Global Polygamy Statistics:
- It is estimated that more than 3 billion people around the world today believe in polygamy (about 43% of the world’s population) and more than 2 billion actively practice polygamy (29% of the world population).
- Polygamy is still legal in more than 150 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and most countries in the 3rd world.
- Nigeria is home to over 40 million polygamists.
- It is estimated that over 100,000 people in the U.S., mostly fundamentalist Mormons and Muslims, and another 100,000 people in Western Europe practice polygamy secretly (and not-so-secretly).
- About 78% of human societies are polygynous, in which some men marry more than one wife. Only 22% of societies are strictly monogamous. Almost no modern societies are polyandrous, in which one woman marries more than one husband, although such societies have existed in the past in the Canary Islands, the Himalayas, the Canadian Arctic, and possibly other places.
- Saudi Arabia has the second-highest divorce-rate in the world, and according to Abdullah Al-Fawzan, a professor and sociologist at King Saud University in Riyadh, polygamy is responsible for up to 55% of divorces.
- At times, sources have claimed there are as many as 60,000 Mormon fundamentalists in the U.S., with fewer than half of them living in polygamous families. However, other sources suggest that there may be as few as 20,000 Mormon fundamentalists, with only 8,000 to 15,000 practicing polygamy.
- The Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), the sect to which the Brown family belongs (see their recent court papers for proof), is estimated to have about 5000 to 9000 members throughout Utah, Montana, Arizona, Wyoming, Missouri, and Mexico. The church has a temple in Mexico, an Endowment House in Utah, and operates several schools. The AUB is one of the more liberal of the Fundamentalist Mormon groups practicing plural marriage. AUB leaders do not arrange marriages nor do they authorize plural marriages for people under 18 or for those who are closely related.
- The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is estimated to consist of 6000 to 8000 members. A large concentration of members lives in the twin cities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. The church has a temple near Eldorado, Texas. FLDS members tend to be very conservative in dress and lifestyle.
- The Kingston Clan, officially known as the Latter Day Church of Christ, includes approximately 1200 members. The Kingston Clan allows marriage to girls just attaining puberty and between close relatives.
- About 1,500 people are members of a group located in Centennial Park, Arizona, called The Work of Jesus Christ, also known commonly known as the Centennial Park Group. In the early 1980s there was a conflict of leadership in the FLDS Church. Some of the members were very unhappy with changes being made by FLDS leaders and, when the FLDS Church instituted a "one-man rule" doctrine, those who wanted to maintain leadership by a priesthood council founded Centennial Park in 1986.
- There is a large movement of independent Mormon fundamentalists. Independents do not belong to an organized fundamentalist group and do not generally recognize any man as their prophet or leader. Because Independents are not one cohesive group, they are very diverse in their beliefs, interpretations of Mormonism, and practices. Many Independents come from an LDS background, while others come from other Christian or Mormon fundamentalist backgrounds. Statistically, it is difficult to estimate the number of Independents, but a recent estimate indicates that there may be more Independent Mormon Fundamentalists than there are in any one of the formally organized polygamous groups. There may be as many as 15,000, about half of whom practice polygamy. According to this informal survey, about half of Mormon fundamentalists, both those in groups and those outside of groups, currently practice polygamy. There is a large concentration of Independents in Utah, Arizona, and Missouri.
- The average American FLDS polygynist man has three or four wives. Wives average eight children. Men average 28 children.
- During the 1800s when the LDS church practiced polygamy, the number of Mormon individuals living in polygamous households was approximately 20 to 30%. The “2%” figure often cited has been disproven by several academic studies and researchers
- According to US Census Bureau data, in 1997 in Colorado City every school-aged child lived below the poverty line. At the same time, in Hildale, 50% of the town’s residents were on public assistance.
- In Bountiful, British Columbia, a community of about 1000 people, from 1986 to 2009 (a 13 year period), 833 babies were born to 215 mothers (almost 4 babies per mom). 85 mothers (1/3 of total moms) were 18 or younger. That's 7 times the provincial rate of teen moms. Two of the teens had 3 children each by the time they were 18; 16 had 2 children each. That means 10% of the babies were born to teenagers, a rate more than double the local average and nearly 4 times the provincial average of 2.7 per cent.
- In Bountiful 45% per cent of Bountiful's mothers are foreign-born, compared with 29% per cent in the rest of Canada and only 11% per cent in nearby Creston and Cranbrook.
- At Bountiful Elementary-Secondary, there have been a total of 59 students in Grade 10 classes since the 2003-04 school year, but only 11 in Grade 12. There’s a similar trend at nearby Mormon Hills. Since the 2003-04 school year, a total of 44 students have been enrolled in a Grade 10 class, while only 8 have attended Grade 12.
- Since 2003, only 25 students from both schools have attained either a graduation certificate or the adult equivalent by upgrading their classes elsewhere.
Several Enduring Myths about Mormon Polygamy in the 19th Century:
- "Mormons practiced polygamy because women on the frontier far outnumbered men, and plural marriage gave every woman a chance to have a husband." Actually, men sometimes outnumbered women, especially in the early years of Mormon settlement. Some towns had 3 times as many unmarried men as women. All census numbers in Utah from about 1850 up to 1960 show more males than females in the state.
- "Polygamy took care of older women and spinsters so they had a chance to get married." In truth, most plural wives were younger than the first wife. This idea was especially true in the 1850s. In Utah (1850s to 1890s), the average age of a 2nd wife was 17 (husband average age early 30s) and the average age of a third wife was 19 (husband average age mid to late 30s). The average age in the USA for a first marriage in the late 19th century was about 22.
- "Polygamous men lived in harems and had about 20 wives each." Although a few prominent Church leaders like Brigham Young did have wives numbering into the double digits, this situation was far from the norm. Most polygamous husbands took only 1 or 2 additional wives. If the family could afford it, each wife had her own home or apartment.
- "Polygamy was all about sex." Some plural marriages contracted in Utah were for eternity only. In eternity-only marriages, conjugal relations weren't permitted, and the wife usually supported herself. In marriages for both time and eternity, the couple enjoyed conjugal relations and the husband was required to support his wives and any children they had.
- "Only the poorest of the poor practiced polygamy." Statistics show that most of the men who practiced polygamy in Utah were among the wealthier members of Mormon society. Supporting multiple households required cash, so church leaders were more likely to approve the marriages of men who could support additional wives. However, plural wives often came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and plural marriage to a well-established man helped them move up the social ladder.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find any reliable statistics on the Lost Boys or on polygamous marriage reassignment / divorce.
Written by Terrasola