Polygamy and Population Growth

45 Primary Sources

Dec 30, 1851

Jedediah Grant explained to Thomas Kane that polygamy was necessary because there were more women than men.


John W. Gunnison reported in his book that Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy to account for population differences between men and women.

Sep 1881

John C. Kimball advanced the idea in Anti-Polygamy Standard that polygamy was to offer women homes.


John A. Widstoe summarizes census evidence against the theory that polygamy was implemented to address a surplus of women.


Population Studies article analyzes African data and connects polygyny to higher population growth through higher marital rates.


Lee Bean and Geraldine Mineau report LDS plural wives had fewer children than non-plural-wives.


Lee Bean reports early Utah demographic statistics about polygamy using the Utah Population Database.


Warren Hern analyzes a group (Amazonian tribesman) for which polygyny is associated with lower population growth.


Turnwait O. Michael and Alfred S. Ekpenyong publish scholarly article summarizing the literature on the polygyny-fertility hypothesis.


Analysis of the different regions in Kenya in 1988 and 1989; concludes that polygynous societies have higher overall fertility.


Heaton compares Church growth through having children versus growth through conversions.


Kathryn Daynes reports that temple-endowed women outnumbered men in 1850-1880 Utah.

Sep 21, 2002

LAT report on survey that indicated that the Church was the fastest growing denomination from 1990-2000.


Michѐle Tertilt analyzes variations in polygyny across Africa and concludes that polygyny is associated with higher population growth.


Study that reports on fact that Chile and Mexican censuses show many fewer members than are on Church records.

Oct 17, 2005

Merrill Bateman stated that the Church retains members unless they take their names off the record.

Jun 9, 2008

Daynes reports on demographics in Manti that show exceptionally high marital rates.


The 2013 Church Almanac reports the official year-by-year Church numbers for wards, members, and stakes.

May 3, 2012

DN reports results of survey that shows that Church grew fast in 2010s.

Jul 16, 2012

Analysis of discrepancies between Church numbers and government numbers in Brazil.


Jacob relates that the Lord will command them to raise up seed at specific times.


Externally published Church Almanac estimated in 2011 that 30% of worldwide members regularly attend church.


Externally published Church Almanac that tracks growth across different countries.

Oct 25, 2013

Martinich summarizes the history of the "convert baptisms" indicator.

Oct 25, 2013

Martinich describes the history of the "children of record" indicator.

Jan 13, 2014

WP article provides quantitative take-aways from third-party almanac project.

Jan 17, 2014

Summarizes results of new Latter-day Saint almanac and cites the 30% active number.


Official Church statement on Church growth.


Dollahite provides a review of research on LDS fertility; LDS fertility rates above average of non-religious and most other religious groups.


BYU Studies article that analyzes Church growth using Pew data.

Apr 6, 2019

The official Church membership numbers for 2018.

Oct 17, 2019

Pew Research Report on religious declines in general in U.S.

Oct 25, 2019

Results of a large, cross-national survey about convert retention.

Apr 4, 2020

These are the official Church numbers for 2019.

Jun 12, 2020

T&S blog post that discusses GSS data on church activity.


Official Church essay that cites social science research about the relationship between fertility and growth.


National survey with data on Latter-day Saints.

Feb 20, 2021

Reports World Values Survey shows decline in religiosity across the world.

Apr 3, 2021

Official Numbers of stakes, wards and branches, and total membership for the Church in 2020.

Jul 12, 2021

Study details on demographic decline of mainline Protestantism.

Oct 5, 2021

Stephen Cranney in Times and Seasons analyzes Church growth.

Dec 7, 2021

Stephen Cranney calculates historical youth dependency ratios for Utah.

Dec 7, 2021

Stephen Cranney in Times and Seasons calculates historical youth dependency ratios for Utah.

Dec 20, 2021

Stephen Cranney in Times and Seasons presents data on how many women emigrated to pioneer Utah.

Jun 6, 2022

The Church News reports that Latter-day Saints increased in 49 out of the 50 states over the last decade.