Summary: I said this post would be interesting. And it is. The LDS Church officially abandoned polygamy in 1890 due to intense government pressure. The 1890 Census Report contains detailed information on divorce that I believe captures evidence of polygamy in Utah. My previous post analyzed the marriage data (Marriage in 1890 Utah: Very Normal).
Firstly, when talking about divorce in 1890 we are dealing with a very small percentage of the population. The median divorce rate for the US was 0.23%. And it turns out that the overall divorce rate in 1890 in Utah is ordinary, right at the third quartile for US states and territories. However, when you look at divorce by age and sex it becomes much more interesting. Above age 34 Utah has the highest or second highest female divorce rate in the US–from 45 on up only Nevada is higher. But this is interesting because Nevada’s total population was 45,761 compared to Utah’s 207,905. Nevada’s male to female ratio was 1.76 and Utah’s was 1.13. Nevada was a much more difficult place for a woman to live and you would expect a higher divorce rate. But Utah?
More can be said. The male divorce rate for Utah qualifies as ordinary (falls between the first and third quartiles) for all age categories. But if you look at the difference between male and female divorce rates by age then Utah really stands out. The national trend is, overall, downward with male divorces eventually exceeding female divorces. The Utah trend is starkly upward, increasing in nearly a straight line from age 15 to 64. Overall, the female divorce rate far exceeds the male divorce rate. Not only does the divergence between the Utah male and female divorce rates increase with age, it also diverges from the national trend. Continue reading →
Summary: I have looked at data for marriage in 1890 Utah found in the US census report, in detail. I spend the last two months (and a good amount of my Christmas break) compiling and analyzing the data. This post will look at marriage. A later post will look at divorce. (See Divorce in 1890 Utah: Signs of Polygamy.)
Update: I have looked at the married female to married male ratios of Utah from 1880 to 1930. I have found that for 1880 and 1900 Utah is an outlier. For 1890 it is not. This is likely due to the fact that women in polygamous relationships were concealing their relationships during 1890, but not so much in 1880 and 1900. See Figure 4 in Polygamy in Utah, 1880 for plots. This is likely due to the antipolygamy crusade that ramped up during the 1880’s. Therefore, the female marriage data in this post is not accurate. However, there is still lots of useful information in this post. (Aug 8, 2015)
The 1890 Census coincides with the LDS Church officially abandoning the practice of polygamy (1890). (See The Manifesto declaring this.) So the Census Record might capture evidence of polygamy, if there is any.
My questions were these. Were more women married in Utah than other states and territories? Where young female marriages occurring in Utah at a much higher rate than the rest of the country? How do male marriages compare? Are there any statistics in which Utah stands out?
Even though Utah allowed girls to marry with parental consent at 12 there is no evidence that under 15 girls were getting married in significant numbers–there were only 2 in Utah. The average for the US (Utah excluded) was 24 and the median was 9. I can’t find any evidence that girls in Utah in any age bracket were marrying at significantly different rates from the other states and territories. Continue reading →
Because very little money for public schools came from taxes Utah’s educators were under constant stress to meet the educational demands of the territory. Teachers pay came primarily from pro-rated tuition fees. Few schools in the territory were completely tax supported and the tax that was levied was primarily intended for construction and maintenance of school buildings. Continue reading →
Yes, I’m back after a long hiatus. I finally finished my Ph.D. (physics), so I hope I’ll be able to start blogging on a semi-regular basis. For the next few months I’ll be posting on education in 19th century Utah. Actually from 1870 to 1900. The data for this and upcoming posts came from the annual Report of the Commissioner of Education (abbr. COE). I’ve spent over a year collecting data and I’ve developed a method to “normalize” the data so that state by state comparisons are on a more similar scale. Owing to the fact that from state to state the legal school age differed, to make comparisons I needed to estimate the number of school age children between 5 and 18 for each state. For my age correction method see Age Corrections for Education Data for discussion and methodology.
Also, the end notes have a lot of information so you might want to check those out too. Continue reading →
The June 5, 2006 issue of the Weekly Standard has an article written by Stanley Kurtz titled “Polygamy Versus Democracy: you can’t have both.” (Kurtz is an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and has written for National Review Online, Weekly Standard, Policy Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Commentary.) His general thesis is polygamy, or more broadly polyamorous unions, as well as gay marriage are antithetical to democratic values. He writes, “American democracy rests upon specific family structures.” In his article he outlines what he believes is a relationship between polygamy and tyranny, and a large section of his article is dedicated to an analysis of 19th century Mormon polygamy—The Mormon church officially discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890. Under the section titled “The Mormon Question” he draws parallels between the United States Government’s struggle to stamp out Mormon polygamy and the current war on terror. “In effect, the fight against polygamy was a slow, frustrating, expensive, ultimately successful campaign to democratize Utah. (The parallels to the war on terror are eerie)” (parenthesis original). Writing that “the Mormons renounced polygamy and set themselves on the path to democracy.” Continue reading →