Blog(ger) Marital Demographics

February 6, 2004 | 8 comments
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It suddenly occured to me last night that our group’s marital homogeneity is rather striking. Consider: We have eight bloggers; we live in different locations; we come from different professions; we have different political beliefs; we find a lot to differ on.

We are all married and all have children. (See documentation for Nate, Russell, Kaimi, Adam, Jim,Gordon; Matt’s status is documented on a family webpage that I’ve seen, but don’t know if he wants linked on the public site; I don’t believe Greg has any online documentation, but I can attest to his marital-parental status, having been in his ward for years).

Our commenters are not quite as homogeneous, but still seem heavily tilted towards married with children. Looking at the “Most Comments” list:

Clark is married and his wife is pregnant. (Congratulations, by the way). (See documentation here; I can’t get a link to work to the actual post, so scroll down a bit). Kristine is married with three children. (See here and here). I can’t find documentation, but I believe I’ve seen both Lyle and Brent refer to being married. Brayden, Bob, Renee, and Logan are certainly married (as their web sites attest); I’m not sure about Cooper.

Not only are all of the bloggers (and many of the commenters) married (and parents), we are vocal about our marital and parental status. (Thus it’s easy for me to locate online documentation of nearly everyone’s marital-parental status).

This makes us unusual in the world. At work, school, or social groups, there is often a sizable single contingent. Many people are happy to avoid marriage altogether, and even married colleagues are unlikely to begin having children very soon.

Mormons are different. Whatever our politics or profession, we stick out because of our familial demographics. And so there may be a shift away from conservative political positions among at least some church members (Russell, Greg, myself), there does not seem to be a corresponding shift away from giving primacy to creating and maintaining family relationships.

I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I suspect its implications could be profound. (And yes, I apologize for the navel-gazing inherent in this discussion).

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8 Responses to Blog(ger) Marital Demographics

  1. Matt Evans on February 6, 2004 at 12:30 pm

    I think it’s more likely you’ve tapped into the self-selecting nature of the Mormon blogosphere than that we’re representative of comparable family attitudes among Mormons with disparate political and cultural beliefs. My guess is that Mormon political and cultural attitudes correlate with family issues like the importance of having a full-time mom, and willingness to have large families.

    Incidentally, I don’t mind people having access to our family website. It’s at http://matt.evansfamily.us.

  2. Melissa on February 6, 2004 at 2:10 pm

    Kaimi wrote:
    Whatever our politics or profession, we stick out because of our familial demographics. And so there may be a shift away from conservative political positions among at least some church members (Russell, Greg, myself), there does not seem to be a corresponding shift away from giving primacy to creating and maintaining family relationships.

    This kind of conclusion is in no way warranted based on a sample of 8. If we were to draw conclusions about the make-up of the Church based on the bloggers then we’d also have to say the Church was mostly composed of white highly-educated men.

    Contrary to your theory there are statistics that say that 1 out of 3 LDS women are single, as am I.

  3. Kaimi on February 6, 2004 at 2:17 pm

    Melissa,

    I know, you can’t draw any rigorous inferences out of our sample size. I guess I gave that impression. Still it’s a nice piece of anecdotal evidence. I suspect that this wouldn’t have happened if I had gotten together with seven colleagues and made a group blog to discuss property law, or Spanish literature, or sports. I suspect that in other areas, any configuration of co-bloggers I would be likely to arrive at based on my contacts would be unlikely to be completely homogenous in marital-parental status.

    You also wrote:

    “If we were to draw conclusions about the make-up of the Church based on the bloggers then we’d also have to say the Church was mostly composed of white highly-educated men.”

    Well, you’re two-thirds right. :)

  4. clark goble on February 6, 2004 at 3:50 pm

    I was single until last June and am not a parent. However I just found out yesterday my wife is pregnant (we’ve been playing without a net for about a month) and am quite excited about it. So I guess I’m getting mainstreamed…

  5. Mardell on February 6, 2004 at 5:57 pm

    Congratulations Clark!

    When we lived in Manhattan having two kids and being so young was a huge thing (I am 26 and have a 6 year old.) Most of the moms at the parks in Manhattan are at least thirty with their first child. In fact some of my kids friends have parents close to my parents age. I never thought that I was that werid until I left the Morman Belt out west.

    Beside having lots of kids and beening married young there is on other thing that makes us obviously different it is how long we date before we are married. At a dinner party Kaimi and I attened for his work there was a newly engaged couple sitting at our table. They were asked to tell their dating story and how they had met. The had been dating for years and finally got engaged and had decided to get married in some years down the road. Then all the other couple started telling their stories, which were all simalar. Finally they asked Kaimi and I about our story. When we told them we meet in Febuary and Married in July of the same year I thought their jaws were going to hit the floor. Then we told them we decided to have kids right aways they almost fell off of their chairs.
    So how about the rest of you bloggers did you all date and get married in under a year?
    Is that demographic the same?

  6. clark goble on February 6, 2004 at 7:05 pm

    The other interesting issue is how old you were when you married. I’m probably the exception in that I was 36 (and my wife 26 at the time).

    As for dating, I dated a year and probably would have been happy waiting a little longer but my wife didn’t want to wait much longer. So it was about 4 months of engagement.

  7. lyle on February 7, 2004 at 5:06 am

    For the record, I am single; and while the myth is you can get a refund from BYU if you graduate single [no, I don't want a refund], if I remember the stat (I’ll look it up) over 50% of BYU students graduate single.

    Kaimi…while I disagree with your methodology, the inferences are probably fairly helpful…except for the political implication. I have yet to see any indication, nor do I expect to see one, that the Church membership is beocoming less conservative (see my comment re: the effect of MA decision on gay partnerships).

    Also…this blog is very self-selecting. I know Nate from undergrad (and an abortive co-publishing effort…the dawg! ;), I interned with Matt at the UT state leg (even if he doesn’t remember me ;), I had graduate level sociology theory courses with Brayden (I really am not very memorable apparently!!!), same student ward/apartment neighboors at BYU (where he met Sarah ;), etc. My point? Um…

    1. This list is heavily skewed towards those with a college education, and mostly graduate or professional degrees also. And I wouldn’t dream of generalizing to the Church as a whole on this basis. :)

  8. Kaimi on February 8, 2004 at 12:47 pm

    Lyle, Clark, et al,

    I guess I overgeneralized a bit. Still, it’s an interesting coincidence, or perhaps piece of anecdotal evidence of [something?].

    As I mentioned earlier, it just struck me, because I participate in other loose-knit groups, none of which are even close in the level of marital-parental homogeneity (or at least not this end of the spectrum). Of the other loose-knit groups that I participate in, they are:

    Fantasy basketball league: I only personally know five of the participants in a ten-person league (including me). Two (including me) are married with children. Two are single. One is engaged.

    Fantasy football league: Not 100% sure of everyone’s status, I think one other participant is married; none have kids that I’m aware of (league of eight).

    People star-footnoted in my article (a group who I discussed property law and civil rights law with): 4 I don’t know status, 4 single (1 of whom is engaged), 2 married without children, 4 married with children.

    Compare those samples with T & S, and the difference is striking.