The New Mormon History
D. Michael Quinn, editor

Chapter 7
A Demographic Portrait of the Mormons, 1830-1980
Dean May

[p.121] There are few benchmarks in early Mormon history that provide a clear fix on how many Saints there were at any given time. Indeed the first systematic series of data on the number of Mormons worldwide begins in 1879. Before that time most reports on Mormon population were sporadic, partial censuses, or unreliable impressionistic estimates. Moreover Mormons had a vexing habit of avoiding federal censuses; the timing of the Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois migrations made the federal census of little use in reconstructing Mormon population. Add to this the complexities of trying to account for changing birth and death rates, as well as rates of apostasy and conversion, and the task becomes enormously complicated and in the end more speculative than we would wish. Nonetheless, by keeping estimates within limits set by the sporadic censuses which were taken, together with the known demographic behavior of comparable populations, it is possible to come to conclusions that hopefully will be better than intuitive estimates commonly encountered.

By the end of 1830 Mormon congregations in New York and Ohio numbered perhaps 200-500 souls. Joseph Smith reported 70 Mormons in New York,1 and Parley P. Pratt reported baptizing 127 in Kirtland, Ohio, on his way west in 1830. This number, Pratt wrote, “soon increased to one thousand.”2 Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, and Larry T. Wimmer have estimated the overall Kirtland population—Mormon and non-Mormon—between the years 1830 and 1840 from the number of personal property owners taxed each year. They [p. 122] show the total population growing rapidly from just over 1,000 in 1830 to a peak of 2,500 in 1837, then declining sharply in 1838 and 1839 to a low of 1,704. Milton V. Bachman has reworked the Kirtland data and found the estimates of Hill, Rooker, and Wimmer to be low by 700.3

As about a third of the Kirtland population was non-Mormon, we can safely conclude that there were at the peak of the Saints’ stay in the area no more than 2,500 Mormons, perhaps fewer. The decline noted by Hill, Rooker, and Wimmer of 796 persons in 1838-39 can be attributed to Mormons moving to Missouri, but non-Mormon towns in the area suffered noticeable declines as well, apparently in response to the economic crisis precipitated by the panic of 1837. By their data 796 would be the maximum number of Mormons moving from Ohio to Missouri. Backman, however, reports the whole population declining by 1,630 persons between 1838-39, with 1,900 Mormons leaving and 270 non-Mormons moving in. Only 515 left Kirtland as part of the Kirtland Camp en route to Missouri in July 1838, the rest either leaving the church or making their way eventually on their own to join the main body of Saints.4 By the time they left, the Mormon population in Caldwell County, Missouri, is reported to have been about 4,900.5 This figure indicates a larger population than that suggested by the first formal church count of Mormons, called “the Lesser Priesthood Enumeration,” taken in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1842. This census lists only 3,000 in Nauvoo and perhaps 1,000 in the environs—and this after 500-1,000 Saints from Ohio and Canada had joined the Missouri Saints in Illinois and after the first English migrations to Nauvoo had begun.6 Apparently the lesser priesthood brethren took the census with less than perfect efficiency. Hamlin Cannon listed 2,989 leaving Britain in 1840-42, which, if they all made it to Nauvoo, would by themselves account for three-quarters of the whole census population.7

Perhaps some sense can be made of the matter if we work backwards from the 1845 census reported in the Times and Seasons (15 November) showing 11,057 in Nauvoo proper and “without the [city] limits it is supposed there is a third more.” Let us assume that the elastic phrase “it is supposed” is accurate, giving a total Nauvoo-area Mormon population of 14,742. I have tried to simulate the order of growth required to reach that population in six years (1840-45, inclusive), assuming that 90 percent of the annual British migration [p. 123] reached Nauvoo, a birth rate of 50 per 1,000 and high death rate of 20 per 1,000. If the base population of 1840 was 5,000 and there was a non-British in-migration of 600 each year, the population six years later would be 14,676, or very close to that estimated in the 1845 census. Thus 11,816 persons—5,000 leaving Missouri, 3,600 entering from other states, and 4,216 arriving from England—could have produced the census population of 14,742 in the time shown with an average birthrate and a fairly high death rate.8

One could adjust these estimates upward or downward somewhat—but not greatly—without straining credulity. If the 1842 priesthood census was accurate, it would have taken an average non-British in-migration of 1,500 persons each year from 1842-45 to approximate the 1845 census figures. I thus am inclined to consider the 1842 priesthood census incomplete and to have more confidence in an initial population of 5,000 Mormons gathered to Nauvoo from Missouri and Ohio, which provided the base upon which the Mormon population grew by the end of 1845 to 14,000 or 15,000.

Estimating the number of Mormons elsewhere presents equally difficult problems. Wilford Woodruff recorded that in April 1841 there were 5,814 Saints in England.9 The precision of this figure possibly makes it an actual count of members. Using the same crude rate of natural increase, adding Hamlin Cannon’s data on conversions and deducting his recorded out-migration figures and 20 percent decrease for disaffiliation, British membership would have grown to 9,882 by the end of 1846. If we were to allow another 1,000 for Saints elsewhere in Europe and 5,000 for Saints elsewhere in North America, total church membership by 1846 would have been 30,882. I am comfortable with a working estimate of 30,000 for the whole church population, half of which resided in the Nauvoo area, at the time wagons began to pull out into the mire of the Iowa countryside in 1846 on the Saints’ way west.

It is also difficult to determine how many of these Saints left Nauvoo and came west. The next figures that can be extrapolated from actual counts come from the 1850 federal censuses for Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and for Utah territory.10 However, there are problems with using these enumerations. Lowell C. Bennion and Marilyn Wagner in separate studies have found evidence of redundancy in the 1850 census, with some persons being counted twice as residents of settled areas and of new colonies. Moreover it is [p. 124] impossible to know precisely how many non-Mormons were in Utah and in Pottawattamie County at the time. Assuming a 3.5 percent crude rate of natural increase, 2 percent out-migration, 20 percent under-registration of the census, and apply reasonable allowances for the non-Mormon population, I estimate a total western U.S. population of Mormons in 1850 of 17,072, with 41 percent, nearly half, still living in western Iowa.11

How many of these 17,072 were recent arrivals from England? We have already accounted for English immigrants up to 1846. By that time they and their children numbered about 4,708 or 32 percent of the population of Nauvoo. From 1846 to 1852, some 6,597 more Mormons boarded emigrant ships in England. If we again assume that about 10 percent stopped along the way in New Orleans, St. Louis, or other river town and allow a 3 percent rate of natural increase, the new arrivals account for 4,272 persons by 1850. Substracting them from the 17,072 total in the west leaves about 12,800 who could have come west from Nauvoo, but we must consider that a good many of these were born between 1846 and 1850.

A base population of 11,150 leaving Nauvoo could have grown to 12,800 (our calculated figure) by the end of 1850, even if we cut the rate of natural increase to 2 percent for 1846 to allow for high mortality along the Missouri River. But some of the American Saints along the Missouri and in Far West in 1850 had never been part of the Nauvoo population. Those sailing from the east coast and traveling overland from the south numbered at least 338, and it is likely that many other, less well documented, raised the total of the non-Nauvoo American emigration considerably, perhaps to as much as 1,000. Thus about 10,150 (69 percent) of our estimated 14,742 Nauvoo 1846 population had followed Brigham Young and the apostles to the west by 1850. If the proportion of British Saints following Brigham Young west was the same as their proportion of the whole Nauvoo population (probably it was higher) they, together with the British who came after 1845, made up over half (8,980 or 53 percent) of the 17,072 Mormons in the west by 1850. These calculations suggest that the proportion of Mormons migrating west from Nauvoo may have been somewhat less than has been thought (69 percent) and that a very high proportion (53 percent) of western Mormons were British.

After the 1850s we have no clear readings on the population [p. 125] of the Mormons until 1879, when the first reasonably complete series of official annual LDS statistical reports appeared.12 Even then the data are difficult to use and to compare with other sources, as they report all church membership only for 1880 and thereafter do not include mission statistical reports, at least not as part of the same listing. I have calculated the Utah church population to 1860, using migration data as 20 percent under-registered, a 3.5 percent rate of natural increase, and a 2 percent out-migration rate, and find the estimated population including 1860 in-migrants to be 41,303. Given the general under-registration of federal censuses after 1850, I find this estimate not unlikely. It is 5,743 short of Wayne Wahlquist’s 47,046 estimate of total Utah population–Mormon and non-Mormon–for the same year and some 1,030 greater than the 40,273 federal census count. If Wahlquist’s territorial estimate is correct, Mormons accounted for 88 percent of the total territorial population.

These data give us some insight into another interesting question concerning the Mormon population, or at least the Utah Mormon population: how prophetic Colonel Patrick Connor was in suggesting that the influx of non-Mormons following the opening of the precious metal mining industry would diminish if not overcome Mormon control of the territory. Comparing church membership data for Utah with the federal census, we find that eighteen years after the railroad made large-scale mining feasible Mormons had dropped from our 1860 estimate of 88 percent of the population to 79 percent. This figure declined to 66 percent by 1890.13 Mormons accounted for 67 percent in 1900, 61 percent in 1910, and reached a low point of 55 percent in 1920. Thereafter the proportion of Mormons rose steadily a few percentage points a year, reaching a twentieth-century high of 71.5 percent in 1970, according to data compiled independently by Joseph L. Lyon and Lowell C. Bennion. County percentages for 1970 ranged from 21.9 percent Mormon in Grand County to 93.5 percent in Wayne County. Colonel Connor’s hope was realized, though more slowly and not to the degree he had planned. And finally it was the mining of industrial metals and coal—not precious metals—that brought Mormons to near-minority status in 1920. Since 1970 random polls have since consistently found that 75-78 percent of adults in Utah report their religious preference as LDS. In addition, Mormons have had until the mid-1980s almost twice the birthrate of non-Mormons in Utah.14

[p. 126] How then can we summarize this profile of Mormon growth over the last 160 years? If my procedures are sound, the numbers are considerably less than is often thought, at least for the Illinois and early Utah periods. The 5,000 leaving Missouri to settle Nauvoo is not far from contemporary estimates. The peak population of 14,000 to 15,000 for Nauvoo is also close to what has been thought, but the estimation of 10,150 leaving Nauvoo to go west is somewhat lower than many have assumed. The 30,000 worldwide population in 1846 is substantially less than contemporary accounts (see Times and Seasons 6:1052), which suggest 57,000 to 200,000. Furthermore, it is clear that the 1850 Mormon population was over enumerated in the federal census. I am surprised at my small out-migration estimates to California and elsewhere. I frankly began these calculations expecting to find the territory a wide-open sieve on the California side, an expectation that clearly was not realized. Finally I am impressed with how large a component the English and their children were of the whole western church population by 1850—apparently making up 53 percent of church membership.

Now let me proceed to point out one or two important aspects of Mormon growth. Of all distinctive aspects of Mormon demography, high fertility has been most often noticed. This much is known of Mormon fertility. Mormons had fertility rates approaching natural rates until the 1870s, when evidence of fertility control becomes apparent. Since that time Mormon fertility has tended to follow national trends, though at higher levels. The influence of peer groups, which probably brought a decline in fertility rates in the 1870s, is evident today. Mormons living among non-Mormons have higher fertility rates than their non-Mormon neighbors but smaller fertility rates than Mormons living in predominantly LDS areas.15 Mormon fertility rates remained high and actually increased during the late 1970s, but declined in the 1980s. The Mormon crude birth rate has tended to be about twice the national average. It is interesting that this maintenance of higher birthrates has continued in spite of increasing affluence and educational status. While the fertility rates of other traditionally high fertility groups have dropped as socioeconomic status has risen, rates among Mormons persist.16

The interesting question is: Why do Mormon fertility rates maintain themselves at such high levels? Numerous studies have noted high fertility rates among American frontier populations, but [p. 127] there are also significant declines after the first generation to levels close to the national average.17 Mormon fertility remains high, one suspects, not because of the frontier heritage per se but because of the doctrines and ceremonies established during the frontier period.

One argument for this point of view stems from the attitude of Mormons toward children. In 1960 Phillip Aries pointed out that attitudes toward children have changed dramatically from the Middle Ages, when children mingled freely in adult society and were seen as miniature adults, to the nineteenth century, when children were viewed as occupying a special position and place in society. Nineteenth-century Americans treated children as one does a spaniel—pampering and petting them but not permitting them in adult society or taking them seriously as individuals until they reached an appropriate level of maturity.18 Some have seen the Mormon fondness for children as a direct heritage of this nineteenth-century predilection, and I would suggest that in part it is—but only in part.19

Beginning with the visit of William Chandless in 1855 and continuing through 1975, non-Mormon visitors have kept up a running commentary on the behavior of Mormon children.20 These observers maintain that Mormon children are doted upon, are present and accepted in adult society, and are not taught to know their place. They are assertive, bold, even brassy, and do not respect adults. I have not researched the subject sufficiently to offer conclusions with confidence, but I wonder if we do not see in Mormondom a combination of the indulgence characteristic of the nineteenth century and the acceptance of children as adults common to an earlier time. Mormon children are doted upon, but equally important they are invited into adult society, as almost every non-Mormon attending Mormon church services has noted. They are accepted in adult society and recognized as individuals from an early age on—given more liberties and accorded more trust than is generally the case in contemporary American society.

All this can be tied, I suspect, both to historical experience and doctrinal roots. Mormon stress on the spiritual maturity and eternal importance of the individual, including the youngest of children, has helped perpetuate among them attitudes toward children that once were widespread but subsequently almost disappeared in nineteenth-century America. It is a persuasive argument for how important the persistence of older traditions can be when they are [p. 128] locked into a provincial culture at a critical time. I will comment on this later, but I see in a similar manner contemporary Mormon fertility rates as an artifact of Mormons’ having been a frontier people and then being prevented by provincial self-consciousness from dropping frontier values and habits, especially in those areas where doctrine and belief reinforce the frontier condition.

I have deliberately avoided discussing polygamy as it relates to fertility, but one observation might be appropriate here. Those studies that find an inverse relationship between fertility rates per woman and the practice of polygamy—that women in polygamy bear less children per woman than women in monogamy—an effect noted by several researchers, tend to have been derived from low fertility elite segments of the population and have not considered the effects of polygamy on fertility rates in the aggregate.21 My guess is that as more sophisticated studies take these factors into consideration we will find that polygamy enhanced rather than depressed aggregate fertility rates.22

Another common observation on Mormon fertility is the suggestion that the absence of husbands on missions lowered fertility rates. Obviously in individual instances it did, but since the 1840s the proportion of Mormon men on missions has never reached even half of 1 percent of the whole church membership. Thus the percentage of Mormon men on missions was never enough to be significant.23

One other point pertaining to the components of Mormon growth deserves mention. From the church’s inception until about 1880, the major portion of new members each year came from convert baptisms. The only nineteenth-century listing that I can find of child baptisms and convert baptisms churchwide was for 1880. It indicates the 3,042 children and 3,606 adults were baptized during the year, with the great portion of adult converts (2,286) coming from Europe.24 It would seem likely that the church in the 1880s was about to enter an era of some eighty years when the bulk of its growth would be internal. When such data appeared again in 1925, the ratio of child baptisms to convert baptisms had changed significantly—from roughly equal to more than double (225 to 100). The same ratio persisted into 1930 but then dropped sharply in 1935 (189 to 100). During World war II the ratio leapt dramatically (325 to 100), obviously because of the curtailment of European mission activity. Except for the war years, the trend until 1955 was toward a balance between [p. 129] the two. Converts began to outnumber child baptisms at some point between 1955 and 1960. From that time on the ratios drop consistently to a low of 41.4 to 100 in 1979, reversing the 1925 ratio.25 Mormon fertility remains high but can no longer compete with missionary work in increasing the overall numbers of church members.

Mormon death rates are as notable for being low as Mormon birthrates are for being high. It is unfortunate that we have no data with which to test the hypothesis that Mormon mortality was low in crossing the plains compared with that of other overland migrants. The first death statistics I have been able to find come from a church census of 1852. The federal census for 1850 listed a notoriously high death rate of 21 per 1,000 for Utah territory that year, a statistic which was corrected in the 1860 census, either by better health or by sharper statisticians.

According to these data, church death rates are consistently lower than the national average. It is difficult to explain why except to observe that Utah’s urban centers did not have the high concentrations of populations found elsewhere in the United States that served to increase the national average.26

Nineteenth-century Mormons were not noted for their careful observance of the Word of Wisdom, especially its proscriptions regarding alcohol and tobacco. However, such observance of the church’s dietary laws is apparently the main reason for the present low death rates among their descendants. Joseph L. Lyon and others have studied this phenomenon carefully. Their report, showing incidence of cancer standardized for age and other factors among LDS and non-LDS persons in Utah, indicates that in most types of cancer, including those that should not be affected by tobacco or alcohol, Mormons have substantially lower incidences of cancer than non-Mormons living in Utah.27 These and other data on Mormon health add up to an expectation of life at birth for Mormon men five years longer than for non-Mormon men and three years longer for Mormon women than for non-Mormon women. These studies do not, however, consider the likely positive effects of Mormon health practices on pregnancy, childbirth, and birth defects.

I have previously noted the high proportion of English Saints in the Mormon church by 1850. I would like to draw upon work done by Charles M. Hatch pertaining to Cache Valley in northern Utah in the nineteenth century to make a point about the cultural importance [p. 130] of the high proportion of foreign-born Mormons in Utah. In a day of general xenophobia, a common charge of nineteenth-century anti-Mormons was that the Saints harbored a high proportion of foreign born who in coming to Utah from their native lands had never been exposed to American values and thus were susceptible to Mormon culture. In 1860 the Cache Valley population was about two-thirds American born. Ten years later 62 percent were American born, just under two-thirds, and about the same proportion prevailed in 1880. The data indicate a fairly consistent pattern of large American-born majorities who presumably set the social, religious, and cultural tone of Cache Valley towns in the nineteenth century.

A closer look, however, reveals a more complicated picture. Examining the structure of a population uncovers nuances the aggregate figures conceal. A high birth rate or high crime rate, for example, may be a product of how young or how old the population as a whole is rather than of the social habits peculiar to the group. Looking at the age structure of the general population for Cache County in 1860, 1870, and 1880 reveals the broad base characteristic of high fertility populations: a sizable group of young and early middle-aged adults and a sharp drop in the forty-years-old and older categories. In general these were young people, as was common in American frontier areas.

Considering how the foreign-born population fit into the age structure reveals differences more specific to the Mormon frontier. Most of the children, except for those of very recent immigrants, were born in America. The foreign-born population was concentrated in the older age categories, and from age twenty on the proportion of foreign born exceeded that of the U.S. born substantially. This phenomenon, clearly evident in 1860, becomes more pronounced in the 1870 population and persists strongly in 1880. Thus if a time machine would permit us to look in on a typical Cache Valley street any time between 1860 and 1880, almost every adult we would greet would be foreign born, either British or Scandinavian.

Where then would be the two-thirds American majority suggested by the aggregate data? They are virtually all children under the age of fifteen. As we look at the older age groups, the number of American born is a diminishing part of the total, the great bulk of the population being recent European immigrants to the Mormon Zion.28

[p. 131] At first glance one might conclude from this that the tone of society in Utah was set by foreigners—persons alien to American traditions. Undoubtedly the contributions of the European population to the cultural heritage of Cache Valley have been greater than is often supposed. But nonetheless most immigrants came to Zion eager to abandon Babylon and to learn from those having authority and status within the Mormon kingdom. Social, cultural, and religious norms were set by this American elite—those who taught the Mormon gospel in Europe, arranged the voyage to America, directed the overland journey, and welcomed the incoming Saints.

If life in nineteenth-century Mormon towns seemed un-American to visitors from the East, the fault (if fault it was) lay with the old Mormons and not the new. They were the most influential shapers of Utah society. This observation may make a point worth noting for Mormons in the late twentieth century. Changes brought about by conversion and full participation in Mormonism are profound. Moreover, in the past the old Mormons, if you will, have at times been a minority in the church yet their value system has for the most part been successfully imparted to those who enter the faith. Growth brings its challenges, but one suspects that the Rocky Mountain Mormon is not likely in the near future to become extinct. Rocky Mountain Mormons still command a numerical majority in the church, but more importantly they dominate culturally.29

I remember once asking the teenage daughter of an English regional church leader to name the presidents of the Latter-day Saint church. She did so without hesitation. I then asked her to name the monarchs of Britain. She could not get further than Elizabeth II. This incident argues for the great power of Mormonism to “traditionalize” (to use Brigham Young’s term) converts, into identifying with the Saints, and adopting values and points of view taught by the significant few sent out from church headquarters—whether missionaries, mission presidents, or general authorities.

This becomes more interesting when we note that some of the cultural traits of Rocky Mountain Mormons are probably as much heirlooms of nineteenth-century historical experience as of official church doctrine and principle. Perry Miller, who thought much about provincial societies and their relationship to the parent society, offered a profound insight in his The New England Mind from Colony to Province: “Recurrently the mind of America falls into isolation: [p. 132] axioms brought to this country–Puritanism, the social contract, Romanticism—and here successfully tried out, have, by the time the American experiment is completed, ceased to be meaningful in Europe; America is repeatedly left, so to speak, with an institution on its hands.”30

A similar dynamic operated on Mormons in the nineteenth century: axioms of many kinds, such as attitudes toward children or government influence in local affairs, found fertile root among Latter-day Saints and then became institutions that now go out from the Rocky Mountains to all parts of the world as part and parcel of what it means to be Mormon. I do not presume to say whether this is good or bad. But my observations indicate that the historical experience of Mormons has helped greatly to shape Mormon society, including fertility, mortality, and migration patterns. Attitudes formed in the past are now being imparted to hundreds of thousands of converts from all parts of the world by messengers sent out from the heartland of Mormonism. The cultural effects of this process in the twentieth as in the nineteenth century are powerful and enduring.



1. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1946-50) 1:133.

2. Parley P. Pratt, The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt, Jr. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964), 48.

3. Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, and Larry T. Wimmer, “The Kirtland Economy Revisited: A Market Critique of Sectarian Economics,” Brigham Young University Studies 17 (Summer 1977): 389-482; Milton V. Backman, The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830-1838 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 140. Backman’s data indicate a maximum of 3,230 in Kirtland in 1838, 2,000 of whom were Mormons.

4. Backman, 140, 335.

5. From History of Caldwell County (St. Louis: National Historical Co., 1896), 113, as quoted in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 1:425.

6. Information from the “Lesser Priesthood Enumeration” was supplied by James L. Kimball. The original of this document is in archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; hereafter LDS archives.

[p. 133] 7. M. Hamlin Cannon, “Migration of English Mormons to America,” American Historical Review 57 (Apr. 1947): 436-55.

8. The English figure is Cannon’s estimate of numbers of British Saints emirgrating less 10 percent to allow for those who, in in the United States, did not migrate to Nauvoo.

9. Roberts, Comprehensive History, 2:85.

10. There was also an 1853 LDS bishops’ census in Utah, representing the population of the territory after the great 1852 migration had reached Utah.

11. U.S. manuscript 1850 census returns for Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and for the Territory of Utah. See also Wayne A. Wahlquist, “Population Growth in the Mormon Core Area: 1847-70,” in Richard H. Jackson, ed., The Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West, Charles Redd Monographs in Western History, no. 9 (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1978), 107-33. For a more detailed discussion of how these numbers were arrived at, see the original version of my article in Thomas G. Alexander and Jessie L. Embry, eds., After 150 Years: The Latter-day Saints in Sesquicentennial Perspective, Charles Redd Monographs in Western History, no. 13 (Provo, UT: Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, 1983), 37-69. Tables I-III included various possibilities and calculations of the 1850-53 Mormon population.

Some numbers in the present version of this study are different from the original published version because of more refined calculations and because of an egregious error in the earlier version, pointed out to me by Richard L. Jensen of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at Brigham Young University. In the original essay I underestimated the number of Mormons born in that migration. Some demographic data on the Missouri settlement is in Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987).

12. Presiding Bishop’s Office Statistical Reports for the years indicated in the text and charts, LDS archives.

13. The Utah Mormon population figure is from the Presiding Bishop’s Office Reports cited above; the territorial population is from the published U.S. census reports. These figures are:

Year                       Territorial Population      Mormon Population        % Mormon

1880                       143,963                                 113,828                                 79

1890                       210,779                                 138,059                                 65

1900                       276,749                                 186,341                                 67

1910                       373,351                                 226,533                                 61

[p. 134] 14. The 1920 and subsequent estimates are from unpublished calculations done independently by Joseph L. Lyon and Lowell C. Bennion using LDS church population records and federal census returns. The telephone polls were conducted by University of Utah scholars in a random survey for medical research.

15. See M. Skolnick et al., “Mormon Demographic History: Nuptiality and Fertility of Once-Married Couples,” Population Studies 32 (1978): 5-19; Donald W. Hastings, Charles H. Reynolds, and Ray R. Canning, “Mormonism and Birth Planning: The Discrepancy Between Church Authorities’ Teachings and Lay Attitudes,” Population Studies 26 (1972): 19-28; Brian Pitcher, Phillip R. Kunz, and Evan T. Peterson, “Residency Differentials in Mormon Fertility,” Population Studies 28 (1974): 143-51; James E. Smith and Phillip R. Kunz, “Polygyny and Fertility in Nineteenth-Century America,” Population Studies 30 (1976): 465-80.; and Judith C. Spicer and Susan O. Gustavus, “Mormon Fertility Through Half a Century: Another Test of the Americanization Hypothesis,” Social Biology 21 (1974): 70-76.

16. The Mormon rate is from the Presiding Bishop’s Office Statistical Reports before 1910 and from published LDS General Reports thereafter (normally April Conference). The 30.7 figure is from the April 1979 LDS Conference Report. The national rates through 1970 are from U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Historical Sytatistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, Bicentennial Edition, Part I (Washington D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1975), 49. Thereafter in Statistical Abstracts, esp. 1979, 60. (The original published version of this article included Graph I, which charted the crude birth rate from 1840 to 1980 of Mormons versus the United States population in general.

17. Merle Curti, The Making of an American Community: A Case Study of Democracy in a Frontier County (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1959); John Modell, “Family and Fertility on the Indiana Frontier 1820,” American Quarterly 23 (1971): 615-34; and Richard A. Easterlin, George Alter, and Gretchen Condran, “Farms and Farm Families in Old and New Areas: The Northern States in 1860,” in Tamara K. Hareven and Maris A. Vinovskis, eds., Family and Population in Nineteenth-Century America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 22-85.

18. Phillip Aries, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life, trans. Robert Boldick (New York: Vintage Books, 1962). See also Bernard Wishy, The Child and the Republic: The Dawn of Modern America Child Nurture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968).

19. Davis Bitton is among scholars who have given special attention to these concerns. See his “Zion’s Rowdies: Growing up on the Mormon Frontier,” Utah Historical Quarterly 50 (Spring 1982): 182-95. For an excellent recent study of Mormon demographic behavior, based on genealogical [p. 135] records, see Lee L. Bean, Geraldine P. Minear, and Douglas Anderton, Fertility Change on the Mormon Frontier (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).

20. See, for example, William Chandless, A Visit to Salt Lake and … Mormon Settlement in Utah (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1857), 192; Elizabeth Wood Kane, Twelve Mormon Homes… (Philadelphia, 1874), 25-26, 43, 49, 58, 77; and “Letters to the Editor,” Utah Holiday (10 Nov. 1975): 58.

21. Among such studies are Kimball Young, Isn’t One Wife Enough? (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1954); and James E. Smith and Phillip R. Kunz, “Polygyny and Fertility in Nineteenth-Century America,” Population Studies 30 (1976): 465-80.

22. Larry Logue has found, since this essay was originally written, that polygamy did not suppress the fertility of women in St. George in the 1880s. See Larry M. Logue, A Sermon in the Desert: Belief and Behavior in Early St. George, Utah (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988).

23. Computed from data in Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1977), 170-71.

24. Presiding Bishop’s Office, Statistical Reports, 1880, LDS archives.

25. LDS General Conference Reports, April 1925 to present.

26. Presiding Bishop’s Office, Statistical Reports, LDS archives; U.S. Census Bureau, Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 (Washington: Robert Armstron, 1853), appendix, xii.

27. Joseph L. Lyon and Steven Nelson, “Mormon Health,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 (Autumn 1979): 61-69.

28. Charles M. Hatch, Dean L. May, and Fon R. Brown, “The People of Cache Valley’s Jensen Farm Area in the 19th Century” (a report prepared for The Ronald V. Jensen Historical Farm and Man and His Bread Museum, Utah State University, 1979), 15-21. (Again, the original published version of this essay included Graphs III-V charting the age structure [foreign and native born] in Cache County for the years 1860 and 1880.)

29. Dean R. Louder and Lowell Bennion, “Mapping Mormons Across the Modern West,” in Jackson, 135-67.

30. Perry Miller, The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 119.