14,433,880. That is my prediction for the number of members that will be announced in General Conference next week for year-end 2011. In case you missed last year, I made similar predictions then had a follow-up analyzing how close the estimates were in a post entitled Good vs Great: Iomega and General Conference Statistics. I actually ended up being off 0.15% overall, so hopefully it will be closer this year. In this post, I’ll give my estimates again, with a chance for you to decide if my numbers are high, low or ok. And if you’re willing to commit yourself, you can also put your specific predictions in comments at the bottom.
There are 4 numbers we will be discussing: Total Members, Number of Converts, Children Born To Members and People Leaving. The first three numbers are what will actually be reported, and the fourth number can be calculated from those. In each section below, I’ll give my prediction, give last year’s number, give my rationale, and have a short poll. So, here goes:
The total reported last year is 14,131,467, so this represents a net increase of 302,413 members. I am predicting an increase of 2.14%. Putting this in perspective, the net increase last year was 306,613, or 2.22%. This prediction is actually based on my other predictions, but fits with historical trends. Putting this in perspective, in the early 1980’s, the growth rate was closer to 5%. Two decades ago, in the early 1990’s, the rate was just under 4%. Ten years ago, just after the turn of the century, it was just under 3%. Therefore, following a 30+ year long trend, an increase of 2.14% makes sense. So, that’s my guess. What do you think?
The number of converts reported last year was 272,814, or 1.97% of total membership. My prediction is 1.94% of total membership. Looking at historical trends, in the end of the 1990s, this rate was around 3%, so it’s dropped 50% in the past 10-15 years. There are a lot of factors that go into this. In 2011, there was the whole “I’m a Mormon” campaign, the Romney campaign, the Book of Mormon musical, etc. There is a lot of information on the internet. There is an increased campaign by the Church to get “official sources” to bump up higher on searches through Search Engine Optimization. Are these a net benefit or net detriment? To be honest, I don’t think they changed the trend much. So, I predict just a few more converts than last year. Your guess:
Last year, this number was 120,528, or 0.87% of membership. This percentage has actually increased slightly over the past decade, but I predict it will be slightly smaller at 0.85%. This isn’t necessarily due to anything related to the Church, but more to general economic trends and the recession. Your guess:
This represents people removed from the rolls either because of death or because of leaving the Church. This number represents 0.65% of the membership. Last year, this number was 86,729, or 0.63%. I think this percentage will be slightly higher. It has been trending increasingly upward over the past 10-15 years, from about 0.40% or so, so is actually about 50% higher than it used to be. Reasons for this are as varied as the number of people giving their opinion. Your guess:
So, those are my predictions. Now let’s hear from you… And stay tuned for the week after conference when we will see how close we were. Maybe there will be a Grand Prize for the person who guesses the closest. Maybe you’ll just go down in Wheat & Tares infamy. Who knows?
- How’d I do – close, far-off?
- What are YOUR predictions for these 4 numbers?
- Do you think my explanations are correct?
- What other factors may or may not play into each of these numbers?