Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Metropolitan Areas in China with One Million or More Inhabitants and Status of LDS Outreach

As part of a project creating maps displaying the status of LDS outreach among all metropolitan areas in the world with one million or more inhabitants, I have recently completed the map for China.  No sensitive data on LDS Church operations in mainland China is disclosed in this map.  I take full responsibility for the content and the opinions presented. See below to view map.

View Major Metropolitan Areas in China in a larger map


Ed Clinch said...

This is also an interesting look at simple Chinese geography; most of which the western world is ignorant of.

Back in graduate school while studying primarily Latin American Studies I was also trying to memorize the states of China. Not too hard, similar in some ways to Brazil.

Just to pick one point of attack: Chengdu and Chonquing in the West (one in Sichuan state) has one with a LDS presence and one not. But both are huge cities, not two far from each other, maybe like comparing two US cities far from the densely populated east.

Perhaps culturally there are reasons there are more people traveling internationally and converting from one city than the other?

Both are major cities that should one day have at least one mission apiece, assuming we have the freedom to be there.

Grant Emery said...

Are the estimated membership numbers all members or just the international ones?

Ray said...

Interesting that there seems to be a larger Church presence in China than in India, in spite of similar populations, India having 2 established missions, Church recognition, etc.

In a fireside for Chinese students at BYU Hawaii not long ago it was announced that there were seventy-some branches in China.

I don't know if this included the 17 foreigner branches reported on the CDOL, but in any case it's about double the 6 wards and 36 branches in India.

In addition there are 105 wards and 32 branches in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau for a total of over 200 congregations (and 15 stakes plus 7 districts). This is getting close to the total number in Japan.

Matt said...

Estimated membership figures for metropolitan areas in mainland China only include foreigners.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Matt, I have finally spoken to the Chinese missionary in my ward and have some information. His english is not great and my Chinese is very bad but found some interesting things. Do you have your email again and I will send you some details. Then if you have some questions I can ask him. One thing I noticed was that his knowledge of other units through out China is not great as there is still a level of non communication as government may find out. He said it was like the Government has "one eye open and one eye closed concerning religion". He also said they are allowing the door to be slightly open but will not allow them to open it anymore at this stage. So your email again please.

Matt said...

Here it is again:

Look forward to hearing from you!

The Opinion said...

A missionary in Tacoma, WA mission wrote on his blog in Jan 2014 about an investigator he is teaching who is from China:

"The very exciting thing he said was that when they return back to China, the Chinese government will allow Haopeng to teach his immediate family about the Church (no one outside China is allowed to do that), and can even baptize and give them the priesthood! It is amazing to see how Heavenly Father is reaching out to all of His children, and how the work in China is growing!"

Ed Clinch said...

China is a tantalizing fruit for modern Christians to work with. The Chinese people seem to be an interesting "protected" lot, but are so eager in many ways to open up to Western ideas, perhaps in some ways more than Japanese or Vietnamese, despite economic differences.

South Korea is traditionalist but very Christian now, while the Phillipines has always been highly Catholic and now a huge growth area for LDS.

Hong Kong has been established as an LDS bulwark for a while, which is a huge advantage compared to Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. (Not to mention tough proseletyzing nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos...).

Also, harking back to little countries like San Marino or Guersney Islands, Spitzbergen, Isle of Mann (which I think has some LDS), the Sultanate of Brunei would be a compelling place for LDS missionaries.

And what of East Timor? And speaking of Portuguese outreach, are we still not up in Guinea Bissau? The areas north of Sierra Leone seem to be under-evangelized by the Church of Jesus Christ.

Pascal said...

Those are some good observations, Ed. I think, while time of establishment is a considerable factor, Hong Kong probably has the least potential of the four accessible Asian countries you mentioned. For instance, activity rates in Hong Kong are among the lowest worldwide, somewhat following the traditions of Japan and Korea which also happen to have similar sociological makeups, living conditions, etc.
Malaysia's east is a great growth area. Retention rates seem higher than in Hong Kong but leadership development appears to be holding the first stake creation back (although I think it will happen by the end of next year). There is definitely great growth potential and, at least by the naked numbers, a certain follow-up on said potential.
Indonesia has highly dedicated leadership but small membership numbers, which tends to weaken prospects a little bit. In a way I would compare it to western Malaysia, with some growth but also a certain set of restrictions and difficulties working among the Muslim majority.
India is, as it appears, highly receptive, but there is just a lack of Missionaries to efficiently open new cities. We've seen that with Mumbai. A city of roughly 22 million and thus more residents than any North or Latin American Mission (!) didn't open until very recently. If India would loosen its visa restrictions, I would love to see the Church step in and create maybe five or six Missions at once to start grasping the potential there is. I think each of these Missions could, if fully staffed, baptize 2,000 or more converts a year. That is, however, speculation since no such government moves are in sight. Kind of surprising (I think the Church could do something about it if they wanted to and really worked with government officials - India isn't necessarily what I'd call a restrictive dictatorship).

Guernsey has Missionaries and a branch, covering all of the inhabited Channel Islands minus Jersey (so, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm). The two big Channel Islands are generally well-reached. I'm not sure if much traveling to other islands occurs for the Guernsey Missionaries but I guess it would only pay off much on Alderney since it's the only other island of more than 1,000 people.
The Isle of Man is also well-reached.
I'm not so sure about Brunei. It might work, but it's a little hard to access and far from Mission headquarters (not looking it up right now, I'd put it into India New Delhi by guess - That's still a long ways away). But I think it would be possible.

East Timor might be the next country we'll see open for Missionary work, at least if I was in charge. If no angel appeared to me instructing me otherwise, I'd send Missionaries there in a heartbeat. Somewhat christianized population, comparable to Papua New Guinea, just more condensely settled...I'll take that any day! And I honestly don't know what's holding us back. The only other place I could think of that's in a comparable situation is Sao Tome and Principe. Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Burkina Faso are also places that might grow quite well someday, but there might be a little less urgency.

Mike Johnson said...

The Douglas Ward, Liverpool England Stake, is on the Isle of Mann.

John Pack Lambert said...

A key to church growth in China is the missionary presence in Hong Kong. The Church thus has had resources dedicated to reaching Chinese much longer than towards reaching people in India.

Also the outreach to Chinese abroad seems to have been carried out more. When I was in the Ann Arbor-based singles ward the missionaries taught a lot of Chinese people, no Indians.

On the other hand, my ward here in Sterling Heights, a northern suburb of Detroit, just had a baptism of a lady from India. Here husband has been a member for nearly 20 years, and they moved here from Hyderabad about 3 months ago.

Matthew Taylor said...

Have you ever used Google Trends to compare Internet search interest in various countries. The Chinese trends are fascinating:,all,all,all,all&geo=CN,CN,CN,CN,CN&q=%2Fm%2F0g5llry,%2Fm%2F0dtdq,%2Fm%2F02vxy_,%2Fm%2F019cr,%2Fm%2F072w0