Friday, April 15, 2016

Congregational Growth by Country: 2015

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2015.  The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +142 (1.0% increase)
  2. Brazil +42 (2.1% increase) 
  3. Nigeria +38 (9.1% increase)
  4. Ghana +37 (17.9% increase)
  5. Cote d'Ivoire +36 (38.3% increase)
  6. Philippines +20 (1.7% increase)
  7. Mexico +17 (0.9% increase)
  8. South Africa +9 (5.7% increase)
  9. Democratic Republic of the Congo +8 (5.5% increase)
  10. Taiwan +8 (7.6% increase) 
  11. New Zealand +7 (3.3% increase)
  12. Zimbabwe +7 (10.9% increase)
  13. Australia +6 (2.0% increase)
  14. Sierra Leone +6 (15.4% increase)
  15. Russia +5 (5.3% increase)
  16. Samoa +5 (3.6% increase)
  17. Canada +4 (0.8% increase)
  18. Papua New Guinea +4 (5.6% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 18 countries totals 422; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2014 (395). Five countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2014 including:
  1. Venezuela -12 (4.5% decrease) 
  2. Peru -10 (1.3% decrease)
  3. Dominican Republic -6 (2.9% decrease)
  4. Germany -5 (2.9% decrease)
  5. South Korea -4 (3.2% decrease)


Bunko said...

I know this is always speculated, but with the stagnant growth that the US (Canada and Mexico as well) has been seeing for a while now, is there any chance the church would pull out US missionaries and send them to more high growth areas? I think the members could step up a lot and make up for most of the growth lost from losing FT missionaries. I think doing something like this could really hasten the work, just not sure it's part of the Lord's plan or not.


Dave said...

A couple of very minor points. New Zealand's net increase of 7 units is not a 33% gain. Also, it's 18 countries, not 19.

As for Bunko's point, it's apt. There are places in The United States where more missionaries are definitely needed, but for the most part they would be better utilized in countries that desperately need them, and where they would cause greater overall growth.

Anonymous said...

South Korea is not surprising. Ever since the financial crisis of the late 90s, The South Korean Church has struggled immensely with emigration. Germany has also been a struggle for a while due to a variety of factors. But Venezuela, Peru, and and the Dominican Republic are surprising to me.

Matt said...

Thanks for the corrections, Dave!


Ryan Searcy said...

Looks like we might be getting a new district in Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire now that there are 5 branches in the city.

Michael Worley said...

I think the Church wants to build a base of active members. With the doctrine of the temple in place, they are more concerned about getting active members than anything else. I think they are also finding activity is higher when missionaries serve in their own lands. I think retention in the USA has really picked up over the past 4 years since the age change, which may be the point-- more active members.

The strong stake growth that we are seeing in and out of the U.S., together with a mild reduction of stake consolidations, is evidence of that.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Church has actually reduced the number of missionaries in parts of the United States over time. There are at least 4 missions that used to exist in the north-east US that no longer due, the Hartford Connecticut Mission, Cherry Hill New Jersey, Harrisburg Pennsylvania, and I guess an overly broad use of the term but still relevant the Illinois Peoria Mission. Also I know here in Metro-Detroit there used to be a much higher percentage of missionaries assigned in Detroit as opposed to the suburbs than there are now. One way this decrease is made up for is having stake service missionaries who work a lot with retention, reactivation and employment skills development for members. Actually my stake now has stake service missionaries with the Personal Storehouse Project, which covers the last matter, assigned to every ward or branch, however in many of the suburban areas the personal storehouse missionaries are assigned from the ward.

Elder Andersen has expressed the view that the majority of missionaries will be assigned to the country they are from.

There is a need for more missionaries in countries like Ghana, and the Church is sending young American missionaries there today, which it did not do when missionaries were first sent there, but I think they want to avoid repeats of what happened in Latin American where an overwhelmingly American missionary force lead to identification of the Church as an American institution and at times stunted local leadership growth.

On another note Peru showed signs of turning around this last year, so this year it will probably see positive congregational growth.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the other hand a quarter of overall Church growth in 2015 happened in the United States, so I do not think we will see large scale reductions in the number of missionaries. Another reason for this is that some missionaries are sent to the United States from other countries primarily to help them see how a full operational Church looks. So the measure of success is not so much having them baptize lots of people, but having them be able to provide leadership for the Church when they return home.

Joe said...

Overall, The congregational growth is in line with my thesis that once missionary areas mature church growth approximately equals general population growth in that area. This is already the case in North America and West-Europe. Another hint is that the surge and decline in Missionaries did not affect membership growth there. Joe