rape statistics in Utah

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
Sandy 30.1 93,013
South Jordan 31.55 38,031
Spanish Fork 33.89 23,609
Orem 34.93 91,607
St. George 42.07 61,795
Cedar City 43.53 22,973
Draper 46.84 34,156
Kaysville 53.38 22,482
Tooele 62.4 28,844
Logan 68.01 47,052
Lehi 75.39 26,530
Salt Lake City 78 184,627
Springville 80.96 22,232
American Fork 86.42 23,142
Bountiful 89.28 42,561
Roy 93.16 36,498
Murray 98.24 44,789
Ogden 98.56 81,166
Clearfield 99.48 28,145
Layton 101.16 63,269
Provo 106.81 102,983
West Valley 152.82 116,477
Midvale 200.5 27,930
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.


I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

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3 Responses

  1. aerin says:

    I think it’s important to note – I would assume that these stats are from reported rapes. Who knows how many go unreported for whatever reason.

    I will say, that attitude itself towards rape is not healthy – in the sense of, a person would be better off dead than without honor. And being raped is without honor (I think this is in SWK’s Miracle of Forgiveness).

    With that said, this is very interesting.

  2. Glenn says:

    I hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive or calous, but I have met women in the church (my wife was once one of them) who believe that their garments would protect them from being raped. That has always concerned me. I know you can’t really make a connection between these statistics and how many victims were garment wearers, but anything to help dispel that folk belief, however widely or narrowly held it might be, would be a good thing in my estimation.

  3. exmoron says:

    Aerin… According to one source I have, only 1 in 5 rapes by strangers are reported and only 1 in 20 rapes by someone the victim knows are reported. So, underreporting is a serious issue – these numbers probably underestimate the rapes that actually occurred by a factor of five to 10 (that means you can multiply the number of rapes by 5 or 10 to get a sense of how many are actually occurring). Current estimates indicate that women in the U.S. have a 1 in 4 chance of being raped during their lifetimes.

    Glenn, I’ve never heard that one. That’s amazing! You’re absolutely right, garments do not protect against rape, any more than they protect against bullets or anything else that can penetrate “regular” clothes. I don’t have the actual statistics, but if we assume that there is no difference between Mormons and non-Mormons in Utah in who gets raped, somewhere around 60% of the above rapes were of LDS women, and of those, somewhere around 20% would be of temple endowed women (50% of rapes of women occur before the age of 18, so I’m assuming only 40% of Mormon women over 18 are temple endowed). That would be, of course, a fascinating thing to study, though getting that data would be very difficult.

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