Population Growth in the Mormon Core Area : 1847-90
Jackson, Richard H.
The Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West
Charles Redd Monographs in Western History, No. 9. Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University Press
Mormon migration was mostly young people, and a high percentage of the adult population was within child bearing age. This, combined with polygamy, produced an unusually high birthrate and an age structure that was dominated by children. Over the period 1860-1880, the rate of growth by immigration almost kept pace with the high rate of natural increase. The foreign-born comprised 32 percent of he population in 1869, 34 precent in 1870, and 29 percent in 1880, while percentage of U.S. population born outside Utah dropped steadily from 31 to 15. Immigrants were coming primarily from Europe rather than from the U.S. Figures are given regarding the foreign-born. The argument that polygamy was necessary in Utah because of the surplus of women had little basis in fact. The ratio of males to females was approximately equal in most Utah communities, though some discrepancies in individual age cohorts existed. Proportion of women in Mormon settlements was high compared with other western communities, but lower than that of many eastern states. 'In 1860 the average (mean) Mormon settler along the Wasatch Front was Caucasian, not quite twenty years of age, with British-born parents and several younger brothers and sisters. He would likely be looking forward to the arrival of additional relatives from the old country in one of the immigrant trains expected that year. Statistically, slightly over half of his peers would be females, and a few of his friends would be Scandinavians. Younger children would be much more numerous than he, with the most common age cohort being between zero and five years of age.