Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Stakes in Utah

Last Sunday a new stake was created in Eagle Mountain, Utah named the Eagle Mountain Utah North Stake. All three of the original stakes had a large number of wards, ranging from 11 to 14. Growth has been strong in Eagle Mountain due to members moving to the growing city as all four stakes being created since 2000.

In the coming week or two, a new stake will be organized in Smithfield, Utah. I will provide more information on the number of congregations in both of the new stakes once they become available.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Growth in Madagascar

Presenting some of the most promising growth for the Church in many years among countries with fewer than 10,000 members, Madagascar continues to demonstrate consistent membership and congregational growth. No other country in 2009 had as few members as Madagascar and managed to gain as many congregations. Growth has not been limited to one geographical area. Congregations sprouted for the first time outside the capital of Antananarivo in 2004 in Tamatave, Antsirabe, Fianaranitsoa, and Fort Dauphin and more recently elsewhere.

During 2008 and 2009, congregations increased from 15 to 24. In 2009, the Church created its first branch in northern Madagascar in Mahajanga which had as many as 70 attending meetings by early 2010. The Antananarivo Madagascar Stake has grown from 6 wards and 4 branches at the end of 2007 to currently 12 wards and two branches. To the south of the capital, congregations have been established in rural areas for the first time in Enjoma and Manandona. The city of Ambositra has also opened to mission outreach and the Church has acquired buildings for Church meetings and missionary living quarters. I am also pleased to report that a week ago two new branches were organized in the port city of Tamatave, bringing the total number of congregations to five. At the conference for the creation of the two new branches, over 500 were in attendance. Currently there are at least 27 independent congregations with at least a couple dependent branches or groups. I also wanted to iterate that retention has been very high and local leadership has been consistently developed to allow for the creation of additional congregations.

By the end of 2012, Madagascar could easily have as many 8,500 members in 50 congregations even if modest growth occurs over the next two and a half years. Four stakes may operate by this time, three in Antananarivo and one in Tamatave. Districts may be operating in Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, and Mahajanga. We will likely continue to see expanded mission outreach in rural areas between Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa primarily though local member-missionary efforts.

Below is a map indicating the locations of congregations in Madagascar. Markers do not represent the exact location of the building for the congregation but are placed within the geographical boundaries of the unit.

View Wards and Branches in Madagascar in a larger map

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Congregational Growth Outside the United States: 2009

Here is a list of countries with at least five new congregations created during 2009. List for 2007 and 2008 are also available. Worldwide congregations reported by the Church increased by 315 during the year, with slightly more than 200 outside the United States. The United States has been omitted.
  1. Brazil +36
  2. Mexico +30
  3. Nigeria +29
  4. Ghana +21
  5. Peru +15
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo +9
  7. Cote d'Ivoire +9
  8. Philippines +8
  9. Nicaragua +7
  10. Madagascar +7
  11. Colombia +6
  12. South Africa +6
About 65% of the non-US increase in congregations in 2009 can be attributed to the top five countries. International congregational growth has steadily increased over the past three years and the number of countries with five or more new congregations created has grown from 6 in 2007, to 8 in 2008, and to 12 in 2009. However congregational growth remains much lower than most years from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, where in some years there were over 1,000 congregations organized. One of the major reasons for slower congregational growth is increased standards for new congregations to be organized. During years with high congregational growth between the late 1970s and late 1990s, many congregations operated below current standards, hundreds of which were discontinued in the early 2000s. However retention and local leadership development problems remain major factors in limiting annual congregation increase worldwide.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Church Releases Membership Totals By Nation For 2009

Membership and congregation totals for nations with an open Church presence are now available on the Church's official website and can be found at http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/statistical-information. If you click on MAP VIEW, data for membership broken down by country in a map format.

The 20 countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2009 are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, and 2008. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage which is followed by the country's Church membership at year-end 2009. Countries in bold experienced a membership increase greater than 200.
  1. Rwanda - 159% - 44
  2. Dominica - 43.0 % - 143
  3. Togo - 30.4% - 1,034
  4. Angola - 28.4% - 831
  5. St. Lucia - 23.5% - 205
  6. Guyana - 23.2% - 4,846
  7. Solomon Islands - 21.5% - 299
  8. Uganda - 18.7% - 8,216
  9. The Bahamas - 17.7% - 953
  10. Cameroon - 16.0% - 843
  11. Slovakia - 15.8% - 161
  12. Madagascar - 15.7% - 5,516
  13. Guadeloupe - 15.4% - 442
  14. Cyprus - 14.5% - 386
  15. Malaysia - 13.4% - 6,404
  16. Democratic Republic of Congo - 13.1% - 23,615
  17. Ethiopia - 11.9% - 949
  18. Kenya - 11.3% - 9,370
  19. St. Vincent - 11.2% - 475
  20. Lesotho - 11.1% - 673
Among these 20 nations, 10 are in Africa whereas five are in the Caribbean. The rapid increase in membership growth in the DR Congo is impressive (nearly 3,000) and the creation of many new congregations in tandem indicates that retention is high in this nation. A large number of these nations have had new cities open to missionary work or have had multiple new congregations organized in the past year.

Below is a list of the 10 nations which experienced the greatest increase in membership in 2009. Each country is provided with the national increase in membership and the percentage of this increase out of total Church membership increase. Lists are also available for 2007 and 2008. 74% of 2009 Church membership increase can be attributed to the following 10 nations.
  1. United States - 84,866 - 26.8%
  2. Brazil - 42,118 - 13.3%
  3. Mexico - 39,337 - 12.4%
  4. Peru - 18,463 - 5.8%
  5. Philippines - 17,300 - 5.5%
  6. Argentina - 8,784 - 2.8%
  7. Chile - 7,171 - 2.3%
  8. Honduras - 5,310 - 1.7%
  9. Bolivia - 5,277 - 1.7%
  10. Nigeria - 5,158 - 1.6%
Greater membership increase occurred in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Nigeria than in 2008 whereas the United States, the Philippines, and Honduras saw a decrease in raw membership increase. Guatemala and Colombia were included in the top 10 in 2008, but were ousted by nations with greater membership growth. In 2009, both these nations saw comparable membership increases to 2008 however.

There are many nations which experienced robust membership growth in 2009 that are not among the 20 fastest growing nations or the 10 nations with the largest membership increases. Mongolia, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, India, and Ghana are a few nations of note which saw a percentage increase in membership growth.

In the coming days I will provide statistics on congregational growth by country for 2009.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Statistical Report 2009

The following information was presented in the Saturday afternoon session of the 180th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints portraying the status of the Church as of December 31st, 2009.
  • 13,824,854 members
  • 280,106 converts baptized in 2009
  • 119,722 new children of record for 2009
  • 2,865 stakes
  • 344 missions
  • 616 districts
  • 28,424 wards and branches
  • 51,736 missionaries serving
Worldwide Church membership growth slowed during 2009, increasing at a rate of 2.34% or 316,345. The most recent year with as low as a growth rate was 2005 when membership grew by 2.32%. The combined increased in covert baptisms and new children on record was among one of the most impressive indicators of growth in 2009. These two indicators totaled 399,828. There have only been two other years in Church history where the sum of convert baptisms and increase of children on record have exceeded 2009: In 1996 (402,402) and 1990 (408,877). Increase of children on record was slightly less than 2008, which was the highest since 1982. 2009 saw the most convert baptisms since 2002. We did not see a greater increase in membership growth due to the large number of removed individuals from Church records. This statistic can be calculated from the difference between 2009 and 2008 membership totals and subtracting it from the summation of convert baptisms and increase of children on record for 2009. Removed members numbered 83,483 in 2009, the largest number seen since 1998. Most years see between 30,000 to 80,000 names removed from Church records due to death, excommunication, or requests from inactive members.

Stakes increased by 47, the largest increase since 1998. Congregations increased 315; slight more than 2008 but much lower than most years in the past three decades. Consequently the ratio of members to congregations worldwide increased to 486, six more than 2008. It should be noted though that congregational growth outside the United States was at its highest rates in more than a decade mainly due to increase in congregations in Africa and Latin America.

Missionaries serving decreased in 2009 by 758; the largest drop since 2004. The number of missionaries serving began declining in the early 2000s from the low 60,000s to 51,000 in 2004. Missionaries serving began to increase to 53,164 in 2006 and has since declined in the hundreds each year.