Is the church growing or shrinking?
But isn't the rate of growth declining?
Yes. The Church's growth rate has been declining for the past couple of decades, from a growth rate of 5%–10% in the late twentieth century down to a stable growth rate of about 1%–2% in the twenty-first century.
Why has the Church's growth rate been declining?
Isn't most of the Church growth from children being born into the Church as opposed to converts?
No. For the past decade, the Church has had about a quarter-million convert baptisms each year, with the children of record reported by the Church in the low hundred thousand each year.
Has the Church ever been the "fastest-growing religion"?
Possibly. The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect information on religion, so it's difficult to make comparisons with other religions. The Church says it "makes no statistical comparisons with other churches" and "makes no claim to be the fastest-growing Christian denomination."
What percentage of Church members are "active"?
The best current data from the U.S. General Social Survey indicates about 65% of U.S. members attend church once a week. Worldwide membership activity is estimated to be around 30% from Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac, an unofficial Church almanac.
How many new converts remain active?
- Drew T.
“I believe there is a sifting going on. We will pretty much sift ourselves out of the Church for varying reasons like getting caught up in the world and its strong attractions.”
“The convert baptism rate needs more context. Since 9 year olds of inactive parents count as a convert it muddies the water. If 8, 9 or even 10 year olds get baptized, they don’t fit well in the convert category, but make more sense as a child or record.”
“I think with information about the church being so widely available now testimonies either get destroyed or strengthened. You need a lot of faith to join a church that is so against the norm that I’m not surprised at all by declining growth rate.”
- Jordan W.
“I used to think it was important that the church grow fast and sweep in converts by the tens of millions. But then I looked more carefully at the prophecy of 1 Nephi 14:12-14. We will be a scattered few, but because of our covenants, we will be blessed with power and great glory.”
“I am a convert myself and a child of apostates far from the pioneer belt. I have been a member for a year and baptized a friend of mine. As I see it, in a world where activity rates among all faiths decline so steadily, any kind of growth, no matter how small, is impressive.”