Utah's Mormon numbers shrinking

Posted: Friday, July 29, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY — Mormons comprise a substantial majority of Utah residents, but their share of the state's population has been declining and will continue to do so in the years ahead, according to projections in a report.

Within three years, the state will have its lowest share of Mormons since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began tallying its membership decades ago, according to estimates by The Salt Lake Tribune. If the trend persists, Mormons will no longer be a Utah majority by 2030, the paper said in a copyrighted story Sunday.

The projections are based on the normally secret membership counts church officials give the Utah Office of Planning and Budget that the newspaper obtained through a public records request.

The state office could only find data from 1989-2004; still, the 15-year window points to what could be a significant change for the state.

According to the newly released data, the long-held belief that Utah's population is 70 percent Mormon is not true, nor has been for a decade. The true percentage, according to 2004 numbers, is 62 percent, the paper reported.

While continuing to grow in numbers, the Mormon share of state residents showed a slow but constant decline every year from 1989 to 2004.

Church officials said in a written statement that ‘‘the church has always extended a hand of friendship and fellowship to those of other faiths and will continue to do so.''

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