Saturday, April 1, 2023

2022 Statisical Report

This afternoon, the Church reported its annual statistical report as of December 31st, 2022.

  • Membership: 17,002,461 (increase of 197,061 from 2021; a 1.17% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 31,330 (increase of 15 from 2021; a 0.048% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 3,521 (increase of 23 from 2021; a 0.66% annual increase)
  • Districts: 517 (decrease of 3 from 2021; a 0.58% annual decrease)
  • Missions: 411 (increase of 4 from 2020; a 0.98% annual increase)
  • Convert Baptisms: 212,172 (increase of 43,889 from 2021; a 26.1% annual increase)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 89,059 (decrease of 10 from 2021; a 0.01% annual decrease)
  • Full-time missionaries: 62,544 (increase of 8,005 from 2021; a 14.7% annual increase)
  • Church service missionaries: 29,806 (decrease of 6,833 from 2021; a 18.6% annual decrease)

For the first time, the Church has broken down church service missionaries from young church-service missionaries and senior church-service missionaries. The number of young church-service missionaries was 2,736, whereas the number of senior church-service missionaries was 27,070. 

Several observations with the 2022 Statistical Report.

First, the annual membership growth rate exceed 1% for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Church membership increased by 1.17% during 2022 which was only 0.04% less that the Church's annual membership growth rate in 2018. Thus, annual membership growth rates have returned to the approximate rates seen during the few years prior to the pandemic, although this still remains slightly lower than pre-COVID levels as annual membership growth rates were 1.54% in 2019 1.48% in 2017. Also, the discrepancy in the summation of converts baptized and children under age 8 added to church records and actual net increase in church membership was 104,170 - a typical number for this statistic during the past 10 years. This statistic indicates that the number of deaths, excommunications (loss of membership), resignations, and removal of unbaptized children of record ages 9 and older has remained static during the past 10 years despite church membership increasing from 14.8 million to 17.0 million.

Second, there was a large increase in convert baptisms in 2022 relative to the years 2021 and 2022. The year 2022 was the first time the number of converts baptized exceeded 200,000 since 2019 when there were 248,835 converts baptized. The difference between the number of convert baptisms in 2022 and the number of convert baptisms in 2021 was 43,889 - a slightly larger number than the difference in convert baptisms in 2021 versus the number of convert baptisms in 2020 which was 42,353. The annual number of convert baptisms in 2022 (212,172) has nearly recovered to pre-COVID levels, although the lowest year for the number of convert baptisms (2017) was still nearly 20,000 more than what was seen in 2022.

Third, the annual increase in children of record (i.e., the number of children added to church records who are too young to be baptized - usually a measurement of infants born and blessed during the year) was essentially unchanged for the year 2022 compared to 2021. The Church experienced a significant decrease in this statistic prior the COVID-19 pandemic which dropped from 122,273 in 2012 to 94,266 in 2019. A mere 65,440 children under age 8 were added to church records in 2020 - a statistic that appears attributed to fewer births during the year and members postponing baby blessings when these records are oftentimes created. The encouraging aspect of the 2022 figure for the increase in children of record is that this number has stabilized since the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the figure for 2021 was not artificially higher due to postponed baby blessings which would have likely occurred in 2020 if there were no restrictions associated with the pandemic (in other words - seems unlikely the 2022 figure may be higher due to postponed baby blessings that should have occurred in 2020 or 2021 since there were few or no church meeting/health restrictions for most areas of the world during 2022 and for a good part of 2021 that would result in most members delaying baby blessings). 

Fourth, there was a significant increase in the number of full-time missionaries serving in 2022 (62,544) compared to 2021 (54,539) or 2020 (51,819). The Church reported 58,990 full-time missionaries at year-end 2012 which was a few months after the Church officially lowered its minimum age for full-time missionary service from 19 to 18 for men and 21 to 19 for women. Because of this change, there was a double-cohort of missionaries serving (i.e., those who planned to serve at the original previous minimum ages, those who decided to serve earlier than planned with the revised minimum age, those who decided to serve a mission when the minimum age was announced but who were not previously considering missionary service). As a result, the number of full-time missionaries mushroomed to an all-time annual high of 85,147 in 2014, but this statistic returned to a low of 65,137 in 2018. As of year-end 2019, the Church reported 67,021 full-time missionaries serving. Although the number of full-time missionaries serving remains below pre-COVID level in the late 2010s of approximately 65,000-70,000, the number of full-time missionaries is approaching these levels at an accelerated pace compared to 2021. 

Fifth, the Church reported an unusually low year for both the growth in the number of stakes and official congregations (i.e., wards and branches). The net increase in the number of wards and branches was a mere 15 for 2022 - the lowest net increase in wards and branches seen since 1953 when there was a net decline of 35 wards and branches. Years with unusually small net increases in wards and branches are not atypical in the present-day Church. For example, there was a net increase of a mere 30 wards and branches in 2018, and there was a net increase of 59 wards and branches in 2002. These years have been associated with a combination of significant congregation consolidations in one of more countries with a major church presence and few new congregations being created. In 2022, there was an unusually large number of wards that were discontinued in the United States, whereas there were relatively few new congregations created elsewhere in the world. Reports from members in many countries where high numbers of new congregations are usually created have indicated that there was often an emphasis on strengthening wards and branches, and that some congregations have not returned to pre-COVID levels in terms of church attendance (particularly in West Africa where many members have joined in the Church in the past 5-10 years). The abnormally low year in 2018 was primarily due to widespread congregation consolidations in Mexico, whereas the abnormally low year in 2002 was primarily due to widespread congregation consolidations in Latin America such as Chile. The net increase in the number of stakes in 2022 (23) was the lowest seen since 2003 when there was a net increase of 22 stakes. Relatively few new stakes have been organized since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a net increase of only 26 stakes in 2020 and 35 stakes in 2021. It has been common for stake creations to have almost a cyclical pattern of 3-6 years of more rapid growth followed by 3-6 years of slower growth. 

Trends in mission and district growth were unremarkable for 2022. 

Finally, there was a significant decline (18.6%) in the number of church-service missionaries in 2022 - 92% of whom were senior missionaries. I am not sure why this statistic declined so significantly in 2022, but this is a metric that often has much variability. Typically, the number of church-service missionaries has vacillated between 30,000 and 36,000 since 2014.


John Pack Lambert said...

I know people who essentially became Church service missionaries because pandemic conditions of being locked down were too hard for them to do full time teaching missions but things might have been different otherwise, so things are complex.

John Pack Lambert said...

A few thoughts. I now have 4 cities on the list of places where the first stake president was the first temple president.

Buenos Aires (Angel Abrea), Hemosillo, Mexico City and Paris France.

Gerard Giraud-Carrier, who was the first president of the Paris Stake and Paris Temple is the father of Christophe G. Girard-Carrier who was just called as a general authority seventy. The younger Girard-Carrier is a BYU professor.

Elder Philips from England was academic director of the BYU London center.

Elder Ahmad Corbett becomes the second African-American general authority. His successor as Cherry Hill New Jersey stake president, Vai Sikehema is also a general authority.

Elder Daines is a Stanford Law Professor who specializes in corporate governance. Elder Esplin is a senior executive with Huntman Cirporation.

Elder Daines was born in Bloomington, Indiana and Elder Esplin in Kahuku, Hawai'i. Elder Corbett lives in Utah and works for the Missionary Department.

So 3 of the 5 were resident in Utah, but none were born there. All lived in non-Utah places as adults. Elder Esplin in Chicago area, Elder Girard-Carrier in England as a University of Bristol professor and he also worked for a Swiss company. He is a BYU computer science professor.

Elder Corbett only came to Utah in 2017 after being mission president in the Dominocan Republic.

This group was born 1962-1970. Last year's group of 6 was born 1965-1977 with all except 1 born 1971 or later.

Craig said...

I found out today that The Church bought a good chunk of land (like 60 acres) at Rigby, Idaho across from the high school. Originally it was supposed to be a shopping center, theater and housing center preCovid, but since Covid happened it stopped and The Church ended up buying it.

I asked my sister who works with that kind of stuff at city hall and she confirmed that they did indeed buy it. Maybe it’ll be for a new temple, stake center and seminary building one day.

John said...

I know there are a lot of children in my ward who do not have membership records. Not all of them were in this ward when they were born, though at least one was blessed in it. My father has noticed something similar in his ward. It may be a lingering symptom of the pandemic.

I was recently released as an assistant stake clerk after serving 20 1/2 of almost 21 years. I recommended to the stake presidency on the way out, among other things, that they put out a call to parents of children born in 2000 or later, to make sure those children have records.

Daniel Moretti said...

The arrangements used by the youth choirs in the last Saturday sessions are beautiful, modern and exciting. They don't owe the Tabernacle Choir anything.

I was especially moved by the speeches of the evening session (in particular Elder Nattress and Elder Uceda), whose short duration brought dynamism. I imagine that more sessions with a shorter duration would be more interesting for the external audience and non-members, although it could be a big loss for those who travel to SLC and face hours or even days of travel for that.

The excitement that this conference has brought is sure to culminate in the announcement of many temples, and it will be unforgettable.

James G. Stokes said...

Ahmad Corbitt (with an "i" is actually the third. Elder Sikahema is both African American and Tongan American, unless I am mistaken. And Elder Peter M. Johnson was called as a GA Seventy a full year before Elder Sikahema.

Chris D. said...

"Roberto Baylon Yu and Ofelia Garin Manarin Yu, Mangaldan 2nd Ward, Mangaldan Philippines Stake, called as president and matron of the new Urdaneta Philippines Temple. President Yu is a Sunday School teacher and a former stake president, high councilor, bishop and branch president. A Seminaries and Institutes of Religion coordinator, he was born in Dagupan City, Philippines, to Se Ban Yu and Genoveva Rossi Baylon Yu."

James G. Stokes said...

Daniel, I suspect Elder Holland was originally slated to speak tonight, and when he contracted COVID-19 and couldn't make it, the Church just kept the other four speakers. I'm hopeful they might still publish the talk Elder Holland had prepared, but I'm less sure on that.

John said...

Elder Sikahema was born in Tonga to Tongan parents. I see nothing on his Wikipedia page indicating African ancestry. Given how long I've lived close to him (my brother was even in his ward) and his media and Church prominence here, I think I would have heard something by now.

James G. Stokes said...

Thanks for clarifying that. So Elder Johnson and now Elder Corbitt are the two.

Daniel Moretti said...

I always look forward to Elder Holland's speeches. If that was the reason for the shortening of the session, it's sad.

James G. Stokes said...

Well, that's what President Oaks said at the beginning of the Saturday Morning Session today: that Elder Holland and his wife had contracted COVID-19 and were excused from the conference.

Ryan Searcy said...

I think it would be nice if Rigby got a temple - I've never been to Idaho (want to go). One of my favorite mission memories was we had a mission conference where we were going to be visited by Elder L. Tom Perry, and our mission president had all of us line up, shake his hand and briefly state where we were from. When it got to my district, one of the missionaries after me shook his hand and stated he was from Rigby. The missionary after him shook his hand and also stated he was from Rigby. Then, the second missionary's companion shook his hand and he was also from Rigby. When Elder Perry heard this, he exclaimed, "what's going on here?" 3 of the 8 missionaries in my district were all from Rigby, and the two that were companions went to school together in the same class with the third missionary's older brother.

Adam said...

When were the past years in which the minimum requirements for new wards/stakes were increased? I know it hasn't always been consistent over the previous decades. If you could plot out when the changes occurred you would likely see a heavy correlation with units and stakes created. Each time the thresholds increased the pipeline would essentially get put on hold and then slowly start back up again.

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

For example, I found a 2006 copy of the handbook online and there was a requirement to have 15 "Number of active, full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders capable of serving in leadership positions." Now it is 20. That makes a huge difference in unit growth. For stakes, the minimum numbers went from technically needing 99 (24 + 15*5) to now a a minimum of 180 in the US and 120 in foreign countries. Think of how many new people you see get sustained to the MP and how many die/go inactive each year, could take a few years to make up.

Not sure when the dates on when various changes went through, but I doubt it went from 99 to 180 overnight. I remember in the Fredericksburg Stake they had 16 very active wards but didn't have the 6,000 membership needed to split in two. (It didn't make geographic sense to loop in other stakes.) They called an additional high councilor for each additional ward, also 16, to help ease the burden. Finally split in 2016.

John said...

I'm well aware of the requirements. Somehow Wilmington Delaware Stake divided off Dover Delaware Stake in 2012 without the 6,000 member requirement - something about geography. Both stakes have lost units since then - each had six wards and two branches at the time of the division.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Sikehema is fully Tongan. He was born in Tonga and lived there until he was about 9, except for 3 months in New Zealand. His wife is from Hawai'i, or mixed Hawai'ian, European and other ancestry. She is the aunt of the actor who played Napoleon Dynamite. I believe Jon Heber, that actor, is her brother's son.

Elder Ahmad Corbitt is the 2nd African-American general authority and the 10th of black African descent.

John Pack Lambert said...

I noticed they said the speakers were from the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If we speak of general leaders instead of general authorities, there might be three African-Americans.

The third is Sister Broening. She was born in New Rochelle, New York but lived in her parents native Jamaica for most of her life until sometime in her teens. She has lived in the US since. Most people count black people of Caribbean descent in the US, especially non-Hidpanic Caribbean ancestry, as African-Americans, but they are in some ways a distinct ethnic group.

John Pack Lambert said...

The new president of the Urdaneta Philippines Temple is from that temple district.

Gabe said...

How many of the 17 million member are active?

miro said...

Proppably between 5-6 million

Pascal Friedmann said...

My best guess is in the 6 to 8 million range, although "active" is pretty hard to measure, including by attendance. Lots of people who attend, even regularly, have long "checked out" and attend out of inertia or family commitment. Others have not been in years but still identify strongly with Church teachings - many of my in-laws are great examples of this but there are a lot of people falling into this category Church-wide. Then, there is the issue of people who self-identify but have not been baptized due to a lack of Church and missionary presence in their specific areas. This is probably the most challenging number to estimate but I would not be surprised if there were a million people out there, primarily in Africa, who are awaiting the establishment of a formal Church presence so they can be baptized.

All in all, assessing Church membership is messy, not just for our Church but for pretty much all large denominations. Counting members of record is probably the highest-reliability measure we have, unless we expend an unreasonable amount of resources at both the local and global level to get a clearer picture.

Adam said...

The Iloilo temple district now has 5 stakes and two districts. The members would have to take a bus, 2 hour ferry, then another bus to the new Bacolod temple. Makes sense.

Harvstr said...

If you count the number of people who attend church more than twice a year I'd be surprised if it was more than 5 million. Considering 31,330. Congregations times say 100 active memebers give us 3.1330 million active members

Kathleen said...

In response to a comment recently about deciding when the prophet speaks as a prophet, I love what President Nelson said back in 1982, two years before his call to the apostleship, “I never ask myself,’When does a prophet speak as a prophet and when does he not? My interest has been, ‘How can I be more like him?’” He then added, “My [belief is that we should] stop putting question marks behind the prophet’s statements and put exclamation points instead” (Johnson, “Russell M. Nelson”). (93, “Insights From a Prophet’s Life” by Sheri Dew)

Valenzuela y Escobar said...

Clearly, temple advertisements have nothing to do with asset numbers, tithing payers, or gospel obedience.
Having more than 100 temples in different stages in the world, speaks of the fact that the FOCUS of the church is in this area more than in others.
It is no longer being baptized like decades before, the percentage of inactive in our countries continues to grow, and it is increasingly normal to see divorces in the church, and many without getting married, we are becoming a singles church.
Those of us who have been missionaries know that the goals that are imposed on us are not easy to meet, one is obedient and faith is applied, but there is not always an answer to it from the Father.
It is beautiful to see that the temples are advancing slowly but surely in their construction, in my country Chile and in others more temples are required, regardless of the inactive ones, there are many who want to work as volunteers and attend often, the temples are still very far away, there are some very small and modest temples compared to others.

Doug the Ex-Fat Guy said...

A fairly low number of new wards and stakes shouldn't be surprising. The Church has, for a change, resisted creating new units where the current structure suffices, i.e. no longer are wards and stakes being divided for the sake of having impressive numbers. It seems wards and stakes, due to greater communication being facilitated, are being allowed to get larger. In the end, that's really an administrative issue, and not a direct indication of the growth (or shrinkage) of the Church.

The very fact that with the temples, the build program seems to be in the proverbial "Warp Factor Eight" as compared to even when I joined in the late 1970s, is indicative that the Church leadership is "bullish" on the Church's growth. Although, by strengthening Zion where they are, temples do produce a net return, it's definitely one LONG TERM investment. I can think of OTHER reasons, including maybe the Church is flush with assets, particularly in real estate, and for various regulatory and/or tax reasons, has to either devote certain choice properties to ecclesiastical use, or pay heavy taxes/fees that shouldn't have been necessary. I can only speak to US law; IDK how these issues work in other countries. Of course, as with all things, but especially His house(s), the Lord knows what's He's doing and where he wants them.

SteveW said...

Elder Sikahema is Tongan American. Two families of this relatives live in the Twin Cities: both families not active.