Proportion Latter-day Saint by County Maps

I generated some chloropleths of proportion Latter-day Saint by county from the latest 2020 Religion Census data. Since outside the Mormon corridor the proportions are relatively low, and inside they are relatively high, I did three versions: one with the cutoff at 100%, one with a cutoff at  10%, and one with a cutoff at 3%, in order to show more of the variation outside the Mormon corridor.




12 comments for “Proportion Latter-day Saint by County Maps

  1. This is funny to see as someone from the purplest of purple (Maine). Thanks for sharing Stephen.

  2. Looks like that’s Caldwell County (2 congregations), which seems apropos given that is was originally created as the Mormon County. Jackson county has more congregations (18), but as a percentage is lower (it’s a little bit down and to the left).

  3. That makes sense.

    Did you experiment with any lower cutoffs, like .02? My Southern California homeland is solidly purple in these chloropleths, but it seemed like there were enough LDS kids at school to be a recognizable population, as opposed to some other places I’ve lived farther east where it seemed a lot more exceptional.

  4. Good idea. I added another one with a 3% cutoff; in that one you can better see the difference between SoCal and, say, New England.

  5. Thanks, Stephen. It looks like there really is a meaningful difference between Utah/southeastern Idaho and the surrounding areas, and then between the surrounding areas and the more distant states, and then even between the western and the eastern U.S. It definitely felt more unusual to be LDS in the places in the south I’ve lived (outside of NW Arkansas). I’m surprised to see Michigan is also such a dense block of purple, though.

    John, I can confirm that the band of gray running down the middle of the country is really, really empty. It’s not just that there’s no members – it seems like they have no people at all. You drive for two hours and the landscape is the same as before, but there’s an empty space where you could fit a good-size city.

  6. Yeah, I highly doubt the Church gave the Religion Census people shapefiles showing the boundaries where the wards intersected county lines; they probably just assigned members to the county their meetinghouse was located in, and in some places the counties are so small/membership is so sparse that you’ll get a lot of counties with purportedly no members.

  7. It still looks like Brigham Young poured a bottle of ink in the Salt Lake Valley, and it gradually spread out. Of course, the Church picked up converts along the way – including my father in California in 1969, and my mother-in-law in Washington state in 1970.

  8. Looks like Marin County, CA has nearly an East Coast concentration of Mormons. Fewest in the entire west, it seems.

  9. Yes, California has always had lower percentages than the rest of the area between the Rockies and the Pacific. OTOH, my mother-in-law, who lives near Sunnyside, Yakima County, Washington, was surprised at the announcement of the Tacoma temple. She didn’t think Greater Sea-Tac had that many active members.

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