Thursday, April 6, 2017

Congregational Growth by Country: 2016

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2016.  The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +65 (0.5% increase)
  2. Cote d'Ivoire +52 (40.0% increase) 
  3. Nigeria +46 (10.1% increase)
  4. Ghana +33 (13.5% increase)
  5. Brazil +17 (0.8% increase) 
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo +16 (10.5% increase)
  7. Guatemala +10 (2.4% increase) 
  8. Philippines +10 (0.8% increase)
  9. Sierra Leone +10 (15.4% increase)
  10. South Africa +9 (5.4% increase)
  11. Canada +8 (1.6% increase) 
  12. Samoa +8 (5.5% increase)
  13. Liberia +6 (25.0% increase)
  14. Nicaragua +6 (5.8% increase)
  15. Angola +4 (57.1% increase)
  16. Cape Verde +4 (10.5% increase)
  17. Taiwan +4 (3.5% increase)
  18. Zimbabwe +4 (5.6% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 18 countries totals 312; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2016 (288). Six countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2016. The reason that the Church reported a net decrease of five branches in Turkey was due to the discontinuation of administrative branches to service each nation within the boundaries of the Central Eurasian Mission.
  1. Peru -15 (2.0% decrease) 
  2. Venezuela -9 (3.5% decrease) 
  3. Colombia -8 (3.0% decrease) 
  4. Turkey -5 (41.7% decrease)
  5. Dominican Republic -5 (2.5% decrease)
  6. Chile -4 (0.7% decrease)

29 comments:

coachodeeps said...

Good to see both Guatemala and Nicaragua's growth. 9 of the 18 with growth of 4+ units are in Africa. Pretty impressive. I hadn't realized Angola and Liberia would be on this list. Well done Africa! This is REAL growth.

L. Chris Jones said...

Would any of those congregation reductions be because multiple branches were combined to make a ward?

R. Jofre said...

L. Chris Jones. I have noticed that at least in Chile there's a tendency to shrink districts to only 5 branches (Ovalle), or consolidate them with nearby stakes (Osorno, Valdivia, Quillota). Also mission branches are being added to nearby stakes (Puerto Montt) and small districts are being combined (Parral and Linares). After over a decade of not having a stake created, several have been organized in the last 3 years (Coquimbo, Valparaiso West, Talagante) and it seems that new ones are being planed for the near future, based on new branches created in districts, and district consolidations. There are several districts that are just 30 minutes away from nearby stakes. A couple of decades ago almost nobody had cars in Chile, especially among saints. Today almost everybody has a car, so distances are less burdensome for stake and district leadership.

coachodeeps said...

Interesting that Peru had a negative 15 units but in 2016 Loma became the first international city to have a second temple announced. Also, outside of Turkey, the other 6 are in Latin America. Tough times for that area of the world with consolidation and little growth elsewhere in the country.

coachodeeps said...

Sorry, Lima.

R. Jofre said...

coachodeeps. During the 90's I was part of a stake in Chile where about 300 people attended, distributed between 8 units. I held 5 callings at one time. That stake was tough, really really complicated. There is nothing like that today in Chile. Even the stake counselors went inactive at one time. That stake eventually got consolidated with another one with similar numbers. Today those 2 whole stakes are just 3 wards, although I ignore the attendance they have. Now things are easy compared with the 90's. Really really simple in comparison. Having a returned missionary as a bishop was a rare sight back then, today that is the norm.

In a country where earthquakes, wildfires, volcanoes erupting, droughts and floods are common every year, the Church is the least tough thing possible for a chilean saint. So no tough times, believe me.

coachodeeps said...

R. Jofre, thanks for the perspective. Glad the tide is turning there. When I was is Guatemala, there were similar issues with many going inactive and few active members in areas. It is good to see that country growing. I am sure that will begin to happen soon enough in Chile again. I am sure things are not as tough as they once were. Unfortunately, we are in the beginning stages of that cycle in West Valley City, Utah. Many strong, faithful members moving away, creating a vacuum of leadership and placing heavier burden on those left. Those burdens are doubled by the fact that typically many of those left are either inactive or have great needs that are difficult to address.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Willow Mountain Ward just created in my home stake of Stevensville, Montana.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Also, my old branch, the Ammon YSA Branch in Idaho Falls, was reorganized as the Ammon YSA Ward today.

Cory Ward said...

I am hoping now that the Ammon YSA branch is now a ward, perhaps an Idaho Falls YSA Stake could be formed. Idaho Falls is the only gap of YSA stakes in the Mormon Corridor. There could probably be 6 wards, 5 in Idaho Falls and one in Shelly (if they combined the 3 branches into a single ward. There is already quite a bit of correlation between the wards with Institute.
I think with the exception of the Washington D.C. YSA stake, YSA Stakes are places in places with large concentrations of members, and experienced leadership available to lead. Idaho Falls would fit with that. However because of a lack of a large university, the membership numbers fluctuate. Many attend while they are off track at BYUI or another university, and then leave back to school. But all YSA wards and stakes have that movement as well.
I think a few other cities could also receive YSA stakes like Washington D.C. Nampa, Las Vegas, Denver, Seattle, Dallas, places in California, New York, could all be contenders. However travel distances might be a problem for leaders to minister to the needs of the stake. But Washington D.C. is very large, so I guess it could still happen.

L. Chris Jones said...

What YSA wards in in the Idaho Falls area?

Cory Ward said...

Dunbar YSA Ward, IF North Stake
Community Park YSA Ward, IF South Stake
Ammon YSA Ward, IF Ammon West Stake
Foothills YSA Ward, Ammon Stake
Bonneville YSA Ward, Ucon Stake
The two Shelly stakes and the Firth Stake each have branches.
The YSA wards in Rigby area are in the Rexburg YSA 4th Stake.

Johnathan Whiting said...

These are the ones I know of in Idaho Falls and the nearby communities:

Foothills YSA Ward
Ammon YSA Ward
Parkside YSA Branch
Dunbar YSA Ward
Community Park YSA Ward
Shelley YSA 1st Branch
Shelley YSA 2nd Branch
Bonneville YSA Ward

Johnathan Whiting said...

Jinx!

Mike Johnson said...

Percentage-wise, the greater Washington DC area may not be large in terms of LDS members, but in absolute numbers the Church is strong with a lot of seasoned leaders.

There are two YSA stakes based in Virginia, the other being the Buena Vista YSA Stake.

Mike Johnson said...

>>>Idaho Falls is the only gap of YSA stakes in the Mormon Corridor

I was intrigued by this statement. If we look at St George to Rexburg along I-15 to Idaho Falls and then over to Rexburg, there are a lot of gaps. The gaps around Malad and Brigham City can be partially bypassed by the Logan and Smithfield YSA stakes, but the YSA wards in the Brigham City and Tremonton area belong to non-YSA stakes and thus Brigham City is a gap.

Go south from Utah County, the YSA branch in Nephi isn't in a YSA stake and neither is the YSA ward in Richfield. In the Fillmore and Beaver areas that aren't even YSA congregations.

YSA units tend to heavily show up in areas near universities. (This isn't entirely true, but there is a large pattern; many of the YSA wards in the Washington DC YSA Stake are filled with either professionals who have completed school working on their careers and there are lots of nannies as well in those wards).

Lack of a university in the American Falls area may have kept the YSA population too low for a stake. The technical school and the university center there, as I understand it, tend to cater to older students. On the other hand, if a YSA stake can be formed, that would be great.

Going south to north we see YSA stakes in the St. George area (2 YSA stakes, Dixie State University), Cedar City area (2, Southern Utah University), Ephraim area (skipping over to US 89) (2, Snow College), Price (1, Utah State University--College of Eastern Utah), Utah County (26, BYU and Utah Valley University), Salt Lake County and Southern Davis (10, University of Utah and SLCC), Ogden and Northern Davis (4 Weber State University), Logan (8, Utah State University), Pocatello (2, Idaho State University), and Rexburg (10, BYU-Idaho). There is also a YSA stake over in Boise.

Mike Johnson said...

Sorry, I meant "Lack of a university in the Idaho Falls area ... "

Cory Ward said...

Thanks Mike for that analysis. Having a large university is an important factor.

Johnathan Whiting said...

With 8 YSA units (5 wards and 3 branches),the Idaho Falls area could conceivably have a YSA stake. The 2 YSA stakes in Pocatello aren't too much bigger (8 and 6 wards).

What they do have in IF is a YSA pod, which is a collection of the wards that get together for activities. I don't remember all the wards that were involved, but at least the Ammon, Foothills, and possibly Community Park YSA wards participated.

L. Chris Jones said...

If EITC becomes a community college. It could possibly increase the number of ysa wards and chance of a ysa stake. We are planning on it being on a ballot to vote next month.

L. Chris Jones said...

If EITC becomes a community college. It could possibly increase the number of ysa wards and chance of a ysa stake. We are planning on it being on a ballot to vote next month.

Mike Johnson said...

The Price and Providence YSA stakes have 5 YSA wards each, but most YSA stakes have 8 or more wards. I understand that both YSA stakes in Pocatello had 8 YSA wards some time ago, but 2 of those wards were discontinued.

I had no idea that converting EITC from a career and technical school for non-traditional students into a more comprehensive community college with both terminal AAS degrees and certificates (like it does now) with transfer degrees (AA and AS) is so close to being achieved. It is on the ballot in May in Bonneville County having passed a lot of hurdles already. I'll have to keep tabs on what happens.

Johnathan Whiting said...

@L. Chris Jones: Best of luck on EITC becoming a community college! Here's hoping. I'd have voted for it if I still lived there. :)

L. Chris Jones said...

I anticipate that the proposed "College of Eastern Idaho" will keep more students in Idaho Falls at least the first two years of college and thus create more YSA units.

Johnathan Whiting said...

That would be interesting.

John Pack Lambert said...

I have worked out how a YSA stake could be formed in New York City from the units in New York City and outer Long Island and the Yorktown Stake. One question is are there enough seasoned priesthood leaders to form am additiinal high council abd stake presidency. It should be born in mind that more and more YSAs are beyond college age. I am not sure how various one-libe and quasi on-line programs affect thibgs including the BYU Pathway International. I think New York City and Las Vegas are top contenders for YSA stakes. Partly because the New York New York stake is very large with over 12 wards but no easy way to split it but a YSA stake would allow for strengthening across boundaries more than currently happens.

I do not see LA or San Francisco area getting at YSA stake. LA because the distances are prohibitively large and San Francisco I am not sure existing stakes could survive the loss. I have to admit I have not looked closely at the logistics. My understanding is that in LA there are the UCLA and USC wards that are some of the last true student wards left.

John Pack Lambert said...

An LA YSA stake would work maybe. LA stake has 12 wards, including a YSA ward and 2 student wards. The student wards include both single and married students so I do not know how many units this would make in a rearrange. The Santa Monica YSA ward and probably East LA YSA would clearly be included. My guess is the 1 Torrance YSA and 2 Long Beach YSA units. This brings the number to at least 6 which in theory is enough. I am not sure if anything in San Fernando Valley would be included. I may also be underestimating the distances involved.

John Pack Lambert said...

Since stakes need 5 wards the upgrade of Ammon YSA was needed before a stake could be considered.

John Pack Lambert said...

However SLCC especially basucally is a school that exists because of a large urban area. The percentage of students in many Davis, Salt Lake and Utah county YSA units is not all rhat high. I think we these are covered by YSA units and from Nephi south other than Sanpete county we do not see them has more to do with population densities than anything else. On the other hand I have known members who moved to especially Salt Lake County not to attend a school and I think for Utah county as well but primarily with the goal of hanging out and getting married. Mia Love went to Utah not even so much to get married but to immerse herself in the Church as a new convert. Her job was working as a flight attendant. She did get married fairly quickly. I think my point is urban areas will attract unatached singles wheather or not they have universities. Although there are few major turban areas with no universities. DC has U Maryland College Park, Georgetown, George Washington, George Mason and a few others. However I think a lot of members there are young single government employees. I think DC is the metro area in the US with the most stakes but New York City and Boston I could see maybe getting YSA stakes although as I understsnd it Cambridge Stake at oresent has YSA units well beyond its boundaries. Chicago is the only possibility on the mid-west and that is unlikely soon. I have not looked into Houston or Dallas.

There are 3 YSA stakes in metro-Phoenix.