Ask an Expert: Statistics on Mormon families November 15th, 2013
Q: Where can I find current statistics on the demographics of LDS family structures? Specifically, I am wanting figures on percentages of LDS families that fit the heteronormative nuclear family model prescribed in LDS texts such as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 1995.
A: Tim Heaton, the leading expert on the demographics of Mormons, suggested several of his publications:
- Heaton, Tim B., Stephen J. Bahr, and Cardell K. Jacobson. 2005. A Statistical Profile of Mormons: Health, Wealth, And Social Life. Edwin Mellen Press.
- Heaton, Tim B., Kristen L. Goodman, and Thomas B. Holman. 2001. “In Search of a Peculiar People: Are Mormon Families Really Different?” Pp. 87–117 in Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, vol. 2nd, edited by Marie Cornwall, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence A. Young. Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
Additionally, he recommended an article from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism that is available online: Vital Statistics.
Ryan T. Cragun provided a couple of figures from the General Social Survey to illustrate the current statistics (well, relatively current statistics; in order to have sufficient cases he aggregated data from 1990-2012). The first figure shows the marital status of Mormons. Using the Mormons in the GSS from 1990-2012, 60% were married, 16% were never married, 2% were separated, 12% were divorced, and 10% were widowed.
The second figure looks just at the married Mormons in the GSS and shows that 87% of those who are married have kids; 13% do not.
Ryan also recommended his co-authored report with Rick Phillips: Mormons in the United States 1990-2008: Socio-demographic Trends and Regional Differences and the Pew survey and report: Mormons in America – Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society. While the Pew survey may have some sampling issues, the data on the family may be helpful.