Non-Mormon Fertility in Utah: Evaluating Theories about Exposure to the Influence of the Mormon Majority’s Fertility

Conrad Hackett, University of Texas at Austin

A study of fertility intentions among Mormon and non-Mormon high school girls in Utah around 1980 found that non-Mormon girls in Utah had higher fertility intentions than similar girls in the rest of the country. However, the authors of the study were reluctant to attribute the slight differences to Utah residence and associated exposure to high Mormon fertility. Now that this cohort of women is approaching the end of their childbearing years, I evaluate differences in fertility between non-Mormons in Utah and non-Mormons elsewhere. Social influence and religious market theories predict higher completed fertility among the non-Mormons in Utah compared with non-Mormons elsewhere. However, other theories and research suggest no increase in non-Mormon fertility in Utah because non-Mormons in Utah define themselves in contradistinction from the Mormon majority and its practices, including high fertility.

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Presented in Poster Session 5