In 1850, the population of Utah was 11,380. 1 By 1900, it had risen to 276,749. 2 While the migration West for gold can contribute to some of this increase, many settlers who remained in Utah were either previously Mormon or soon converted thereafter.
In 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life noted that 58% of individuals polled in Utah identified as Mormon and nearly 40% of all Mormons in the United States reside in the state. 3
The rise in Mormon migration can be attributed to Mormon hostility growing in the eastern United States as well as a sense of protection and salvation in the Utah territory afforded to Mormons. Aggression against Mormons grew heavily after the events at Mountain Meadows, so it is understandable that Mormons would flee from this hostility.
- United States. Census Office. 7th census, 1850, New Hampshire, 1850 Federal Census: Population Schedules, (Washington, District of Columbia: National Archives & Records Administration, 1964), https://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1850c-01.pdf.
- United States. Census Office. 12th census, 1900, District of Columbia, 1900 Federal Census: Soundex and Population Schedules, (Washington, District of Columbia: National Archives & Records Administration, 1900), https://www2.census.gov/prod2/statcomp/documents/1901-02.pdf.
- Pew Research Center, Mormons in America: Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society, (Washington, D.C.: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2012), http://www.pewforum.org/files/2012/01/Mormons-in-America.pdf.