I was preparing some presentations for one of my classes today and looked up rape rates by city in the U.S. (from fbi.gov) to give my students a better understanding of what rape rates are like where we live. While I was at it I took a quick look at Utah, capital of Mormondom, to see what things looked like:
|City||rapes per 100,000 women||population|
|Salt Lake City||78||184,627|
|South Salt Lake||395.77||22,235|
I only included the cities with populations over 20,000 as one or two rapes in smaller populations can mess up the rate calculations. Just so you have a sense of what you’re seeing, my rape rate calculation is a little fudged as the FBI doesn’t include the number of women in a given population, just the total population. I divided the population in half when calculating the rates to get the rate for women (as almost 100% of rapes are of women; less than 2% of men are ever raped). Also, the national average in 2002 (the above data is from 2005) was 66 rapes per 100,000 women, so you can compare Utah with the rest of the nation.
Rape obviously occurs in Utah (surprise, surprise), but Utah doesn’t have rape rates that are generally that much higher than most other states. I don’t know whether there should be concern or not over Midvale and South Salt Lake, with rape rates more than three times the national average; it really depends on whether that is a consistent rate over time or not. If it is unusual for those cities (e.g., 2005 was a really bad year), that makes a difference.
Keep in mind I’m not saying Mormons are any more or less likely to engage in rape. The city with over 100,000 in population with the highest incidence of rape is Minneapolis, MN (213 rapes per 100,000 women), not a hotbed of Mormonism by any stretch.