The Broadway musical “Book of Mormon” is opening in Seattle on Tuesday, and, as Misha Berson reports in The Seattle Times, despite the play’s bawdy satire of their religion, local Mormons seem to be taking it in stride.
Local Mormons? Here in mostly secular King county, you might be wondering, how many Mormons could there even be?
It might surprise you to learn that King County’s Mormon population is one of the largest of any U.S. county. According to the 2010 U.S. Religion Census, King County is home to approximately 57,000 Mormons. That ranks King as having the 14th largest Mormon community out of any county in the nation. In fact, there are more Mormons in King County than there are in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts combined.
Statewide, almost 270,000 Washingtonians adhere to the Mormon faith. That’s nearly 4 percent of the total population. While that might not sound like a lot when you compare it with Utah’s 70 percent, it still ranks Washington as ninth among the states. Take a look at the map on the upper right (click to enlarge). Each U.S. county is color-coded to indicate the percentage of Mormons in the population. As you can see, all the western states — not just Utah — have a much greater concentration of Mormons than the rest of the country.
The Washington counties with the highest percentages of Mormons are clustered in the southeast part of the state, although Lewis County — just south of Pierce and Thurston counties — also has one of the highest concentrations. Adams County has the greatest proportion of Mormons — nearly 12 percent of the total population. On the other end of the spectrum, Pend Oreille County, tucked away in the state’s northeast corner, is less than 1 percent Mormon. And sparsely populated Garfield County has no known Mormon presence. King County, in spite of it’s large Mormon population, is 8th from the bottom; Mormons are slightly less than 3 percent of the county’s total population.
The chart below shows the total number and the percentage of Mormons for each of Washington’s counties. You can sort each column by clicking on the headings.
Source: 2010 U.S. Religion Census, ASARB