By The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA


​New LDS Church data show a growing divide in the religious makeup of Utah’s two most populous counties, a demographic shift that has sweeping political and cultural ramifications.

The 3 million-strong Beehive State, as a whole, remains roughly 62.8 percent Mormon.

But Salt Lake County, home to the headquarters of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continues to see its portion of residents on LDS membership rolls decline. As of Sept. 30, it stood at 50.07 percent. In neighboring Utah County, which includes the faith’s flagship school, Brigham Young University, Mormons make up 84.7 percent of the population, an increasing share from recent years.

​The LDS Church provided eight years of county-by-county membership numbers to The Salt Lake Tribune, and the data back what independent Mormon demographer Matt Martinich has noticed by tracking where new congregations are created.

​”Salt Lake County … has become increasingly more cosmopolitan, housing has become more expensive, and the church has overall really struggled in urban areas,” said Martinich, who lives in Colorado. Whereas, Utah County has bigger homes that often are cheaper, attracting younger Mormon families who also may want to live near others from the same religion.

For Mormons deciding where to live, Martinich suggests that Salt Lake County “is just culturally less attractive, economically less attractive, socially less attractive.”

Read the rest of the story at The Salt Lake Tribune.
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