Tuesday, July 23, 2013

LDS Membership and Percentage LDS Map for the United States

As part of completing a project for cumorah.com, I have recently created a map of the United States displaying LDS membership and the percentage LDS by state.  See below to view the map.  Refer to the LDS International Atlas on cumorah.com for maps of other countries displaying estimated LDS membership and the percentage of members by administrative division.



View LDS Membership and Percentage of LDS members by Administrative Division in the United States in a larger map

15 comments:

Ed Clinch said...

It is interesting to see how Missouri and Virginia are outliers in their areas. Which low level LDS state would be the next to ascend to above 1 percent LDS?

In some ways the northeast could see more LDS percentage growth because they do not have as much overall population growth. However, the surging numbers of people in the south and west brings more LDS there from other places. And there seems to be more of a cultural acceptance of Jesus' gospel in the south than the Northeast.

Good job on these numbers. Could we get Mexico and Brazil next?

Matt said...

Here is the map for Mexico:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208902184762411646460.0004e1a41cf6e2e5b90b6&msa=0&ll=22.390714,-102.919922&spn=13.846782,23.269043

And Brazil:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208902184762411646460.0004df23dd47c59174f6f&msa=0&ll=-11.867351,-51.416016&spn=29.072245,46.538086

Adam said...

Looks like Arkansas is about 3-4 years away from reaching the one percent plateau based on trends.

Ray said...

To Adam,

I think Arkansas reaches 1% next year. There has been tremendous growth in far northwest Arkansas in recent years (Bentonville, Rogers, etc.) where Walmart is headquartered and other industries are growing rapidly. West Virginia and the Carolinas are not far behind.

Virginia reached 1% a couple of years ago and has a higher LDS population than any other eastern state (1.13%) because so many members from western states have moved there to work in the national government.

It's surprising that Maine has such a high percentage (81%), since most northeastern states are hovering around .50% or lower. Missionary efforts must have been more successful in Maine than in other areas in the region.

John said...

While the percentages have steadily increased over time (at least east of the Rockies), the ranking and proportions really haven't. That is, Virginia has always been the highest on the Atlantic Coast, in part thanks to the DC suburbs, but not exclusively. On the other hand, there seems to be a relative sinkhole in NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA and RI. And you can't say that's because of a lack of temples (until recently), because going further north in New England the percentages pick up again and NH, VT and ME are not that close to any temple.

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

To Ray,

Would be great if it happened that soon. It'll be interesting to see what changes (if any) come from the increase in missionaries. Over the past ten years the ratio of members to state population has been going up about .016% per year. It's at .955% right now, that's why I threw out the guess of between 2015-2016.

Mike Johnson said...

I agree that DC has contributed greatly to Virginia. But, it should be noted that northern Virginia has about 35% of the population of the DC metro area--most live in Maryland--but more members live in the Virginia suburbs than the Maryland suburbs. More members live in Virginia outside of the DC suburbs than in them.

Three missions are headquartered in the state--one called DC South, but is entirely in Virginia. The Richmond mission is almost entirely in Virginia (there is one ward in West Virginia out of 49 wards and 16 branches). The Chesapeake Mission is a little over half in Virginia. More than half of the West Virginia Charleston Mission membership is in Virginia (4 stakes to 3). And the Maryland Baltimore Mission has a stake headquartered and mostly in Virginia (Winchester). Three North Carolina and one Tennessee stakes have units in Virginia. Virginia is on the verge of its 200th congregation.

Mike Johnson said...

I think the military also brought members to Virginia, but that only explains the stakes in southeastern and northern Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley has long had traditions in the Church. For a long time, a mission headquartered in Roanoke covered much of the southeastern United States.

And we have a university based on LDS values--owned by an investment firm controlled by a former Richmond Chesterfield Stake president and whose current president is a former member of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy.

Universities tend to attract LDS communities around them and that is true for a large number of universities in Virginia--of course that is true for other states.

M said...

Adam,

I stand corrected about Arkansas reaching 1% so quickly. My enthusiasm sometimes leads to over-optimistic predictions, although North Dakota is a good example of how a great state economy and low unemployment leads to accelerated Church growth.
Just 7 years ago North Dakota was at 0.89% LDS, and now has reached 1.30%, so economic opportunity is a magnet for members from a slower-growth area.

I forgot to mention Iowa as another state nearing the 1% threshold. It, like Missouri, has grown steadily through the years, and their role in Church history may be a factor in that growth.

M said...

Adam,

Sorry, this is Ray, not "M." I didn't realize another family member was logged on (shared computer).

John Pack Lambert said...

When we got our new stake presidency last fall one of the people who came to reorganize it was Elder Lansing. His family joined the Church in the Richmond area back in the 1950s and have remained there ever since. The success of missionaries in Virginia over the years should not be under-estimated. For much of the time I was growing up my bishop was a man who had been raised in the Church in western Virginia. His grand parents had joined the Church there about 1900.

Ed Clinch said...

I wrote something about locally raised LDS members and converts, but I had some problems posting it from Kuwait. Some other time.

Ed Clinch said...

I tried to post again but had to shut down my post. Third try:

The key and success of the Church of Jesus Christ to grow is for locals of non Utah and Intermountain West stock to become acculturated strongly in the faith. I have seen that in Indiana in my own family. My mother and step-father both are converts, and now have served two senior missions overseas. They have never lived west of the Wabash River in the US, except for their brief training in Provo for Cambodia and Indonesia.

However, their grandchildren are spread out in Utah, Virginia and North Carolina. And the only church going ones are in Virginia with me. The NC ones never were exposed to church by their parents (one less active and the other son of a less active), and the Utah ones are actually parented by non-active atheist and Hari Krishna! But at least the grandparents are mission presidents and most uncles and aunts are active.

I hold hope for all my nephews and nieces for church relations in the future, including the step-nieces and nephews in the midwest. They have had good exposure to some active LDS family and they should be sympathetic towards LDS long down the road.

But again, part of the huge key to grow in these low percentage areas is grafting in the locals, those with know direct ties to Deseret (outside the confines of Utah as well, as the original state was much larger, to the Pacific Ocean.

It is really awesome to see foreign lands grafting in the LDS culture so strongly. Obviously various cultures provide obstacles to some rigid practices, but the overall increase is very encouraging.

As the US immigration increases, it will be interesting to see how some more will be LDS as well. And the flow of ex-patriots from the US also spreads Mormon influence.

Fascinating stuff. Keep up the good research on the stats, because demographics tell a wider picture of many smaller stories.

One last thing: Ender's Game has become controversial on at least IMDB. I think of this movie as a better missionary tool than anything by Stephanie Meyer, even though Orson Scott Card is by no means a general authority. But I encourage my friends to see it in the theatre, I hope it is huge.

Mike Johnson said...

Thanks, Ed, for sharing.

I too look forward to Ender's Game.