Monday, May 15, 2023

Membership Growth by US State for 2022

See below for a list of annual membership growth rates by each United States state for the year 2022. Previous lists are available for 2017, 2018, and the biennial period of 2020-2021. It is important to note that annual membership growth rates by state have mostly returned to trends seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with only eight states reporting a net decline in membership for the year (there were 22 during the 2020-2021 period, whereas there were 13 in 2018 and nine in 2017). The biggest unexpected development was that membership growth rates in Utah slowed significantly in 2022 compared to most previous years (usually about 1-2 percent a year, whereas this past year it was a mere 0.56% - probably the lowest membership growth rate ever reported for the Church in Utah). Most states returned to previous membership growth rates experienced during the 2010s or have reported more rapid membership growth than usual. These findings indicate that it is likely more Latter-day Saints are moving away from Utah and states with negative membership growth to these states with the highest membership growth rates and/or there has been an increase in convert baptisms in these states with the greatest membership growth. Some other states that had an unusual year for 2022 compared to recent years (in regard to annual membership growth rates) include New York (most rapid membership growth rate since 2008), Arkansas and Missouri (most rapid membership growth rates since 2004), and South Carolina and Tennessee (most rapid membership growth rates since 2007). California is the only state that has consistently experienced a decline in membership for the most consecutive years (negative membership growth has occurred since 2014). The rate of membership decrease in California was highest during the 2020-2021 period (-2.84%), and membership decline has returned to rates seen shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic (it was -0.81 in 2018 and -0.82 in 2022).

  1. Arkansas    4.05%
  2. Tennessee    3.55%
  3. Missouri    3.43%
  4. South Carolina    3.10%
  5. North Carolina    2.73%
  6. Alabama    2.54%
  7. Florida    2.41%
  8. New York    2.40%
  9. Oklahoma    2.06%
  10. Kentucky    2.03%
  11. Texas    1.96%
  12. Kansas    1.85%
  13. North Dakota    1.77%
  14. South Dakota    1.74%
  15. Rhode Island    1.59%
  16. Georgia    1.57%
  17. Minnesota    1.53%
  18. Connecticut    1.36%
  19. Wisconsin    1.31%
  20. Ohio    1.28%
  21. Indiana    1.23%
  22. Mississippi    1.15%
  23. New Jersey    1.09%
  24. District of Columbia    1.02%
  25. Alaska    0.97%
  26. Massachusetts    0.95%
  27. Illinois    0.85%
  28. Montana    0.83%
  29. Michigan    0.80%
  30. Iowa    0.79%
  31. Virginia    0.72%
  32. Nebraska    0.69%
  33. West Virginia    0.67%
  34. Maine    0.61%
  35. Louisiana    0.60%
  36. Idaho    0.56%
  37. Utah    0.56%
  38. Wyoming    0.51%
  39. New Hampshire    0.32%
  40. Delaware    0.32%
  41. Arizona    0.27%
  42. Hawaii    0.13%
  43. Pennsylvania    0.08%
  44. Maryland    -0.03%
  45. New Mexico    -0.06%
  46. Colorado    -0.20%
  47. Nevada    -0.33%
  48. Vermont    -0.52%
  49. Oregon    -0.62%
  50. Washington    -0.78%
  51. California    -0.82%

See below for a list of states ranked by total membership as of year-end 2022:

  1. Utah    2,173,560
  2. California    728,995
  3. Idaho    473,894
  4. Arizona    439,411
  5. Texas    378,281
  6. Washington    281,389
  7. Nevada    181,975
  8. Florida    168,527
  9. Oregon    150,207
  10. Colorado    148,708
  11. Virginia    97,449
  12. North Carolina    94,018
  13. Georgia    89,285
  14. New York    84,857
  15. Missouri    77,959
  16. Hawaii    74,952
  17. New Mexico    69,055
  18. Wyoming    67,797
  19. Ohio    63,814
  20. Tennessee    57,422
  21. Illinois    57,015
  22. Pennsylvania    52,193
  23. Oklahoma    51,847
  24. Montana    51,715
  25. Indiana    46,823
  26. Michigan    45,547
  27. South Carolina    44,230
  28. Maryland    43,296
  29. Alabama    39,832
  30. Kansas    39,356
  31. Kentucky    37,830
  32. Arkansas    35,405
  33. New Jersey    34,536
  34. Alaska    33,574
  35. Minnesota    33,365
  36. Louisiana    29,727
  37. Iowa    28,697
  38. Massachusetts    28,197
  39. Wisconsin    27,943
  40. Nebraska    25,229
  41. Mississippi    22,189
  42. West Virginia    17,294
  43. Connecticut    15,838
  44. South Dakota    11,494
  45. North Dakota    11,487
  46. Maine    11,054
  47. New Hampshire    8,996
  48. Delaware    5,613
  49. Vermont    4,631
  50. Rhode Island    4,351
  51. District of Columbia    3,168


Ethan said...

So much for the 'but everyone is moving to Utah' trope that is used to explain ward and stake closures in California, Oregon and Washington. Arizona is seeing an influx of people from other parts of the country but clearly they aren't moving the needle on membership levels.

Matt said...

Ethan - Thanks for your observation. Yes, this was something I think a lot of us saw who live in areas where we have seen membership decline. However, this really wasn't the case in 2022 from what the numbers show (although this did appear to be a significant trend in 2020-2021 from what the membership numbers show).

David McFadden said...

Not all Californian's are moving to Utah.

In my stake in Arkansas, I understand 2 branch buildings and a ward building are over capacity/becoming over capacity for their buildings. I don't travel to these units, but what I'm hearing in conversation with stake leaders. This is a combination of move-ins and converts. Other units in this stake are also growing, but building capacity is sufficient. Although it's not uniformly growing. We do have a couple of struggling branches. My stake covers much of Northeast quadrant of the state.

The church is really growing in the Northwest part of the state. Now 7 stakes in Arkansas; 4 in Northwest. 20 years ago Northwest Arkansas was 2 stakes; now it's 4 large stakes (it was one stake in NW Arkansas when Elder Bednar became stake president), and two of the four are large enough that they could probably split on their own. Most of that growth can be contributed to the multibillion dollar companies based up there (Walmart, Tyson, JB Hunt) that attracts members looking for job opportunities and lower cost of living. Walmart is building its new 1.6 billion dollar home office complex.

20 years ago, Central Arkansas (which covers most of the rest of the state) had two stakes and now it's three with the split of the NLR stake a few years back. The Southern half of the state is almost entirely within the Little Rock Stake, which hasn't really seen any unit growth for the last 20 years of my observation.

There's a more than 100-mile wide area in Eastern Arkansas, NW Mississippi that has NO meetinghouses. Once you pass Lonoke branch building, there's not another church building until West Memphis branch building. The Helena Branch has been discontinued making the area of no congregations even larger. Area of no meetinghouse now bounded by Jonesboro, Searcy, Lonoke, Pine Bluff Monticello, Greenville MS, Greenwood MS, Batesville MS, West Memphis AR.

JTB said...

The Public Religion Research Institute released the results of a survey on the impact of social and political upheaval on religious congregations today:

Unfortunately a lot of the interesting analysis on things like religious switching, years of attendance, and attitudes towards cultural and political topics being discussed at church, lumped us in with the "Other Christian" group so not much can be made of it. However there were a few interesting points that separately identified Latter-day Saints.

27% of LDS said that religion was the most important thing in their life, higher than the average of 16%. 76% of LDS attended church at least a few times a year, compared to 43% on average. 77% of LDS pray with others compared with 35% on average. 22% of LDS said they had previously been a part of another religion. And 24% of LDS said they were considering leaving their religious tradition.

There were 97 LDS interviewed for the survey, 1.6% of the survey population.

Pascal Friedmann said...

JTB, this is interesting. I will have to look at this more closely. This may also be purely coincidental, but the proportion of those not attending Church at least occasionally is exactly the proportion of people considering leaving. I wonder how great the overlay between those groups is, and if it could perhaps be a perfect overlap at this scale.

John said...

As I've mentioned before, both Delaware stakes have lost units since they were divided in 2012. Both stakes have upgraded a branch to a ward, but one has lost a ward, and the other has lost a ward and a branch. Seeing the miniscule growth doesn't surprise me.

John said...

Looking at my mother-in-law's stake in Washington state, which starts at Yakima and goes east:
The two rural Spanish branches have been combined into one; a rural ward has closed; another rural ward picked up territory from a ward in another stake and was moved into that stake. Since then, two stakes that at least start in the Tri-Cities area have been created. But my father-in-law died a few years ago, and none of the five children are at home for a significant length of time. (One daughter lives in Tri-Cities.)

The Yakima and Selah stakes (Selah has lost rural units too) recently realigned so that all of Yakima is in Yakima stake and Selah stake has northern and eastern suburbs. The Columbia River temple is kept plenty busy, which is why the Moses Lake temple was built. (And I expect it to be busy as well.) But both temples will serve a lot of stakes, as does Spokane.

Chris D. said...

Just a curious note or observation, if anyone interested in updates in the Europe East Area. While looking over the different Meetinghouse locations on the new Maps site. I found that after the Minsk Belarus District was discontinued earlier this year. Both the Minsk Branch and the Vitebsk Branch remaining were consolidated recently into the Moscow Russia Stake, and both consolidated into the new Minsk Ward (342408), which the new ward boundaries on the map cover the eastern half of Belarus.

JTB said...

I had wondered that as well, and would be really curious to see that overlap. In my humble experience, while I haven't seen a decline in active membership in any of the three states I've lived in ocer the past 5 years (and in Michigan quite the opposite), it seems like the days of the "Jack Mormon" who never goes to church but still identifies with the faith are coming to an end.

I wish there was a greater sample size and more info on the LDS surveyed, as 97 people (most likely concentrated in the Intermountain West) does not give a good idea of the general attitudes of members. I'm hoping that Pew does a follow up survey in 2024 to their previous, very detailed religious survey that they did in 2014. That had tons of data on LDS members and was really interesting.

John said...

My father points out that we may still have a backlog of children born during or after COVID who don't have records. I don't think that's unique to one area, but I know there are a handful in my ward. That would depress the total numbers a bit.

miro said...
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miro said...

I saw some clips from the Watford England stake conference. Elder Hans T. Boom mentioned that they want to have bigger stronger stakes. In order to achive that, 3 stakes will be discontinued. Watford beeing the frist stake affected. All changes will be implemented till the middle of June.
The reason for the change is few active members in many stakes of wicht many had multiple callings. And that it is very difficult to staff the stakes.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Miro - I am not surprised. These stakes in England have been small for decades. It seems that it is better for the stakes to have a larger number of units rather than to consolidate wards and branches though - the latter can often result in many becoming inactive in the shuffle and with struggles to integrate socially into realigned congregations.

James said...

A new president for BYU-Idaho has been named and will start serving in that assignment on August 1:

Additionally, the Newsroom and the Church News have shared an update as open house tours get underway for the Helena Montana Temple:

And just a few minutes ago, President Nelson took to social media to set the record straight regarding the current state of his health:

The latest developments in his situation (having been seen in public using a walker and wheelchair) will hopefully not lead any of us to assume he's on his way out. His own comments in that post appear to indicate he's doing remarkably well for someone who will be 99 in just under 4 months. Of course, critics of the Church will spin this any way that suits them, but hopefully, his comments quell immediate concerns about his health and longevity as far as faithful Church members are concerned. My thanks once again to you all.

James said...

Forgot to note that President Henry J. Eyring has been asked to return to Utah and to BYU to develop leadership curriculum and teach. I assume he is also returning to Utah to support his parents as President Henry B. Eyring turns 90 and continues in the First Presidency while being the primary caregiver to his wife, Kathy J. Eyring. Henry J.'s return to BYU may not have been mentioned in the Newsroom and Church News updates but was noted by the Desert News, KSL, and the Salt Lake Tribune. Thanks again, all.

John Pack Lambert said...

The insights on the building process for the Helena Montana Temple were quite insightful.

One key is that the time from getting a building permit to completion is less. The 27 months total time from announcement to completion has only been beat by Gila Valley since 2003.

Detroit on the other hand was 14 months from announcement to dedication. Even if we act as if President Hinckley announced Detroit in April 1998 as one of his unspecified 30 temples we still have only 18 months to dedication.

A key with Detroit was that there was extra land by the stake center in Bloomfield Hills. Land the Church actually had tried to sell. In Helena they tore down the stake center to build the temple, and built a new stake center.

I am hoping Abijan and Lima Los Olivos Temples get completed this year.

James said...

JPL, the modular design was used for Helena, Casper, and Elko in the US. The Okinawa Japan Temple is the same size as those 3, but I'm less certain it too was modular. Assuming it wasn't, the Torreon Mexico Temple will be the first modular temple outside the US. The Port Vila Vanuatu, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, and Tarawa Kiribati Temples may also be modular. And I think we can safely assume that any new temples near the 10,000 square foot size might also be modular.

The Red Cliffs Utah and Lima Peru Los Olivos Temples are already completed and awaiting the announcement of their opening arrangements. I anticipate that by this time two weeks from now, both temples will have their openings announced. I'd put Red Cliffs at an October or November dedication, with November or December for Los Olivos. Per Rick's temple site, Abidjan (which has a "d" unless I've been spelling it wrong all this time) is only anticipated to be completed in early 2024. Aside from Red Cliffs and Los Olivos, 10 other temples are ahead of Abidjan in the construction queue, so it could be 12-16 weeks at minimum before Abidjan is far enough up the queue to have a dedication announced. I'm currently projecting Abidjan's dedication may take place in March or April of next year at earliest.

Hopefully this information is helpful to all who read it.

miro said...

So far it looks like they avoid discontinuing wards/branches. In total 11 stakes will be affected of the changes. During my mission (2004-2006) I served in 4 of those stakes Maidstone, Reading, Stains and Wandsworth. During that time Reading was the stronges stake. The Reading stake gives the Basingstoke, Bracknell and Farnborough Wards to the Stains stake. All of this wards where strong wards during my mission time. The Reding stake receives the High Wycombe Ward and Slough wards from Stains (Both smaller Wards during my mission time) and the Hayes Ward from the former Wantford stake.
Wembley Ward will go to Hyde Park and the rest to St. Albans stake where Watford becomes the new stake center.

James said...

Actually, David, the Bentonville temple was not modular. I've tracked that construction from groundbreaking to open house and can confirm that. The modular design has only been used on temples between 9-10,000 square feet. Presently only one company makes the modules, which is why only temples of that size have used them. My understanding is that the one company is supposed to at some point train others to do those modules, but I cannot confirm whether that has happened yet. I believe Rick Satterfield can confirm what I'm saying. But I'd be happy to consult the archives of my files to back that up as well. I mean no offense and I hope none is taken.

James said...

Just looked back in the archives of photographs for that temple. While modular components weren't used, what I saw were 2021 pictures of precast exterior concrete panels, which is a separate method from modular components. Those precast panels have been used on a number of temples as another way to speed up construction, and more companies know how to do those. It's easy to confuse the two, which are similar, but precast panels are structurally different from modular components.

David McFadden said...

Thanks for the clarification James.

Helena Temple was announced two years ago and now scheduled for dedication. Abidjan groundbreaking (not announcement) was in 2018 and it's still under construction until at least early next year. There's lots of variation in construction times. I'm sure politics, site characteristics, construction techniques, and unforeseen construction issues has a lot to play into it.

Gnesileah said...

James, are you sure the Elko Nevada Temple is modular?

Matt said...

Other Matt here....

According to the LDS Church Temples website:
Steel columns are rising at the Elko Nevada Temple site where foundation work has been completed and framing of the superstructure has begun. Base plates at the ends of the columns are bolted to the mounting plates embedded in the foundation. The temple will be a traditional build instead of modular construction, allowing for a comparison between the two methods. The temple has been under construction for 11 months.

Daniel Moretti said...

Allow me to ask a question, a curiosity I've always had: the bell towers of the temples are also decorated inside, in addition to the stained glass windows, as if they were additional rooms, or does the interior remain rustic since only technical personnel have access to it?

James said...

Matt, thanks for sharing that. Somehow I missed the update in question. I think originally the plan was for Helena, Casper, and Elko to all be modular, but obviously things change. And it would make sense that the Church would want to test modular vs. usual methods to see which is faster, safer, and lower-cost before the attempt is made to do modular temples outside the US. That's fascinating.

James said...

Daniel, insofar as I am aware, very few temples have bell towers. I don't know if any that did or still do. If someone knows more than I do on that, please fill me in as well.

Melody Nelson Walden said...

Daniel, I believe the Church owns only one bell tower, or carillon. It is on the campus of BYU.,Christ%20of%20Latter%2Dday%20Saints.

Unknown said...

I recently attempted to map all the sub-national political entities in the Americas (states in the US, provinces in Canada, and so on) that do not have a congregation. The following countries are those that have one or more sub-national units that do not appear to have any congregation at this time. If anyone is aware of errors in this list, I welcome corrections.

Greenland (the entire country)
Canada (Nunavut)
France (Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint-Martin, Saint Barthelemy)
Bahamas (30 of the 32 districts, the 2 exceptions being Freeport and New Providence, which do have congregations)
Cuba (14 of the 16 provinces and special municipalities, the 2 exceptions being Havana and Holguin)
Jamaica (Hanover, Trelawny, and Saint Mary)
Haiti (Nippes)
Dominican Republic (Independencia and Samana)
United Kingdom (Anguilla, Montserrat, and Falkland Islands)
Trinidad and Tobago (Diego Martin, San Juan Laventille, Rio Claro-Mayaro, Princes Town, Penal-Debe, and Siparia)
Belize (Toledo)
Honduras (Lempira and Gracias a Dios)
Nicaragua (Rio San Juan)
Panama (Ngobe Bugle, Darien, and Embera)
Venezuela (Dependencias Federales)
Colombia (Choco, Arauca, Guainia, Guaviare, Vaupes, and Putumayo)
Ecuador (Morona Santiago)
Paraguay (Alto Paraguay and Caazapa)
Suriname (7 of the 10 districts, the 3 exceptions being Commewijne, Paramaribo, and Wanica)
Guyana (Barima Waini, Pomeroon Supenaam, Cuyuni Mazaruni, Potaro Siparuni, and Upper Takutu Upper Essequibo)


Unknown said...

James and Melody, I think Daniel probably is referring to the various towers and cupolas on some temples that resemble bell towers, even though they don't necessarily contain bells (for instance, on the Tijuana Mexico temple). I don't know whether those are finished on the interior, or left rough. I would guess they are at least finished enough to protect them from the elements.


twinnumerouno said...

Here is a link to an article from BYU Studies about the bell(s) of the Nauvoo temple:

The article also mentions the Hummer bell and says that is the one at Temple Square. It is also stated that Nauvoo is the only temple with a bell, and the opening paragraph refers to the modern re-built temple also having a bell. I couldn't see anything to indicate whether that was a temporary or permanent feature of the modern temple- but I scanned rather than read the article, as it is lengthy.

Daniel Moretti said...

Dear James, I may have used the wrong word when trying to translate. In fact, few temples have bell towers, but many have spiers with a relatively large floor area. Without attempting conspiracy theories, I would imagine that these very brightly lit and restricted spaces would make great locations for the Holy of Holies precincts.

Daniel Moretti said...

Melody, I really expressed myself badly. I tried to refer to the spiers, like in Saint George, Nauvoo or even more modern temples with a good internal area in that enclosure. When looking at Manti's photos, the impression is that there is nothing there.

Daniel Moretti said...

Felix, that's right. Thank you for understanding what I wanted to say, even with a poor translation. The open areas that you mention, like in Tijuana or São Paulo, really seem to follow the exterior of the temple. But indoor areas such as pioneer temples and others have substantial space. In Salt Lake we know that there is Moroni's counterweight enclosure there, but there are no windows to the outside.

Hank said...

I know what happens in the areas behind/within spires! Generally nothing. They are usually not as large as we might think (they are large in comparison to my home but small in comparison to other public structures). They have a lot of structure incumbering the space, and are usually only accessible by ladder and definitely not by elevator (which makes a holy of holies hard/impossible). The only thing that really goes inside are the lights that light up the windows from behind at night. These spaces are finished but not decorated, so there is maybe fire-protecting drywall, but definitely nothing costly or beautiful.

Daniel Moretti said...

Hank, you revealed the absolute truth that I didn't want to hear or acknowledge, but it was obvious... it's definitely sad.

John Pack Lambert said...

All the tickets for the Tabernacle Choir concerts in Mexico have been distributed.

James said...

Daniel, if you're curious about the Holy of Holies in these latter-days, the following article from LDS Living may be instructive:

It particularly notes that there is such a designated space in the Salt Lake Temple. While there's no equivalent to that space in any other modern temples, the article also explicitly states that dealing rooms in each dedicated temple are set up to accommodate a change into a "Holy of Holies" equivalent space if and whenever that may be needed.

Hopefully that article is informative. Thanks.

David Todd said...

I've been all the way to the top of the Nauvoo temple tower and even touched the underside of the dome. It is not finished but there are multiple levels made of metal grating to get you up to the top.

Daniel Moretti said...

It must have been an amazing experience!

Daniel Moretti said...

James, thanks for reminding me of that article. I think I've read it before, but I don't remember...

Sarah W said...

In the San Fernando Valley area just north of Los Angeles, we've had a significant reduction in members and consolidation of not only stakes but also wards since the pandemic. Anecdotally, it has been because older members have died or moved away to live with children so they could be taken care of, and also quite a few members moved to Utah during the pandemic because they didn't like the liberal politics (didn't want to wear a mask, were against racial justice, etc. -- basically they wanted to be surrounded by conservative politics). A few also left because they sold their homes for a high price and bought cheaper in Utah, then they worked remote -- but again, politics were part of it too.

It is VERY difficult for missionaries here. Virtually no one will open their doors without an appointment. And the Church and its members have such a bad reputation as being MAGA, and everything that comes with that, so I don't blame most people for not wanting anything to do with a hyper-patriarchal, super-conservative group. It just seems anti-Christian at this stage. Therefore, because of this, there are very few baptisms and many more inactives (or withdrawing from the rolls as a matter of principle).

Finally, we used to have young people/couples move into the ward every August because they got new jobs after graduating from BYU. That stopped happening before the pandemic. Housing is increasingly very expensive here, which is largely a result of corporate buy-up of housing to create an artificial, price-fixed housing market; until this corporate buy-up is reined in, exposed, and stopped, along with improvement of wages, the housing crisis will continue. And this means that if you are a couple who is wanting to begin their life in a place that will allow you to have a family, then Southern California doesn't economically align with a couple's goals.

Ben H said...

I am considering taking a job in Oklahoma. It looks like there is a health Latter-day Saint community there. The church is growing. And the temple is busy. I would suggest adding Tulsa to your future temples list.

Unknown said...

Sarah W Members leave cailfornia because it democrat of course they want live where the republican i would to i would never live in cailfornia