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Mormons in America - Demographics

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A Pew Forum report released in July, 2009, explains Mormon demographics in the United States. At the time there were over 13,500,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide, [1] with more members outside the U.S. than in it. The Church adds about 300,000 new members each year worldwide, so its growth is steady rather than exponential. LDS Newsroom states that it is the second fastest growing religion in the U.S. [2]

Demographics

The Pew Forum report states the following: [3]

  • Mormons make up 58% of Utah's population.
  • 1.7% of U.S. citizens are Mormon, almost exactly the same as the American Jewish population.
  • As a group Mormons are among the most devout and conservative religious people in the country.
  • The Mormon community is internally diverse.
  • The Mormon population in the U.S. is heavily concentrated in the West (76%). (13% live in California, 7% in Idaho, 5% in Nevada, 4% in Oregon, and 4% in Arizona.)
  • 35% of American Mormons live in Utah.
  • Regionally, only 12% of Mormons live in the South, 7% in the Midwest, and 4% in the Northeastern U.S.
  • Half of converts live in the West (53%), but nearly a quarter live in the South (22%), 14% live in the Midwest and 11% reside in the Northeast.
  • Mormons tend to be slightly younger than the general U.S. population, with 66% being under 50, with 59% of the general U.S. population being under 50.
  • Nearly three-quarters of Mormons (71%) are married, compared with just more than half (54%) among the general population.
  • Mormons (83%) and Hindus (90%) are the most likely of all the major religious traditions to be married to someone of the same faith.
  • About half of all Mormons (49%) have children under age 18 living at home, with one-in-five (21%) saying they have three or more children at home.
  • Nearly nine-in-ten Mormons in the U.S. (86%) are white, compared with 71% of the general population. However, more minorities are converting to the Church. One-in-ten converts to Mormonism are black, and nearly all black Mormons are converts. An additional one-in-ten Mormon converts are Hispanic, and just 72% are white.
  • Roughly a quarter of current Mormons (26%) are converts to the faith.
  • Mormons are significantly more likely than the population overall to have some college education. Six-in-ten Mormons (61%) have at least some college education, compared with half of the overall population.
  • 38% of Mormons report earning between $50,000 and $100,000 annually, compared with 30% among the population overall in this income category.


Religious Beliefs and Practices

"On a host of religious measures, Mormons stand out for having exceptionally high levels of religious commitment. Mormons are a believing people, with more than nine-in-ten professing belief in God or a supreme being, the Bible as the word of God, life after death and miracles. Mormons also are remarkably observant in their religious practices, with three-quarters attending church and reading Scripture outside of services at least once a week and more than eight-in-ten praying daily. Similarly, Mormons strongly support a strict interpretation of their faith and the preservation of traditional beliefs and practices. Mormons also register strong opposition to the idea that religion causes problems in society." [4]
  • More than eight-in-ten (83%) Mormons say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56% of the general population. On this measure, Mormons are similar to members of evangelical (79%) and historically black (85%) Protestant churches and Jehovah's Witnesses (86%).
  • Fully 100% say they believe in God or a supreme being, which is higher than among any other religious group.
  • More than nine-in-ten Mormons (91%) say the Bible is the word of God.
  • 98% of Mormons state that they know there is an afterlife.
  • 96% of Mormons are certain that miracles occur today as in ancient times.
  • Mormons are among the most active of the major religious traditions in terms of attendance at religious services. Fully three-quarters (76%) say they attend church at least once a week, compared with 39% among the general population.
  • Mormons exhibit a similar pattern in their participation in other congregational activities, including community volunteer work, work with children and social activities through their local congregation.
  • Three-quarters of Mormons (76%) say they read Scripture outside of religious services at least once a week, more than double the figure among the general population (35%).
  • More than nine-in-ten Mormons pray at least once a week, with 82% praying daily. And a majority of Mormons (55%) say they receive a direct answer to a specific prayer request at least once a month.
  • More than nine-in-ten pray or read Scripture with their children (91%) and a similar proportion (90%) send their children to religious education programs, figures that are significantly higher than among any other religious tradition.
  • Mormons have a relatively high retention rate of childhood members compared with other major religious traditions. About 70% of those born into Mormon families remain active in the Church. (The retention rate for Jehovah's Witnesses is 37%; for Catholicism, it is 68%.) Half of those who fail to remain active in Mormonism have simply become unaffiliated, rather than converting to another faith. Some later return to activity.
  • Mormons with more formal education are more religiously committed, whereas in the general population the opposite is true.

Social and Political Views

"Mormons stand out from the general population and other major religious traditions for their conservatism on both cultural and political issues. Strong majorities of Mormons say there are absolute standards of right and wrong and that they feel their values are often threatened by Hollywood. On issues of foreign affairs, Mormons stand out for their view that the U.S. should be active in world affairs."
  • A strong majority of Mormons (88%) say there are absolute standards of right and wrong. This is higher than among the general population and most other religious traditions.
  • A significant portion of Mormons (68%) also agree that their values are often threatened by Hollywood, which is much higher than among the general population (42%).
  • Just a third of Mormons (36%) agree with the statement that there is a conflict between being religious and living in a modern society, which is similar to the percentage among the general public.
  • Politically, six-in-ten Mormons identify as conservative, about three-in-ten (27%) say they consider themselves moderate and only one-in-ten identify as liberal.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Mormons say they identify with or lean toward the Republican party.
  • Most Mormons take an anti-abortion or "pro-life" position on the issue of abortion. Mormon opposition is concentrated on opposing it in most cases (61%) rather than in all cases (9%).
  • Two-thirds of Mormons (68%) say homosexuality should be discouraged rather than accepted by society.

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