This is a pretty impressive number considering 10.8 million of the 13.2 million members of the Church are this close to a temple. However, that still means that nearly 2.4 million members are quite distant from a Temple of the Lord.
The planning and building of temples in the last 27 years has led to a
remarkable statistic. Elder William Walker, with the LDS Temple Department,
said, "Eighty-two percent of the members live within 200 miles of a temple
worldwide, which is essentially within about three hours of ground
I have developed a ratio to provide an insight into how available temples are to the members of the Church. I take the number of stakes in the Church for a given year and divide it by the total number of operating temples for that given year. Larger numbers indicate more stakes are assigned to each temple (usually meaning that members have to travel further to reach that temple). Smaller numbers indicate fewer stakes are assigned to each temple (meaning that members are closer to each temple).
- 1945 - 19 stakes per temple
- 1955 - 25 stakes per temple
- 1965 - 32 stakes per temple
- 1975 - 46 stakes per temple
- 1980 - 68 stakes per temple
- 1985 - 43 stakes per temple
- 1990 - 41 stakes per temple
- 1995 - 46 stakes per temple
- 2000 - 25 stakes per temple
- 2005 - 22 stakes per temple
- 2008 - 22 stakes per temple
I am comfortable to say that temples today are as available to the membership of the Church as they were back in 1945. This may sound counter intuitive, but back in 1945 Church membership was almost entirely in the Western United States, where six of the eight temples of the Church were at the time (seven if you count the temple in Cardston Alberta). Today the country with the most members without a temple (Nicaragua) has 60,000 members, or less than 0.5% of total Church membership. This illustrates that the Church has done a terrific job in making temples more available its members.
The 40 or so small, miniature temples built around 10 years ago kind of throw this statistic off a bit. About two-thirds of these temples serve less than 10 stakes and almost all of them are in Mexico or the United States.