education Statistics.] Utah is ranked 2nd in proportion of the population who are high school graduates. 85.1% of Utah's adult population are high school graduates. (Alaska is ranked 1st, with 86.6. Nationally the figure is 75.2%.) [Source: 1990 Census, U.S. Bureau of the Census, published in Statistical Abstract of the United States 1997 (117th Edition), U.S. Dept. of Commerce, pg. 161.]
National demographic studies indicate that couples in which both partners are Latter-day Saints (and who marry in a Latter-day Saint temple) have the lowest divorce rate among all U.S. social and religious groups studied. "The divorce rates for Latter-day Saints who marry in the temple are 5.4 percent for men and 6.5 percent for women." (These may not be the most up-to-date figures available.) But statistics indicate that inter-faith marriages in which one partner is a Latter-day Saint and the other is not are more likely to end in divorce than other interfaith religious combinations studied, except for Jewish/non-Jewish couples. The general Latter-day Saint divorce rate is at or slightly lower than the national average for all marriages in which both partners are Latter-day Saints, if the figures include temple and non-temple marriages and both active and non-active Latter-day Saints. These statistics underscore the important distinction Latter-day Saints make between temple marriages (believed to be eternal and valid beyond death) and non-temple marriages (valid only in this life, comparable to civil marriage or marriage in other denominations). [Sources: Daniel K. Judd. Religion, Mental Health and the Latter-day Saints. Online article about book. Other sources citing the 6% Latter-day Saint temple marriage divorce rate: William Lobdell, Holy Matrimony: In an Era of Divorce Mormon Temple Weddings are Built to Last in Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2000; Dave Condren, New Temple Marks Origin of Mormons in Buffalo News, 27 March 2000.]
Similar results were found in a 1993 study:
A 1993 study published in Demography showed that Mormons marrying
within their church are least likely of all Americans to become divorced. Only 13 percent of LDS couples have divorced after five years of marriage,
compared with 20 percent for religiously homogamist unions among Catholics and
Protestants and 27 percent among Jews.
[Source: Bob Mims Mormons: high conservativism, low divorce, big growth, 6 March 1999, Salt Lake Tribune.]
However, when a Mormon marries outside his or her denomination, the
divorce rate soars to 40 percent -- second only to mixed-faith marriages
involving a Jewish spouse (42 percent).
Citing a variety of other studies, Duke found that Mormons are the
least likely to cohabitate outside of marriage -- 8.2 percent compared with 20
percent to 24 percent for Protestants, 23.1 percent for Catholics, 32.5
percent for Jews and 44.8 percent for nonreligious Americans.
According to Newsweek, Salt Lake City, Utah, is ranked first among U.S. cities in proportion of households with personal computers (65%), partially because computers are ideal for the genealogy research important to Latter-day Saints. New York City-based Scarborough Research also ranked Salt Lake City first among cities in computer ownership, and fourth among U.S. cities in Internet use. A Deseret News poll found that in Provo, Utah, where over 85% of residents are Latter-day Saints, had even higher personal computer ownership than Salt Lake City (71% of households owned a PC). [Sources: Newsweek, 1998; Fidel, Steve. "
S.L. plugged in to the Internet", Deseret News, 18 Oct. 1999. Data for the report was compiled between February 1998 and February 1999 from interviews with more than 170,000 adults age 18 and older in the survey cities.] Due in part to their emphasis on missionary work and education, combined with higher than average Internet use, the Latter-day Saint population in general exhibits higher than average awareness of geography, languages, and religious/cultural diversity. In October 2000 the Associated Press reported that Utah ranks first in peronsal computer ownership, according to a U.S. Commerce Department survey: "More Utah homes have computers 66.1 percent than anywhere else in the nation." The national average was 51 percent. [Source: Utah No. 1 in home computers in Deseret News, 17 October 2000.]
As Latter-day Saints become more educated, they are more likely to be active Church participants, a trend opposite what is found in most denominations (online source: http://www.byuh.edu/kealakai/current/pages/education.html).
A study by Stan Albrecht and Tim Heaton published in the Review of Religious Research in 1984 reported that
opposite to the experience of most churches in the United States, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints become more religiously active as they become more educated.
According to lds.org, the study included around 7,000 participants.
The Church funds all Brigham Young University campuses, which include those in Jerusalem, Provo, Idaho and Hawaii. Church members are encouraged to get all the education they can.
"The more students learn in an academic setting - particularly one in which eternal truths and life values are emphasized-the more they realize the truthfulness of gospel principles," said Janet S. Scharman, vice president for student life at BYU in Provo.
"At BYU, as our emphasis on spirituality goes up, so does our academic performance," she said.
The Church has emphasized education since its early history, starting with founder Joseph Smith who formed a "School of the Prophets" in 1833.
The 1999 Places Rated Almanac (IDG Books) ranked the Salt Lake City-Ogden metro area as the best place to live in North America. "The quadrennial statistical study, first published in 1981, rates 354 U.S. and Canadian metro areas on nine quality of life factors including cost of living, transportation, jobs, education, climate, crime, arts, health care and recreation." "In four... categories -- transportation, jobs, the arts and recreation -- Salt Lake-Ogden placed in the highest 10 percentiles." [Source: Joel Campbell. "S.L.-Ogden best place to live in N. America" in Deseret News, 4 Nov. 1999; Lori Buttars. "Salt Lake-Ogden Really Is the Place" in Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Nov. 1999.] A few years earlier, the Provo-Orem metroplex (where 90% of people are Latter-day Saints) was ranked as the "most livable" community in the United States.
In November 2000, Money Magazine ranked Salt Lake City as the "West's most livable metropolis." [Source: Phil Sahm. 'Money' Magazine Lists Salt Lake as the West's Most Livable Metropolis in Salt Lake Tribune, 14 November 2000.]
Utah's capital won for its affordable housing prices, agreeable commute time and access to splendid skiing, hiking and other recreational opportunities. The city even gets recognition for the quality of its schools. To land at the top of the heap, the city beat out its less attractive Western cousins San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix
An Associated Press article (27 December 1999,Salt Lake Tribune) reported that Utah ranks last among all states in the proportion of young men and women signing up for military services (according to military figures). The military recruiters attribute this partially to the state's healthy economy and high proportion of young people attending college, but primarily to the choice of Utahns to serve as missionaries for the Church. The age group that the military prefers to recruit from is "also the prime age group for Mormon men to go away on church missions. And in a state that is predominately Mormon, most young men turn to the church and away from recruiters." On the other hand, Utah ranks fourth highest among all states in the proportion of "high-quality" enlistees. Only Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota recruits outscored Utah.
According to information from income tax returns, Utah has the largest average family size in the country. Utah has four of the top five counties in the country in the US for that statistic, and the most of any state in the top 50 rankings. [Source: Salt Lake Tribune]
Latter-day Saint men and women were leaders of the womens suffrage movement, and Utah was the second place in the world where women had the right to vote. [Source]
Salt Lake City has long been ranked number one among U.S. cities in Jell-O consumption (partially because of frequent use at church socials), but in 1999 Salt Lake fell to second place, behind Des Moines, Iowa. An article in the Salt Lake Tribune reported: "It was a finding so startling even the folks at Kraft scoffed at first. Then they re-ran the numbers, just to make sure. 'We were surprised because, historically, Salt Lake has always been the largest consumer of Jell-O and Jell-O brand products... Des Moines used to be in the last 10 markets.' Salt Lake is now No. 2 for Jell-O gelatin consumption per capita, with sales at 4.4 million boxes annually -- or 100,000 fewer boxes than in preceding years."
[Source: Nancy Hobbs. "S.L. Bounced Out of the Top Jell-O Spot", Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Dec. 1999.]
In a literary survey of novels which have won the highest awards in science fiction, the Hugo or Nebula award, twenty-five percent (25%) had Latter-day Saint characters or Utah/Latter-day Saint references. These include books by Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke and Greg Bear. [Source: Adherents.com Literature Index.]
Mainstream writers and playwrights have often used Latter-day Saints as stock religious characters when exploring religious themes in their work. Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, Arthur Toynbee, and Zane Grey all wrote extensively about Latter-day Saints (not all of it complimentary). As early as 1902 ("Corianton", by B. H. Roberts) Broadway productions have featured or been written by Latter-day Saints. Currently at least three running Broadway or Off-Broadway shows are about Latter-day Saints (including the Tony award-winning "Angels in America") and two are written by Latter-day Saints ("Joyful Noise", about the writing of Handel's "Messiah").
Some additional statistics are available from a study done by the National Opinion Research Center's Cumulative General Social Survey (NORC).
Church Practices Influence Utah Health and Demographic Statistics
The following document, published 7 December 2001, was made available to the press during in preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The original file can be found at: http://www.lds.org/media2/newsrelease/0,5637,666-1-7191,00.html
The following statistics are listed here for the use of journalists. They show where Utah scores high in a number of areas, including family, health, crime and education. These statistics cover the entire state of Utah, not just the population who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In 2000, Utah was one of only three states to receive a straight-A score in a national report card based on a number of criteria (1).
Families in Utah
Utah ranked highest in the number of married-couple families, with an average of 63.2 percent. (2)
Utah ranked highest in the number of family households, with 76.3 percent. (2)
Utah ranked highest in the number of persons per family, with an average of 3.57. (2)
Utah ranked first for the youngest total population, with nearly one-third of its population 17 years old or younger. (2)
Utah ranked highest in the number of persons per household, with an average of 3.13. (2)
Utah ranked third for the fewest number of single-headed households with children, with 7.7 percent. (2)
Education in Utah
Utah ranked fourth for the highest population of persons age 25 and over with a high school degree at minimum, totaling 91 percent. (3)
Utah ranked 11th for the highest population of persons age 25 and over with a bachelor's degree or higher, totaling 27.9 percent. (3)
Utah ranked fifth for the highest percentage of ninth-grade students who graduated within four years, increasing from 77.8 percent in 1999 to 82.3 percent in 2000. (4)
Health in Utah
Utah ranked first for the lowest prevalence of smoking, with 14 percent. (4)
Utah ranked first for the lowest risk for heart disease, and was 20 percent below the national average. (4)
Utah ranked first for the lowest number of cancer cases, with 239.5 cases per 100,000. (4)
Utah ranked first for the lowest number of work days missed within a 30-day period due to physical or mental illness, with an average of under three days per month missed. (4)
Utah ranked second for the lowest overall death rate, with only 5.6 deaths per 1,000. (3)
Utah ranked second for lowest number of heart-disease mortalities, and was the most improved state since 1990. (4)
Utah ranked third for best overall health in 2000, maintaining its high standing in this category during the past decade (second in 1994 and 1996; fourth in 1990; fifth in 1992, 1997 and 1998; and sixth in 1999). (4)
Utah ranked fourth for the lowest infant mortality, and fifth in the nation for lowest total mortality. Utah ranked ninth in the nation for lowest premature death (death before age 75). (4)
Crime in Utah
Utah ranked 12th for the lowest crime rate. (3)
Utah's index crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson) decreased 12.6 percent compared to 1999, and 29.7 percent compared to 1995. It was 5.3 percent lower than the national index crime rate and represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) decreased 8.8 percent compared to1999, and 25.1 percent compared to 1997. Utah's rate was less than half the national rate and represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's property crimes (burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson) decreased 12.8 percent compared to 1999, and 30 percent compared to 1995. Utah's rate was less than half the national rate and represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's burglary rate decreased 8.3 percent compared to 1999, 33.1 percent compared to 1997, and 56.9 percent compared to 1980. Utah's rate was 33 percent lower than the national rate and represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's larceny rate decreased 12.9 percent compared to 1999, and 30.4 percent compared to 1995. This represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's murder rate decreased 3.7 percent compared to 1999, and was nearly one-third of the national rate. This represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's aggravated assault rate decreased 15.1 percent compared to 1999, and 29.5 percent compared to 1995. This represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's arson rate decreased 18.3 percent compared to 1999, and 53.7 percent compared to 1992. Utah's rate was less than half the national rate and represented a 21-year low. (5)
Utah's robbery rate decreased 18.4 percent compared to 1997, and was less than half the national rate. (5)
Utah's motor vehicle theft rate decreased 20.1 percent compared to 1999, and 40 percent compared to 1997. Utah's rate was 71 percent lower than the national rate. (5)
Utah's adult (18 and over) arrests for index crimes decreased 13.4 percent compared to 1999; juvenile (10-17) arrests for index crimes decreased 7.1 percent. (5)
Utah's adult arrests for violent crimes decreased 16.3 percent compared to 1999; juvenile arrests for violent crimes decreased 18 percent. (5)
Utah's adult arrests for property crimes decreased 13 percent compared to 1999; juvenile arrests for property crimes decreased 6.1 percent. (5)
Other Utah Statistics
Utah ranked highest in charitable giving. (1)
Utah was the fourth fastest-growing state, with a 29.6-percent population increase during the past decade (from 1.7 million in 1990 to 2.2 million in 2000). Utah's growth rate more than doubled the nation's growth rate of 13.2 percent. (3*)
Utah supports 1,000 churches representing 67 religious denominations. (3**)
Over 75 percent of Utah's population are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (6)
(1) The Corporation for Enterprise Development, "Development Report Card for the States 2000," www.drc.cfed.org
(2) Utah Government (citing the 2000 Census), www.utah.gov
(3) Economic Development Corporation of Utah (citing the "2001 Economic Report to the Governor"), www.edcutah.org
(3*) Economic Development Corporation of Utah (citing the 2000 Census), www.edcutah.org
(3**) Economic Development Corporation of Utah, www.edcutah.org
(4) United Health Group, "United Health Group State Health Ranking: 2000 Edition," http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com
(5) Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, "2000 Crime Statistics," www.justice.state.ut.us
(6) Deseret News 2001-2002 Church Almanac
A Sampling of Offsite Links and Documents from External Sources
Presenting Examples of the Influence of Latter-day Saint Culture in the U.S./World:
Figures have been included on this page because they clearly indicate Latter-day Saint influence, not because they are "positive" or "negative." Note that all of the social statistics cited on this page can be verified through federally available statistical resources, or through articles published in peer-reviewed scientific articles. We are aware of additional figures, not cited here, which are circulated by groups which desire to disparage Utahns and/or Latter-day Saints. Such figures do not appear to be connected to actual federal or academic sources; many such figures appear to simply be fabricated. One one of the most popular "mythical statistics" we have seen is the idea that Utah and/or Latter-day Saints have the highest divorce rate in the country. This contention has no basis in empirical data. The Divorce Statistics Collection has a large number of general articles on this topic. Jeff Lindsay also addresses this topic here. Brent Barlow's analysis is also noteworthy.
This web page copyright © 2005 by firstname.lastname@example.org. Created 30 April 1999. Demographics data separated from "Largest Community" statistics on 28 April 2000. Last updated 16 September 2005.