Sunday, April 24, 2022

Congregational Growth by Country: 2020-2021

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the two-year period including the years 2020 and 2021. The Church did not publish official congregational statistics for the year 2020. The biennial percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +217 (1.50% increase)
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo +44 (20.9% increase)
  3. Nigeria +36 (4.99% increase)
  4. Brazil +34 (1.59% increase)
  5. Philippines +17 (1.37% increase) 
  6. Ghana +13 (3.96% increase)
  7. Cote d'Ivoire +7 (2.80% increase) 
  8. Sierra Leone +7 (8.86% increase) 
  9. Mexico +6 (0.33% increase) 
  10. Mozambique +6 (13.6% increase) 
  11. Papua New Guinea +6 (7.41% increase) 
  12. Colombia +5 (2.01% increase) 
  13. Dominican Republic +5 (2.55% increase) 
  14. Kiribati +5 (13.51% increase) 
  15. Liberia +5 (9.43% increase) 
  16. Tanzania +5 (62.5% increase) 
  17. Venezuela +5 (2.19% increase) 
  18. Malawi +4 (50.0% increase) 
  19. Zambia +4 (30.8% increase) 
  20. Zimbabwe +4 (8.75% increase) 
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 20 countries totals 435; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the two-year period of 2020 and 2021 (375). Seven countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during the two-year period of 2020 and 2021. Altogether, the net decrease in congregations in these seven nations totaled 55. 
  1. Japan -10 (3.83% decrease)
  2. Taiwan -10 (9.26% decrease) 
  3. Argentina -9 (1.23% decrease)
  4. Russia -7 (7.22% decrease) 
  5. Armenia -6 (54.6% decrease) 
  6. Uruguay -5 (3.73% decrease) 
  7. Portugal -5 (7.46% decrease)
Previous lists for annual congregational growth by country are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.


  1. Liberia looks to make this list again in 2022. Pleebo and Harper in the far south-east of the country both just got branches. I would not be surprised if a district is formed in that area soon.

  2. This is a really compelling list, thank you. Again, Japan has lost units, like the state of California, but like the Golden State is still upsizing in temples. Okinawa and Hokkaido make four in total, which hopefully makes me stand corrected by my claim of three temples for the Land of the Rising Sun (in the last blog post stream). Four! Not many countries in the world have that many... What, maybe 6 or 7?

    The overall addition in units in 2020-21 is definitely positive, although some countries are hurting, for sure. But I am optimistic by the signs of growth.

    Anecdotally, I know of many youth in family and friends who are planning on going on missions, and the Church of Jesus Christ continues to grow, despite the naysayers.

    Get on the bus, folks! French-speaking Africa is doing really well overall. English and Portuguese countries are doing well, if we could even consider Nigeria and Ghana as partially English speaking. Swahili speaking nations continue to move forward. There are few outliers linguistically, if you count some of the East African countries as part of the Arab world, even though some are more Hamitic than Arabic, in my opinion.

    Gabon -- Uganda -- Uganda -- Malawi, Zambia (although English is popular there), Ethiopia are the ones with non-European language bases.

    As shared or proposed recently, many of the native African languages are not well codified in literature or in written fashion, therefore the scriptures in hundreds of those languages might not help that much with Church growth.

    My parents knew people in Sierra Leone in the 1960s who would know over a dozen languages, but I am pretty sure if the people know West African Krio, which is a bit like Gullah in South Carolina, which is a bit like Jar Jar Binks Gungan in Star Wars (no offense, I challenge anyone to compare), then English versions of the material should do pretty well. Is the Book of Mormon in Krio? I have to check that.

    Anyway, great to see these places continuing to grow in all regions.

  3. 11 Countries with at least 4 temples announced (From looking at the map at

    Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala(!), Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Japan, Philippines, Australia.

    For 3 temples, you add Bolivia, Colombia, United Kingdom, DR Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, New Zealand.

    1. I would love to see both these lists grow.

      At least 2 temples has Spain, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Ecuador, Tonga, Taiwan, China (if you count Hong Kong). That is only 1 more than the 3 temples list.

  4. A few thoughts here.
    1) I'm sure that the church has done extensive analysis of how much having a Temple in an area assists with membership growth, I'd be curious as to any results, but I'm not sure it is statistically significant.
    2) At this point the relative cost of building a temple compared to the Church's annual budget is *much* smaller than it ever was before. The idea of asking the Saints in the area to contribute toward the building costs is *long* gone (When Washington DC was built, the sisters were still being asked to knit/crochet things for the temple)
    3) Ability to *staff* a temple seems to now be a limiting factor. Washington DC had a temple workers ward for *most* of the time from opening to its closing for work in 2018, I've been told that (at least in the USA) that only the two temples that were built in locations because of LDS history (Palmyra and Nauvoo) will continue to have senior missionary worker units.

  5. As someone who served a mission in Japan in the 1970's, I'm sad to see Japan on the decreasing list! I've been told that one of the reasons for it is that the church population isn't "replacing itself" - ie, they aren't having enough babies to replace those who are passing away. For years I've been reading about the hopelessness that the younger generation is experiencing in that country due to continued economic downturns, and I continue to hope and pray that the members of the church don't feel this in the way so many others seem to.

  6. Hi Matt,

    Do you have the raw data (or posts) referring to this level of unit growth or decline by state within the U.S.?

  7. Why the large congregation decline in Armenia?

    I’m encouraged to see such rapid growth in Zambia. I’m joining other humanitarian volunteers who are traveling there to interview and encourage school teachers sponsored by charitable donations in remote areas where the government can’t afford to build schools or pay teachers.

  8. Hopefully Zambia and Malawi can each have their own mission soon.

    I believe the issues in Armenia have been addressed elsewhere. It apparently boils down to attempts to correct some behaviors being seen by some members there as American imperialism. The immediate changes may have also been propelled by over dependence for leadership of foreign full-time missionaries meaning pandemic disruptions caused unit loss.