In this episode Scott H. and I interview sociologist Dr. Ryan Cragun about his newly published report called, “Mormons in the United States 1990-2008: Socio-demographic Trends and Regional Differences.”
Some of the findings of the report include:
- Mormons were 1.4% of the U.S. adult population in 2008, a proportion unchanged since 1990.
- The Mormons of Utah are the only religious group in the U.S. today that comprises a numerical majority of a state‘s population (57% of Utah).
- Mormons remain the most geographically isolated and uniquely distributed American religious group (only 19% are found east of the Mississippi River).
- The Mormon population increase 1990-2008 was more modest than claimed by the LDS Church.
- ARIS data shows that apostasy rates are rising among young men in Utah. There is a growing gender imbalance and surplus of women as a result.
- There are regional differences among Mormons on several socio-demographic variables. Mormons outside of Utah are different to heritage Mormons in Utah.
- Utah Mormons in 2008 had significantly larger households than Mormons elsewhere (4.2 persons per household in Utah vs. 3.7 persons per household elsewhere), suggesting that the traditional norm of large families endures in Utah.
- Mormon women are more likely to be housewives and less likely to work full-time than other American women.
- The period 1990-2008 saw rising prosperity with above average increases in household income among Mormons in Utah.
- In 2008 Mormons had very high rates of voter registration (90% in Utah). Mormons are more than twice as likely to be Republicans (59%) than non-Mormon Americans (27%).
Dr. Ryan Cragun is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida and Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture, Trinity College. His research interests include: secularization, religious change, Mormonism, and religious independents/seculars. His current research is looking at several ways in which secular society interacts with religious fundamentalism.