Monday, July 11, 2011

Countries of the World by Estimated Member Activity Rate

The LDS Church counts the total number of church members on its records regardless of whether members maintain a current self affiliation with the Church or actively attend church. Below is a list of countries with the estimated member activity rates as defined by the percentage of LDS membership which regularly attends church. Member activity rates for the following nations were ascertained by missionary reports, seminary and institute enrollment numbers, and the ratio of members per congregation. Several nations listed do not have an official church presence. Membership in Middle Eastern nations is predominantly East Asian, North American, and European.

The worldwide activity rate for the LDS Church at present is estimated at 30% whereas the activity rate outside of the United States and Canada is estimated at 22.5%.

Burundi - 85%
Vanuatu - 82%
Kuwait - 80%
Rwanda - 80%
Nepal - 75%
Cuba - 75%
Turks and Caicos Islands - 75%
Oman - 75%
Saudi Arabia - 75%
Democratic Republic of the Congo - 75%
Saint Lucia - 70%
Djibouti - 67%
South Sudan - 67%
United Arab Emirates - 65%
Madagascar - 62%
China - 60%
Tuvalu - 60%
Afghanistan - 57%
Niue - 54%
New Caledonia - 53%
French Polynesia - 52%
Antigua and Barbuda - 50%
British Virgin Islands - 50%
Dominica - 50%
Saint Kitts and Nevis - 50%
Saint Martin - 50%
Sint Maarten - 50%
Brunei - 50%
Burma - 50%
Laos - 50%
Bosnia - 50%
Kosovo - 50%
Macedonia - 50%
Montenegro - 50%
Iraq - 50%
Palestine - 50%
Qatar - 50%
Bangladesh - 50%
Bhutan - 50%
Angola - 50%
Benin - 50%
Cameroon - 50%
Cote d'Ivoire - 50%
Kenya - 50%
Nigeria - 50%
Republic of the Congo - 50%
Tanzania - 50%
Nauru - 47%
Pakistan - 46%
Guadeloupe - 45%
Kazakhstan - 45%
Bahrain - 45%
Jordan - 45%
Ethiopia - 45%
Namibia - 45%
Swaziland - 45%
Andorra - 45%
Martinique - 43%
Malawi - 43%
American Samoa - 41%
United States - 40%
Bonaire - 40%
Cayman Islands - 40%
Grenada - 40%
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 40%
Indonesia - 40%
Slovakia - 40%
Turkey - 40%
Botswana - 40%
Mauritius - 40%
Iceland - 40%
Malta - 40%
Switzerland - 40%
New Zealand - 40%
India - 39%
Mozambique - 38%
Togo - 38%
French Guiana - 37%
Lithuania - 37%
Sierra Leone - 37%
Finland - 37%
Tonga - 36%
Samoa - 36%
Mongolia - 35%
Moldova - 35%
Gabon - 35%
Ghana - 35%
Denmark - 35%
Ireland - 35%
Luxembourg - 35%
Norway - 35%
Papua New Guinea - 35%
Singapore - 35%
Malaysia - 35%
Canada - 34%
Solomon Islands - 33%
Bermuda - 33%
Suriname - 33%
Lebanon - 33%
Zimbabwe - 33%
Cook Islands - 32%
Aruba - 32%
Slovenia - 32%
Ukraine - 32%
South Africa - 32%
Marshall Islands - 32%
Sri Lanka - 31%
Micronesia - 30%
Barbados - 30%
Haiti - 30%
Cambodia - 30%
Macau - 30%
Belarus - 30%
Romania - 30%
Cyprus - 30%
Israel - 30%
Lesotho - 30%
Zambia - 30%
Netherlands - 30%
Sweden - 30%
Latvia - 29%
Austria - 28%
Germany - 28%
Northern Mariana Islands - 27%
Australia - 26%
Guam - 25%
Jamaica - 25%
Trinidad and Tobago - 25%
United States Virgin Islands - 25%
Georgia - 25%
Vietnam - 25%
Bulgaria - 25%
Czech Republic - 25%
Brazil - 25%
Cape Verde - 25%
Central African Republic - 25%
Liberia - 25%
Reunion - 25%
Belgium - 25%
Italy - 25%
Kiribati - 25%
France - 24%
Spain - 24%
Belize - 23%
Mexico - 23%
Uganda - 23%
Fiji - 22%
Albania - 22%
Estonia - 22%
Hungary - 22%
Bolivia - 22%
Bahamas - 20%
Curacao - 20%
Dominican Republic - 20%
El Salvador - 20%
Guatemala - 20%
Guyana - 20%
Armenia - 20%
Philippines - 20%
Taiwan - 20%
Thailand - 20%
Greece - 20%
Poland - 20%
Russia - 20%
Colombia - 20%
Ecuador - 20%
Peru - 20%
Costa Rica - 19%
Puerto Rico - 19%
Argentina - 19%
Honduras - 18%
Paraguay - 18%
Uruguay - 18%
United Kingdom - 18%
Japan - 17%
Serbia - 17%
Venezuela - 17%
Nicaragua - 16%
Croatia - 15%
Palau - 14%
Hong Kong - 14%
Panama - 13%
South Korea - 12%
Chile - 12%
Portugal - 12%

24 comments:

Craig M said...

Do you have any speculations on why retention is so high in some of the African countries such as D.R. Congo, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, and Kenya? Are new growth strategies being used drawn from experience elsewhere?

Matt said...

Convert retention and member activity are high in several African nations due to the following.

-cultural emphasis on church attendance
-low or no dependence on foreign full-time missionaries
-the development of regular church attendance habits prior to baptism
-greater focus on expanding national outreach often headed by local members
-low levels of materialism and secularism
-strong and growing local leadership and active male membership
-many in the region have a Christian background, making LDS teaching approaches effective

andrew said...

Most of the countries activity rates seem pretty accurate but I would like to take issue with some of them. Malaysia's Activity rate as a whole is probably closer to 35-37%. I also know for a fact that Singapore's activity rate is much higher than 25% I would say it is probably about 40% I am considering the church's definition of what an active member is. Taiwan's activity rate is definitely higher than 20%. The wards in Taiwan are stronger than anywhere else in Asia. There stakes certainly have more than 1000 active members. I would say it is also closer to 40%.
As a whole I would personally predict that the worldwide activity rate is probably between 34% and 38%.

Craig said...

I have some other theories about Africa: class & age of the Church.

1. In former colonial countries, the Gospel is first taught in the national colonial language rather than the local native languages used at home. As a result, more of the converts are from better educated, upper middle class. More of them stay active.

In contrast, in most Latin America countries, especially in cities, most of the converts are native speakers of Spanish or Portuguese and more of them are from the lower middle class. More of them do not stay active.

2. In West Africa more of the converts are men (also more men had more educiation and speak French or English and men. With fewer women, fewer women marry out of the Church so they are more likely to be active as families.

In Latin America, more of the converts are women. More of them marry out of the Church and don't stay active.

3. In countries where giant growth spurts started in the 60s and 70s, before the priesthood revelation, there has been more time for people to get lost or move to another country or die that are still counted as members where they were baptized.

Paw@: said...

Here in Sopron, Hungary, activity rate, defined as average attendance at sacrament meeting, has been around 50% for the last two years, even higher if you just consider the church's criteria of activity meaning they come at least once a month to church. I don't know about the other branches as this is the only place we have served as a senior couple.

Marcello Jun said...

Where are your sources?

Matt said...

Craig - I agree with your other theories regarding class and age of the church being factors for influencing member activity rates for some countries such as in Africa. When I served my mission in South Korea, I was always surprised to find that the wealthiest areas of Seoul often had the most convert baptisms and highest retention rates whereas the poorer areas had lower retention rates and fewer convert baptisms. I think that part of the reason for lower activity and receptivity in South Korea is due to many poorer individuals being more involved in tight-knit Christian churches or avoid perceived-American institutions. However I do not believe that socio-economic class has been a good predictor for member activity rates in some Latin American nations as often wealthier areas tend of face greater challenges with retention. It is interesting to note that in South America Bolivia has one of the higher member activity rates but is one of the poorest countries whereas in the Church face very low member activity rates in Chile. Then again, Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil is among Brazil's wealthiest states and experiences some of the highest convert retention rates. I believe that mission policies for convert baptismal standards are the primary influence on retention for Latin America.

Paw@ - Thank you for your input on activity rates in Sopron, Hungary. The LDS Church in Hungary has by far experienced the highest member activity and convert retention rates out of any other country in Eastern Europe with over 500 Latter-day Saints. Do you have any feedback as to why you believe activity rates in Hungary are so much higher? I imagine that this is primarily due to higher receptivity than other nations in the region, greater vision in expansion mission outreach, particularly in the late 2000s, and more consistent mission policies for convert baptismal standards.

Marcello Jun - As I indicated in the post, these activity rates are estimates which were ascertained from missionary reports, seminary and institute enrollment numbers, and the ratio of members to congregations.

Daniel - Thank you for your feedback. I have readjusted the estimated activity rates for Singapore and Malaysia to be both 35%.

Tod Robbins said...

Matt,

Are you primarily using the Almanac to make the calculations, or do you have special access to enrollment/attendance records? I'm interested in your process as are others.

Matt said...

There are three sources I have used to estimate member activity rates in countries around the world

MISSIONARY REPORTS - Returned missionaries and full-time missionaries provide valuable data regarding sacrament meeting attendance for many congregations around the world. Many of these numbers are available in the country profiles listed at cumorah.com

SEMINARY AND INSTITUTE ENROLLMENT - The Church Education System (CES) releases a yearly report providing the number of students enrolled in seminary and institute. The report for 2011 can be found at

http://seminary.lds.org/content/memos/2011/Annual_Report_for_2011.pdf

RATIO OF MEMBERS PER CONGREGATION

Calculating the average number of members per congregation is a valuable in sight into activity rates. These numbers are retrieved from church membership and congregation numbers on the Church's official website.

I've tried to make these percentages as accurate as possible by combining these sources and also collaborating from some members who live in these nations.

If you have any insights or wish to provide feedback on member activity percentages which you do not believe are correct, please comment.

alien236 said...

Do you think the temple in Lisbon will improve Portuguese activity rates at all? I'm sure they won't skyrocket but I would expect some noticeable difference.

Matt said...

I think that the construction, open house, and dedication of the Lisbon Portugal Temple will slightly improve activity rates and reactivation efforts as past public affairs efforts by the Church targeted towards the general population have yielded some positive reactivation results. Time will only tell whether any prospective improvements can be sustained.

Chris said...

I served my mission in Lisbon from 2002-2004. The rolls were HUGE, but meetings were empty. The rumor was that they'd baptized a ton in the 80's and early 90's, but then the church had kinda fallen apart in the country. We had tons of inactives whose baptisms dated back ten or twenty years.

Matt said...

Portugal experienced unmatched membership growth among Western European countries between 1987 and 1991 as LDS membership increased from 11,000 to 31,000 during a four-year period. Quick-baptism tactics at a time when receptivity was high, few members who could fill leadership positions, and cultural attitudes regarding regular church attendance appear to be the primary causes of very low activity rates today in Portugal.

Nellie said...

Rapid economic growth in Africa will strengthen the infrastructure and hopefully boost activity rates in Africa. I'm excited.

Tom said...

Nellie,

Economic growth can lead to a secular pattern in society as consumerist and materialist desires develop.

These things dampen activity and dampen conversion rates.

Rate now things are going very well for the church in africa. Membership growth is strong, as is congregation growth and stake growth.

The church can evolve into a dominant and large religion in these countries if these trends continue over a period of 30 years.

alien236 said...

I think it's hard to say in the case of Africans what would happen. The black race in general has really been treated like dirt for thousands of years and even now there is progress to be made so even if their situation with diseases poverty etc. improves, perhaps the vestiges of discrimination would keep them humble. (Not saying discrimination is a good thing by any means, but God can work all things for good.) Then again, Africa is their home turf, so they're probably more comfortable than blacks in the US. But then, maybe they're just pure enough people to stay humble regardless. Heck, it's anyone's guess I suppose.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

I live in Queensland Australia and have seved in other states of Australia and I would think that the % is higher than what is listed 27%. My ward is 30-34% and is the lowest in my stake of 8 units. I know of some ward in the inner city areas of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney that are 25-30% but know many ward around the 50-65% in the suburbs. I think the figure is closer to 38-40% for Australia.

Also I have noted also that ward with high percentage of families often have higher levels of activity. More singles baptised I have found means poorer retention. My Brother served in the singapore mission and spent most of his time in Malyasia. He said when they started converting and baptising more families the retention improved in a big way.

Craig said...

Below are three reasons why missionaries or wards report higher percentages than the country averages:

1. ADDRRESS UNKNOWN. Attendance percentages reported by wards will always be higher than that reported by country. This is because the denominator for calculating percentages for countries includes memebers in the address unknown file for each country.

For example if a country has 100,000 members--80,000 in wards and 20,000 in address unknown, and an average attendance of 40,000, wards will report an average attendance of 50 percent, but the country average attendance would be only 40 percent.

Some of those in address unknown still consider themselves members, others do not.

Some of those in address unknown are dead. Many have moved to other countries for economic reasons.

2. OLD WARD/NEW WARD. When wards are divided, often the active members are divided correctly between the old and new ward. In areas where addresses are less organized, often the old ward retains all or most of the the members that are inactive and report a lower percentage while the new ward shows a higher one.

3. INVESTIGATORS. In emerging Church areas, new branches often have more investigators than members. This artificially inflates percentages in emerging nations such as Burundi, Kosovo, Benin,

Matt said...

Craig-

These three factors are taken into account when calculating the estimated member activity rates for nations included in this list. For instance, in Burundi church attendance actually exceeds the number of total church members on records due to the large number of investigators in attendance. Address unknown file numbers are also estimated and considered when calculating these percentages. Countries which are the most challenging to estimate activity rates for are in sensitive nations due to the lack of information about the Church in these locations and also government policies which limit religious freedom. Overall activity rates calculated in this list are for the percentage of members who attend church regularly.

Nellie said...

Tom: yes it can. But it doesn't have to. Look at the USA, and look at African-Americans.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Another thing to consider when calculating activity rates is average attendance is not the most accurate way to do this. On the quarterly reports that each unit fills in you are asked to average the last month in the quarter for sacrament meeting; 4 or 5 sundays attendance devided by the total attendance for those sundays gives you the reported attendance that each unit reports. But if last week was a reporting week our ward had at least four families that were sick and therefore not counted. That make it a little inacurate. We have at least 140-150 members that attend at least monthly but average attendance is 120. If they attend PH or R/S once they are counted as active during the reporting month.

I agree with Craig re reasons that the percentages are out. If you are on the address unknown file and have died the church waits until the members turns 110 (around that) to take you off the membership record.

Some years ago when the Australian and New Zealand area were doing the lost sheep program (finding members of the Address unknown file) the reported to us that some 25000 members were on the list of unknown in a country which represented almost a third of the counrties membership. So yes Craig the numbers can be misleading

Scott W. Clark said...

A couple of days ago, I talked to someone here in Ukraine who knew the figures. He said that the activity rate for Kiev stake is between 32 and 33%. That confirms your figures at least for the stake.

Nellie said...

Matt: I was wondering if you've considered the number of people who consider themselves Mormons. 250,000 Mexicans in the Mexican Census identify as Mormons (about 31% of all members). According to the American Religious Identification Survey, 3.2 million identify as Mormons (53%).

Local Joe said...

I serve among the Navajo nation in Arizona. We have over 1000 members, and usually have 50-70 in sacrament meeting. Maybe 30 stay for the rest of the block.